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New York Times, Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
202/9/201710/8/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5372300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58031
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 73, Blocks: 39 Missing: {HQXZ} Spans: 1 Grid has mirror symmetry. There are unchecked squares This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
What do you call a constructor who drops to the floor to beg forgiveness for sub-par fill? ANNEALER. Also, if you're looking to ... read more

What do you call a constructor who drops to the floor to beg forgiveness for sub-par fill?

ANNEALER.

Also, if you're looking to get into crossword constructing, and especially if you identify as non-male and/or LGBT and/or POC, I'd be thrilled to offer whatever assistance I can to help you get your puzzles published. Contact me via Instagram (@rosstrudeau) or Twitter (@trudeauross).

Jeff Chen notes:
I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick Berry a few years ago. For being such a prolific constructor, he keeps a remarkably low profile. ... read more

I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick Berry a few years ago. For being such a prolific constructor, he keeps a remarkably low profile. I did find out that he lives in a little A-frame house. A-ha moment; I finally understood the name of his website!

I hadn't heard of an A-frame house before then. Fun to picture two of them today.

The overall concept reminded me of another A-featuring puzzle, which was so memorable that it's stuck in my head over the years.

Over the years, I've created several puzzles involving a visual element using a single (or limited set of) letter(s), and for each one, I've tried hard not to include any extras of those letters floating around the grid. People sometimes ask why, saying that they didn't even notice.

But I do, darn it!

Just as long as my rigidity and desire for elegance doesn't affect the quality of the solve, I'm going to go that extra step. If only for the four solvers who do appreciate these sorts of details.

In today's case, it would have been great to avoid As throughout the rest of the grid. We've highlighted the relevant As below to make them pop, but take note of the upper left roof. It's unfortunate to have it extend so far down with additional As, creating an asymmetry.

But having no other As throughout the grid would have driven this away from being a smooth overall product. For an early-week grid, that's a top priority, so I'm okay with the decision.

If the theme didn't grab you, Ross did a great job working in so many treats: ROOF GARDENS, BATTED AND EYE / BATTLE DRESS (don't they feel somehow related?), FACEPLANT. Such solid work with his mid-length slots, too: REGALED, DYNASTY, AD SALES, ANTENNA, AMERICA.

AMERICA! U-S-A!

U-S-AAAAA!

The theme didn't wow me, but Ross's careful gridwork made my solving experience pleasant.

Jim Horne notes:
The notches in the top of the grid here qualify this crossword for our Odd Shaped Grids page. Even with those six square carved out, ... read more

The notches in the top of the grid here qualify this crossword for our Odd Shaped Grids page. Even with those six square carved out, we still don't have correct grid art. You'll see on the PDF (NYT subscription required) that there should be an additional black square sitting above the middle of the top row to make it look more like a complete A-frame roof.

1
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L
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V
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A
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M
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T
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A
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0716 ( 25,452 )

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Across
1
Start of an incantation : ABRA
6
Up to the task : ABLE
10
Landlocked Asian country : LAOS
11
DuVernay who directed "Selma" : AVA
13
One with a feather duster, maybe : MAID
14
'Vette option : TTOP
15
Speedy Amtrak option : ACELA
17
Yours, in Tours : ATOI
18
Grp. that combats smuggling : ATF
19
Land made for you and me, in a Woody Guthrie song : AMERICA
21
Demo material for Wile E. Coyote : TNT
22
Entertained with a story, say : REGALED
24
Print media revenue source : ADSALES
26
Copenhageners, e.g. : DANES
28
Oasis beast : CAMEL
29
Lawn game banned in 1988 : JARTS
30
In the manner of : ALA
32
___ Amidala, "Star Wars" queen : PADME
34
"___ quote ..." : ANDI
35
Oakland's Oracle, for one : ARENA
37
Diez minus siete : TRES
38
Born : NEE
39
Insect feeler : ANTENNA
41
The "e" of i.e. : EST
42
The Kennedys or the Bushes, so to speak : DYNASTY
44
As a group : ENMASSE
46
Country singer ___ James Decker : JESSIE
47
Very wee : EENSIE
48
Embarrassing fall : FACEPLANT
52
Structures illustrated twice in this puzzle through both black squares and letters : AFRAMEBUILDINGS
58
Male buds : BROS
59
Nae Nae or cancan : DANCE
60
Captain who circumnavigated the globe : COOK
61
Flue buildup : SOOT
62
"Come in!" : ENTER
63
Influence : SWAY
Down
1
Setting for a classical sacrifice : ALTAR
2
Flinched : BATTEDANEYE
3
Adjuncts to some penthouses : ROOFGARDENS
4
Nile viper : ASP
5
State as fact : AVER
6
Org. for docs : AMA
7
Military field uniform : BATTLEDRESS
8
World's highest-paid athlete in 2019, per Forbes magazine : LIONELMESSI
9
Drops (or adds) a line : EDITS
11
Got 100 on : ACED
12
Et ___ : ALIA
15
Iowa college town : AMES
16
"Hells Bells" band : ACDC
19
Bottles that might be marked "XXX" in the comics : ALES
20
"Stat!" : ASAP
23
Not pro : ANTI
25
Amo, amas, ___ : AMAT
27
Sheltered at sea : ALEE
29
Maker of "No more tears" baby shampoo, for short : JANDJ
30
Pretentious : ARTY
31
Hathaway of Hollywood : ANNE
33
Alternative to Chanel No. 5 : ESTEE
35
Predate : ANTECEDE
36
Glassworker, at times : ANNEALER
39
"Take me ___" : ASIAM
40
Modify : AMEND
43
Equally speedy : ASFAST
45
Shenanigans : ANTICS
49
Abba of Israel : EBAN
50
Fourth-and-long option : PUNT
51
Subject of a school nurse's inspection : LICE
52
Targets of plank exercises : ABS
53
Do that might block someone's view, for short : FRO
54
Pooh's pal : ROO
55
When repeated, calming expression : NOW
56
Smallest state in India : GOA
57
Wild blue yonder : SKY

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

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