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New York Times, Monday, August 10, 2015

Author: C. W. Stewart
Editor: Will Shortz
Carolyn W. Stewart
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2112/26/20068/10/20151
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
11072100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQV} This is puzzle # 21 for Ms. Stewart. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Carolyn W. Stewart notes: I love cheese! Out shopping one day, I noticed the various ways cheese is packaged. "Say, cheese would be a nice idea for a Monday puzzle," I uttered to myself.
Jeff Chen notes: Shapes of cheese today, a WEDGE, CUBE, BLOCK, WHEEL, and … SLAB? What, no Kraft American 'cheese' SLICEs? As a somewhat ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Shapes of cheese today, a WEDGE, CUBE, BLOCK, WHEEL, and … SLAB? What, no Kraft American "cheese" SLICEs? As a somewhat lactose-intolerant fella who indulges in cheese (much to my wife's chagrin), it was neat to see some cheese-specific shapes. A WHEEL of cheese is so iconic, the big red disk of Edam. And who hasn't had a WEDGE of brie in their fridge?

Ever wonder if a Rubik's Cube is made of green cheese? No? Oh. Me neither.

I did some searching for "slab of cheese" but didn't turn up much. Why not include the much more common SLICE instead, I wondered. CW uses interlock (theme answers highlighted below), but this does create inflexibility:

  • Once you place SAY CHEESE — great revealer, BTW — some sort of cheese shape must cross that answer at the second E.
  • WHEEL works great for that purpose.
  • There aren't that many ?????? WHEEL options, and some other cheese shape must cross the fifth letter of that themer. Tough!

Looking at all the constraints, it's pretty cool that CW got the SAND WEDGE / RUBIKS CUBE / MENTAL BLOCK intersections to work out. I might have favored a non-interlocking layout in exchange for upgrading SLAB, but that's personal taste.

Given all the crossing themers, CW does a great job with the fill. Those areas in the middle of three themers — SEASIDE / WHISK / LPS and WHOS WHO / OASIS / PIE — are treacherously constrained. Neat to see very few gluey entries throughout the entire grid. DTS and NEWSY feel a little old-fashioned to me, but that's about it that I noticed.

CW's diagonal lines of black squares sort of segments the grid into three pieces — the NW corner, a diagonal swath from the SW to the NE, and the SE corner — which makes it easier to fill, as you can tackle one chunk at a time. That's not ideal for solvers though, potentially requiring them to jump around the grid instead of flowing through it like water. But considering how devoid the grid is of ugly entries, I think it's a fine trade-off.

1
A
2
C
3
M
4
E
5
P
6
H
7
E
8
W
9
C
10
H
11
E
12
A
13
P
14
P
E
E
N
15
L
E
G
O
16
L
O
O
S
E
17
S
A
N
D
18
W
E
D
G
E
19
O
W
N
U
P
20
E
S
T
21
H
A
G
S
22
D
T
S
23
S
E
A
24
S
I
D
E
25
N
O
H
O
26
P
27
E
28
L
P
S
29
P
A
T
E
30
A
L
31
B
32
R
33
U
B
I
K
34
S
35
C
U
B
E
36
O
D
I
E
37
I
S
L
E
38
E
R
R
O
L
39
A
D
Z
E
40
C
E
O
S
41
M
A
R
B
L
42
E
S
L
A
B
43
A
R
C
44
D
I
B
S
45
P
I
E
46
S
K
47
I
R
T
S
48
W
49
H
O
S
W
50
H
51
O
52
T
E
E
53
C
R
O
C
54
H
O
P
55
F
56
A
57
C
E
S
58
S
A
Y
C
H
59
E
E
S
E
60
E
X
A
M
S
61
T
R
E
K
62
P
E
E
R
63
N
E
W
S
Y
64
P
A
R
S
65
A
L
D
A
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0810 ( 24,016 )
Across Down
1. Pinnacle : ACME
5. "That was a close one!" : PHEW
9. Penny-pinching : CHEAP
14. Back end of a hammer : PEEN
15. Toy building brick : LEGO
16. Like some screws and translations : LOOSE
17. *Club used in a bunker : SANDWEDGE
19. Confess (to) : OWNUP
20. N.J. winter hrs. : EST
21. Old crones : HAGS
22. Rehab problem, for short : DTS
23. Boardwalk's locale : SEASIDE
25. Zero chance : NOHOPE
28. 33 1/3 r.p.m. records : LPS
29. Cracker spread : PATE
30. Priest's robe : ALB
32. *1980s hand-held puzzle craze : RUBIKSCUBE
36. "Garfield" dog : ODIE
37. ___ of Man : ISLE
38. Dashing Flynn of films : ERROL
39. Woodworking tool : ADZE
40. Corp. bigwigs : CEOS
41. *Many a countertop : MARBLESLAB
43. Part of a circle : ARC
44. "That's mine!" : DIBS
45. Bake sale purchase : PIE
46. Avoids, as an issue : SKIRTS
48. Reference work on notable people published since 1899 : WHOSWHO
52. Golf ball propper-upper : TEE
53. Swamp critter : CROC
54. Move like a flea : HOP
55. What 32-Across has six of : FACES
58. "Smile!" ... or a hint to the ends of the answers to the five starred clues : SAYCHEESE
60. Midterms and finals : EXAMS
61. Long, arduous walk : TREK
62. Look through binoculars, e.g. : PEER
63. Full of gossip : NEWSY
64. 3, 4 and 5, on golf courses : PARS
65. Alan of "The Aviator" : ALDA
1. Cathedral areas : APSES
2. Stop : CEASE
3. *Inability to recall something : MENTALBLOCK
4. Stop : END
5. Argue in court : PLEAD
6. Waffle : HEDGE
7. Waffle ingredients : EGGS
8. Misfortune : WOE
9. Cover with a garment : CLOTHE
10. "In what way?" : HOWSO
11. Many, many years : EON
12. Sch. in Tempe : ASU
13. Vim and vigor : PEP
18. ___ broom : WHISK
22. "I gotta hear this!" : DOTELL
24. 007 and others : SPIES
25. Big shot : NABOB
26. *Riverboat propeller : PADDLEWHEEL
27. "My Fair Lady" lady : ELIZA
29. Contented cat sounds : PURRS
31. British network, with "the" : BEEB
32. Costa ___ : RICA
33. ___ manual : USERS
34. Jew or Arab : SEMITE
35. Grouchy sorts : CRABS
36. Green spot in a desert : OASIS
42. Many, many years : EPOCH
44. Like gala attire : DRESSY
47. List components : ITEMS
48. More twisted, as humor : WRYER
49. Takes to a pawnshop : HOCKS
50. Fleeced : HOSED
51. La Scala offering : OPERA
53. Irene of "Fame" : CARA
55. Quagmire : FEN
56. Paul Bunyan's tool : AXE
57. Cornfield call : CAW
58. Gas tank additive : STP
59. Org. concerned with clean air : EPA

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?