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New York Times, Thursday, June 27, 2019

Author:
Hoang-Kim Vu
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
16/27/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000100
RebusCirclePangram
100
Hoang-Kim Vu

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 44 Missing: {JQVWZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Vu. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Hoang-Kim Vu notes:
So excited to be making my NYT debut! I love a good rebus puzzle, so it's a pleasure that my debut is one that I've been working on ... read more

So excited to be making my NYT debut! I love a good rebus puzzle, so it's a pleasure that my debut is one that I've been working on for almost a year and a half. In brainstorming phrases that involve "box" or "square" and which involved a rebus/symbol that translates for both analog and digital solvers, the checkmark and "check all the boxes" theme rose to the top.

This puzzle went through several iterations, including a fundamental grid restructuring that ended up losing one of the checkboxes which sat near the center of the grid. There were also several additional fun "check" phrases that just didn't fit into a good fill that therefore went unused. But I'm happy with the result, which retains a relative symmetry to the checkboxes and keeps my favored long clues (CHECKS AND BALANCES, and CHECKPOINT CHARLIE).

Hope to see you all again soon!

Jeff Chen notes:
NYT Debut! Hoang-Kim CHECKs ALL / THE BOXES with a standard rebus, C-H-E-C-K boxed four times. Great way to kick off the theme, CHECKS ... read more

NYT Debut! Hoang-Kim CHECKs ALL / THE BOXES with a standard rebus, C-H-E-C-K boxed four times. Great way to kick off the theme, CHECKS AND BALANCES / MIC CHECK such jazzy entries. CHECKPOINT CHARLIE, BLANK CHECK and COAT CHECK rounded things out well.

Long across bonuses are unusual in a rebus, because the rebus boxes tend to take up huge swaths of real estate, making it difficult to work in much else. FULL OF IT and EYE TO EYE elevated my solve, although I did wonder for a minute if they were thematic.

Will often stresses that in rebuses, the rebus squares should be inside the puzzle's longest entries. It's not only more elegant and interesting that way, but solvers won't wonder how something like FULL OF IT relates to CHECKs.

I hesitated on the revealer. CHECK THE BOXES might have worked better (no ALL), at least for non-anal-irritatingly-literal crossword dissectors. Doesn't ALL the boxes imply that every square in the grid should have a check?

Bad, Jeff, bad! Turn off that coroner's brain for once and enjoy.

A couple of blips in the gridwork, ETUI notable. There are certain Maleskan triggers that get solvers rolling their eyes, and this is one. I can understand how it happened — not easy to fill that SE corner, given the overlap of CHECKPOINT CHARLIE and COAT CHECK. I'd likely have tried to make that corner smaller by shifting black squares around.

It is a Thursday, so experienced solvers will have seen ETUI before. I'd like to see it moved to Will's list of "puzzle-killers," though.

An entertaining debut, although I would have liked a more straightforward, non-interlocking set of themers, punctuated by a more accurate CHECK THE BOXES. That would have allowed for one or two more snazzy long themers, like REALITY CHECK, BOUNCED A CHECK, CHECKERED FLAG, CHUBBY CHECKER, etc.

1
A
2
M
3
P
4
S
5
S
6
C
7
A
8
N
9
C
10
L
11
A
12
Y
13
D
I
E
T
14
S
15
T
O
D
O
16
H
O
D
A
17
S
C
A
P
E
18
A
C
D
C
19
E
N
D
S
20
CHECK
S
A
N
21
D
B
A
L
A
22
N
C
E
S
23
U
S
E
24
E
R
I
K
25
F
26
U
27
L
L
O
F
28
I
29
T
30
B
L
A
31
N
32
K
33
CHECK
34
A
S
U
35
R
O
G
E
36
T
37
L
O
A
M
38
R
A
N
39
T
40
G
O
P
R
41
O
42
L
O
C
A
43
S
I
G
H
44
R
E
A
P
45
S
46
N
E
T
47
I
N
S
E
48
R
49
T
50
E
Y
E
T
51
O
E
Y
E
52
B
E
E
53
S
54
R
A
N
55
CHECK
56
P
O
I
N
T
57
C
58
H
A
R
L
59
I
60
E
61
C
O
A
X
62
N
O
L
A
63
C
O
A
T
64
CHECK
65
H
U
G
E
66
I
R
O
N
67
H
A
G
U
E
68
U
T
E
S
69
S
E
T
S
70
N
O
I
R
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0627 ( 25,433 )
Across
1
Boosts, with "up" : AMPS
5
Result of digitization : SCAN
9
Medium for a model : CLAY
13
Subjects of many nonfiction best sellers : DIETS
15
Kind of list : TODO
16
First name in morning TV : HODA
17
Word that can follow sea and man to make new words : SCAPE
18
"Let There Be Rock" rock band : ACDC
19
Goals : ENDS
20
What the Constitution provides among the branches of government : CHECKSANDBALANCES
23
Application : USE
24
___ Killmonger, "Black Panther" villain : ERIK
25
Spouting nonsense : FULLOFIT
30
Free rein : BLANKCHECK
34
The Red Wolves of the Sun Belt Conf. : ASU
35
You might take his word for it : ROGET
37
Good gardening soil : LOAM
38
Many a Twitter thread : RANT
40
Leave college early, perhaps : GOPRO
42
"Livin' la Vida ___" : LOCA
43
[Things seemed to be going so well] : SIGH
44
Brings in : REAPS
46
Bring in : NET
47
Vending machine directive : INSERT
50
One way of seeing or standing : EYETOEYE
52
What apiphobes fear : BEES
54
Showed fear, maybe : RAN
55
Famous symbol of the Cold War : CHECKPOINTCHARLIE
61
Cajole : COAX
62
The Big Easy : NOLA
63
Tipping point? : COATCHECK
65
Like a leviathan : HUGE
66
Monopoly token replaced in 2013 by a cat : IRON
67
Court locale, with "The" : HAGUE
68
Western tribe : UTES
69
Even numbers and odd numbers, in math : SETS
70
Some detective fiction, informally : NOIR
Down
1
Contents of some sidebars : ADS
2
Preconcert job : MICCHECK
3
Food that may be puréed for babies : PEAS
4
Capital on the Mississippi : STPAUL
5
Attempt, informally : STAB
6
Traditional treatment for altitude sickness : COCA
7
Confuse : ADDLE
8
Like many popular 13-Across : NOCARB
9
With 39-Down, fulfill requirements ... or how to fill four of this puzzle's squares? : CHECKALL
10
Sole : LONE
11
Also mentions : ADDS
12
"___ queen!" (slangy affirmative) : YAS
14
Detector : SENSOR
21
Clear, in a way : DEFOG
22
It means nothing : NIL
25
Source of the words "pajama" and "spinach" : FARSI
26
Lightning Bolt : USAIN
27
Breathers : LUNGS
28
Assistant in a horror film : IGOR
29
Home on the range : TEPEE
31
Who has been nominated for more acting Oscars than Meryl Streep : NOONE
32
Grammy-winning Musgraves : KACEY
33
"Game over" : CHECKMATE
36
Platter : TRAY
39
See 9-Down : THEBOXES
41
Work of Bellini or Gounod : OPERA
45
Most of cornmeal : STARCH
48
Outdoor retail giant : REI
49
In which good service is important : TENNIS
51
Out, as a library book : ONLOAN
53
Archive : STORE
55
Last step of a purchase : CHECKOUT
56
Summon : PAGE
57
What "thrombus" means to a doctor : CLOT
58
First name in fairy tales : HANS
59
Manipulator of Othello : IAGO
60
Decorative sewing case : ETUI
61
Steven ___, secretary of energy under Obama : CHU
64
One of 24 game pieces : CHECKER

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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