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New York Times, Saturday, June 17, 2017

Author: Ryan McCarty
Editor: Will Shortz
Ryan McCarty
TotalDebutCollabs
16/17/20170
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0000001
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 64, Blocks: 30 Missing: {FJX} Spans: 1 This is the debut puzzle for Mr. McCarty NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Ryan McCarty notes: I'm very humbled and excited to be debuting in the New York Times, especially on my favorite crossword day of the week - Saturday! ... more
Ryan McCarty notes:

I'm very humbled and excited to be debuting in the New York Times, especially on my favorite crossword day of the week - Saturday! I'm a relatively recent graduate of Princeton University where I studied Music and Computer Science, and I currently work as a technology consultant onsite at the SEC in DC. I'm also an avid singer (baritone), composer (mostly choral music), and music snob (currently a lot of Roomful of Teeth and future bass.)

I began doing New York Time crosswords at breakfasts in college with some friends and quickly got addicted. Soon after I began trying to construct some of my own puzzles – I found the process had a lot of similarities to what I was studying at school with music composition and coding (I'll let y'all imagine why.)

My fiancé and I had been singing along with "The Schuyler Sisters" from the Hamilton soundtrack multiple times in a row one night when I thought it'd be a fun idea to use Angelica, Eliza, (and Peggy) in a new puzzle. I crossed SCHUYLER SISTERS with ELLIE KEMPER, a fellow Princetonian, and set off from there. I'm happy that I was able to reference several strong women and people of color, including Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose "Between the World and Me" I coincidentally started reading last week.

I'm proud to say that I made this puzzle completely by hand, which was a fun exercise. It took a long time to construct, but definitely made the whole experience much more palpable.

Lastly, I want to give a special shout out to Ariana & Drew whose wedding I'll be celebrating today! This puzzle is dedicated to them!

Jeff Chen notes: It used to be that most every themeless puzzle was a standard 'four sets of stacks, one in each corner.' I like the recent push ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

It used to be that most every themeless puzzle was a standard "four sets of stacks, one in each corner." I like the recent push toward big, open middles. Something cool about that swath of white space smack dab in the center. DEERSTALKER was my favorite long entry through there, as I'm a huge Holmes fan. I couldn't remember SILVER ARROW off the top, but what a neat brand name.

And what a way to debut! Making these types of wide-open middles is hard enough with some computer assistance here and there — to do it by hand is daunting.

I've seen all of "The Office" and two seasons of "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," but I couldn't remember ELLIE KEMPER's name. Rats! I wonder if it would be different if the latter show had been on a major network instead of Netflix-only.

Two years ago at the ACPT, people started talking (gushing, actually) about "Hamilton." This dummy had no idea what they were talking about, but I sure do now. Even the SCHUYLER SISTERS rings a bell now (although I still don't know exactly who they are). Amazing how "Hamilton" has exploded. I often don't care for proper names that you either know or you don't, but if they're huge enough in pop culture, they're fair game.

Sara TEASDALE was tough for me to piece together — thank goodness I'm a huge "Music Man" fan (LIDA ROSE is a classic for me). But I wonder if that crossing might trip up a good chunk of solvers. I could see the case for calling that an unfair crossing.

I'm also a huge fan of Norse mythology, so RAGNAROK was a gimme for me. Thank goodness it didn't cross EDERLE though — the exact spelling (for both of them!) is tough to remember.

Along with OTARU and ANTOINE, that is a ton of tough proper names. I don't mind when a puzzle has a lot of proper names. It's when many of them could be called esoteric that it starts to feel like too much.

And QUINTE, SEMIBREVE … that makes for a lot of learning and education in one puzzle.

Thank goodness that this puzzle ran on a Saturday, the toughest day of the week. A lot of stuff I didn't know, a lot of learning I did along the way, a good educational experience. And a huge relief to have solved it correctly. I didn't have high confidence that Mr. Happy Pencil would appear.

Impressive to debut this way — wide-open middles are so tough to construct. I'm looking forward to seeing what Ryan can do with the assistance of some modern tools.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0617 ( 24,693 )
Across Down
1. Meal maker? : PESTLE
7. "Vamoose!" : BEATIT
13. Fats Domino's real first name : ANTOINE
15. Skin-care brand : AVEENO
16. Austrian treats : STRUDELS
18. Put down hard : BERATE
19. Rows : TIERS
20. Barbershop staple from "The Music Man" : LIDAROSE
22. Shiraz setting : IRAN
23. Ones putting down quadrels : TILERS
24. Practice composition?: Abbr. : DRS
26. Whole note, to a Brit : SEMIBREVE
28. Port on Ishikari Bay : OTARU
30. Friends : QUAKERS
32. SpaceX head Musk : ELON
33. Sibling trio in "Hamilton" : SCHUYLERSISTERS
37. "Would ___?" : ILIE
38. One might be a "n00b" : AMATEUR
39. Dry runs, e.g. : TESTS
41. Commonsensical : PRAGMATIC
45. Cartoon word often seen with a lightning bolt : ZAP
46. Channel swimmer Gertrude : EDERLE
48. ___ floresiensis (extinct "hobbit") : HOMO
49. Day of doom, in Scandinavian mythology : RAGNAROK
51. "It's déjà vu all over again" speaker : BERRA
52. Sea seen from Ithaca : IONIAN
53. Destination proclamation : WEMADEIT
55. Fifth of eight parrying positions in fencing : QUINTE
56. Wearying work schedule : RATRACE
57. Equilibria : STASES
58. Call of Duty tally : DEATHS
1. French anise-flavored liqueur : PASTIS
2. Uncut : ENTIRE
3. Flow : STREAM
4. Flow stopper, of a sort : TOURNIQUET
5. Preserves covers? : LIDS
6. Memphis-to-Nashville dir. : ENE
7. Big character in children's literature : BABAR
8. Very much : EVERSO
9. Lead-in to méxico : AERO
10. Poet Sara who wrote "I Shall Not Care" : TEASDALE
11. Shaking like a leaf, maybe : INTERROR
12. Runner's ___ (marathoner's woe) : TOE
14. Title actress on Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" : ELLIEKEMPER
17. Early Mercedes-Benz racing car : SILVERARROW
21. Part of Sherlock Holmes's attire : DEERSTALKER
23. Part of a merry refrain : TRALA
25. Goes for the bronze? : SUNS
27. Believe : BUY
29. Some pyramids, though not the ones at Giza : TETRAHEDRA
31. Drawn-out campaign : SIEGE
33. ___ bath : SITZ
34. Leave en masse : CLEAROUT
35. Historical name of the Iberian Peninsula : HISPANIA
36. Kakuro calculation : SUM
40. Group of 100 people : SENATE
42. Bothered terribly : TOREAT
43. "Jackpot!" : IMRICH
44. Ta-Nehisi who wrote the best seller "Between the World and Me" : COATES
47. Builders of the original Legoland : DANES
50. Generates, with "up" : GINS
51. Reduce in force or intensity : BATE
52. They're high at M.I.T. and Stanford : IQS
54. About to explode : MAD

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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