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New York Times, Saturday, June 9, 2018

Author: Roland Huget
Editor: Will Shortz
Roland Huget
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103/20/20156/9/20180
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0010018
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1.52012

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 64, Blocks: 24 Missing: {FJQXZ} Spans: 8, (2 triple stacks) Average word length: 6.28 This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Huget. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Roland Huget notes: This puzzle was constructed in September 2017 and accepted for publication in January 2018. It's had an unusual history. The ... more
Roland Huget notes:

This puzzle was constructed in September 2017 and accepted for publication in January 2018. It's had an unusual history. The original version was constructed in September 2016, but was rejected because there were too many problems with the triple stacks. That effort, however, established the central fill. Over the next year or so several versions were produced using that same central fill, but they all fell short in the triple stacks or their crossings.

Last September I decided to give it one last attempt. I did some work supplementing the 15-letter answers in my word list. I also decided to change the last two letters of CEREMONIAL STAFF to RT, because it offered more possibilities for the bottom stack. I took more time to produce this version, and it is the best one of the bunch. I was elated when it was accepted.

A fair number of my clues survived the final edit. Two of my favorites are SUPER GLUE (34A – Stuff used in some nasty pranks) and REROOTS (37D – Gets accustomed to a transplant).

Thanks to Will and his team for their patience with me on this one, and for their work on the clues.

Jeff Chen notes: Tremendous visual impact — such humongous swaths of white space! A real eye-catcher. It even looks a little like an eye. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Tremendous visual impact — such humongous swaths of white space! A real eye-catcher. It even looks a little like an eye.

Triple stacks on the top and bottom, grid-spanners in the center ... are you singing along to "Stuck in the Middle with You," too?

I did get stuck in the middle, unfortunately, which was frustrating since the grid is so sectioned off: top, middle, bottom. And to hit PLATIES ... wha …? I'm super glad I've seen RIO RITA in crosswords before. Otherwise, that T would have been a total guess. Same goes for ELAND, although I do think that most animals are fair game.

As one would expect, lots of compromises to hold the triple-stacks together. I thought Roland did better in the bottom than the top. A LOOP, REROOT, at least those are gettable. Not great to have the RE- addition reoccur in REOCCUR, but that does feel like a more common RE- usage than REROOT. AWACS and ACTA ain't great either, OYE.

And TASSETS. Again ... wha?

Maybe those are related to PLATIES?

But BIOLUMINESCENCE / INTEREST RATE CUT / TESTED THE WATERS were so snazzy and solid that I surprisingly didn't mind the splotches of glue everywhere. That's a great triple payoff.

Also surprising that the top, with the lesser evils of ETE TAE ICI CITS bothered me more. Why? LAST THE DISTANCE didn't last the distance.

GO THE DISTANCE! Go go go! LAST? No no no! If I'm going to be made to slog through crossword glue, it has to be worthwhile.

I have a feeling I'll hear gripes from solvers today, but I think there's a place for these wildly-eye catching grids every once in a while. This one had its strong points.

JimH notes: We've seen this grid pattern before, in a groundbreaking 2008 puzzle by Frank Longo.
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0609 ( 25,050 )
Across Down
1. They may require more than one return : SEPARATEINCOMES
16. Subject for James Beard or Emeril Lagasse : AMERICANCUISINE
17. Not fade : LASTTHEDISTANCE
18. Loosen, in a way : UNTIE
19. Viking poet : SKALD
20. Account : TALE
21. Cutting comments : BARBS
26. Descendant of Ishmael : ARAB
27. When le jardin is at its height : ETE
28. Untouchables : PARIAHS
30. Who said "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" : EVE
31. Practical-minded : RESULTSORIENTED
34. Stuff used in some nasty pranks : SUPERGLUE
35. Race day opening event : CEREMONIALSTART
41. "Hey!," to Jorge : OYE
42. Relatives of guppies : PLATIES
43. Windjammer's setting : SEA
44. Element in traditional medicine : HERB
46. Safari sighting : ELAND
47. Some referee calls, for short : TKOS
48. Something one can be knocked for : ALOOP
50. ___ plane : AWACS
51. The glow of a glowworm : BIOLUMINESCENCE
57. Fed decision that spurs growth : INTERESTRATECUT
58. Explored before making a commitment : TESTEDTHEWATERS
1. Soldier, at times : SALUTER
2. Issue : EMANATE
3. Tools for pharmacists : PESTLES
4. "Glee" character in a wheelchair : ARTIE
5. Confirmation, e.g. : RITE
6. Haus call? : ACH
7. ___ kwon do : TAE
8. Tip : END
9. Common French word that sounds like two letters of the alphabet : ICI
10. Greek consonants : NUS
11. Residents: Abbr. : CITS
12. Home of the first Universal Studios outside the U.S. : OSAKA
13. Source of some Mideast calls : MINARET
14. West Berlin used to be one : ENCLAVE
15. Makings of a plot : SEEDBED
21. Feature of Wayne Manor : BATPOLE
22. Magazine : ARSENAL
23. 1942 Abbott and Costello comedy : RIORITA
24. Three-for-two, say : BARGAIN
25. Shamelessly promoted, with "for" : SHILLED
28. Zaftig : PLUMP
29. Popular author most of whose work is written in anapestic tetrameter : SEUSS
32. Put mileage on : USE
33. ABC or Fox, in Variety-speak : NET
35. Be roommates : COHABIT
36. Middle of a field of vision : EYELINE
37. Gets accustomed to a transplant : REROOTS
38. Suspiciously : ASKANCE
39. Come back : REOCCUR
40. Plate armor designed to protect the thighs : TASSETS
45. Pianist Jorge : BOLET
47. Exercise in economy of language : TWEET
49. Unalloyed : PURE
50. Court proceedings : ACTA
52. Doc's recommendation : MED
53. Final finish? : IST
54. Utmost : NTH
55. Now or long lead-in : ERE
56. Prop for a classic magician's trick : SAW

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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