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New York Times, Thursday, July 28, 2016

Author:
Adam G. Perl
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/28/19984/25/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
18108300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.50020
Adam G. Perl

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQUXZ} This is puzzle # 27 for Mr. Perl. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Adam G. Perl notes:
Like most crossword constructors, I am always looking for a way to break a word in two or add or subtract one or more letters from a ... read more

Like most crossword constructors, I am always looking for a way to break a word in two or add or subtract one or more letters from a word or phrase to get something new. I started with the idea of "LOST ART" and had a great time searching for words that could be altered by the removal of the letters ART.

It's particularly satisfying — and hopefully fun for the solver — when the altered words bear so little resemblance to the originals, e.g. CAR THIEF becomes CHIEF, MARTINIS becomes MINIS, THE ARTIST becomes THEIST. Squeezing in eight symmetrical themers plus a reveal without compromising the fill was a challenge. I was happy to get in "TAKE THAT" and "FEEL FREE."

Ideally, the revealing phrase would come at the end of the puzzle, i.e. the Southeast corner, but with a seven-letter reveal, it fit better in the center.

Jeff Chen notes:
Will once rejected one of my puzzles because all the themers were short — 7 letters or less — and thus didn't stand out ... read more

Will once rejected one of my puzzles because all the themers were short — 7 letters or less — and thus didn't stand out enough. I didn't totally get his reasoning, but seeing today's puzzle made it more clear. I liked the idea, LOST ART used to transform C(AR T)HIEF to CHIEF, P(ART)IES to PIES, etc. It was hard to see where the themers were, though. I've highlighted them below to make them stand out more.

Although the themers are short, working in eight of them is no walk in the park. Adam does well to spread them around so they don't need to interact with each other.

Some neat findings, C(AR T)HIEF to CHIEF, M(ART)INIS to MINIS and B(ART)ENDER to BENDER my favorite. That last one feels so appropriate too, a BARTENDER someone who might facilitate someone going on a BENDER. And MINIS is so close to MUNIS, which are also [Bond orders] — I was so confused, desperately wanting MUNIS to work but knowing that EDWARD U couldn't be correct.

A few of the others didn't do as much for me. REST(ART)ED to RESTED … neither word is particular snazzy. Similarly, P(ART) ONE to PONE. And I like THE (ART)IST as a phrase, but having ART so blatantly in there didn't feel as tricky.

The ENFIELD rifle is apparently an early 20th century British rifle. All the crossings seem fair, but with so many proper names crossing it — YANNI, LORI, ESTEFAN — it seems ripe for some solver frustration. I liked some of the other fill better, like POLARIS, MR TOAD, and as Adam mentioned, FEEL FREE and TAKE THAT!

It would have been great to get a few long answers — 7 letters or longer after losing ART — since you could lay them out in a traditional way. But that may not have been possible.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0728 ( 24,369 )

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Across
1
Auto booster : CARTHIEF
6
It lends a smoky flavor to Scotch : PEAT
10
Has a ball : PARTIES
14
One-named musician who has performed at the Egyptian pyramids and the Taj Mahal : YANNI
15
Kind of chat : IDLE
16
___ Accords : OSLO
17
Like the rock in "Rock of Ages" : CLEFT
18
River across the French/German border : SAAR
19
Composer Schifrin : LALO
20
Singer of "Footloose" : LORI
21
Spray in a kitchen : PAM
22
Patronize, as a hotel : STAYAT
24
Gloria of Miami Sound Machine : ESTEFAN
26
Sweetums : DEAR
27
Releases : LETSGO
29
Plains tribe : KIOWA
33
One making the rounds? : BARTENDER
36
Tangles up : ENMESHES
38
Day of planning : EVE
39
Letter writing, they say ... or a hint to eight answers in this puzzle : LOSTART
41
Bklyn. ___ : HTS
42
One of the carriers in the SkyTeam alliance : AEROFLOT
44
Black-and-white Best Picture winner : THEARTIST
46
Big name in soup : KNORR
47
Secondary route : BYROAD
49
They're out of service : VETS
51
Have a healthy diet : EATWELL
55
Cheating student : COPIER
58
Subtext of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" : LSD
59
Reebok competitor : AVIA
60
Like some hygiene : ORAL
61
Bickering : ATIT
63
Orbitz bookings : TRIPS
64
Whimper : MEWL
65
Musical with the song "It's Today" : MAME
66
Evolve : ADAPT
67
Series opener : PARTONE
68
Spur : PROD
69
Bond orders : MARTINIS
Down
1
New moon to new moon, e.g. : CYCLE
2
Celestial rings : HALOS
3
Unmoving : INERT
4
W.W. I rifle : ENFIELD
5
Honda offering : FIT
6
Ones taking sides : PARTISANS
7
Cheese used in Babybels : EDAM
8
Like : ALA
9
Not windy : TERSE
10
Guiding light : POLARIS
11
British interjection : ISAY
12
Scatter? : ELLA
13
Shade of black : SOOT
21
Keep the beat? : PATROL
23
"So there!" : TAKETHAT
25
"Help yourself" : FEELFREE
26
Lady of Brazil : DONA
28
L.A.'s ___ Museum : GETTY
30
"Didn't think you'd be here" : OHHI
31
Dips in a bucket, say : WETS
32
Second hand: Abbr. : ASST
33
Schnozz : BEAK
34
What people who are hurt may try to get : EVEN
35
Enemy of the early Christians : NERO
37
Squire of "The Wind in the Willows" : MRTOAD
40
Breaks down : SOBS
43
First name in popcorn : ORVILLE
45
King nicknamed Longshanks : EDWARDI
48
Went back to square one : RESTARTED
50
Vagabond : TRAMP
52
Fiji alternative : EVIAN
53
Florentine painter : LIPPI
54
Holds up : LASTS
55
Give gratis : COMP
56
Ice cream flavor : OREO
57
Get some quick money for, say : PAWN
58
Member of a motorcade : LIMO
62
Besmirch : TAR
63
Skye cap : TAM

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

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