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New York Times, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Author:
Natan Last, Finn Vigeland and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
317/17/200710/20/20197
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
8123098
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60370
Natan Last
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1810/20/20109/1/20194
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
9123012
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64230
Finn Vigeland

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Last. This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Vigeland. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
FINN: After Natan was abroad for a semester, I had the good fortune of taking over the reins at J.A.S.A. (the Jewish Association ... read more

FINN: After Natan was abroad for a semester, I had the good fortune of taking over the reins at J.A.S.A. (the Jewish Association Serving the Aging). When Natan returned, we decided to co-teach the class, and we have a blast every Sunday with our amazing students. It really doesn't feel like teaching but more a seamless collaboration between eight people. There are a lot of laughs as we try out boundary-pushing entries or draft clues we know Will would never accept. I'm pretty sure this concept originated when we were stuck on brainstorming themes, and I just drew a circle on the chalkboard, hoping it would lead somewhere. For no particular reason, I drew more circles, and a theme was born.

NATAN: Co-teaching the JASA class with Finn is pretty lovely, and instructive besides. I'd never spelled nor smelled PATCHOULI, but love its letters. I did a quick run-through of modern dating as we discussed "ARE You The One?", a matchmaking reality show my friends and I love for honestly no good reason. As a class, we agree that bonus theme material is always great to shoehorn in provided it doesn't look too forced, and I think all the extra slots we found made the final cut. The class is a lot cleverer than I am; our first drafts at cluing often read like cryptics (mine read like TV Guide), so I'm glad to see a lot the double clues and references shine through, even on a Wednesday. Hope you like it!

Jeff Chen notes:
Too bad this puzzle wasn't published around Jan 1st, otherwise it could help to ring in the new year! (groan) So cool that ... read more

Too bad this puzzle wasn't published around Jan 1st, otherwise it could help to ring in the new year!

(groan)

So cool that Natan and Finn have continued with the Jewish Association Serving the Aging's crossword class — it was really fun to see Finn leading them through a live construction session at the end of the ACPT!

Today, they give us a progressive sequence of Os, representing rings. THE HOBBIT made for a great a-ha moment, as "the one ring" is a phrase within that book. Just perfect! CIRCUS TENT was also spot-on, since "three-ring circus" is a very common saying. And the OLYMPIC FLAG made for a great example of five rings.

VENN DIAGRAM for two rings felt off though, since VENN DIAGRAMs can have however many circles as are needed. And the AUDI logo has four rings, but an AUDI DEALER … wouldn't it have hundreds of rings, what with all the cars it has in stock? I wondered if having just the 1, 3, and 5 ring examples would have been better.

With such a densely packed puzzle — six themers are tough to pull off — it's no surprise to get some NOI, GEOG, ANO / ENERO (tying them together just emphasizes the inelegance), OMNIA, etc. Note how so many of those dabs of crossword glue come at places where two themers overlap.

Love the voice of Natan and Finn coming through, though, what with BOOYAH! and "that's what SHE said." Even the STIRS clue, [Messes with 007's martini], has a younger vibe to it. Neat to get that fun, colloquial feel ... especially when one of the three constructors is a class of older students!

Jim Horne notes:
Fans of Hamilton or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may disagree but I still insist that Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (the ... read more

Fans of Hamilton or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may disagree but I still insist that Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (the so-called Ring Cycle) is the greatest theatrical work you can ever experience. It forever changed music and drama in fundamental ways and is still a huge influence on everything from visual art to movie scores. Whatever you might think of opera, see it at least once in your life.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0727 ( 24,368 )
Across
1
Attracted : DREW
5
Talk and talk and talk : YAK
8
Opposites of busts : BOOMS
13
Scent in incense and insect repellents : PATCHOULI
15
"That's unbelievable!" : OHWOW
16
Place to find one O : THEHOBBIT
17
___ vincit amor : OMNIA
18
"On top of that ..." : ALSO
19
In a Yoda-like manner : SAGELY
21
Do the wrong thing : ERR
22
Place to find two Os : VENNDIAGRAM
24
Mexican shekels : PESOS
27
"That's what ___ said!" : SHE
28
Place to find three Os : CIRCUSTENT
32
"___ said!" : NUFF
36
Messes with 007's martini : STIRS
37
Year, in the Yucatán : ANO
38
2003 Bennifer bomb : GIGLI
39
"That's clear to me now" : ISEE
40
Place to find four Os : AUDIDEALER
42
Vegas performance : ACT
44
"Maleficent" star, 2014 : JOLIE
45
Place to find five Os : OLYMPICFLAG
51
"That's unbelievable!" : GEE
52
Snatched : STOLEN
53
Snatches : NABS
57
Type of type : ROMAN
59
Wagner work ... or a possible title for this puzzle : RINGCYCLE
61
Start of el 37-Across : ENERO
62
"Oh, stop moping!" : GETOVERIT
63
Muscle/bone connection : SINEW
64
It's said at the exchange of Os : IDO
65
Rung : STEP
Down
1
Creator of the Oompa-Loompas and the BFG : DAHL
2
They're marked on maps: Abbr. : RTES
3
"Hello ... hello ... hello ..." : ECHO
4
First baseman in a classic comedy routine : WHO
5
Maxwell House alternative : YUBAN
6
Sync up : ALIGN
7
Floated, as a bad check : KITED
8
"How do you like dem apples?!" : BOOYAH
9
Resistance measure : OHM
10
Ted Turner vis-à-vis the Atlanta Braves, once : OWNER
11
Shearer of "The Red Shoes" : MOIRA
12
Bunch of bees : SWARM
13
Local fund-raising grp. : PTA
14
Lose sleep (over) : OBSESS
20
Itemize : LIST
22
You, in Nice : VOUS
23
Nice : GENIAL
24
Tire-changing spots : PITS
25
Lake that stretches from Toledo to Buffalo : ERIE
26
Scary movie that spawned the spoof "Scary Movie" : SCREAM
28
Forensic TV franchise : CSI
29
Letter on a sorority house : TAU
30
A O doesn't have one : END
31
"There's ___ in team" : NOI
33
Citrus hybrid whose name suggests its appearance : UGLI
34
Head for the hills : FLEE
35
Common Yuletide purchase : FIR
38
Sci. with maps : GEOG
40
Going ___ (battling) : ATIT
41
Title role in a 2012 Tarantino film : DJANGO
43
British scientist/novelist with a wintry name : CPSNOW
45
Fiona and Shrek, for two : OGRES
46
Star of "Madam Secretary" : LEONI
47
Present-day locale of ancient Sheba : YEMEN
48
Pet at Queen Elizabeth II's side : CORGI
49
___ out (didn't make it on base, in a way) : FLIED
50
Slow, in music : LENTO
53
Refusal from Putin : NYET
54
One of 100 in Winnie-the-Pooh's wood : ACRE
55
Tiny anomaly : BLIP
56
Collector's goal : SET
58
"___ You the One?" (MTV reality show) : ARE
60
Walgreens rival : CVS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?