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New York Times, Thursday, June 25, 2015

Author:
David Poole
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
98/9/20101/10/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0213300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59101
David Poole

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JWXZ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Poole. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Poole notes:
This puzzle had its genesis when I was a neophyte constructor back in 2008. I wanted to try a rebus puzzle and built one around the ... read more

This puzzle had its genesis when I was a neophyte constructor back in 2008. I wanted to try a rebus puzzle and built one around the theme of "Peanut Butter Sandwiches," PB being the rebus. I submitted it to Peter Gordon at the now-defunct NY Sun and, to my dismay, he rejected it. The basis for his rejection was that PBJ is better known than just PB. The rejection hurt at the time but, of course, he was right. I put the puzzle away.

Several years later — for reasons I don't remember — I decided to look at the puzzle again. PB as the chemical symbol for lead just jumped out at me. The reveal LEADBELLY followed quickly. I tweaked the old puzzle to get the theme entries to align nicely and sent it off to Will. The result is what you see today. I'm happy with the finished product.

This puzzle is a testament to perseverance. I still consider myself a rookie constructor — always more to learn. But what I learned from this one was not to give up on a puzzle. A little tweaking may very well salvage an otherwise unpublishable crossword.

Jeff Chen notes:
The guitarist LEAD BELLY riffed on today, entries containing PB in their middle. (Pb is the symbol for lead, from the Latin ... read more

The guitarist LEAD BELLY riffed on today, entries containing PB in their middle. (Pb is the symbol for lead, from the Latin "plumbum.") Some strong theme entries, DEE(P B)LUE tricky to see, and PO(P B)OTTLES / TO(P B)ID also clever.

Lead Belly

Check out those huge open spaces in the upper right and lower left. I personally wouldn't have even tried to fill those, as they're unlikely to be fillable without a good amount of glue. And spaces that big are hard enough when you don't have any constraints, but when you stick two crossing themers in, they become extremely challenging.

So I was pretty impressed by David's work in the bottom left. BRASSERIE is a fun word, and with only RRS and A GIRL as slight blights, it turned out DECENTLY. No eye-popping answers down there, but nothing egregious.

In the upper right, I love BRUCE LEE. Always gives me a rush to see one of my idols in a grid. There's a price to pay though, with the esoteric ECARTE and not just a suffix, but a plural suffix in ETTES. And to have one of your precious long slots taken up by OVEREATER feels to me like quite a missed opportunity.

These two corners perfectly illustrate the constructor's dilemma — do you go clean, with mostly neutral answers, or do you go big, with some bits you wouldn't want to write home about?

A ton of great clues; much appreciated on a Thursday:

  • Many people have a pet cause. The ASCPA is an apt one!
  • [Cause of inflation?] got me because I'm always thinking about (money) inflation as I help people with retirement planning. Great way to spice up an entry we see all the time.
  • [Like M, L, XL, but not S] confused me, until I realized M, L, XL are all ROMAN numerals.

Nice rebus idea, with a couple hiccups in the execution. It'd be interesting to see what this would have looked like with a 78-word grid instead of 76. I wouldn't mind breaking up two neutral entries in the hopes of creating opportunities for one or two more sizzling ones.

1
A
2
S
3
T
4
A
5
A
6
B
7
C
8
S
9
B
10
L
11
O
12
K
13
E
14
S
H
O
P
15
T
E
R
I
16
R
I
V
E
T
17
P
O
PB
O
18
T
T
L
E
S
19
U
PB
E
A
T
20
C
E
I
L
I
N
G
S
21
E
C
A
R
T
E
22
A
D
D
O
N
23
C
24
A
R
E
L
E
S
S
25
G
O
26
O
27
P
28
P
A
L
M
A
29
M
30
O
31
B
Y
32
B
E
33
A
U
34
E
S
T
35
A
36
B
37
A
I
R
38
D
E
E
PB
L
39
U
E
40
E
B
B
41
P
L
A
42
C
E
43
P
S
I
S
44
I
R
A
Q
45
S
U
C
46
R
E
47
A
S
48
S
N
49
R
50
A
S
PB
E
R
R
51
Y
52
C
A
53
F
54
F
55
E
56
O
D
E
O
N
S
57
I
58
M
59
E
A
N
T
I
T
60
M
A
R
A
T
61
L
E
A
D
B
E
L
L
Y
62
A
G
I
R
L
63
E
L
L
E
64
S
E
E
P
65
N
E
E
D
Y
66
O
D
I
N
67
T
E
T
E
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0625 ( 23,970 )
Across
1
Tinseltown terrier : ASTA
5
Building blocks : ABCS
9
Chap : BLOKE
14
Word with gift or thrift : SHOP
15
Polo of "Meet the Parents" : TERI
16
Engross : RIVET
17
Subjects for Andy Warhol : POPBOTTLES
19
Optimistic : UPBEAT
20
Caps : CEILINGS
21
Euchre relative : ECARTE
22
Append : ADDON
23
Like most typos : CARELESS
25
Sticky stuff : GOOP
28
Capital of Majorca : PALMA
29
One-named musician with the hit albums "18" and "Hotel" : MOBY
32
Ken, to Barbie : BEAU
34
Abbr. followed by a date : ESTAB
37
Cause of inflation? : AIR
38
Groundbreaking chess-playing computer : DEEPBLUE
40
Go out : EBB
41
More than just show : PLACE
43
Fraternity letters : PSIS
44
One of the I's of ISIS : IRAQ
45
One of the two capitals of Bolivia : SUCRE
47
Part of 35-Down: Abbr. : ASSN
49
Sound of disapproval : RASPBERRY
52
___ Americano : CAFFE
56
Old concert halls : ODEONS
57
"That was said in all sincerity" : IMEANTIT
60
"The Death of ___" (1793 David painting) : MARAT
61
Legendary guitarist ... or a hint to eight answers in this puzzle : LEADBELLY
62
End of song titles starting "About" and "I Kissed" : AGIRL
63
What the French might call 62-Across : ELLE
64
Percolate : SEEP
65
Penurious : NEEDY
66
Valhalla V.I.P. : ODIN
67
Head overseas? : TETE
Down
1
Pet cause? : ASPCA
2
Worked on as a smithy might : SHOED
3
Winner on eBay : TOPBID
4
Mea culpa : APOLOGY
5
Letter-routing abbr. : ATTN
6
E.U. country where Hoegaarden beer is brewed : BELG
7
Musical opposite of dimin. : CRESC
8
Family nickname : SIS
9
Kato portrayer in "The Green Hornet" : BRUCELEE
10
Blistex products : LIPBALMS
11
One taking extra courses? : OVEREATER
12
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever" poet : KEATS
13
Diminutive suffixes : ETTES
18
Ex-Yankee Martinez : TINO
21
Great time : ERA
24
The "high heel" of Italy's "boot" : APULIA
26
Honour bestowed by the queen, for short : OBE
27
Eye, informally : PEEPER
29
Pirate's aid : MAP
30
Alberta export : OIL
31
Restaurant that might serve steak frites : BRASSERIE
33
Old calls from HQ : APBS
35
Org. sponsoring a literary fair : ABA
36
Fourth of July event, for short : BBQ
38
In a respectable way : DECENTLY
39
Letters at sea : USS
42
Place to put everything you can? : CUPBOARD
44
Maximally moronic : INANEST
46
Pennsylvania and Erie, once: Abbr. : RRS
48
One who crosses the line : SCAB
49
Like M, L or XL, but not S : ROMAN
50
Bit of folk wisdom : ADAGE
51
Farmer's concern : YIELD
53
Town at the N.J. end of the George Washington Bridge : FTLEE
54
Choice beef cut : FILET
55
Classic Jaguar model : ETYPE
58
Bamako's land : MALI
59
Adam's apple site : EDEN
61
Sign of summer : LEO

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?