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New York Times, Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Author:
Jay Kaskel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
104/9/200810/30/20175
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0243010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58030
Jay Kaskel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Kaskel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jay Kaskel notes:
This puzzle was one of those rare instances, at least for me, where I wasn't asked to come up with a better theme fill or rebuild the ... read more

This puzzle was one of those rare instances, at least for me, where I wasn't asked to come up with a better theme fill or rebuild the puzzle in an effort to get rid of a lot of junk. That's typically not the case. As to any interesting anecdotes, I'd only say that I debated about going with "I'LL BE DAMMED" (clued as Sinner's "Shocking!") in place of "I'LL BE DARNED" (clued as Seamstress's "Shocking!") before deciding dammed, at least in this context, was probably too darn edgy.

Jeff Chen notes:
Shocking themers, clued in kooky ways! This type of humor can be hit or miss, but it sure hit strongly with me. There was something so ... read more

Shocking themers, clued in kooky ways! This type of humor can be hit or miss, but it sure hit strongly with me. There was something so amusing about a seamstress slying saying ILL BE DARNED, and an astronomer trying to elicit a groan with OH MY STARS!

My favorite was GOOD GRAVY — how is it that I've never used this line at a Thanksgiving dinner?

WELL I NEVER was the only one I didn't laugh at immediately, as I had to think about why a teetotaler would mention a well (and what a teetotaler was — it's someone who doesn't drink alcohol). But then I remembered that a "well drink" refers to a bar's cheap liquor they pour from a spout. So this one worked for me in the end, but it didn't have quite the hilarious impact the others did.

It's a rare early-week puzzle that uses an eye-catching, artistic grid. Something so pleasing about those two "arms" of black squares extending from the left and right sides toward the middle, curling in like spirals. This sort of layout often chokes down puzzle flow, but Jay did a nice job making sure that all parts of the grid connect together without narrow constrictions.

This layout also allowed Jay to work in a lot of long entries. None of them jumped out at me as stellar, but they all do a fine job — INWARDS, ON ORDER, STEP ONE, ITALIANO. I would have liked even one long bonus that I could point out as fantastic, but there's always a trade-off between snazzy fill vs. clean fill, especially with biggish grid spaces like the NE and SW.

I did hitch at the collection of SEL (French for salt), EDS, EER, ATIE, TRE. Nothing major, but in total, it went over my threshold for early-week puzzles.

This POW! choice might come as a surprise to regular readers since crossword glue tends to heavily affect my perception of a puzzle, but the theme concept tickled me so much, and the grid was so neat-looking that I was able to overlook the flaws.

I still laugh, thinking about saying GOOD GRAVY at Thanksgiving. Tee hee.

1
C
2
A
3
B
4
M
5
A
6
M
7
M
8
A
9
A
10
T
11
H
12
O
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S
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L
S
U
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A
D
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S
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B
R
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T
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O
H
M
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Y
S
T
A
R
S
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C
A
N
O
E
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R
O
P
E
S
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A
A
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A
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W
K
R
P
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O
R
E
S
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H
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O
L
Y
T
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O
L
E
D
O
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X
E
R
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P
E
P
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S
E
L
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R
E
N
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E
E
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E
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D
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E
E
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I
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B
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D
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A
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R
N
E
D
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I
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S
T
O
O
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S
P
E
A
R
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N
E
A
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S
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I
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N
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S
A
G
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L
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O
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O
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W
E
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L
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V
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B
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A
T
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K
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A
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G
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R
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S
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G
O
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O
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D
G
R
A
V
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D
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H
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T
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S
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S
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O
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D
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0801 ( 24,738 )
Across
1
Zin alternative : CAB
4
With 6-Down, "Dancing Queen" musical : MAMMA
9
One of the Three Musketeers : ATHOS
14
Baton Rouge sch. : LSU
15
"See you!" : ADIOS
16
Main impact : BRUNT
17
"Shocking!," to an astronomer? : OHMYSTARS
19
Camping craft : CANOE
20
Secures, as an area, with "off" : ROPES
21
Duracell designation : AAA
23
Cincinnati sitcom station : WKRP
24
Mine finds : ORES
25
"Shocking!," to an Ohio tourist? : HOLYTOLEDO
28
Gen ___ : XER
29
Zest : PEP
30
Pommes frites seasoning : SEL
31
Stimpy's TV pal : REN
32
Strange : EERIE
34
"Nothing runs like a ___" (ad slogan) : DEERE
36
"Shocking!," to a seamstress? : ILLBEDARNED
39
Childish comeback : ISTOO
41
Primitive fishing tool : SPEAR
42
Teachers' org. : NEA
43
Sloth, for one : SIN
46
What some shoulders and pants do : SAG
47
English head : LOO
50
"Shocking!," to a teetotaler? : WELLINEVER
53
Something to watch on the telly, with "the" : BEEB
54
End in ___ : ATIE
55
White wine aperitif : KIR
56
Make a case (for) : ARGUE
57
Wanders : ROAMS
59
"Shocking!," to a Thanksgiving guest? : GOODGRAVY
62
Jurassic Park inhabitants, for short : DINOS
63
Mandel of "America's Got Talent" : HOWIE
64
Uno + due : TRE
65
One may be rolling or skipped : STONE
66
Bit of campaign nastiness : SMEAR
67
Multivolume ref. : OED
Down
1
Bleach brand : CLOROX
2
Enjoying Fleet Week, say : ASHORE
3
Part of a pinball machine : BUMPER
4
Atomic ___ : MASS
5
Big letters in home security : ADT
6
See 4-Across : MIA
7
"Slow and steady wins the race," e.g. : MORAL
8
Some lab tests : ASSAYS
9
"The Goldbergs" network : ABC
10
Net that netted Dory in "Finding Nemo" : TRAWL
11
Hid out, with "down" : HUNKERED
12
Yet to be delivered : ONORDER
13
Start of a manual : STEPONE
18
"By all means" : YES
22
Got rid of the munchies : ATE
25
Marijuana, slangily : HERB
26
Onetime Ron Howard role : OPIE
27
Racetrack has-been : OLDNAG
29
Boehner's predecessor as House leader : PELOSI
32
"Strange Magic" band, for short : ELO
33
Mag heads : EDS
35
At any time, to poets : EER
36
Lingua di Luigi : ITALIANO
37
Quiet place to pray : APSE
38
Tail end : REAR
39
To the center : INWARDS
40
Make sure something gets done : SEETOIT
44
It's usually not erasable : INK
45
Sounds from a stable : NEIGHS
47
Smooth, in music : LEGATO
48
Entirety of a composer's works : OEUVRE
49
Followed instructions : OBEYED
51
Car that's hardly a peach : LEMON
52
Racetrack sound : VROOM
53
"I can't f-f-feel my f-f-feet!" : BRR
56
Ending with teen : AGER
58
Chicago-to-Indianapolis dir. : SSE
60
Be in the red : OWE
61
24 horas : DIA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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