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New York Times, Saturday, August 12, 2017

Author: Kameron Austin Collins
Editor: Will Shortz
Kameron Austin Collins
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
76/6/20148/12/20170
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0000115
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59000

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 ... more
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 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I didn't get much out of RANSOM OLDS — interesting name, but he felt outdated.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 )
Across Down
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
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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