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New York Times, Thursday, August 1, 2019

Author:
Patrick Merrell
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
897/10/20018/1/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
21105123452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61554
Patrick Merrell

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 80, Blocks: 36 Missing: none – this is a pangram. Spans: 1 Scrabble average: 1.88 This is puzzle # 89 for Mr. Merrell. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
A shame that this one came so close behind another alphabetic string puzzle, one executed more elegantly. Patrick's concept works, but ... read more

A shame that this one came so close behind another alphabetic string puzzle, one executed more elegantly. Patrick's concept works, but it doesn't have as tidy of a feel, since there are many options for each string. ABCDE, for example, can be found in ALBRECHT DURER, BAREBACK RIDER … and ALPHABETIC ORDER!

Solid work, though, in coming up with a full set of themers that fit into crossword symmetry. Although each of the themers has other options, there's a nice FenG sHuI to how Patrick laid out the grid. There aren't dozens of options for each string, so there's undoubtedly a lot of juggling and sorting required to make symmetry work.

If your knee-JerK refLex was that it was too easy to come up with alternate themers, remember that a lot of the options would have been too long to work with. Seven shortish themers are hard enough.

Patrick did a nice job of building around his seven themers. Perfect to stack ABSCONDED and AFGHANI in adjacent rows, effectively making it like he only had to work around five themers.

I did notice a bit of NSF / CEN / MST stuff, but that was easily overlooked.

The only real blip in the craftsmanship is something I usually don't care about – added Ss. Some constructors say they hate plurals as inelegant, which mystifies me. If the words are in common usage, who cares if there are a bunch of plurals?

Well, I do, if they're the ilk of ILKS and USAGES – not commonly pluralized words. Toss in UKES (uke isn't as common as ukulele) and SKYS, and it felt like too much glue from one class of offender.

Big fan of two clues: MICE might "squeak by," indeed. And I sure hope my dentist "knows the drill"!

Difficult solve, which is what Will aims for on a Thursday — it took me forever to piece together the theme entries. I enjoy working hard for my a-ha moment, but only if the payoff is worth it. Knowing exactly what I should be doing from the start, but still having to struggle to complete the grid, wasn't that satisfying.

1
S
2
H
3
O
4
E
5
B
6
O
7
L
8
T
9
S
10
M
11
A
12
S
13
H
14
P
O
R
T
15
F
O
L
I
O
16
W
I
L
C
O
17
A
B
S
C
O
N
D
E
D
18
A
G
L
O
W
19
M
O
O
20
G
A
S
21
A
22
F
G
H
A
N
I
23
S
U
M
24
D
Y
E
25
T
H
E
E
26
J
27
U
28
N
K
P
I
29
L
E
30
D
31
R
Y
32
O
K
A
Y
33
A
N
34
I
T
A
35
M
36
V
37
P
38
H
E
I
S
39
M
40
A
N
T
R
O
P
41
H
I
E
S
42
N
S
F
43
I
N
D
I
A
44
A
C
T
S
45
A
L
I
46
S
Q
47
U
48
A
R
E
S
T
49
S
50
P
51
E
D
52
M
53
S
T
54
S
I
P
55
P
U
R
V
56
I
E
W
57
H
A
D
58
C
59
E
60
N
61
A
P
R
I
L
62
O
63
X
Y
G
E
64
N
I
Z
E
65
S
P
O
C
K
66
R
I
D
E
S
H
A
R
E
67
M
Y
L
E
S
68
D
I
E
S
69
L
O
A
D
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0801 ( 25,468 )

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Across
1
Card holder at a casino : SHOE
5
Leave in a hurry : BOLT
9
Sensation : SMASH
14
Artist's collection : PORTFOLIO
16
"Got it, I'm on it," in radio lingo : WILCO
17
ABCDE : ABSCONDED
18
Warmly lit : AGLOW
19
Pasture sound : MOO
20
Stomach problem : GAS
21
FGHI : AFGHANI
23
Gross amount : SUM
24
Change clothes? : DYE
25
Pronoun in Proverbs : THEE
26
JKL : JUNKPILE
30
Under Prohibition : DRY
32
Tolerable : OKAY
33
Who sings "America" in "West Side Story" : ANITA
35
Prized athlete, for short : MVP
38
MNOP : HEISMANTROPHIES
42
Bank stamp abbr. : NSF
43
Powerhouse in cricket : INDIA
44
Doesn't delay : ACTS
45
World champion athlete under two different names : ALI
46
QRST : SQUAREST
49
Zipped : SPED
52
Winter Wyoming hrs. : MST
54
Temperature test, of a sort : SIP
55
UVW : PURVIEW
57
Fooled : HAD
58
Long life: Abbr. : CEN
61
When the Lyrid meteor shower occurs : APRIL
62
XYZ : OXYGENIZE
65
TV character who said "Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them" : SPOCK
66
Commute communally : RIDESHARE
67
Standish on the Mayflower : MYLES
68
Passes : DIES
69
Boatful : LOAD
Down
1
Food invention of 1937 : SPAM
2
So-called "king of the road" : HOBO
3
Qualifying phrase : ORSO
4
+, briefly : ETC
5
B(r)est friend? : BONAMI
6
Geezers, with "the" : OLDS
7
Concoction : LIE
8
Rush order deadline : TODAY
9
Sponsors' giveaways : SWAG
10
Herculean : MIGHTY
11
Figure also called "the Creator," "the King" and "the All-Seer" : ALLAH
12
Afternoon tea offering : SCONE
13
TV host Mandel : HOWIE
15
What bathroom mirrors may do : FOGUP
22
Gave, as a meal : FEDTO
23
"The ___ the limit" : SKYS
24
One who knows the drill : DENTIST
26
Doe; a Deere? : JOHN
27
Some of them come in "pineapple" and "soprano" varieties, informally : UKES
28
Green one : NAIF
29
Developer's purchase : LAND
31
Specialty of Bad Boy Records : RAP
34
Modern home of the ancient king Gilgamesh : IRAQ
35
They might squeak by : MICE
36
May marchers : VETS
37
Covert come-on : PSST
39
Nice chunk of money : MIL
40
Cartoon genre : ANIME
41
Image on an Irish euro : HARP
45
Counsel : ADVICE
47
Accepted applications : USAGES
48
Staffers : AIDES
49
Uncontrolled jerk : SPASM
50
Small part of a pound? : PUPPY
51
Flynn of "Captain Blood" : ERROL
53
Symbol of power : SWORD
56
Sorts : ILKS
57
Douglas ___, first president of Ireland : HYDE
58
"So long" : CIAO
59
Poet Pound : EZRA
60
Kitchen, for a chef : NEED
63
Common clock topper : XII
64
Calgary is in it: Abbr. : NHL

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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