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New York Times, Friday, May 6, 2016

Author:
Julian Lim
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
221/6/201010/8/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1115437
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63101
Julian Lim

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 62, Blocks: 43 Missing: {QVXYZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Lim. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Julian Lim notes:
NYT crossword fanatics may recall that I had a puzzle in February last year that used a similar figure-8 grid. While I was ... read more

NYT crossword fanatics may recall that I had a puzzle in February last year that used a similar figure-8 grid. While I was constructing that one, I was forced to add cheaters to the 7th and 9th rows to get clean fill, which ended up leaving me vaguely dissatisfied with the shape of the puzzle. This ended up nagging at me so much that I thought I'd have another go at filling the grid I really wanted to use, and this time managed to succeed. Happily, Will liked the second puzzle too, and I got to sleep well at night again after it was accepted.

It will come as no surprise that 12-Across was my seed entry at the top. Given that the current constructing community skews young and geeky, it's a little strange that the entry is only making its NYT debut at the start of Season 6 of the show — might be the awkward 13-letter length.

Played around a lot with the middle of the grid, going through about 4 or 5 versions before I was finally happy with what I had. I especially wanted everything going through CJ CREGG (another seed) to be unambiguous — you're out of luck with that name if you weren't a West Wing fan.

Clue I was saddest to lose: I originally had 41-Across as {Fry in England}, but Mr. Colbert took his place. Apologies to all my QI-loving friends.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun to get a change of pace in a figure-eight grid. Solving it was a bit like completing a lap on a racing track. Given that Julian ... read more

Fun to get a change of pace in a figure-eight grid. Solving it was a bit like completing a lap on a racing track.

Given that Julian only left himself six long slots to work with, it was important to use those to his best advantage. Great triple in CARD CATALOG/GAME OF THRONES/GOT INTO HOT WATER. And MAKE THE BEST OF IT/DO A GOOD TURN were nice too. RECRIMINATION isn't bad, but I wouldn't classify it as an asset — it feels a bit less interesting than the other five. Still, five out of six is pretty darn good.

Apparently CCH Pounder was supposed to get this role. Boo, Hollywood!

There are a ton of 7-letter entries to work with, and Julian does pull some extra bonuses out of those slots. I particularly liked the hard to parse ones, like CAT SCAN, US STATE, SUNDOWN (which I was sure was ___NOON). I also enjoyed learning more about NOGUCHI, whose name (but not work) I recognized.

I wasn't as big a fan of CJ CREGG. I'm sure "The West Wing" fans will enjoy seeing her name in the NYT crossword, but it was a lot of work to piece together ([Tally] = AGREE, in the form of "make sure the votes tally up") with little payoff for this non-viewer. I do like the crazy CJCR start though, and I really appreciate Julian's efforts to make every crossing very gettable. Made me want to read up on the character — turns out she's quite a complex person.

It's tough to make any triple-stack both snazzy and clean, and the longer the entries get, the harder that task is. Julian does end up with some ATH, ON AT and OTRA, but that's not too shabby considering he's working with very long entries. Those sets of three black squares in each of the four corners makes the task hugely easier — wise choice to employ them. They also give the puzzle a really pretty aesthetic, without making it look like too much of the grid was eaten away.

1
C
2
A
3
R
4
D
5
C
6
A
7
T
8
A
9
L
10
O
11
G
12
G
A
M
E
O
F
T
H
R
O
N
E
13
S
14
G
O
T
I
N
T
O
H
O
T
W
A
T
E
15
R
16
L
A
S
S
O
E
S
17
U
S
S
T
A
T
E
18
O
T
C
19
T
S
P
20
S
E
A
21
L
22
A
23
B
24
S
25
I
26
T
27
S
28
L
A
T
E
29
S
E
N
E
G
A
L
30
S
A
T
I
N
O
N
31
A
R
N
O
32
B
R
A
T
33
C
34
J
35
C
R
E
G
G
36
N
O
G
U
37
C
38
H
39
I
40
H
A
R
N
E
S
S
41
S
T
E
P
H
E
N
42
A
G
A
43
I
R
E
44
S
U
N
45
D
46
O
47
W
48
N
49
P
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L
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A
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N
F
O
R
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M
A
K
E
T
H
E
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B
E
S
T
O
F
I
T
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R
E
C
R
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M
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N
A
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N
56
D
O
A
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0506 ( 24,286 )
Across
1
Holder of many titles : CARDCATALOG
12
Show with the record for most Emmys won in a single year (12) : GAMEOFTHRONES
14
Encountered trouble : GOTINTOHOTWATER
16
Snags : LASSOES
17
What a star may represent : USSTATE
18
Non-Rx : OTC
19
Rx abbr. : TSP
20
Locales for deep investigations? : SEALABS
25
"We should get going" : ITSLATE
29
Home to the naturally pink Lake Retba : SENEGAL
30
Attended as an observer : SATINON
31
It's spanned by the Ponte Santa Trinita : ARNO
32
Army ___ : BRAT
33
Allison Janney's role on "The West Wing" : CJCREGG
36
Architect/sculptor with an eponymous New York museum : NOGUCHI
40
Control and make use of : HARNESS
41
Big name in late-night : STEPHEN
42
Topkapi Palace resident : AGA
43
Choler : IRE
44
Deadline in a western : SUNDOWN
49
Anticipate : PLANFOR
53
Turn lemons into lemonade, so to speak : MAKETHEBESTOFIT
55
Countercharge : RECRIMINATION
56
Help someone : DOAGOODTURN
Down
1
M.R.I. alternative : CATSCAN
2
"The Zone of Interest" author, 2014 : AMIS
3
Seat of Washoe County : RENO
4
Spoil, with "on" : DOTE
5
Some successful Wharton grads, for short : CFOS
6
Sports person: Abbr. : ATH
7
G : THOU
8
They may be graphic : ARTS
9
Some temperatures : LOWS
10
Go ___ length : ONAT
11
Bronze : GETATAN
12
Relative of a soul patch : GOATEE
13
Commences : SETSTO
14
Luster : GLOSS
15
Transcribe : REPEN
21
Get into one's head : LEARN
22
Tally : AGREE
23
Mamie Eisenhower hairstyle : BANGS
24
Grinds : SLOGS
25
Info in a 1-Across : ISBNS
26
Means of divination : TAROT
27
Put on : STAGE
28
Showed great happiness : LITUP
33
It might be yawning : CHASM
34
Luxury car name since 1935 : JAGUAR
35
Started, as a generator : CRANKED
37
Lingerie material : CHIFFON
38
Speedball component : HEROIN
39
Like atoms with full outer shells : INERT
45
Miami Beach architectural style, informally : DECO
46
___ vez (again: Sp.) : OTRA
47
Clay, for one : WHIG
48
Friend of Bubbles, in an animated film : NEMO
49
Hang : PEND
50
Focus of some prep books : LSAT
51
Battle of ___ (1943 U.S./Japanese conflict) : ATTU
52
Rouge alternative : NOIR
54
Thumbnail item : BIO

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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