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New York Times, Saturday, August 12, 2017

Author:
Kameron Austin Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
106/6/20149/28/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000136
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57000
Kameron Austin Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 62, Blocks: 39 Missing: {FJQVXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
What an eye-catching pattern of black squares! Kameron produces a lot of innovative grid art for themelesses, one of the few people to ... read more

What an eye-catching pattern of black squares! Kameron produces a lot of innovative grid art for themelesses, one of the few people to do it well. Big thumbs up for the first impression. In the past, sometimes I've felt like he's used too many black squares, thus making his construction job a little too easy, but that wasn't the case today. Grid was both visually mesmerizing to this solver, and awe-inspiring to this constructor. Big swaths like the SW and NE corners are so tough to fill well.

Love COMMITMENT PHOBE, great feature entry. BRAIN PLASTICITY wasn't quite as electric to me — pretty hard to give it anything but a dictionary clue — but I enjoyed it as well. Along with LOTUS EATER and LEG ARMOR, that's some excellent long stuff.

It's so tough to fill a grid like this with both sparkle and smoothness. Kameron did extremely well with the latter. Finishing a grid as audacious as this with just some CELA (sad to say, I couldn't figure it out even with five years of high school French), AGA, HRS is great craftsmanship.

I didn't get much out of RANSOM OLDS — interesting name, but he felt outdated. BANANA cream PIE, yes! BANANA PIE … maybe I don't eat enough pies to feel like this is a great entry? BAYBERRY ... I should probably have known it? BELTLINE gets defined by the dictionary as "waistline," which felt like a much more apt word to me.

There were also a lot of tough proper nouns. ETSY, ILSA, CATT, LILIAN, ATLI, along with RANSOM OLDS, and it felt a bit too much like a trivia quiz at points.

Still, impressive work in filling such a tough grid pattern — so few puzzle makers dip into daunting 62-word territory. Amazing to finish up with such little crossword glue.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0812 ( 24,749 )

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Across
1
Cambridge student, informally : CANTAB
7
Militant sort : RAMBO
12
Scrubbed : ABORTED
14
Mystery writer ___ Jackson Braun : LILIAN
15
Start of a big fight? : THRILLA
16
Champagne is one : TOPONYM
17
One difficult to tie down : COMMITMENTPHOBE
19
Billing units: Abbr. : HRS
20
Dreamer of myth : LOTUSEATER
21
Brand of change-counting machines : COINSTAR
23
TV Gold? : ARI
24
___ New York (upscale department store chain) : BARNEYS
25
Short but not necessarily sweet : CURT
26
Applesauce-topped nosh : LATKE
27
Prestigious research university : EMORY
29
Split : WENT
30
Colorful summer treats : ICEPOPS
33
Turkish pooh-bah : AGA
34
Placated, with "to" : MADENICE
36
Founder of two automobile companies : RANSOMOLDS
38
Some postgraduate study : LAW
41
Ability to learn and adapt neurologically : BRAINPLASTICITY
44
Says without saying : IMPLIES
45
Bad sign : ILLOMEN
46
Muddied : ROILED
47
Antinuke pact topic : TESTBAN
48
Habiliments : DRESS
49
Bully's reply : SAYSME
Down
1
Dateable one : CATCH
2
Not fancy at all : ABHOR
3
Typical results : NORMS
4
Fit : TRIM
5
Gudrun's victim, in Norse myth : ATLI
6
Weight-watchers watch it : BELTLINE
7
Jack's sobriquet, with "the" : RIPPER
8
"___ From Hawaii" (1973 Elvis concert) : ALOHA
9
Some ancient Cretan statues : MINOTAURS
10
Candle scent popular at Christmas : BAYBERRY
11
Deservingly : ONMERIT
13
Big band singer Vic : DAMONE
14
Mucho : LOTSA
16
Fasteners with flat tops : TNUTS
18
Crafts site : ETSY
21
Suffragist Carrie Chapman ___ : CATT
22
Sitcom world : ORK
24
Fruity dessert : BANANAPIE
25
Get along : COPE
26
Greaves, e.g. : LEGARMOR
27
Mass readings : EPISTLES
28
Cozy footwear, for short : MOC
29
Vintage military plane : WARBIRD
30
Reality winners beginning in 2002 : IDOLS
31
That, in France : CELA
32
Breaks things off : ENDSIT
34
Media of exchange : MONIES
35
Superexcited : AMPED
37
Places to cool it? : SILLS
38
Major storm detritus : LIMBS
39
Elite group : ATEAM
40
Arthur ___, inventor of the crossword puzzle : WYNNE
42
"Casablanca" lover : ILSA
43
Chanel rival : COTY

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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