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New York Times, Friday, August 11, 2017

Author: Hal Moore
Editor: Will Shortz
Hal Moore
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
21/26/20178/11/20170
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0000110
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 33 Missing: {JKQ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Moore. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Hal Moore notes: GHOSTFACE KILLAH has appeared in the Times puzzle before, but until today, the full WU TANG CLAN had not — as a native New ... more
Hal Moore notes:

GHOSTFACE KILLAH has appeared in the Times puzzle before, but until today, the full WU TANG CLAN had not — as a native New Yorker, I'm glad to be able to rectify that and show Staten Island some love. I grew up in Manhattan in the 90s, and hip hop was a vital part of that experience, so I gave the Wu pride of place at 1-Across. From there, I just tried to keep the fill lively and clean without sacrificing flow.

Because the NW and SE corners have only one entry/exit each, I made the openings three blocks wide, so that those sections wouldn't feel cut off from the rest of the puzzle. Once I had the NW stack in place, I put in the two 12-letter answers — normally a difficult length to work with because of the forced placement of six black squares, but the blocks below 22-Across and above 48-Across made sense to me.

It was a challenge to then "reverse engineer" the NW and fill the SE to my liking. I had to pay the price of LIA (the Irish word for "stone") and the partial ONE TO, while the third-person GOES EASY ON might not hit the ear quite right. But I was pleased to be able to include the great TRINI LOPEZ to provide a musical contrast with the opposite corner. Alongside NELL Carter, IRV Gotti, and ALANIS Morissette, a wide variety of styles are represented, reflecting my own eclectic taste.

I finished the construction in the SW and NE corners, and looking back (I made the puzzle last summer), I feel the 90s coming through there, too – THE X-FILES was huge, (although I wasn't really into it, I just like the wacky H-E-X-F letter string), as were dinosaurs, so solvers also get a giant IGUANODON.

Thanks to Will and Joel for their editing — I especially appreciated how they livened up the short fill with their clues for 29- and 36-Across, and 11- and 27-Down.

Jeff Chen notes: Some great feature entries, IGUANODON my favorite. Not only do I have a fascination with dinosaurs, but what a fantastic clue — ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Some great feature entries, IGUANODON my favorite. Not only do I have a fascination with dinosaurs, but what a fantastic clue — this Godzilla junkie was delighted to learn that specific dinosaurs inspired Godzilla! HALTER TOP, THE X FILES (although I admit, it was too creepy for me), SHETLAND PONY, TIME TRAVEL = quite an EXTRAVAGANZA.

I'd guess that some solvers will complain about WU TANG CLAN at 1-Across — I hear a lot of complaints about excessive rap appearances in the NYT crossword — but I think it's 100% fair. Not only is the WU TANG CLAN one of the most influential rap groups of all time, all the crossings for WU TANG are easily gettable. And maybe you don't know rap, but you know kung-fu? (insert Keanu Reeves joke here)

Some solvers may have just a neutral reaction to a music group they don't know, but I don't think complaints of unfairness would be justified.

I like it when themelesses have a little something for everyone. I have to imagine that the intersection of WU TANG CLAN and TRINI LOPEZ fans is not big.

I only know TRINI LOPEZ from crosswords, but he does seem like he was popular in his time? He sure is constructor-friendly, what with the easy consonant-vowel alternation. Didn't do much for me personally, not like the WU TANG CLAN did. But just as long as the crossings are fair ...

Hold on. LIA Fail = tough crossword glue. For those younger solvers who haven't heard of TRINI LOPEZ, could there be an equally reasonable letter for the L? MOPEZ? TOPEZ?

Nah. So it does seem like if you finished with an error at that spot, that's on you. But I would be sympathetic.

Overall, I would have liked a few more sparkly feature entries, as ANTICIPATE, ARE WE ALONE (another constructor-friendly pattern of vowels and consonants) took up valuable real estate. Still, enough good stuff to keep me entertained, and not much crossword glue overall.

1
W
2
U
3
T
4
A
5
N
6
G
7
C
8
L
9
A
10
N
11
B
12
I
13
G
14
S
15
A
R
E
W
E
A
L
O
N
E
16
A
G
R
A
17
T
I
M
E
T
R
A
V
E
L
18
D
U
A
L
19
T
A
P
S
20
B
R
A
W
L
21
C
A
P
E
22
S
H
E
23
P
L
E
B
24
I
O
N
E
25
S
H
E
T
L
26
A
27
N
D
P
O
N
28
Y
29
T
30
H
A
I
31
E
C
H
O
32
D
U
E
33
C
H
A
P
L
34
I
35
N
36
E
L
L
37
I
O
T
T
38
E
E
L
39
E
R
I
40
E
41
I
N
N
S
42
E
X
T
43
R
A
V
A
G
44
A
45
N
Z
A
46
F
E
E
S
47
A
L
O
E
48
C
49
O
50
D
51
D
I
R
T
52
S
53
A
L
A
D
54
M
O
N
O
55
A
L
T
A
56
T
R
I
N
I
57
L
O
P
E
Z
58
L
E
O
I
59
A
N
T
I
C
I
P
A
T
E
60
E
S
P
N
61
G
O
E
S
E
A
S
Y
O
N
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0811 ( 24,748 )
Across Down
1. Rap group whose name comes from a martial arts film : WUTANGCLAN
11. Step up from Triple-A, with "the" : BIGS
15. What many stargazers wonder : AREWEALONE
16. Onetime Mughal capital : AGRA
17. Basis of the Doctor's adventures on "Doctor Who" : TIMETRAVEL
18. Twin : DUAL
19. Call heard at Arlington : TAPS
20. What a bouncer might bust up : BRAWL
21. With 48-Across, East Coast vacation spot : CAPE
22. Ship, to its skipper : SHE
23. Common sort : PLEB
24. One of the Nereids : IONE
25. It may be ridden by kids at a carnival : SHETLANDPONY
29. Language in which "seven" is "jet" : THAI
31. Return from a tunnel? : ECHO
32. East or west lead-in : DUE
33. "Great Dictator" player of 1940 : CHAPLIN
36. Film character who says "E.T., stay with me" : ELLIOTT
38. Dragon roll ingredient : EEL
39. Home to Double-A baseball's SeaWolves : ERIE
41. Orbitz options : INNS
42. Spectacular : EXTRAVAGANZA
46. Loads of investments? : FEES
47. Natural healer : ALOE
48. See 21-Across : COD
51. Scandal fodder : DIRT
52. Preparatory course? : SALAD
54. Like old records : MONO
55. Wasatch Mountains resort : ALTA
56. Singer of the 1965 hit "Lemon Tree" : TRINILOPEZ
58. Hilarius succeeded him in A.D. 461 : LEOI
59. Look for : ANTICIPATE
60. "First Take" airer : ESPN
61. Doesn't throw the book at : GOESEASYON
1. Neighborhood in TV's "Sanford and Son" : WATTS
2. David had him slain, in the Bible : URIAH
3. City immediately west of Mesa : TEMPE
4. Knocks over : AWES
5. Clear : NET
6. Make unclear, in a way : GARBLE
7. Deep red : CLARET
8. Darling : LOVABLE
9. With a clean slate : ANEW
10. Carter of "Ain't Misbehavin'" : NELL
11. Procedural bully : BADCOP
12. One of the dinosaurs upon which Godzilla is based : IGUANODON
13. Breakfast brand since 1897 : GRAPENUTS
14. Result of a perfect pitch? : SALE
23. Fogg of fiction : PHILEAS
24. Consider a real star : IDOLIZE
25. Scammer's target : SAP
26. Potential Air Medal recipient : ACE
27. Grp. that frowns upon illegal checks : NHL
28. "___ again?" : YET
29. It had an episode titled "Little Green Men" : THEXFILES
30. It might be worn with short shorts : HALTERTOP
33. 2.0 : CEE
34. Music producer Gotti : IRV
35. Long of "Alfie" : NIA
37. ___ word : INA
40. "Liberté, ___, fraternité" (France's motto) : EGALITE
43. Hang on to : RETAIN
44. Self-titled debut pop album of 1991 : ALANIS
45. "Ain't gonna happen" : NODICE
48. Pharmacy figure : COPAY
49. ___ remember : ONETO
50. Quantity in the dairy aisle : DOZEN
51. Natural depression : DALE
52. Solo, in a way : STAG
53. View from the Piazzale Michelangelo : ARNO
54. Challenges for stylists : MOPS
57. ___ Fáil (ancient crowning stone) : LIA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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