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New York Times, Saturday, June 28, 2014

Author:
Josh Knapp
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
232/26/20109/7/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
20102810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.70002
Josh Knapp

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Knapp. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Josh Knapp notes:
Built this one a few years ago, with KAFKAESQUE as the seed entry. My original grid had some fun stuff, but a lot of terrible stuff ... read more

Built this one a few years ago, with KAFKAESQUE as the seed entry. My original grid had some fun stuff, but a lot of terrible stuff too, and one fatal flaw in PEARL/PEARLE. So I added another block and started over from the SE corner. Once I thought of the clue for GUITARSOLO I had to fit it in somewhere, even if it meant AGAS and APRICOTJAM (which is a pretty undesirable 1-Across, but it's still a thing — my grandma makes chicken with it).

And a quick plug for my puzzle in tomorrow's Washington Post Puzzler, another themeless.

Jeff Chen notes:
A Josh Knapp! He's one of the younger constructors whose name I love seeing on bylines. Josh has a knack for what entries sing, and ... read more

A Josh Knapp! He's one of the younger constructors whose name I love seeing on bylines. Josh has a knack for what entries sing, and has the skills to incorporate a lot of them without too much glue. Plus, he works for Jimmy Fallon; hard to argue with a guy with perhaps the best job in the world.

Josh uses a standard-ish grid today, highlighting four sets of triple-stacked 10's, one in each corner. I like that he gives us a little extra, tossing in four 8's, each of which cross through a triple-stack and head into the center. That TSINGTAO / BAD SANTA crossing was fantastic.

Man oh man what a snazzy NW corner! A GUITAR SOLO crossing JOJO, along with a clue that makes you sing that Beatles' song (WARNING, EARWORM ALERT! "Jojo was a guy from Tucson, Arizona..."*), and the crazy set of consonants in AZERBAIJAN. Wow, what a stack of great answers. I might have preferred a set of cheater squares up in the corner in an attempt to get rid of A GAS, but that one entry is a teeny-tiny price to pay for such beautiful work.

And the SE. Double-wow! Normally I'd expect to see a glue entry to hold such nice long stuff together, especially given than Q in KAFKAESQUE. Not a stinker in there; with just STA, the entire quadrant just HUMS along.

The grid did feel a bit more segmented than I like, especially since I got stuck in the NE corner. I finished everything else and then... then... then... there was a lot of staring. You'd think that this uber-dork would know ELVISH off the bat or that PRIAM was Paris's father, but I couldn't pull them out. There are multiple ways into that corner so it's more than fair, but I couldn't help wishing that the entries into it were a little bit bigger, giving me more chances to gain an entry somehow.

I talk about "puzzle flow" a lot, and this is the sort of reason I really appreciate when a puzzle has wide-open flow. It's easier for a constructor to be able to segment a grid and work on one piece at a time, whereas something with multiple interconnected areas make for giant constructing headaches. In more wide-open grids, you might finish one corner great, only to find out that the roots it shoots out make it impossible to fill the rest of the puzzle cleanly. This puzzle would lend itself to segmenting a little more than some others (like Josh's original grid!). You can probably imagine that by putting in two or three middle-section entries, you can isolate a corner somewhat easily.

I just loved the clue for CABANA. [Changing place] made me think of urban renewal, but indeed it's simply a place to change. Nice. And my favorite clue of the bunch was actually for TEAMWORK. I know balance sheets reasonably well, so I smugly cycled through LONG TERM INVESTMENTS, PROPERTY PLANTS AND EQUIPMENT, LEASEHOLD IMPROVEMENTS and other esoterica until I finally figured out it was one of those intangibles that's nonetheless at the heart of any company: TEAMWORK. Well done, way to make my stupid MBA brain eat a little humble pie.

ADDED NOTE: *Jim pointed out that the lyric is actually "Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona..." Rats! Ah well. I'll still sing the rest: "...for some California brass. Get back. Get back! Get back to where your lunch belonged." Man, that's catchy.

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D
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K
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Q
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0628 ( 23,608 )
Across
1
Tangy fruit pastry filling : APRICOTJAM
11
Physical, say : EXAM
15
There might be one after a bridge : GUITARSOLO
16
The Rice Krispies mascots, e.g. : TRIO
17
Georgia neighbor : AZERBAIJAN
18
Amazon icon : CART
19
Raskolnikov's love in "Crime and Punishment" : SONYA
20
City whose name is pronounced like the natives' word for "Where is ...?" : NOME
21
Something an aichmophobe fears, briefly : HYPO
22
Old mount : NAG
24
Grandmotherly plaints : OYS
26
Abbr. at the end of some crossword clues : VAR
27
2003 Billy Bob Thornton crime film : BADSANTA
32
Language of Middle-earth : ELVISH
34
Craigslist section : FREE
35
It's usually closed before leaving : TAB
36
Playground retort : DOESSO
37
Ax : LETGO
39
Presidential debate mo. : OCT
41
Father of Paris : PRIAM
42
What may accompany a salute : AYEAYE
44
With 51-Across, end of the London blitz? : TEE
46
Ruler with a palace near St. Mark's : DOGE
47
San Diego's ___ Pines, site of the 2008 U.S. Open : TORREY
48
Prerequisites for some overseas travel : VACCINES
50
On the q.t. : MUM
51
See 44-Across : ZED
53
New, informally : MOD
54
Valley girl's "no" : ASIF
56
Cry over spilled milk? : MEOW
58
Kung Pao chicken ingredient : CHILI
63
Solstice time : JUNE
64
Literally, "different lizard" : ALLOSAURUS
66
Some extracts : ORES
67
Advice of caution to a beginner : STARTSMALL
68
Midwest squad : REDS
69
Bizarre and alienating : KAFKAESQUE
Down
1
"What ___!" ("How fun!") : AGAS
2
Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter : PUZO
3
Love at the French Open, essentially : RIEN
4
Humble response : ITRY
5
Changing place : CABANA
6
Start of an "Ave Maria" line : ORA
7
Beer named for a port on the Yellow Sea : TSINGTAO
8
Guy from Tucson in a Beatles song : JOJO
9
1960 historical film written and directed by John Wayne, with "The" : ALAMO
10
Well-off : MONEYED
11
Put on the surface, in a way : ETCH
12
Superpower : XRAYVISION
13
Ventilation provider : AIRPASSAGE
14
Campers' relatives : MOTORHOMES
23
Argentine ___ : ANT
25
Spillover : SLOP
27
Key of Schumann's Symphony No. 1 : BFLATMAJOR
28
"Really?" : AREYOUSURE
29
Not willing to give : DETERMINED
30
"Popeye" cartoonist Elzie : SEGAR
31
Part of the Disney family, so to speak : ABCTV
33
"Falstaff" composer : VERDI
38
Attention-getter, in some rooms : OYEZ
40
Company asset : TEAMWORK
43
Freebie on some airplane flights : EYEMASK
45
Prefix with efficiency : ECO
49
Obsolescent media holder : CDCASE
52
It's around the mouth : DELTA
55
Own (up) : FESS
57
Dedicatee of a famous Tallinn church : OLAF
59
Runs smoothly : HUMS
60
Setting for "Three Kings," 1999 : IRAQ
61
Beaut : LULU
62
Vacation destination : ISLE
65
"Come ___?" (greeting) : STA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?