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New York Times, Friday, July 29, 2016

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2110/9/20122/8/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1322463
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Guzzetta. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes:
Since trying themeless puzzles, I've gotten really comfortable with rejection! Here I took a step toward simplicity, kept my two ... read more

Since trying themeless puzzles, I've gotten really comfortable with rejection! Here I took a step toward simplicity, kept my two 15-letter seeds well separated, and tried to keep the liabilities to 0-2. It was sent in December 2014 and accepted in May 2015.

Thanks to Jeff Chen for his feedback on this grid! I don't know how you find the time to answer your emails, but you're a huge encouragement to new constructors!

Jeff Chen notes:
Really fun solve ... and so familiar! John sent me two versions of this puzzle, asking for my feedback. One was a 'clean' version ... read more

Really fun solve ... and so familiar! John sent me two versions of this puzzle, asking for my feedback. One was a "clean" version — this one — and the other was "less clean." They differed mainly in that bottom right corner, with LAST RESORT / URBAN DECAY in the "less clean" one where ANGLOPHONE / INTERSECTS is now. I felt like the puzzle would be just tremendous if he could work in LAST RESORT / URBAN DECAY … but without the uglies like TEN CC, EELER, GOER, STYE that it required to hold that corner together. Ultimately, it proved impossible, though. Ah well.

We also discussed INRI. That to me is a pretty big offender (stands for "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Iudaeorvm"), one I'd go to any length to get rid of, since to a good chunk of solvers it could seem like four random letters stuck together. I liked INRE much better, since I use that all the time in memos. But that required FOGS to become FOGG (with SICKOS becoming GECKOS), and John really disliked FOGG. Curious how subjective this business is! To me, Phileas FOGG is the beloved protagonist of "Around the World in 80 Days," a book that made a tremendous impact on me. But to people who haven't read the book, FOGG will be … just four random letters stuck together!

Other than INRI, it's such a well-made puzzle. Themelesses featuring 15-letter answers often have compromises, i.e. not very many feature answers, a lot of crossword glue, some stilted sounding fill. But to get not only TEACHABLE MOMENT and BIOLOGICAL CLOCK, but CHEST HAIR, GRAY MATTER, the ONE PERCENT, THE BEE GEES, etc. plus some really strong mid-length INKBLOT, CHURCHY, SPY KIDS, BAUBLES, is awesome. Very good use of all his slots.

QAID might cause some head-scratching. Merriam Webster does list it as a variant spelling of CAID, but it's so hard to pin down the "correct" spelling of those words like HIJAB and NIQAB. So I give it a pass.

All in all, I still would have loved for that bottom right corner to be snazzed up — ANGLOPHONE and INTERSECTS don't feel like standout answers to me — but as a whole, I really enjoyed the solve.

1
F
2
O
3
G
4
S
5
S
6
C
7
A
8
T
9
A
10
T
11
A
12
L
13
L
14
I
N
R
I
15
P
O
O
H
16
M
O
X
I
E
17
T
E
A
C
18
H
A
B
L
E
19
M
O
M
E
N
T
20
S
P
Y
K
I
D
S
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B
A
U
B
L
E
S
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E
M
O
T
E
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C
E
R
N
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B
R
A
S
I
25
C
H
E
S
T
26
H
27
A
28
I
29
R
30
A
C
T
31
T
32
H
O
U
G
H
33
A
N
N
A
34
S
E
T
35
S
36
A
G
R
E
E
37
H
G
T
V
38
K
N
E
E
39
N
I
C
E
S
40
T
41
L
E
E
42
S
T
R
E
43
N
G
T
H
S
44
O
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D
O
R
S
46
O
D
A
Y
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P
R
E
P
S
48
I
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N
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K
51
B
L
O
T
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Q
U
I
C
H
E
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S
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B
I
O
L
O
G
I
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C
A
L
C
L
O
C
K
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I
G
L
O
O
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N
E
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L
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A
N
T
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S
H
A
C
K
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G
O
D
S
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W
E
S
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0729 ( 24,370 )

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Across
1
Gets steamy, with "up" : FOGS
5
Order to go away : SCAT
9
Ever : ATALL
14
Letters on a crucifix : INRI
15
Rabbit's friend : POOH
16
Grit : MOXIE
17
Teen's fender bender, maybe : TEACHABLEMOMENT
20
2001 fantasy/adventure film with three sequels : SPYKIDS
21
Many an étagère display : BAUBLES
22
Gush : EMOTE
23
Lab housing the world's largest machine : CERN
24
Luca who "sleeps with the fishes" : BRASI
25
Symbol of virility : CHESTHAIR
30
Don't delay : ACT
31
However : THOUGH
33
"Frozen" princess : ANNA
34
Match makeup : SETS
36
Match : AGREE
37
"Ellen's Design Challenge" airer : HGTV
38
One of the eight points of contact in Muay Thai : KNEE
39
Least apt to offend : NICEST
41
"Life of Pi" director : LEE
42
Longest word in English containing only one vowel : STRENGTHS
44
Many gases lack them : ODORS
46
R&B/pop singer Aubrey : ODAY
47
Readies for an operation : PREPS
48
Therapist's image : INKBLOT
52
Some miniature hors d'oeuvres : QUICHES
54
Concern in family planning : BIOLOGICALCLOCK
56
Inuit for "house" : IGLOO
57
Simon of the stage : NEIL
58
Hostile to : ANTI
59
Roughhouse? : SHACK
60
Eponyms of the week? : GODS
61
270° : WEST
Down
1
Goes on perfectly : FITS
2
Target of the Occupy movement : ONEPERCENT
3
Brains : GRAYMATTER
4
Twisted sorts : SICKOS
5
Figure in a dark suit : SPADE
6
They're held at both ends when eating : COBS
7
Sister co. of Verizon Wireless : AOL
8
"How Deep Is Your Love" Grammy winners : THEBEEGEES
9
Principal, e.g. : AMOUNT
10
Catacomb component : TOMB
11
Turn and a half on the ice : AXEL
12
Shoppers' headache : LINE
13
"I'm in!" : LETS
18
Cry after "One, two, three," maybe : HITIT
19
Rail hubs? : MARSHES
23
Intolerantly pious : CHURCHY
24
Takes pleasure (in) : BASKS
25
Deep in thought : COGITATING
26
"Yeah, right!" : HAH
27
Like the Bahamas, Barbados and Belize : ANGLOPHONE
28
Cuts through : INTERSECTS
29
"Two thumbs way up!" and such : RAVES
32
Like losers' looks : HANGDOG
35
Get : SEE
40
Doughnutlike : TORIC
43
Kind of pass in basketball : NOLOOK
45
Make furniture-safe, in a way : DECLAW
47
Relatives of sprains : PULLS
48
Relative of a spoonbill : IBIS
49
Just about : NIGH
50
African tree cultivated for its nuts : KOLA
51
Like-minded voters : BLOC
52
Muslim judge of North Africa : QAID
53
Bit of improv : SKIT
55
Driver of a bus. : CEO

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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