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New York Times, Saturday, July 18, 2015

Author:
Joe Krozel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
877/7/20066/14/201815
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4147242621
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48057
Joe Krozel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 56, Blocks: 47 Missing: {FJQWXZ} Spans: 3, (1 triple stack) Grid is asymmetric. Average word length: 6.36 This is puzzle # 81 for Mr. Krozel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joe Krozel notes:
I revisited this grid off and on for about eight years thinking my ever-growing word list would help out. Then I finally decided to ... read more

I revisited this grid off and on for about eight years thinking my ever-growing word list would help out. Then I finally decided to focus my effort and seed the grid with various entries at 4-Down containing common ending letters: S, R, E, T and N. The left side — and minor variants — is what emerged. The right side presented a much easier task... even with thematic content at 24-Down.

Wide open puzzles like these will have their share of awkwardness, which I'm sure others will discuss. But solvability inevitably comes down to packing a high percentage of familiar words in each quadrant. Common words can be clued in many different ways, and I like to give the editor the flexibility to adjust the difficulty level of these to meet solver need. Will always has a knack for smoothing things out with his adept clue revisions.

Jeff Chen notes:
It's rare to see a Joe Krozel that's derivative of something else. I appreciate how he strives to always do something different. ... read more

It's rare to see a Joe Krozel that's derivative of something else. I appreciate how he strives to always do something different. Today, we get a wide-open grid at an astonishingly low number word count: 56. There have only been a few of these bad boys in the history of the NYT crossword, done by a very small number of constructors … dominated by Joe Krozel.

The inside of a DOME CAR

I like the mini-theme, a clock face displaying ONE THIRTY. It wasn't as much of a COME HERE RIGHT NOW YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS feat, but it was pretty cool to recognize a minute and an hour hand formed out of black squares.

This grid layout requires Joe to work in a triple-stack, and the three grid-spanners aren't bad. None wowed me, but ECONOMIC DECLINE tickled my finance interests. Like with most triple-stacks, there were some compromises in the crossing answers — it's unfortunate to kick off the puzzle with the odd RESP abbreviation, and CDI is pretty random. I also would have liked more sizzling answers somewhere in that half of the grid, as ANATOLIANS, SALAMANCA and AURICLE didn't do that much for me.

I was more impressed by the lower right. It is a more isolated section thus relatively easier to fill, but it is also a huge swath of white. I really appreciated the color of THE MAGI, I CAN RELATE, DOME CAR, and even AS STATED ain't bad. I'll take an esoteric STROPHE for all that good stuff any day. Plus, with only ANA and DYER being the most minor of blemishes, that section stood out.

Since there have been a handful of these ultra-low word count puzzles now, their impact isn't as great for me. I still do get a small wow factor, but I think that will diminish as we see more. Now, if we see an ultra-low word count puzzle chock full of stellar material and very little glue …

1
R
2
E
3
S
4
P
5
R
6
O
7
M
8
A
9
D
A
C
H
A
10
A
V
O
I
11
D
12
V
E
T
O
E
S
13
M
A
O
R
I
14
S
15
D
E
C
A
N
T
S
16
O
L
D
B
A
T
17
S
18
A
N
A
T
O
L
I
19
A
N
S
20
A
B
O
U
21
S
A
L
A
M
A
N
C
A
22
I
L
L
I
N
23
T
E
S
T
I
N
G
S
24
O
C
L
O
C
K
25
C
D
I
26
A
N
A
27
A
28
L
29
A
30
D
D
I
N
31
S
E
N
32
D
33
S
34
O
35
N
36
G
O
T
R
E
S
T
37
S
T
R
O
P
H
E
38
A
U
R
I
C
L
E
39
T
H
E
M
A
G
I
40
S
T
E
L
L
A
R
41
A
I
L
E
R
O
N
42
S
A
L
I
N
E
43
T
R
A
C
E
D
44
R
I
N
D
S
45
E
T
T
A
S
46
N
E
S
T
47
D
Y
E
R
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0718 ( 23,993 )

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Across
1
Defendant in court: Abbr. : RESP
5
Monte Palatino locale : ROMA
9
Vacation home, abroad : DACHA
10
Dictionary usage advisory : AVOID
12
Sends back to Congress, say : VETOES
13
Tiki carvers : MAORIS
15
Transfers, in a way : DECANTS
16
Biddies : OLDBATS
18
Asian Turks : ANATOLIANS
20
___ Hassan, "Arabian Nights" figure : ABOU
21
Spanish city that's home to the country's oldest university : SALAMANCA
22
Run-D.M.C.'s "You Be ___" : ILLIN
23
Experimental efforts : TESTINGS
24
End of time : OCLOCK
25
401, in the year 401 : CDI
26
Tokyo-based carrier : ANA
27
Animated film made into a Tony-nominated Broadway musical : ALADDIN
31
Forwards : SENDSON
36
Followed doctors' orders, maybe : GOTREST
37
Stanza of a poem : STROPHE
38
Projecting part of the ear : AURICLE
39
Star followers : THEMAGI
40
Out of this world : STELLAR
41
Wing feature : AILERON
42
Solution for an ophthalmological problem? : SALINE
43
Like some drawings and telephone numbers : TRACED
44
Things tossed in a compost pile : RINDS
45
James and Jones : ETTAS
46
Something studied by a caliologist : NEST
47
Worker in a textile factory : DYER
Down
1
Snare drum sound : RATATAT
2
Possible result of loss of trade : ECONOMICDECLINE
3
Northernmost part of Great Britain : SHETLANDISLANDS
4
Attention holder for a time : PASSINGINTEREST
5
Title heroine of an 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson novel : RAMONA
6
Ford and Kia logos : OVALS
7
Sullen state of mind : MOOD
8
Court embarrassment : AIRBALL
9
Some exterior decoration : DECALS
11
Dios's archenemy : DIABLO
12
___ cavae : VENAE
14
Unmovable : STOIC
15
Dare, colloquially : DAST
17
X'd out completely, in the game battleships : SUNK
19
Coolers : ACS
22
"Same thing happened to me" : ICANRELATE
24
Setting depicted by this puzzle's grid : ONETHIRTY
26
Per a previous stipulation : ASSTATED
27
Bygone military titles : AGAS
28
Roughnecks : LOUTS
29
In back : ATREAR
30
Teach by repetition : DRILLIN
32
Optimal scenery-viewing spot on a train : DOMECAR
33
What "/ / /" may represent : SPARES
34
"What a disaster!" : OHGOD
35
Hamburger refusal? : NEIN

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

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