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New York Times, Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5011/13/201212/5/201718
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517145342
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVWZ} This is puzzle # 46 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Zhouqin Burnikel notes: I started with two 12s in Row 4 and Row 13, but the grid was quite crowded. So I changed direction. Initially 6-Down and ... more
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:

I started with two 12s in Row 4 and Row 13, but the grid was quite crowded. So I changed direction.

Initially 6-Down and 27-Down were broken up with a pair of 8's alongside STANDING O and BITTER END.

Jeff Chen notes: Plays on various 'collectors,' a PASSPORT collecting stamps, the GUINNESS BOOK collecting records, a CASH REGISTER collecting bills, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Plays on various "collectors," a PASSPORT collecting stamps, the GUINNESS BOOK collecting records, a CASH REGISTER collecting bills, and a PASTA BAR collecting shells. GUINNESS BOOK worked great for me, as it played upon two fairly different senses of the word "record." CASH REGISTER was also good since a cash bill and a "you owe me X" bill are different enough for my taste.

The others weren't as strong for me since some countries put actual stamps in your PASSPORT instead of just stamping it with ink. Yes, these aren't exactly the same, since you can't mail a letter with that type of stamp, but I like more wordplay rather than less. And the idea of a PASTA BAR "collecting" shells ... that was too tortured for my taste.

C.C.'s bonus fill shines, as usual — I give her a STANDING O in this regard. Along with MISS TEEN USA, MAD DASH, POINT GUARDS, BITTER END, there's so, so, so much goodness packed in. Note how C.C. so carefully spreads out her bonus fill across the puzzle's columns and alternates them up and down for good spacing — this is a great methodology for being able to incorporate a ton of snazzy fill.

With just four themers, all constructors should aim for this much great long fill. It's very doable any time you have four themers that aren't grid-spanning. Doable, meaning without a lot of crossword glue, that is. I did pick up a bit of ITAL, ISO, RTE, UNOS, but that was all so minor. Nice craftsmanship.

There was so much good stuff, I think it would have been passable if C.C. had put a black square at the E of PULSE, breaking up BITTER END, or a black square at the A of PISA, breaking up POINT GUARDS. I'm glad she didn't, since I so much appreciate all the great fill, but for more novice constructors studying C.C.'s execution today, both would be viable options that would make those tricky NW/SE sections easier to fill.

I would have liked the same level of a-ha moment I got from GUINNESS BOOK being a "record collector" from all four themers, but overall, C.C.'s strong execution kept me engaged throughout my solve.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0815 ( 24,752 )
Across Down
1. Line of clothing : INSEAM
7. Random guess : STAB
11. Deg. that requires a defense : PHD
14. Japanese floor mat : TATAMI
15. "Didn't see ya there!" : OHHI
16. Garden row maker : HOE
17. Old video game consoles : ATARIS
18. Stamp collector? : PASSPORT
20. "Total Recall" director Wiseman : LEN
21. Enthusiastic Spanish assent : SISI
23. Like sports crowds during a close game : TENSE
24. Because of : DUETO
27. "Hail Mary, full of grace ...," e.g. : PRAYER
28. Record collector? : GUINNESSBOOK
32. Significant : OFNOTE
33. Showy purple bloom : IRIS
34. Energy measurement, for short : BTU
37. Cranberry picking sites : BOGS
38. Who famously said "I'm not a crook" : NIXON
40. Media slant : BIAS
41. Prefix with -metric : ISO
42. Calliope or Euterpe : MUSE
43. Play a fife : TOOTLE
45. Bill collector? : CASHREGISTER
47. Tiered Eastern temple : PAGODA
50. Something measured by holding fingers on the wrist : PULSE
51. Trojan War epic : ILIAD
52. Galileo's hometown : PISA
54. A detour offers a different one: Abbr. : RTE
57. Shell collector? : PASTABAR
59. Undoing of legislation : REPEAL
62. Mobile CPR provider : EMT
63. Hit the ___ (go to bed) : SACK
64. Intimidates : DAUNTS
65. Morse code plea : SOS
66. Multiple jobs, metaphorically : HATS
67. It might come with a cherry on top : SUNDAE
1. Slanted in print: Abbr. : ITAL
2. FiveThirtyEight creator Silver : NATE
3. Rousing audience response, informally : STANDINGO
4. Something popped on a plane : EAR
5. Parisian pal : AMI
6. Pageant title since 1983 : MISSTEENUSA
7. Soaks (up) : SOPS
8. Cuisine with tom kha gai soup : THAI
9. Sighed sounds : AHS
10. Places serving salades et sandwiches : BISTROS
11. Hypocrite, say : PHONY
12. Derby entrant : HORSE
13. Hold off : DETER
19. Word after mountain or before season : PEAK
22. Platform for Siri : IOS
25. Some chain pizzerias : UNOS
26. Sinus doc : ENT
27. Players bringing the ball up the court : POINTGUARDS
28. Desert along the Silk Road : GOBI
29. Subjects of some fuzzy photos, for short : UFOS
30. Philly pro : SIXER
31. ___ hug : BRO
34. Final and unhappy outcome : BITTEREND
35. Fish story : TALE
36. ___ interface : USER
39. Kinda sorta : ISH
40. Big enchilada : BOSS
42. Frenzied race : MADDASH
44. Coconut product : OIL
45. Wool, for a sheep : COAT
46. Short albums, for short : EPS
47. Puff pieces? : PIPES
48. San Antonio mission : ALAMO
49. Main points : GISTS
52. Treaty : PACT
53. Ticks off : IRKS
55. "Toodles!" : TATA
56. "What ___ is new?" : ELSE
58. Cry of shear terror? : BAA
60. It's in la Seine : EAU
61. The clue for 58-Down, e.g. [sorry!] : PUN

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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