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New York Times, Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Author:
Amy Johnson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
210/7/20136/18/20140
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0101000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63000
Amy Johnson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 2 for Ms. Johnson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Amy Johnson notes:

Just because I wanted to combine my two favorite word pastimes.

Jeff Chen notes:
Scrabble puzzle! I almost always find it interesting to get an in-depth look into someone else's favorite hobby, hearing about the ... read more

Scrabble puzzle! I almost always find it interesting to get an in-depth look into someone else's favorite hobby, hearing about the crazy details that no one but a fanatic would get. For all my word-related ruminations, you'd think I'd be a decent Scrabble player. But I only do well enough to play a horribly annoying defensive game, not caring how much I score as long as I block off the board well enough to keep my margin of losing to a minimum. We engineers are a fun bunch, aren't we?

We've had at least one Scrabble-related crossword before, but this is the first one I can remember to focus on high-scoring starting words, ones you'd need a BLANK TILE to play. Never in a googolplex years would that have occurred to me, and that's what makes this puzzle quirky and interesting in my eyes. Apparently there are only one J, K, X and Z tile apiece. There have to be many more words that would fit into this theme, so I asked Amy why these four? Fun to hear that they're simply ones that she likes. Man, I'll never understand Scrabble types.

Nice construction today, a tough one considering the need to work in two J's, two X's, and two Z's. Along with a layout that feature so many seven-letter across entries, it gets tough. Those constraints force Amy to use longer-than-average fill in general, and she accomplishes this by using a lot of six-letter words. XANADU, ZOOM IN, COHORT, that's the way to use those slots well.

There are some areas with a little more glue than I like to see. In particular, the NW and SE corners are so sectioned off from the rest of the puzzle that having an STD and an AMER in there felt unnecessary. Same goes for the other corners, where it's not necessary to have an SSTS or OTRA. I know that all must sound uber-picky, but I feel like it's important to minimize glue entries wherever possible, even if there aren't that many to begin with. Not everyone agrees with me, but I put a high priority on solving smoothness.

It's always nice to see Scrabbly letters in a puzzle (JQXZ), assuming they don't cause too many compromises, so a puzzle which by nature is Scrabbly is pretty cool. Quite an enjoyable solve for me.

1
T
2
O
3
M
4
S
5
V
6
E
7
S
8
T
9
S
10
C
11
A
12
N
13
S
14
O
B
I
T
15
A
R
E
A
16
H
O
B
O
S
17
W
O
R
D
18
F
R
E
A
K
19
R
H
E
T
T
20
N
E
O
21
A
I
S
L
E
22
I
O
T
A
S
23
A
N
E
T
24
S
25
E
E
R
26
J
27
U
28
J
I
T
S
U
29
T
S
K
T
30
S
31
K
32
S
33
O
P
E
R
A
34
G
E
T
S
35
I
R
A
36
A
T
T
S
37
S
38
P
E
N
D
39
P
O
E
T
40
D
O
T
41
A
T
O
M
42
P
L
U
M
E
43
S
P
A
44
Z
Z
E
S
45
X
46
E
R
O
X
E
D
47
O
A
T
S
48
A
M
I
D
49
S
50
P
51
O
O
L
52
I
53
O
N
I
C
54
L
55
A
56
P
57
E
A
T
M
E
58
B
L
A
N
K
59
T
I
L
E
60
A
T
R
I
A
61
L
I
D
O
62
A
M
E
R
63
M
E
A
N
S
64
Y
O
U
R
65
M
O
S
T
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0618 ( 23,598 )
Across
1
Some gobblers : TOMS
5
Part of a fashion ensemble, maybe : VEST
9
Checkout procedures : SCANS
14
Black-bordered news item : OBIT
15
Plot-listing datum : AREA
16
Bindle toters : HOBOS
17
2001 best seller about competitive Scrabble : WORDFREAK
19
Scarlett's suitor : RHETT
20
Prefix with Freudian : NEO
21
Bridal path : AISLE
22
Tiny bits : IOTAS
23
Without ___ (riskily) : ANET
24
Interpreter of omens : SEER
26
Japanese "soft art" (max opening score of 92 points) : JUJITSU
29
Sounds of censure (max opening score of 80 points) : TSKTSKS
33
Where to hear "Bravo!" and "Brava!" : OPERA
34
Fathoms : GETS
35
Author Levin : IRA
36
Courtroom team: Abbr. : ATTS
37
While away : SPEND
39
"God is the perfect ___": Browning : POET
40
Alternative to "x," in math : DOT
41
Quark's place : ATOM
42
Feather in one's cap : PLUME
43
Totally inept sorts (max opening score of 104 points) : SPAZZES
45
Ran off, in a way (max opening score of 94 points) : XEROXED
47
Fare that may be rolled : OATS
48
In the thick of : AMID
49
Sewing kit item : SPOOL
52
Column style : IONIC
54
Napkin's place : LAP
57
Wonderland cake message : EATME
58
What you'd need to play 26-, 29-, 43- or 45-Across : BLANKTILE
60
Some hotel lobbies : ATRIA
61
Newport Beach isle : LIDO
62
A.C.L.U. part: Abbr. : AMER
63
Financial resources : MEANS
64
M.Y.O.B. part : YOUR
65
Guinness word : MOST
Down
1
Mini-metro : TOWN
2
Light wind? : OBOE
3
Barcelona's Joan ___ Foundation : MIRO
4
Norm: Abbr. : STD
5
Is inconsistent : VARIES
6
1974 Mocedades hit whose English version is titled "Touch the Wind" : ERESTU
7
One-named singer who married Heidi Klum : SEAL
8
Stops for a breather : TAKESTEN
9
Fun house noises : SHRIEKS
10
Partner in crime : COHORT
11
Help in crime : ABET
12
"___ problem!" : NOTA
13
Former Air France fleet members, for short : SSTS
18
Fruity soda brand : FANTA
23
What snobs put on : AIRS
25
Abbr. before a founding date : ESTD
26
Steinbeck family : JOADS
27
On the observation deck, say : UPTOP
28
Volkswagen model since 1979 : JETTA
30
Wounded Knee tribe : SIOUX
31
Sweet filling, in product names : KREME
32
Full, and then some : SATED
34
It has its setting : GEM
37
Editor's override : STET
38
"It could happen" : POSSIBLY
39
Lumber along : PLOD
41
Cousins of rhododendrons : AZALEAS
42
Balloon's undoing : PRICK
44
Magnify an online map : ZOOMIN
45
Setting of Kubla Khan's palace : XANADU
46
Key of a Bach "Bourrée" : EMINOR
49
Baseball part : SEAM
50
Cracker topper : PATE
51
___ vez (again: Sp.) : OTRA
53
Mixed bag : OLIO
54
Car that may have a bar : LIMO
55
Some brews : ALES
56
Smart-alecky : PERT
59
Pompom's place : TAM

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?