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New York Times, Saturday, July 26, 2014

Author:
Julian Lim
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
221/6/201010/8/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1115437
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63101
Julian Lim

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 64, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Lim. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Nice construction from Julian today, one that features the 'stair step' pattern of black squares that we've seen more of these days. ... read more

Nice construction from Julian today, one that features the "stair step" pattern of black squares that we've seen more of these days. You can browse themeless patterns on our Calendar page, hovering over the Fridays and Saturdays to see the thumbnails. Neat way of perusing the archives, yeah? Note that Patrick Berry had a similar type of arrangement on July 4th, Peter Wentz had one on May 24th, Patrick had another one on February 21, etc.

Why? Because this arrangement offers a nice bonus: the potential of three additional snazzy long entries. Many constructors use a basic pattern of four triple-stacked 8's or 9's (one in each corner), which allows for TWELVE marquee answers. But if you choose your central entries wisely, this type of stair step arrangement gets you not only the usual triple-stacks of answers in each corner, but an additional three in the center for a total of FIFTEEN slots. Harder to execute on of course, but it's well worth the extra effort if you can get an extra POSTER CHILD entry worked into your grid.

Julian also adds in a layer of difficulty Kevin Der pointed out in his January 17 puzzle of this year. It's common to see three 8's or 9's stacked atop each other, but to have four of them is something entirely different. Quad-stacking 15's has become a more common sight these days in the NYT crossword, but those usually come with (expected) compromises in the crossings. The real trick of what Julian (and Kevin) attempt, is to pull off quadruple-stacks of longer answers without compromise.

The SE corner is pretty nice, with some beautiful answers. Even the single-word entry, ATOMIZES, sizzles. KNOW BEST felt a bit off to me (KNEW BEST seeming more in-the-language and less partial-like) but still, it worked. SMEW isn't most constructor's preference, but it's a legit entry. And although COSSET isn't a word most people run across in everyday usage, it's definitely legit. It's a reasonable set of trade-offs.

And I quite liked the NW corner, with all its Scrabbly goodness. Julian eased that J in there so smoothly. I did frown a bit at the ST MORITZ / LAZIO crossing (I had a moment wondering whether it was ST MORITS, and LAZIO did nothing to help me figure it out), but ultimately, ST MORITZ ought to be well within an NYT reader's bailiwick.

Smooth solve today, a beautiful grid building off of new developments in xw construction.

1
G
2
E
3
T
4
S
5
R
6
E
7
A
8
L
9
M
10
O
11
V
12
I
13
E
14
A
L
I
T
A
L
I
A
15
W
I
N
O
N
A
16
S
T
M
O
R
I
T
Z
17
O
C
U
L
A
R
18
J
O
E
P
E
S
C
I
19
W
A
S
A
B
I
20
E
R
L
21
H
O
22
O
F
23
T
I
N
24
T
O
Y
25
O
26
T
27
A
28
P
A
29
U
30
S
I
N
G
31
P
O
S
32
T
33
E
R
C
H
I
L
D
34
S
E
A
C
R
E
A
T
U
R
E
35
J
E
R
S
E
Y
S
H
O
R
E
36
M
U
L
A
T
T
O
37
R
U
N
38
D
39
M
40
C
41
I
L
E
42
I
N
43
S
44
T
45
O
O
O
46
R
I
C
47
R
48
A
C
49
T
E
50
N
51
S
52
P
O
T
S
53
R
A
T
E
D
A
54
A
T
O
M
I
Z
E
S
55
O
N
E
N
I
L
56
L
O
V
E
B
I
T
E
57
R
A
D
O
N
58
K
N
O
W
B
E
S
T
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0726 ( 23,636 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
Faces facts : GETSREAL
9
Cruise vehicle : MOVIE
14
Airline relaunched in 2009 : ALITALIA
15
A Ryder : WINONA
16
Resort town near Piz Bernina : STMORITZ
17
Like some migraines : OCULAR
18
"Home Alone" actor : JOEPESCI
19
Hot stuff : WASABI
20
Schubert's "The ___ King" : ERL
21
Place for a shoe : HOOF
23
Star material, maybe : TIN
24
Highlander, e.g. : TOYOTA
28
Taking five : PAUSING
31
Public face : POSTERCHILD
34
Scylla in Homer's "Odyssey," e.g. : SEACREATURE
35
Former hit TV show with the theme song "Get Crazy" : JERSEYSHORE
36
Eliza in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," e.g. : MULATTO
37
"Raising Hell" rappers : RUNDMC
41
___ de la Réunion : ILE
42
Phila.'s Franklin ___ : INST
45
Queenside castle indicator, in chess : OOO
46
Zigzag ribbon : RICRAC
49
Change for a C-note, maybe : TENSPOTS
53
Tops : RATEDA
54
Smashes to smithereens : ATOMIZES
55
Narrow soccer victory : ONENIL
56
Mark of affection : LOVEBITE
57
Undesirable element in the home : RADON
58
Deserve to be listened to, say : KNOWBEST
Down
1
Fixture in a chemistry lab : GASJET
2
Las Ventas combatant : ELTORO
3
Opportune : TIMELY
4
Cry to a tickler : STOP
5
___ bird : RARE
6
Whiffenpoofs, e.g. : ELIS
7
Common aspiration? : AITCH
8
Region of Italy that includes Rome : LAZIO
9
Material also known as cat-gold or glimmer : MICA
10
___ probandi (legal term) : ONUS
11
Set off easily : VOLATILE
12
Caught : INABIND
13
Bringing forth fruit, as corn : EARING
15
Provider of "!!!" : WOWFACTOR
22
Voice actress in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" : OPRAH
25
Horse ___ : OPERA
26
Feature of breakfast ... or dinner? : TOAST
27
Like the lifestyle of many a monk : ASCETICAL
29
African political movement : UHURU
30
Fire sign? : SIREN
32
Check for size, say : TRYON
33
Some semiconductor experts: Abbr. : EES
34
Set apart : SELECTED
35
Dutch queen until 1980 : JULIANA
36
Reflect : MIRROR
38
Beaut : DOOZIE
39
Some Renaissance music : MOTETS
40
Baby : COSSET
43
Follow too closely : STALK
44
Siouan tongue : TETON
47
Subject of a Will Ferrell "S.N.L." impersonation : RENO
48
Court edge : ADIN
50
Porto-___, Benin : NOVO
51
Cousin of a goldeneye : SMEW
52
Mr. ___ : PIBB

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?