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New York Times, Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Author:
Jake Halperin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
47/5/201712/11/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0013000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54010
Jake Halperin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQWXZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Halperin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jake Halperin notes:
FLIGHT RISK was the seed for this here theme of travel, From which the other entries did finally unravel. Among the better ... read more

FLIGHT RISK was the seed for this here theme of travel,
From which the other entries did finally unravel.
Among the better candidates that never saw the light of day
Are MARINE LIFE, LIFE COACHING, and LIFE FINDS A WAY.
Finding phrases with names of board games is anything but easy;
How many can you think of that use the word Parcheesi?

Thanks to Will and Joel for looking at a couple of revisions. Special thanks to Tom Yuval for the feedback and support.

Jeff Chen notes:
I appreciate seeing ideas I doubt I'd ever think of. How fun, to take normal phrases and interpret them as travel editions of classic ... read more

I appreciate seeing ideas I doubt I'd ever think of. How fun, to take normal phrases and interpret them as travel editions of classic board games! LIFE ON THE RUN stood out for me, as 1.) I loved the game as a kid, and 2.) I could imagine LIFE ON THE RUN as a clever marketer's title for an actual travel edition of Life. FLIGHT RISK was fun, too, for similar reasons.

GO ON VACATION didn't hit me as strongly because the base phrase isn't as snazzy as the others. It's a fine thing to say, but I don't know that I'd seed a themeless with it like I would with FLIGHT RISK.

And CAR TROUBLE … Trouble is a game? I played a lot of games as a kid, but not this one. Even after reading the Wikipedia entry on it, I don't recognize it. (Apparently, it's similar to Sorry!, with which I had a love/hate relationship.)

What an ambitious grid for one's debut. Very few constructors would stretch to work in six bonus entries, and even fewer would succeed in converting so many of them into such juicy juice: SOUND EFFECT, FOOD GROUP with a brilliant wordplay clue in [Cooking class?], TACO STAND, LINGERIE.

ANIMATED GIF didn't do it for me as much since most GIFs I see these days are animated ... so I just call them GIFs. And ANTISLIP felt a bit workmanlike. Still, four great bonuses is admirable. Jake used solid technique in working the bonuses in, spreading them out and alternating up / down positioning to achieve good spacing.

ADDED NOTE: turns out that most gifs aren't animated. Maybe I'm a little vined out ...

The grid did skew to the side of snazziness at the cost of smoothness, though. I first noticed it at ASCAP, then ELOI (the "Time Machine" race this sci-fi buff was so turned off by when first getting into crosswords). Then ENS, OEUF, ORAMA, FRIO, VAR. It wasn't so bad as to make my nose wrinkle, but it did leave me with an impression of inelegance. Perhaps just four long bonuses instead of six would have made for more grid flexibility and smoothness.

Still, an interesting, novel theme is hard to come by these days. Looking forward to more from Jake.

1
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0705 ( 24,711 )
Across
1
Songwriters' org. : ASCAP
6
Honorific that becomes another honorific if you reverse its last two letters : SRI
9
Subjects of a Roswell museum : UFOS
13
Twinkled : SHONE
14
Hydrophobic substances : OILS
16
Attire for a Druid : ROBE
17
Travel edition of a classic board game? : CARTROUBLE
19
Gift from heaven : BOON
20
Prefix with directional : OMNI
21
Channel 2? : ENS
22
Superrich : LOADED
24
Wax sculptor Marie : TUSSAUD
26
Beside : ALONG
27
Travel edition of a classic board game? : LIFEONTHERUN
31
Consciously join : OPTIN
34
Opposite of caliente : FRIO
35
Peace activist Yoko : ONO
36
Sprang : LEAPT
37
One's nearest and dearest, informally : FAM
38
Get by : ELUDE
40
Window-closing key : ESC
41
Part of the Dept. of Homeland Security : FEMA
42
Some cosmetic surgeries, for short : LIPOS
43
Travel edition of a classic board game? : GOONVACATION
47
Found : START
48
Puzzlements : ENIGMAS
52
Nongay, typically : HETERO
54
Atlanta-based health org. : CDC
55
"I'm ___" ("Whatever you suggest") : EASY
56
"Sad is my lot!" : ALAS
57
Travel edition of a classic board game? : FLIGHTRISK
60
Fails to be : ISNT
61
Done, in Verdun : FINI
62
Singer Mann : AIMEE
63
Young fellows : LADS
64
It might appear after an etym. : DEF
65
Rats' places : NESTS
Down
1
Neckwear with dress whites : ASCOT
2
Very whale-known performer? : SHAMU
3
Woes on toes : CORNS
4
Providing a better grip : ANTISLIP
5
Part of b.p.m. : PER
6
Boing, for a spring : SOUNDEFFECT
7
Barbecue serving : RIBS
8
One way to fall : ILL
9
Worldly : URBANE
10
Cooking class? : FOODGROUP
11
Instrument that an orchestra tunes to : OBOE
12
Thrill : SEND
15
Have as a customer : SELLTO
18
One of a dozen in un frigidaire : OEUF
23
"___, I'm so scared! (not really)" : OOH
25
Slangy form of 60-Across : AINT
26
Many an internet meme : ANIMATEDGIF
28
Quaint commercial suffix : ORAMA
29
Countermand : UNDO
30
Refusals : NOES
31
___ Burov, K.G.B. officer on "The Americans" : OLEG
32
Mexican money : PESO
33
Place to grab a bite in Mexico : TACOSTAND
38
People in an H. G. Wells novella : ELOI
39
Boudoir wear : LINGERIE
41
At a distance : FAROFF
44
Nonproliferation treaty subjects, informally : NTESTS
45
Not the usual spelling: Abbr. : VAR
46
Crawl (along) : INCH
49
Badly injures : MAIMS
50
Factory, to its owner, e.g. : ASSET
51
Wanda of "Snatched" : SYKES
52
Greet with acclaim : HAIL
53
Mrs. Albert Einstein : ELSA
54
French filmdom : CINE
58
Jar top : LID
59
Onetime M&M's color : TAN

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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