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New York Times, Friday, July 1, 2016

Author:
James Mulhern
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2411/16/20096/23/20176
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012001011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000
James Mulhern

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {V} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
James Mulhern notes:
I made this puzzle about two years ago. It's actually a rewrite; initially, I had a couple answers (FLASH ART, AN ITEM) that Will and ... read more

I made this puzzle about two years ago. It's actually a rewrite; initially, I had a couple answers (FLASH ART, AN ITEM) that Will and Joel rightly nixed, all of which led to the version you see today. As a big fantasy sports fan, I was happy to include the grid-spanning FANTASY BASEBALL, as well as some other fun fill.

Hope this puzzle is a pleasant lead-in to a wonderful long weekend!

Jeff Chen notes:
Two nice answers, FANTASY BASEBALL and SQUARE BRACKET down the midlines of the puzzle. I'm huge into fantasy basketball, and I can see ... read more

Two nice answers, FANTASY BASEBALL and SQUARE BRACKET down the midlines of the puzzle. I'm huge into fantasy basketball, and I can see the appeal of FANTASY BASEBALL (if only I liked baseball!). Something so compelling about analyzing oodles of stats, cutting the data in hundreds of ways a la Billy Beane in "Moneyball."

Sometimes when a themeless features a few really long answers, we don't get much else. Really nice that James configured his grid to allow for 12 eight-letter-long slots. My favorite was TEXAS BBQ, not just because I love me some BBQ, but that terminal Q is so bizarre-looking. It's also so smoothly interlocked into SQUARE BRACKET.

I would have liked more of these longish slots to be converted into stellar material, though. I enjoyed EPIDURAL with its funny [… labor management?] clue, and ER DOCTOR, TAILGATE, FLASHERS with brilliant usage of the word "hazards" (slang for hazard lights) in [Driver's hazards]. ANAPOLIS felt a little off, like ANNAPOLIS had been misspelled, and it felt like there was a lot of geography what with NAGASAKI and CANBERRA. I did like learning a little about each city, though.

Grids with great grid flow like today's often present construction challenges. It's so tough to work from two different directions and get everything to mesh together. Generally I thought James did quite well, for example getting the ER DOCTOR/TAILGATE region to mesh with LESTAT/LAKOTA/STARES, without needing crossword glue. The one place I hitched was in the center, with STUPA. The middle is no doubt the toughest region to fill, given how many words flow into it, and STUPA is really the only word which stood out to me. (Just one data point, but my dad's a practicing Buddhist, and he didn't know what a STUPA was.)

I would have loved a little more cleverosity in the SQUARE BRACKET clue — [Backslash neighbor] made it a little too easy to look down at my keyboard and fill in the blank right away. How about [It's often to the left of a backslash], misdirecting to URLs?

Overall, a couple of really nice long entries and a lot of care taken to make the grid pretty smooth.

1
T
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A
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L
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F
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L
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A
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S
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H
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M
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M
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C
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0701 ( 24,342 )
Across
1
Talk : TATTLE
7
Driver's hazards : FLASHERS
15
Not divisible, as a job : ONEMAN
16
Amelia Earhart, e.g. : AIRWOMAN
17
Good news for wage earners : TAXCUT
18
Far Eastern city whose name means "long cape" : NAGASAKI
19
Org. that covers Springfield in a dome in "The Simpsons Movie" : EPA
20
Torpedo : DESTROY
22
Black : JET
23
Office monitor : BOSS
25
Dough made in the Middle East? : RIALS
26
Lane in a strip : LOIS
27
Wedding keepsake : ALBUM
29
Long-running Vegas show : CSI
30
Even's opposite : MORN
31
Gravy goody : GIBLET
33
Mississippi feeder : YAZOO
35
Backslash neighbor : SQUAREBRACKET
39
Buddhist memorial dome : STUPA
40
Like motets : CHORAL
42
Cross words : FIES
44
One-on-one basketball play, slangily : ISO
46
Sound : AUDIO
47
Feature of un poema : RIMA
48
Accomplished : ADEPT
50
Damage done : TOLL
51
It welcomes praise : EGO
52
"Wouldn't think so" : DOUBTIT
54
Pixar specialty, briefly : CGI
55
City called the Bush Capital : CANBERRA
57
2006 musical featuring a vampire : LESTAT
59
Light blue partner of Connecticut and Vermont : ORIENTAL
60
Crazy Horse, e.g. : LAKOTA
61
"It was my pleasure" : NOTATALL
62
They're drawn by the bizarre : STARES
Down
1
Green grocery choice : TOTEBAG
2
Brazilian city name that sounds like a U.S. state capital : ANAPOLIS
3
Some southern cookin' : TEXASBBQ
4
Alternative to SHO : TMC
5
Celebrate : LAUD
6
Rapping response : ENTER
7
Its rosters aren't real : FANTASYBASEBALL
8
1997 comedy with the tagline "Trust me" : LIARLIAR
9
Odysseus' faithful dog : ARGOS
10
Clout : SWAY
11
Christmas trio : HOS
12
Key of Chopin's étude "Tristesse" : EMAJOR
13
Collect lots of : RAKEIN
14
Cross states : SNITS
21
Word with a 35-Across before and after it : SIC
24
Separator of the Philippines and Malaysia : SULUSEA
26
"Incoming!" : LOOKOUT
28
Charcuterie, e.g. : MEATS
30
Nut-brown : MOCHA
32
Tony-winning title role of 1990 : TRU
34
Country's ___ Brown Band : ZAC
36
Aid in labor management? : EPIDURAL
37
One handling an OD : ERDOCTOR
38
Get too close, in a way : TAILGATE
41
Teases, in older usage : LOLITAS
42
French daily, with "Le" : FIGARO
43
Lackey's response : IMONIT
45
Pick : OPT
47
Casing job, for short : RECON
48
Big supply line : AORTA
49
Bill collectors? : TILLS
52
Dimple : DENT
53
Something farm-squeezed? : TEAT
56
Arthur with a Tony : BEA
58
Genre for Reel Big Fish : SKA

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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