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New York Times, Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
966/16/20118/18/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
76681132242
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645173
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 84 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
I submitted this puzzle as a Thursday with the rebus squares uncircled. My idea was that the grid would be an archaeological dig site ... read more

I submitted this puzzle as a Thursday with the rebus squares uncircled. My idea was that the grid would be an archaeological dig site where solvers would uncover the "fossils" one by one, ultimately realizing that they spell TYRANNOSAURUS REX.

As for the actual construction process, I came up with this idea while I was waiting for a flight at JFK, and I built most of the grid in the airport terminal. I was especially excited about crossing DIG SITE with F[OS]SIL, and I made a point of making the rebus entries as lively as I could. When I got home, though, I realized there was a problem: My theme entry OEDIPUS R[EX] felt too similar to TYRANNOSAURUS REX. After redoing the bottom, I ended up with the current version.

Jeff Chen notes:
FOSSILS … as rebuses? Not sure I get the rationale why fossilization would mean that things would shrinkify in this way? ... read more

FOSSILS … as rebuses? Not sure I get the rationale why fossilization would mean that things would shrinkify in this way? And wouldn't it be weird to find T. Rex pieces in proper left-to-right, top-to-bottom order?

Maybe it was an anal T.Rex?

Qualms about the theme's raison d'etre aside, great gridwork from David. Strong theme entries like I HEART RADIO, PLAIN TRUTH, IN ARMS REACH, etc. He did have a lot of flexibility in placing his rebus squares, but still, his ability to place them within fun, long entries was far from SPOTTY.

Neat to work in OS as part of FOSSIL, too!

I did wonder about GYM BUNNIES, though. At one time, I had that scored very high in our XWI Word List, but I downgraded it due to possible offense some might take. I reread some intertubes articles though, and it seems like since GYM BUNNIES can refer to any gender, and some GYM BUNNIES refer to themselves with that term … I still would much rather use GYM RAT, but that's personal preference.

OWIE got a fantastic clue – [Baby bump?] usually refers to when a woman starts to show, but what a great repurposing here.

Overall, great gridwork, with an interesting notion of crossword grid = DIG SITE. I'm still not sold on the theme execution using rebuses. I might have preferred a more Gorskian approach, the pieces forming the shape of a T. Rex head (like the "Jurassic Park" movie poster). I rarely say this, but perhaps this could have made for a better Sunday grid than a weekday.

But it's still a memorable idea.

1
C
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O
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TY
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G
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O
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F
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O
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B
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D
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AU
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RU
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SR
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P
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EX
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K
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0718 ( 25,089 )
Across
1
Big name in French perfumes : COTY
4
"Enough already!" : SHEESH
10
Wolf riders in "The Lord of the Rings" : ORCS
14
Movie villain with a red eye : HAL
15
Shout from a crow's-nest : LANDHO
16
Peel : PARE
17
Music-streaming giant : IHEARTRADIO
19
Work with a manuscript : EDIT
20
Sport of horse racing, with "the" : TURF
21
Workout-obsessed sorts, colloquially : GYMBUNNIES
23
Given (to) : PRONE
26
Egg-shaped : OVOID
27
Your dream partner : THEONE
29
Suddenly attack : FLYAT
31
What's-___-name : HER
32
Hard to please : CHOOSY
34
Flows out : EBBS
38
Fumble : ERR
39
Archaeologists' workplace : DIGSITE
42
Dog-___-dog : EAT
43
Willie who made "The Catch" in the 1954 World Series : MAYS
45
Operating system whose logo features a penguin : LINUX
46
Surrounding glow : AURA
47
Prepare to pray : KNEEL
50
Poor, as reception : SPOTTY
52
Garment with strings : APRON
54
Ostentatious : SHOWY
55
Unembellished facts : PLAINTRUTH
58
Part of a long line of Apples : IMAC
61
"___ be fun!" : ITLL
62
Close by : INARMSREACH
65
Interactive website feature : POLL
66
Renowned ancient orator : CICERO
67
When said three times, good name for a crew fraternity? : RHO
68
Southend-on-Sea's county : ESSEX
69
Mushrooms in miso soup : ENOKIS
70
+ and = share one : KEY
Down
1
Note of indebtedness : CHIT
2
Locale of a 12/7/1941 attack : OAHU
3
Madea's portrayer in a long-running film series : TYLERPERRY
4
Camera type, for short : SLR
5
___ tip (quick acknowledgment) : HAT
6
Incense : ENRAGE
7
Water whirl : EDDY
8
Table evener : SHIM
9
"Whew!" : HOOBOY
10
Not requiring memorization, as a test : OPENNOTE
11
r's, in geometry : RADII
12
Was deeply affected, maybe : CRIED
13
Groups of reps : SETS
18
Hairdo that takes a long time to grow : AFRO
22
Sch. where The Cavalier Daily appears : UVA
24
Burned, in a way : ONCD
25
Classic soda brand : NEHI
27
Gender-neutral pronoun : THEM
28
Queen on Olympus : HERA
29
What each circled square in this puzzle represents : FOSSIL
30
"___ Eyes" (1975 hit) : LYIN
33
Look at wolfishly : OGLE
35
Mole : BEAUTYMARK
36
Transportation system that stops at SFO : BART
37
Time at a hotel : STAY
40
Heinie : TUSH
41
Product showcase : EXPO
44
Grammy-winning dubstep pioneer : SKRILLEX
48
Prefix with compete : NON
49
Draw in : ENTICE
51
Baby bump? : OWIE
52
Low choir section : ALTOS
53
Becomes tiresome : PALLS
54
Princess Fiona's savior, in film : SHREK
55
Appurtenance for a snowman : PIPE
56
Hostile encounter : RUNIN
57
It comes in a shell : TACO
59
Feeling in the long run? : ACHE
60
Bok ___ : CHOY
63
Source of inside info? : MRI
64
Cramped dwellings, for short : SROS

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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