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New York Times, Friday, June 16, 2017

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4611/13/20128/15/201716
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517125322
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 37 Missing: {JKQZ} Grid has both 90- and 180-degree symmetry This is puzzle # 43 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Neat middle section, with four strong feature entries: GENDER FLUID, HEAT SENSORS (maybe a bit less exciting than the others, but ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Neat middle section, with four strong feature entries: GENDER FLUID, HEAT SENSORS (maybe a bit less exciting than the others, but this mechanical engineer likes it, anyway), SOCIAL MEDIA, SECRET SAUCE. A puzzle like this can live or die based on the strength of its long feature entries, so I thought C.C. did well here.

It's a shame that C.C. got scooped on GENDER FLUID, but kudos to Will and Joel for spacing this puzzle out so that there was enough time between these puzzles. It's not easy to keep track of things like this, but this solver much appreciates the effort.

(I have a themeless in the queue featuring one of C.C.'s four feature entries — I usually don't like having to wait months and months to see my puzzles in print, but in this case, I'd welcome it!)

Excellent work on the short fill today, everything doing its job by not being noticeable. SCI is easy to overlook, and the only one that I hitched on was OPI. Tough for me to judge what nail polish brands are popular, but considering my 2.5-year old is curious about mom's lip pencils, perhaps I ought to hold OPI in memory. (Sigh.)

Where I thought C.C. shined in this puzzle was in her mid-length fill. This particular grid layout, featuring big stairsteps of black squares, is heavy on those 6- and 7-letter entries and that often worries me, since these can be tough to convert to snazzy material. But stuff like TEA TAX, WARTHOG, ALL GONE, SO THERE, even BIG IF = excellent bonuses. And single-word answers can often be dull, but BAUHAUS and SASHIMI are good additions.

And some constructors lean all too heavily on "+ preposition" phrases to fill out those mid-length entries. SLIP IN and BOO AT aren't going to win any prizes, so it's great to see this type of entry limited to just these two.

Entertaining, smooth solve. If there had been a couple more feature entries of the caliber of SECRET SAUCE, this would have gotten the POW! The bar for themeless puzzles is so high these days.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0616 ( 24,692 )
Across Down
1. Alternatives to olives : TWISTS
7. Went for a run : BATTED
13. Spanish spread : RANCHO
14. "Told ya!" : SOTHERE
15. More affected : ARTIER
16. Drill setting : BOOTCAMP
17. Part of many arena names: Abbr. : CTR
18. "Sign me up!" : YESICAN
20. Situation with no up side : TIE
21. Evidence of a hard landing : THUD
23. Not bogus : LEGIT
24. Michael who directed the 2015 film "Blackhat" : MANN
25. "That makes two of us" : SODOI
27. Spooky grp.? : CIA
28. Like some sent documents : FAXED
29. Moving between male and female : GENDERFLUID
32. Sore helper : SALVE
33. Old baseball mascot with a "C" on his cap : MRRED
35. Toaster components : HEATSENSORS
38. Major beef source : ANGUS
41. Blue : SAD
42. Big name in 1990s hip-hop : TUPAC
44. Like white panthers : RARE
45. Co-Nobelist with Yitzhak and Shimon : YASIR
47. 2002 Grammy nominee John : TESH
48. Popular nail polish brand : OPI
49. School once headed by Mies van der Rohe : BAUHAUS
51. 21st in a series of 24 : PHI
52. Neighbor de Ibiza : MALLORCA
54. Add subtly : SLIPIN
56. Used up : ALLGONE
57. "Hel-l-lp!" : SAVEME
58. Makeup problems : SMEARS
59. Past the point of caring : OVERIT
1. Swift writings : TRACTS
2. It has four tusks : WARTHOG
3. Shows disregard for privacy : INTRUDES
4. Discovery magazine subj. : SCI
5. Unidentified gossip source, often : THEY
6. French philosopher who wrote "Reflections on Violence" : SOREL
7. Greet with disdain : BOOAT
8. Abbr. before a colon and a name : ATTN
9. Potent pot component, for short : THC
10. Impetus for a colonial "party" : TEATAX
11. Wolverine's cousin : ERMINE
12. Hinge : DEPEND
14. Instagram and such : SOCIALMEDIA
16. Major uncertainty : BIGIF
19. Classified key to success : SECRETSAUCE
22. Onetime host with 11 Daytime Emmys : DONAHUE
24. Fared : MADEOUT
26. Just sits : IDLES
28. Who's there : FIRST
30. Green on the silver screen : EVA
31. Party server : URN
34. "Always one of a kind" sloganeer : DRPEPPER
36. One of a White House couple until 2017 : SASHA
37. Dish often garnished with white radish : SASHIMI
38. Salivation stimuli : AROMAS
39. Flamethrower option : NAPALM
40. Radiator protector : GRILLE
43. Big name in disposable tableware : CHINET
45. Crocheter's collection : YARNS
46. Rene of "Nightcrawler" : RUSSO
49. Vulgarian : BOOR
50. Bulgarian, e.g. : SLAV
53. Big Apple airport code : LGA
55. "___ changed" : IVE

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

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