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New York Times, Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Author: Jake Halperin
Editor: Will Shortz
Jake Halperin
TotalDebutCollabs
17/5/20170
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0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.49000

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0705 ( 24,711 )
Across Down
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
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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