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New York Times, Monday, August 10, 2015

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

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 ... read more

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
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
Down
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?