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New York Times, Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Author: Michael S. Maurer and Pawel Fludzinski
Editor: Will Shortz
Michael S. Maurer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
245/4/19927/19/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
32510310
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.540006
Pawel Fludzinski
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
77/12/20127/19/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1102210
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 24 for Mr. Maurer. This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Fludzinski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: MICKEY: This puzzle is one of a number of collaborations between Pawel Fludzinski and me, both for the New York Times, the Los ... more
Constructor notes:

MICKEY: This puzzle is one of a number of collaborations between Pawel Fludzinski and me, both for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other publications. The idea probably arose at dinner one night. Pawel is a wine consumer. In our research, we found two toasts that I really liked, but they did not fit the theme of the puzzle. They are: "As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never face the wrong way" and "Everybody should believe in something – I believe I'll have another drink."

It is always a great experience to collaborate with Pawel. Although he is relatively new to the game, his constructions are masterful.

PAWEL: Mickey has been a terrific mentor as I entered the world of crossword construction a few years ago. I could not have gotten started without his help, support and encouragement, and what limited success I have enjoyed to date I owe to him. He is a true friend!

Jeff Chen notes: DRINK DRINK DRINK! And then DRINK DRINK DRINK again! Mickey and Pawel pack six toasts into their grid. I was confused by the ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

DRINK DRINK DRINK! And then DRINK DRINK DRINK again! Mickey and Pawel pack six toasts into their grid. I was confused by the revealer, especially since there was no "when doubled" qualifier, to make a total of six instead of just three toasts. But who's counting?

Neat that they crossed TO YOUR HEALTH / L'CHAIM and DOWN THE HATCH / KANPAI, so fortuitous that this worked out. Opportunities like this don't come along often, so it's fun to see when the crossword gods shine down upon constructors.

The opposing viewpoint is that even if those intersections are possible, should they be used? I miscounted themers the first time through, glossing over L'CHAIM and KANPAI — placing two short themers vertically can mean that they blend into the fill. As neat as crossing themers can be, I might have preferred for all the themers to be horizontal, as they would have stood out better for me — maybe shifting L'CHAIM roughly to where CASINOS is.

The crossing answers also cause grid inflexibility, a bane for constructors. Check out the lower left — Mickey and Pawel do well to include a black square at the very corner, but still are forced to use ADONAI, a toughie. Along with KANPAI, it made for a crunchy experience for me. I wouldn't mind as much if there weren't already some SERIE / HOSP, EMAC / KCAR, ALER, etc. through the puzzle.

Speaking of SERIE / HOSP, it's so tough to bracket a region with two themers, like in the south. DOWN THE HATCH on top, PROST on the bottom ... it's no wonder a few dabs of crossword glue were necessary to hold things together. When a themer is on the bottom edge of the puzzle like PROST, you can't separate it from other themers using black squares — might have been better to jam PROST somewhere in the middle of the puzzle.

I've been to Japan maybe 20 times, done a lot of drinking. For the job! (It's super important to go out with business colleagues after work.) It still took me a while to recall KANPAI, though. (Then again, I did usually drink way too much …) Hopefully, KANPAI won't be the black sheep for solvers. I do think it's reasonable, but it did feel a little out of place.

That said, fun to get so many drinking exclamations. Made for a cozy — dare I say toast-y? — puzzle.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0719 ( 24,725 )
Across Down
1. Speedway event : RACE
5. Spanish toast : SALUD
10. Back muscle, for short : LAT
13. One who's tight-lipped : CLAM
14. It's just an excuse : ALIBI
15. "Oh, quit your joshin'!" : CMON
17. Supreme Court justices, e.g. : APPOINTEES
19. Second-place finisher, famously : HARE
20. Formal toast : TOYOURHEALTH
22. Twenty-one places : CASINOS
25. One with a long sentence : LIFER
26. "___ Restaurant" (hit 1968 album) : ALICES
27. Custardy dessert : TIRAMISU
30. San ___, Italy : REMO
31. Flare-up of crime? : ARSON
32. Line from "The Student Prince" appropriate for this puzzle : DRINKDRINKDRINK
39. Trio x 3 : NONET
40. Early 2000s Apple product : EMAC
41. Attempted to sell : MARKETED
45. Bare-naked Lady : GODIVA
47. 10 out of 10 : IDEAL
48. Kid's nighttime fear : MONSTER
49. Informal toast : DOWNTHEHATCH
53. Pic : SNAP
54. Chubby : OVERWEIGHT
58. "Gone With the Wind" setting : TARA
59. Something to watch on la télé : SERIE
60. Antidoping target, informally : ROID
61. Uganda's Amin : IDI
62. German toast : PROST
63. A-1 : TOPS
1. "Made for moments" sloganeer : RCA
2. Yodeler's peak : ALP
3. Partner of trade : CAP
4. ;-) or :-( : EMOTICON
5. Some plasma TVs : SANYOS
6. Descriptive of los Andes : ALTOS
7. Stead : LIEU
8. It has hundreds of thousands of drivers : UBER
9. Satellite ___ : DISH
10. Hebrew toast : LCHAIM
11. Italy's ___ Coast : AMALFI
12. Attorneys' favorite desserts? : TORTES
16. Kind of jacket : NEHRU
18. Actress Skye : IONE
21. Savanna animal : ELAND
22. Verify the age of, in a way : CARD
23. Blue Jay but not Cardinal, for short : ALER
24. ___ Valley, Calif. : SIMI
27. Handled, as a case : TRIED
28. Ain't the way it should be? : ISNT
29. Korean War soldier : ROK
31. "Rule, Britannia" composer : ARNE
33. Prepared to propose : KNELT
34. Part of the cabinet that oversees hwys. : DOT
35. Hold aside for a year, as a college athlete : REDSHIRT
36. "You're lookin' at your guy" : IMIT
37. Where the pews are : NAVE
38. 1980s Chrysler offering : KCAR
41. Center : MIDST
42. God, in the Torah : ADONAI
43. Common poster headline : REWARD
44. Japanese toast : KANPAI
45. Went out in the rain, say : GOTWET
46. Start of a fairy tale : ONCE
48. Roger who set a home run record in 1961 : MARIS
50. Institution often named for a saint: Abbr. : HOSP
51. Penultimate word of a fairy tale : EVER
52. War ace, e.g. : HERO
55. Fake blood, e.g. : GOO
56. Cool : HIP
57. Gridiron highlights, for short : TDS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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