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New York Times, Thursday, July 12, 2018

Author: Joe DiPietro
Editor: Will Shortz
Joe DiPietro
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1318/26/19957/12/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
281072242283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59326

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 131 for Mr. DiPietro. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: We've highlighted the HANDS dropping down to make the theme more apparent. For example, there's a FOREhand dropping down out of ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

We've highlighted the HANDS dropping down to make the theme more apparent. For example, there's a FOREhand dropping down out of DEFOREST.

FOREhand, LONGhand, SURE hand, IRON hand. I like that Joe picked all four-letter words to drop down. That's perfect consistency.

I might have made different choices, though. FOREhand and LONGhand, yes! SURE hand … doesn't "sure-handed" sound a lot better? IRON hand also didn't ring as well to my ear as FOREhand or LONGhand.

Perhaps FREE, in DEEP FREEZE or DEGREES OF FREEDOM? And maybe GLADhand, in BANGLADESH?

People often assume that Thursdays are the hardest grids to make. Often not the case! Sure, you can be forced into crazy constraints, but you can also toss in some oddball entries. That's usually okay (if not desirable), since people who solve Thursdays tend to be the die-hard regulars who will have at least heard of things like SHUL and the Sea of AZOV.

It's not easy to work with crossing themers, which is essentially what Joe had to build around. Fixing DEFST / FORE into place will often mean problems in the surrounding fill (see: SHUL).

I'm all for long bonus fill to spice up a grid. But if the bonuses are of the LAY RUBBER ilk, I'd rather break that up, which would make for a smoother grid. LAY RUBBER detracted from the puzzle for me, since it sounds so much worse than "burn rubber". Take that out by putting a black square at the R of HEAR – which would allow for the removal of ESTOP – and that's a win-win for me.

Overall though, solid Thursday concept. Enough trickery to keep me interested.

JimH notes: This is a milestone puzzle for Will Shortz. His NYT career began 9,000 days ago with this delightful, controversial, and very non-Maleskan Sunday crossword.
1
D
2
E
3
F
4
S
5
T
6
S
7
P
8
A
9
N
10
G
11
A
12
H
13
I
14
A
L
O
H
A
15
K
A
Z
O
O
16
W
E
D
17
S
C
R
U
B
18
I
G
O
T
A
19
N
A
M
E
20
H
E
L
L
21
A
22
E
V
A
L
O
R
I
A
23
T
E
N
24
E
N
25
O
26
O
V
E
N
S
27
H
A
S
28
A
S
I
P
29
C
30
E
N
A
31
E
P
I
C
32
S
E
33
A
H
A
G
34
H
35
A
36
T
37
R
O
C
K
38
E
N
V
I
S
39
S
A
F
E
40
E
S
S
41
C
E
L
E
R
Y
42
I
N
R
E
43
H
E
D
Y
44
O
N
45
A
N
D
O
N
46
A
47
I
48
K
E
N
49
N
O
T
50
S
A
Y
51
T
R
E
A
S
52
M
53
A
54
P
55
W
O
56
O
D
S
57
L
A
Y
R
U
B
B
E
58
R
59
D
R
O
I
60
D
61
A
Q
I
62
R
A
I
S
E
63
D
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W
A
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64
W
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Y
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0712 ( 25,083 )
Across Down
1. Clear of trees : DEFOREST
6. Smack-dab : SPANG
11. Sushi fish : AHI
14. ___ shirt (colorful garment) : ALOHA
15. Musical instrument almost anyone can play : KAZOO
16. Joined : WED
17. Third-stringer : SCRUB
18. 1973 Jim Croce hit : IGOTANAME
20. Extremely, in slang : HELLA
22. "Desperate Housewives" co-star : EVALONGORIA
23. J's value in Words With Friends : TEN
24. "Lux" composer of 2012 : ENO
26. Rack sites : OVENS
27. Samples some, as beer or wine : HASASIP
29. Pro wrestling star John : CENA
31. "Awesome, dude" : EPIC
32. One of Popeye's foes : SEAHAG
34. Sight on a rack : HAT
37. One radio format : ROCK
38. Surrounding area : ENVIRONS
39. One way to play it : SAFE
40. Self starter? : ESS
41. V8 component : CELERY
42. About : INRE
43. Lamarr of old Hollywood : HEDY
44. Protractedly : ONANDON
46. Poet Conrad : AIKEN
49. What "-" may represent in a Google search : NOT
50. "___ uncle" : SAY
51. It often features an "X" : TREASUREMAP
55. Four-time winner of the Masters : WOODS
57. Accelerate a vehicle suddenly : LAYRUBBER
59. iPhone rival : DROID
61. Atmospheric pollution meas. : AQI
62. Bump, in poker-speak : RAISE
63. ___ flask (lab container) : DEWAR
64. Something credited to a pitcher : WIN
65. Bar in court : ESTOP
66. Young lad : SONNY
1. "___ Rheingold" : DAS
2. Tightwads : ELCHEAPOS
3. Field of "CSI" : FORENSICS
4. Synagogue : SHUL
5. Some addenda in research papers : TABLES
6. Go downhill in a hurry? : SKI
7. Beep : PAGE
8. Sea of ___ (arm of the Black Sea) : AZOV
9. ___ bene : NOTA
10. Concur : GOALONG
11. Up on stuff : AWARE
12. Leave no way out for : HEMIN
13. "Intelligence ... is really a kind of taste -- taste in ___": Susan Sontag : IDEAS
19. Salmon variety : NOVA
21. Ouzo flavorer : ANISEED
23. "Voilà!" : THERE
25. Aboveboard : OPENLY
28. Cry of dismay : ACK
29. "Wisest and justest of all the centaurs," in Greek myth : CHIRON
30. "Slow down, big fella" : EASYNOW
33. Abbr. on a GPS screen : AVE
34. Easily ... and a hint to four answers in this puzzle : HANDSDOWN
35. Like a sizable proportion of Caribbeans, ethnically : AFROASIAN
36. Wee : TEENY
39. Confession topic : SIN
41. Public rebuke : CENSURE
43. When repeated, a cry of approval : HEAR
45. Unable to agree : ATODDS
46. Attorneys ___ : ATLAW
47. Neighbor of a Syrian : IRAQI
48. Record, as data : KEYIN
52. Degrees for many execs : MBAS
53. Slightly : ABIT
54. Capital of Colombia : PESO
56. Treat with a Thins variety : OREO
58. Account exec : REP
60. Having less vermouth than the norm : DRY

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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