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New York Times, Monday, June 26, 2017

Author:
Brian Greer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
411/7/20046/26/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
01000003
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56010
Brian Greer

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 44 Missing: {MQVX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Greer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brian Greer notes:
I was born in Strabane, Ireland, like the great Brian O'Nolan (aka Flann O'Brien, aka Myles Na Gopaleen), who would have been a great ... read more

I was born in Strabane, Ireland, like the great Brian O'Nolan (aka Flann O'Brien, aka Myles Na Gopaleen), who would have been a great crossword constructor had he turned his mind to it. I started constructing crosswords more than fifty years ago while at college, and, after contributing to a variety of publications, got on the team at The (London) Times in 1975.

I became Crossword Editor at The Times in 1995 and continued in that post until emigrating to the US in 2000 to join my wife Swapna. She has no interest in crosswords but we do work very closely together on a mission we would describe as humanizing mathematics education. I continue to contribute occasionally to the Times, and to the Guardian as Brendan (another Irishman who came to America, more saintly than me).

Also, for about eight years I have contributed the cryptic puzzle every week for the Sunday Telegraph. I enjoy doing the New York Times puzzle most days and particularly the cryptic definitions of which my all-time favorite is: Rake over the coals? (3,4,2,4)

I'm very proud of a postcard from Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse, congratulating me on a clue: For whom right and wrong can go in ledger? (9,5), and who included a character named for me in one of the television mysteries.

Having noticed the Harry Potter anniversary coming up, I decided to see if I could manage what for me is a completely different genre. I was able to do it finally with very patient help from Will Shortz. Then I asked Richard Rogan, current crossword editor of The (other) Times, to allow me to do another on the same theme and same day and he kindly agreed. I think having puzzles in both Times on the same day is a first.

By the way, I've never read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies — they are surely great of their kind, but not my thing.

(Answers to clues cited: DON JUAN IN HELL, and RECORDING ANGEL = R + anagram of CAN GO IN LEDGER)

Jeff Chen notes:
HARRY / POTTER! Hard to believe it's been 20 years since the initial (British) release. The series is a large part of why I started ... read more

HARRY / POTTER! Hard to believe it's been 20 years since the initial (British) release. The series is a large part of why I started writing middle-grade books — my brother once said how sad he was, that there might never be anything as good as this series. I like me a challenge!

Speaking of a challenge, such a lot of thematic material packed in today. I enjoyed HARRY / POTTER snuck in at the very bottom, each word sneakily clued in non-Harry Potter ways.

AS NEAT (that feels too much like a verboten six-letter partial, BTW) as it was to get DANIEL RADCLIFFE over HARRY / POTTER, there were some trade-offs to make this work. Early-week puzzles usually depend on two sets of vertical black square bars on the bottom of a grid to make filling easier — having just one (between AS NEAT and SNEEZES) is a rough construction challenge. Besides AS NEAT, there's an IER and the odd EFFS.

That's not great, but not terrible either. I wouldn't have minded those prices to pay, except that there were already so many other gluey bits. I'm not sure why JK / ROW / LING gets split across the middle, but GHIJK is ... not good. That'd be a puzzle-killer for me. Along with AHOT, BLEST, ETH in the top of the grid, and a rough-for-newbies crossing in ASLAN / AGAS, it's too much for my taste.

I would have been fine with less thematic material, perhaps with THE PHILOSOPHERS / STONE intersecting smack dab in the middle, HARRY POTTER 11 and JKROWLING 9, using a mirror (left-right) grid layout.

The tough grid layout did allow for some nice bonuses like LOYALTY (Gryffindor!) and EGOTIST (Slytherin!). And ALASKAN got a great clue, "detached state" making me laugh.

As a huge fan, I like the 20-year tribute. But I wish it had been a smoother product for a Monday.

*Reparo!*

Jim Horne notes:

This is Mr. Greer's NYT daily crossword debut, but he has contributed three cryptic crosswords already.

1
B
2
L
3
A
4
S
5
T
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S
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E
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R
9
E
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C
11
T
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A
L
A
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K
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G
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T
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U
14
T
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T
H
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P
H
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O
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S
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P
H
E
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B
O
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R
E
B
A
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E
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D
N
A
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A
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E
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S
T
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W
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N
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A
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P
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S
26
S
T
27
A
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L
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L
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S
31
A
32
S
33
L
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A
N
35
E
T
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A
T
37
K
E
E
N
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G
H
I
J
K
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R
O
W
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L
I
N
G
O
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A
U
R
A
42
L
E
N
O
43
E
N
D
O
W
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S
T
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R
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E
O
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E
L
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L
A
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N
Y
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E
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A
P
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P
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L
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T
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A
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B
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A
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D
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W
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R
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D
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D
C
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L
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F
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A
S
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S
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H
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P
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0626 ( 24,702 )
Across
1
Explosions : BLASTS
7
Like the posture of humans : ERECT
12
Person in a detached state? : ALASKAN
13
Hit 2017 Jordan Peele thriller : GETOUT
15
With 25-Down, alchemists' quest in a book released on June 26, 1997 : THEPHILOSOPHERS
17
Office head : BOSS
18
Money back : REBATE
19
Evidence for determining paternity : DNA
20
Swear (to) : ATTEST
22
Victory : WIN
23
Deadly snakes : ASPS
26
Units in stables : STALLS
31
Lion in "The Chronicles of Narnia" : ASLAN
35
Coup d'___ : ETAT
37
Enthusiastic : KEEN
38
Alphabet chunk after D-E-F : GHIJK
39
Column's counterpart : ROW
40
Specialist's vocabulary : LINGO
41
Distinctive atmosphere : AURA
42
Jay once seen nightly : LENO
43
Fund, as a chair : ENDOW
44
Coming from two speakers : STEREO
46
Singer Fitzgerald : ELLA
48
Bill who's a science expert : NYE
50
Small program : APPLET
55
Lawyers' org. : ABA
58
"The Descent of Man" author : DARWIN
61
Widespread : RIFE
62
Star of the film version of the book referenced in 15-Across/25-Down : DANIELRADCLIFFE
65
Comparable to a pin, in a phrase : ASNEAT
66
Goes "Ah-choo!" : SNEEZES
67
Persistently torment : HARRY
68
Crafty person at a wheel? : POTTER
Down
1
Given benediction, the old-fashioned way : BLEST
2
Run out, as a subscription : LAPSE
3
___ Wednesday : ASH
4
Evades : SKIRTS
5
Shakespeare's "The Winter's ___" : TALE
6
Hoity-toity type : SNOB
7
Self-centered sort : EGOTIST
8
Be in a sorry state? : REPENT
9
Biblical verb ending : ETH
10
Like volleyball that's played jointly by men and women : COED
11
Not go straight : TURN
12
"Cat on ___ Tin Roof" : AHOT
14
Passenger-screening org. : TSA
15
Letters on a schedule meaning "We'll let you know" : TBA
16
Went on dates with : SAW
21
What the Titanic did, famously : SANK
24
Father: Fr. : PERE
25
See 15-Across : STONE
27
Of similar character : AKIN
28
Advance, as money : LEND
29
Toy block brand : LEGO
30
Cold fall : SNOW
31
Turkish pooh-bahs : AGAS
32
Open's opposite : SHUT
33
Abandoned European capital : LIRE
34
Not quite closed : AJAR
36
Soldier who's gone missing : AWOL
40
Jump : LEAP
42
Allegiance : LOYALTY
45
Cause to be cherished : ENDEAR
47
Surgical knife : LANCET
49
Exemplify humanity, say : ERR
51
Contest award : PRIZE
52
Subject of a long sentence? : LIFER
53
Letters before gees : EFFS
54
Golf peg : TEE
55
Palindromic Nabokov title : ADA
56
Big party : BASH
57
"___ and the King of Siam" : ANNA
59
Big stinger : WASP
60
Nine-digit fig. on a Social Security card : IDNO
63
Comparative suffix : IER
64
Tennis umpire's call : LET

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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