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New York Times, Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Author:
Christopher Adams
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
17/3/20180
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0010000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56000
Christopher Adams

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 73, Blocks: 41 Missing: {QVZ} Spans: 3 Grid has mirror symmetry. This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Adams. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Christopher Adams notes:
Proud indie constructor here, and proud to be making my NYT debut with this puzzle. The theme is straightforward, for sure, and it's a ... read more

Proud indie constructor here, and proud to be making my NYT debut with this puzzle. The theme is straightforward, for sure, and it's a bit lucky that the theme worked out to allow left / right symmetry. The fill also comes in reasonably simple, including a fair amount of baseball-related answers (some clued that way, some not). Overall, though, it's pretty clean, I think, and that's something I strive for in every puzzle I make, whether it's a simple one like this or a fifty-eight-word freestyle.

A good chunk of my constructing philosophy, in fact, comes from my experiences as a solver. But I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that constructing for my own site, and receiving feedback from solvers, has influenced me as well. (There's too many to name here, but: you know who you are, and it's always appreciated.)

In any case, here's hoping that y'all enjoyed solving this puzzle as much as I enjoyed making it.

Jeff Chen notes:
How apt — teams playing the NATIONAL PASTIME to be wearing red, white and blue! Made me wonder – why do any teams NOT wear ... read more

How apt — teams playing the NATIONAL PASTIME to be wearing red, white and blue! Made me wonder – why do any teams NOT wear red, white and blue? Ye scurvy traitorous turncoats.

I was curious enough to look up all the team colors. Were there others that only wore red, white and blue? If not, Chris's would be a super-tight set; a delightful find!

Alas, I only had to get to the Chicago Cubs to find a counter-example. Oh well. And there are a ton of teams who use red, white, and blue, but they also use other colors, like silver.

OMG, I waste a lot of time.

ADDED NOTE: Jim, a big baseball fan, noted that Chris actually did use a tight set — AMERICAN League teams in red, white and blue! I stand corrected. And I sort of remember that there is such a thing called the American League. It's still confusing, since the Yankees logo is red, white and blue, as is the Twins, Angels, and Rangers. And the White Sox logo doesn't actually have red in it.

ADDED ADDED NOTE: Maybe I just don't get baseball.

Mostly good gridwork, although I think ISSA RAE crossing ENERO is a no-no. I get that ISSA RAE is becoming more famous, but is she at the point where a great majority of educated, newer solvers ought to know her? Maybe in a few years, with a few more big roles. And ENERO is a tough Spanish word (for "January") that many regular crossword solvers will know … from doing crosswords.

Given that early-week puzzles have to be friendly to newer solvers, I'd have sent the puzzle back for rework on that square alone.

I'm obsessive about early-week puzzles, which must feel fair and fun for newer solvers. A single square can ruin the whole experience.

But overall, some good fill, GOOD EGG a really good egg, and I liked Chris's usage of mirror symmetry to work in BOSTON / REDSOX. It's a rare debut that goes past the usual rotational symmetry grid layouts, so I appreciated that.

ADDED ADDED ADDED NOTE: I'm officially a moron.

Jim had to explain to me that the three teams were indeed a tight set — team names featuring the colors RED, WHITE, and BLUE, in order! (He added highlighting to make it obvious, even to us meatheads.) The theme is much more impressive now that I actually see what's going on. Not sure how I so badly missed the real theme.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0703 ( 25,074 )
Across
1. Course in which to determine a curve's slope, informally : CALC
5. Feathery fashion accessory : BOA
8. Apartment in a former factory, maybe : LOFT
12. Zone : AREA
13. Some nervous reactions : GULPS
15. Jazz legend Fitzgerald : ELLA
16. Big name in pasta sauce : RAGU
17. Tatum who won an Oscar for "Paper Moon" : ONEAL
18. Going into extra innings : TIED
19. With 21-Across, A.L. team with a patriotic color : BOSTON
21. See 19-Across : REDSOX
23. In apple-pie order : TIDY
24. Some stadium souvenirs : TEES
25. Expensive wrap : ERMINE
28. "One, ___" (request at a ticket booth) : PLEASE
32. A.L. team with a patriotic color : CHICAGOWHITESOX
36. Vietnam Memorial architect Maya : LIN
37. [Ugh, not this again!] : GROAN
38. "Mustache Hat" artist Jean : ARP
39. Battery terminal : ANODE
42. Avian runner Down Under : EMU
43. ___ Martinez, three-time Cy Young winner : PEDRO
45. A.L. team with a patriotic color : TORONTOBLUEJAYS
48. Kitten's cry : MEW
49. ___-K (tot's class) : PRE
50. Co-starring actress on HBO's "Insecure" : ISSARAE
54. Had a helping of humble pie : ATECROW
58. Baseball, colloquially : NATIONALPASTIME
60. Extended family : CLAN
61. Like rho ... or a fraternity row : GREEK
62. Idyllic place : EDEN
63. For the lady : HERS
64. Avoid a tag, in a way : SLIDE
65. Result of going bumper to bumper? : DENT
Down
1. Sedan or convertible : CAR
2. Fast horse : ARAB
3. Big name in building blocks : LEGO
4. Biting, as humor : CAUSTIC
5. Kind of slope for a novice skier : BUNNY
6. Encouragement to a matador : OLE
7. In two : APART
8. "Hmm ..." : LETSSEE
9. Mishmash : OLIO
10. Show off one's muscles : FLEX
11. Wee bit : TAD
13. Decent human being, informally : GOODEGG
14. What many do after a late night : SLEEPIN
20. Daughter on Fox's "Bob's Burgers" : TINA
22. Shoulder muscle, briefly : DELT
25. Brilliant effect : ECLAT
26. Large zoo animal, for short : RHINO
27. ___ leagues : MINOR
29. Carne ___ (Mexican restaurant dish) : ASADA
30. Word before and after "not" : SORRY
31. Montreal nine, once : EXPOS
33. Cookie with a creme filling : OREO
34. Fetal position? : WOMB
35. Burglar's booty : HAUL
40. Realms : DOMAINS
41. Start of el año : ENERO
43. Former Israeli P.M. Shimon : PERES
44. Thrown out of the game : EJECTED
46. Some country music effects : TWANGS
47. Slow on the ___ : UPTAKE
50. Crawl (along) : INCH
51. Store event after Christmas : SALE
52. Insignia on a Houston Astros cap : STAR
53. Title below marquess : EARL
54. Mimicked : APED
55. ___ the bench (not get used in the game) : RIDE
56. Sign of the future : OMEN
57. Departed : WENT
59. Luau loop : LEI

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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