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New York Times, Friday, June 23, 2017

Author: James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson
Editor: Will Shortz
James Mulhern
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2411/16/20096/23/20176
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
012001011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000
Ashton Anderson
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1111/16/20096/23/20176
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100073
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 27 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 24 for Mr. Mulhern. This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Anderson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: ASHTON: GOOGOOGAGA was the inspiration for this puzzle. One of the most rewarding parts of constructing puzzles for a long time has ... more
Constructor notes:

ASHTON: GOOGOOGAGA was the inspiration for this puzzle. One of the most rewarding parts of constructing puzzles for a long time has been discovering the kinds of answers I tend to like. I've found that part of my voice involves including nostalgic, child-like answers when I can. GOOGOOGAGA was the natural extension of this and seemed just crazy enough to seed a puzzle with.

JAMES: As in these notes, in our collaborations, I usually come in second to bat cleanup. After Ashton had fashioned this puzzle's somewhat daunting SW, I was a little nervous about filling the opposite corner in the NE. Given the constraints, I think it came out pretty well. From there, the two of us worked together to hammer out the final corners, which are trickier than they look. We were fortunate to find IPADAIR for the pivot into the SE, where initially we thought only DEADAIR worked. Sometimes a single tweak can be the difference between smoove and gnarly. Enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes: So much goodness packed into this themeless! Big corners like the upper right and lower left, with their stacks intersecting stacks, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

So much goodness packed into this themeless! Big corners like the upper right and lower left, with their stacks intersecting stacks, are notoriously hard to fill with snazzy material and a minimum of crossword glue. That upper right sizzles, all six long entries oh so good.

Well, the hated TOM BRADY being the exception. Grumble grumble says this Seahawks fan.

With every single short answer perfectly fine, that's stellar work.

Speaking of stellar, I even liked SKY ATLAS. Not only is it a neat term that this astronomy nerd liked learning, but it's easy to get from the crossings, as both words are recognizable as astronomy-related terms.

The lower left was also entertaining, but it didn't quite catch my attention like the upper right. BUST A GUT and UPTOWN GIRL are both fine answers, but both have a bit of an old-timey feel to them. I suppose the latter is a classic, immediately recognizable even to this pop music idiot.

The crossing of APO and THE ROOTS ... APO (Army post office) is going to be three random letters to some solvers, and THE ROOTS could easily be THE RIOTS. No bueno. It left me with a 50-50 guess, and thankfully, I guessed right. A case could be made that THE ROOTS is a big enough name that I ought to have known it. But I think while JIMMY FALLON and the TONIGHT SHOW are must-know names for educated solvers (even QUESTLOVE), I don't think THE ROOTS passes that bar.

Along with the toughie PERCALE, that corner didn't make as good an impression as the opposite one. Still, it's pretty darn strong--GOO GOO GA GA made this dad laugh--if you can overlook the big flaw.

I was leaning toward giving this one the POW!, what with all the fantastic SPINAL TAP, SUPERDOME, ANTIPOPE type answers to accompany the aforementioned. But there was another hiccup for me, the clue for OGLE: [Look at on the beach, say]. Ick. Ick. Again, ick. Why clue it that way when there are so many less creepy ways to do it?

Overall, 95% of the puzzle had me nodding and smiling. Too bad about that remaining 5%.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0623 ( 24,699 )
Across Down
1. They may make the rounds : AMMO
5. Lounging wear : SWEATPANTS
15. Coat color : ROAN
16. Question often asked after twirling : HOWDOILOOK
17. Some O.K.s : NODS
18. Rambo sort : ONEMANARMY
19. Word with hatch or room : ESCAPE
21. Coffee shop freebies : LIDS
22. Many a Wall St. hire : MBA
23. Fracking target : SHALE
24. Circumspect : WARY
25. Amazon icon : CART
26. Saint's place : SUPERDOME
28. Pastel shade : CORAL
29. Low-___ diet : CARB
30. "O" follower : CANADA
31. Part of Wayne Manor : BATCAVE
35. Request to Dad, maybe : CARKEYS
36. Like a pact with the Devil : UNHOLY
37. Modern-day home of the classical poet Hafez : IRAN
38. Jobs in tech : STEVE
39. Subject of a 1984 mockumentary : SPINALTAP
44. Flag : TIRE
45. Spill something : BLAB
46. First name in country : GARTH
47. Part of an embassy address, for short : APO
48. "Oh, darn!" : CRUD
49. Edible seed of a pumpkin or squash : PEPITA
50. Some baby talk : GOOGOOGAGA
53. Rostrum : DAIS
54. 1983 hit with the line "She's been living in her white bread world" : UPTOWNGIRL
55. Look at on the beach, say : OGLE
56. College application components : TESTSCORES
57. Backpacker's pack : GEAR
1. "Gunsmoke" actor James : ARNESS
2. Kind of pork : MOOSHU
3. Antic : MADCAP
4. Marked down : ONSALE
5. One going everywhere on foot? : SHOE
6. Peso : Mexico :: ___ : Korea : WON
7. Baby animal in a parable in II Samuel : EWELAMB
8. Esteem : ADMIRE
9. Sycophant : TOADY
10. Figures usually held in one's head : PINS
11. Like : ALA
12. Movie with the 1979 Oscar-winning song "It Goes Like It Goes" : NORMARAE
13. Patriot leader : TOMBRADY
14. Book of celestial maps : SKYATLAS
20. Bedsheet material : PERCALE
24. Abraded : WORE
25. Bop : CONK
27. Bandmate of Micky, Peter and Michael of the Monkees : DAVY
28. Bloodshed : CARNAGE
30. Co-star of Ferrell in 2003's "Elf" : CAAN
31. Laugh heartily : BUSTAGUT
32. Benedict X, but not IX or XI : ANTIPOPE
33. "Tonight Show" house band : THEROOTS
34. Arm that's tucked away : COVE
35. Copy illegally : CRIB
37. Thin tablet : IPADAIR
39. Nancy's friend in the comics : SLUGGO
40. Sycophant : LAPDOG
41. Ranking system of a sort : TRIAGE
42. Verdi opera set in the fifth century : ATTILA
43. Particle beam weapon : PHASER
45. Rodeo sight, informally : BRONC
48. Female whales : COWS
49. Buds : PALS
51. Caught : GOT
52. Kaplan book subj. : GRE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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