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New York Times, Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Author:
David Woolf
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/15/20137/31/20180
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2322332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55310
David Woolf

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 31 Missing: {QVX} This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Woolf notes:
Initially, C.C.H. Pounder was in the grid, but I couldn't fill it with her in it. Too bad. The high-scrabble count letters in the ... read more

Initially, C.C.H. Pounder was in the grid, but I couldn't fill it with her in it. Too bad.

The high-scrabble count letters in the theme answers ended up majorly constraining the grid design. A few of the other layouts that I tried were highly segmented, which I try to avoid. JAZZ HOP and SHOWBIZ were two of the only entries that would cross the two theme entries in this layout, and since they were both lively, I stuck with them.

I was pretty happy with the fill of this puzzle overall. I felt like I was able to cram lots of good stuff in without making the short fill suffer. I hope you agree and enjoy it!

Also, this is probably my last puzzle for a while. It turns out that having a kid has significantly cut down on my free time.

Jeff Chen notes:
DOT DOT DOT makes me laugh! Reminds me of that 'Seinfeld' episode where they use 'yadda yadda yadda' for comedy gold. I'm having a ... read more

DOT DOT DOT makes me laugh! Reminds me of that "Seinfeld" episode where they use "yadda yadda yadda" for comedy gold. I'm having a hard time not wiggling my eyebrows right now as I say DOT DOT DOT.

Solid theme, using DOT DOT DOT to explain the presence of three famous people who go by triple initials. I was curious to see if there were any more, but I couldn't turn any up in my exhaustive (read: seconds-long) search. How fortuitous that these three work with crossword symmetry!

With just 38 squares of thematic material, David stretched to add all sorts of bonuses in his grid – no RESTRAINt, given JEWELER, BOBBIES, SO SORRY, UNICORN, SHOW BIZ, NEONOIR, JAY LENO. Such great use of mid-length slots!

However, the prices were too high for my taste. ODESA alone would make me reboot, especially on an early-week puzzle that has a ton of gridding flexibility. Toss in CEST, ENE, SNO, and the Jeff-crosses-his-fingers-and-hopes-for-the-best ANYA/TYE crossing … ultimately, I think that was a fair cross, as nothing else looks quite as "right" (I debated whether TIE / ANIA could be correct) but hoo boy.

I also found JAZZ HOP and BOSH curious. I like learning a new thing in my puzzle, and I'm a big JAZZ fan, so JAZZ HOP was fun. (Think JAZZ meets hip-HOP.) I know Chris BOSH from the former Big Three of the Miami Heat championships, but BOSH as a scoffing declaration?

Bosh, I say!

Okay, that's kind of fun. I'll try it out and see what people say.

All in all, I worry that the short fill detracted from the theme set and all the good bonus fill. I enjoyed the concept; such a tight theme set an apt revealer. But I would have preferred a more traditional layout. Breaking up the sides with two sets of black square "fingers," instead of how David had it (with just one set per side), might have helped a lot. Could have elevated this into POW! consideration.

1
J
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I
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B
4
E
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D
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A
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U
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B
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M
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I
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N
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A
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J
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A
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O
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A
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W
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D
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U
B
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L
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L
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L
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W
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O
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P
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F
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G
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D
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0731 ( 25,102 )
Across
1
Mesh (with) : JIBE
5
Apply, as plaster : DAUB
9
Rapper Nicki ___ : MINAJ
14
Word before collar, jacket or College : ETON
15
Actress Kendrick or Paquin : ANNA
16
Black Sea port, to natives : ODESA
17
Contemporary of Booker T. Washington : WEBDUBOIS
19
Touched in the head : LOOPY
20
Make stand out, as letters on stationery : EMBOSS
21
"___ magnifique!" : CEST
23
Zilch : NIL
24
French wine valley : LOIRE
25
"Nonsense!" : BOSH
26
Achy : SORE
27
Indy-to-Cleveland direction : ENE
28
Best-selling author who invented multiple languages : JRRTOLKIEN
30
Hold back : RESTRAIN
33
Oddball : WEIRDO
34
Molten tar, e.g. : OOZE
35
Lift up the ski slopes : TBAR
36
Like Splenda vis-à-vis sugar : ERSATZ
39
Professionals who put on coats for work : PAINTERS
43
Classic toy store founder : FAOSCHWARZ
45
Remote button: Abbr. : REW
46
Symbol of power : FIST
47
Olympian Apolo Anton ___ : OHNO
48
Shoe material : SUEDE
50
Brian who coined the term "ambient music" : ENO
51
Dog unlikely to have a solid coat : SPOT
52
Braid, e.g. : ENLACE
53
Dog breed at Buckingham Palace : CORGI
55
Indication of more to come ... or what 17-, 28- and 43-Across all contain : DOTDOTDOT
57
City in northern Italy : TURIN
58
Novelist Seton : ANYA
59
Not imaginary : REAL
60
Mohawk or mullet : STYLE
61
Swarm (with) : TEEM
62
Bohemian : ARTY
Down
1
One visited by a prospective groom : JEWELER
2
Top of a to-do list : ITEMONE
3
British officers : BOBBIES
4
Setting in "Return of the Jedi" : ENDOR
5
Little amounts of cream : DABS
6
Year in Spain : ANO
7
Creature on Scotland's coat of arms : UNICORN
8
Least dignified : BASEST
9
Lose one's feathers : MOLT
10
Reply at the altar : IDO
11
Modern dark film genre : NEONOIR
12
Had high hopes : ASPIRED
13
"The Tonight Show" host before and after Conan O'Brien : JAYLENO
18
Application : USE
22
Hollywood and such : SHOWBIZ
25
Cheese similar to Camembert : BRIE
26
School uniform wear, maybe : SKIRT
28
Hybrid music genre with African-American roots : JAZZHOP
29
Not fatty : LEAN
31
"Salud!" or "Skoal!" : TOAST
32
College recruitment org. : ROTC
35
Root vegetable sometimes made into chips : TARO
36
"Special" things in sci-fi films : EFFECTS
37
Reason for a doubleheader : RAINOUT
38
"My sincere apologies" : SOSORRY
39
Company with an annual "Color of the Year" award : PANTONE
40
Kindle, for one : EREADER
41
Revolutionary War foe : REDCOAT
42
Dolce : SWEETLY
44
Informal question of identification : WHODAT
48
___-Caps (candy) : SNO
49
The "U" of UHF : ULTRA
51
Function associated with oscillation : SINE
52
Cheese similar to Gouda : EDAM
54
___ Grissom, longtime "CSI" character : GIL
56
Actor Sheridan of "Ready Player One" : TYE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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