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New York Times, Monday, July 8, 2019

Author:
Ned White
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
251/16/20109/11/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1206259
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58020
Ned White

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQWXZ} This is puzzle # 24 for Mr. White. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I was sure I won Guess That Theme, the game that keeps early-week puzzles interesting. PAY GRADE, PUB GAMES interlocked … has ... read more

I was sure I won Guess That Theme, the game that keeps early-week puzzles interesting. PAY GRADE, PUB GAMES interlocked … has to be PG 13!

Drat.

PANDG, the natural result of a PANDA's evolution (PANDA, PANDB, PANDC ...), serves as a dutiful revealer. It's not great in that P&G (Proctor and Gamble) is never written as PANDG except in crosswords, but it does serve to tie the themers together.

Initialism puzzles are so common that it takes a lot for one to stand out. One usual approach is to pack in as many as possible, trying to overwhelm solvers with sheer numbers. This one fits that bill, jam-packing in eight (!) phrases.

As a constructor, color me impressed with the execution. Ned did a top-notch job of executing on his concept, starting with interlocking two pairs of themers, and then overlapping or spacing out the rest. It's a mark of success that I didn't realize how many themers there were — there wasn't nearly as much AABA AGRI MDT stuff as I would have expected in the short fill. Although Ned had a ton of flexibility – there are dozens of PG phrases available – he made wise selections to facilitate ease of construction.

(I did wonder if PARTY GIRLS might offend some. I've rethought my stance on it, now that I have a daughter.)

The one knock: a lot of tough proper names. If you have ILIE in your grid, you ought to strive to reduce other entries that might similarly trip up newb solvers, like CAPP, NIN, ELLY, BAIUL.

Not the most exciting theme and the solver in me didn't get anything out of the ultra-high density. But this constructor gives a thumbs-up to the level of care and consideration Ned put into executing on a challenging grid.

1
C
2
A
3
P
4
P
5
I
6
M
7
I
8
N
9
G
10
S
11
C
12
A
13
M
14
L
U
L
U
15
N
O
L
I
E
16
T
O
G
A
17
A
R
A
B
18
P
O
I
N
T
19
G
U
A
R
D
20
P
A
Y
G
21
R
A
D
E
22
G
O
A
L
I
E
23
S
E
A
A
I
R
24
B
O
O
R
25
M
D
T
26
P
A
I
N
T
27
G
28
U
29
N
30
H
31
O
32
S
E
S
33
B
E
N
N
Y
34
R
N
A
35
A
R
T
S
36
P
A
N
D
G
37
P
A
I
N
38
S
E
E
39
P
R
I
U
S
40
S
A
N
T
A
41
P
O
P
42
G
R
O
U
P
43
F
U
N
44
H
I
L
L
45
E
N
G
46
E
47
L
48
S
49
S
50
A
51
F
E
C
O
52
P
53
E
A
G
R
E
E
N
54
P
A
R
T
Y
G
55
I
R
L
S
56
A
N
N
A
57
A
B
E
T
58
U
B
O
L
T
59
V
I
D
I
60
M
A
Y
O
61
E
M
M
Y
S
62
Y
E
L
L
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0708 ( 25,444 )
Across
1
Al who created Li'l Abner : CAPP
5
Chatting online, in brief : IMING
10
Almost any offer that's too good to be true : SCAM
14
Doozy : LULU
15
"I swear!" : NOLIE
16
Robe in old Rome : TOGA
17
The "A" of U.A.E. : ARAB
18
*Basketball position for Magic Johnson or Steph Curry : POINTGUARD
20
*Level on the military wage scale : PAYGRADE
22
Player in front of a net : GOALIE
23
What sailors and beachgoers breathe : SEAAIR
24
Uncouth person : BOOR
25
Colorado summer hrs. : MDT
26
*Alternative to a brush when coating the side of a house : PAINTGUN
30
Things coiled on the sides of houses : HOSES
33
With 44-Across, onetime British slapstick comic : BENNY
34
Single-stranded genetic molecule : RNA
35
___ and crafts : ARTS
36
Consumer products giant, for short ... or a hint to the answers to the eight starred clues : PANDG
37
Tylenol target : PAIN
38
"You got it now?" : SEE
39
Toyota hybrid : PRIUS
40
North Pole resident : SANTA
41
*The Beach Boys or Backstreet Boys : POPGROUP
43
Amusement : FUN
44
See 33-Across : HILL
45
Marx's collaborator on "The Communist Manifesto" : ENGELS
49
___ Field, former home of the Seattle Mariners : SAFECO
52
*Shade akin to olive : PEAGREEN
54
*Sorority types who go out a lot : PARTYGIRLS
56
Eugene O'Neill's "___ Christie" : ANNA
57
Help with a crime : ABET
58
Letter-shaped fastener : UBOLT
59
"Veni, ___, vici" : VIDI
60
Hellmann's product, informally : MAYO
61
Daytime or Primetime awards : EMMYS
62
Holler : YELL
Down
1
Applauds : CLAPS
2
Enveloping glows, old-style : AURAE
3
___ del Rey, Calif. : PLAYA
4
*Darts and snooker : PUBGAMES
5
Somewhat : INPART
6
An emoji may suggest it : MOOD
7
1970s tennis champ Nastase : ILIE
8
Writer Anaïs : NIN
9
Dig into work : GETGOING
10
E. B. White's "___ Little" : STUART
11
Unwanted stocking stuffer : COAL
12
Prefix with cultural : AGRI
13
Prepared, as dinner or a bed : MADE
19
Foolish, informally : GOONY
21
Frees (of) : RIDS
24
Marching halftime crews : BANDS
26
Fence in : PENUP
27
Mom's mom, for short : GRAN
28
The "U" of I.C.U. : UNIT
29
Mom's mom : NANA
30
Lock securer : HASP
31
___ O's (breakfast cereal) : OREO
32
One of 12 in Alcoholics Anonymous : STEP
33
Oksana ___, 1994 Olympic skating wonder : BAIUL
36
What may precede Chapter 1 in a novel : PROLOGUE
37
*Roast accompaniment prepared with drippings : PANGRAVY
39
$$$$, on Yelp : PRICY
40
Like choir music : SUNG
42
Run-down area : GHETTO
43
Lavish meals : FEASTS
46
Counting-off word : EENIE
47
1980s tennis champ Ivan : LENDL
48
Creature that leaves a slimy trail : SNAIL
49
What an email filter filters : SPAM
50
Rhyme scheme for Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" : AABA
51
Glenn of the Eagles : FREY
52
School event with a king and a queen : PROM
53
"For Better or for Worse" mom : ELLY
55
Company that pioneered the U.P.C. bar code : IBM

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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