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New York Times, Friday, June 23, 2017

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

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 ... read more

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, ... read more

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%.

1
A
2
M
3
M
4
O
5
S
6
W
7
E
8
A
9
T
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P
11
A
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N
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T
14
S
15
R
O
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H
O
W
D
O
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L
O
O
K
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N
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O
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M
A
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Y
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E
S
C
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P
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M
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H
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W
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C
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D
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C
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C
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C
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N
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D
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B
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A
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T
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C
A
V
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C
A
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K
E
Y
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U
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H
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L
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I
R
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N
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S
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E
V
E
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S
P
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L
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A
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P
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T
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B
L
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G
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H
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A
P
O
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C
R
U
D
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P
E
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G
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G
O
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G
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D
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U
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T
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G
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A
R
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0623 ( 24,699 )

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Across
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
Down
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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