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New York Times, Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {GQX} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: What a fun idea! Even for this non-baseball-fan, seeing a FULL COUNT with three BALLs outside the strike zone and two STRIKEs within ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

What a fun idea! Even for this non-baseball-fan, seeing a FULL COUNT with three BALLs outside the strike zone and two STRIKEs within it is pretty cool. (It's called a FULL COUNT because one more ball will give the batter a walk, and one more strike will strike him or her out.)

At first, it seemed odd to have word duplication with the three BALL phrases and the two STRIKE ones. That sort of duplication is usually a no-no in crosswords. But here, I found it easy to make an exception, since it's such a neat concept.

I liked the visual on the pdf (replicated below in bold red lines), although I found it odd that the strike zone — from a batter's knees to midpoint of torso, and the width of home plate-- was represented with a square. Granted, Eddie Gaedel, at 3'7", would have created a squareish strike zone, but most batters have decidedly non-square zones. It would have been so easy to stretch the bolded square up and down one row, better emulating a real strike zone.

I know, that probably sounds super-picky, but I would have loved seeing this attention to detail. It's often those little details that turn a good puzzle into a great one.

Nice execution, otherwise. The place bound to be the roughest is the center, where STRIKE and STRIKE overlap. But James deploys his black squares wisely, sectioning it mostly off to make onstruction easier. It does contain NANU ("Mork and Mindy" seems a bit outdated now) and the iffy(ish) AREEL, but that's not bad, especially considering the rest of the puzzle is well-executed and contains little to no other gluey bits.

Also nice to get some long bonuses; I was lovin' IM LOVIN IT. BODACIOUS seems a bit outdated, but it gave me a throwback to the good old days of "Wayne's World" and the like.

A really cool idea, with a bit of unfulfilled potential. I almost always appreciate a unique visual element.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0719 ( 24,360 )
Across Down
1. German export : AUDI
5. Polish, as text : EDIT
9. Up : ATBAT
14. Hat part : BRIM
15. "The kissing disease" : MONO
16. Hindu mystic : SWAMI
17. *Car part that works in a similar manner to the human hip : BALLJOINT
19. Mythical abductee : HELEN
20. 100%, as effort : ALLOUT
21. ___ milk : SOY
23. "What ___ is new?" : ELSE
24. Dodge Viper engine : VTEN
26. Not pro : ANTI
28. America's most-watched TV series of 2012-13 : NCIS
30. Prudential competitor : AETNA
33. Crooner ___ King Cole : NAT
36. Indian bread : NAAN
37. *Retaliate : STRIKEBACK
39. Upscale hotel chain : OMNI
40. Avoirdupois unit : OUNCE
41. Spanish eight : OCHO
42. *Tenants' protest : RENTSTRIKE
44. Membership fees : DUES
45. Fuss : ADO
46. Spinning, quaintly : AREEL
47. Kills, as bugs : ZAPS
48. When doubled, a sitcom sign-off : NANU
50. Mind-blowing, in modern lingo : EPIC
52. "Mine!" : DIBS
54. Golf pencil holder : EAR
57. Enmity : ANIMUS
61. Event for a Comedy Central special : ROAST
63. 3-2 ... or what's represented by the answers to this puzzle's starred clues? : FULLCOUNT
65. Place setting? : ATLAS
66. "All ___!" (court exclamation) : RISE
67. Letters on some meat packaging : USDA
68. "The Godfather" actress Shire : TALIA
69. Burden : ONUS
70. Toffee candy bar : SKOR
1. Pop group that broke through at the 1974 Eurovision contest : ABBA
2. Eurasia's ___ Mountains : URAL
3. Pickle variety : DILL
4. McDonald's slogan that replaced "Put a Smile On" : IMLOVINIT
5. Ham it up : EMOTE
6. "And how!" : DOI
7. Stopovers for wayfarers : INNS
8. Dorothy's dog : TOTO
9. ___ Wednesday : ASH
10. Many a comment from Donald Trump : TWEET
11. *Children's toy that tests dexterity : BALLINACUP
12. College town in Iowa : AMES
13. Fork part : TINE
18. Sticks (out) : JUTS
22. Ruth, for one : YANKEE
25. Word after human or second : NATURE
27. Highlander's "not" : NAE
28. Titled : NAMED
29. *Cry just before hitting the pool : CANNONBALL
31. Bert's pal : ERNIE
32. Amuse : TICKLE
34. Ibuprofen targets : ACHES
35. Boxing decisions : TKOS
36. "When Harry Met Sally ..." screenwriter Ephron : NORA
37. "You got that right!" : SOTRUE
38. Attractive, informally : BODACIOUS
43. Part of S.F. : SAN
47. Multivitamin ingredient : ZINC
49. Very, to a conductor : ASSAI
51. Loses color : PALES
52. "Dagnabbit!" : DRAT
53. Skosh : IOTA
55. Spherical locks : AFRO
56. Reduce to rubble : RUIN
58. Elon who co-founded Tesla : MUSK
59. Control+Z computer command : UNDO
60. Hollywood Walk of Fame symbol : STAR
62. ___ Precheck : TSA
64. The Tigers of the S.E.C. : LSU

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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