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New York Times, Monday, August 17, 2015

Author:
Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
666/12/20009/23/201937
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74692200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63217
Andrea Carla Michaels

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: none – this is a pangram. Spans: 4 This is puzzle # 50 for Ms. Michaels. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrea Carla Michaels notes:
I'm pleased to see I've reached a milestone with this being my 50th puzzle in the NY Times. It was fun in retrospect to see how ... read more

I'm pleased to see I've reached a milestone with this being my 50th puzzle in the NY Times. It was fun in retrospect to see how personal this puzzle is for me in that 1.) it's a Monday, 2.) one of the clues is "Acme", 3.) it's a pangram, and 4.) it's about joy. I'm BEAMing at 1-Across and I'm LAUGHINGOUTLOUD at the reveal.

I wanted to do a puzzle with HARDY HAR HAR ... which is old-fashioned with something modern. Once I realized LAUGHINGOUTLOUD was 15 letters as was HARPERVALLEYPTA and HARDYBOYSSERIES, I was on my way.

The challenge was the second HAR. In my original submission I had HARLEMBOYSCHOIR but had failed to notice that I used BOYS twice (HARDYBOYS and HARLEMBOYS). So Will suggested he'd accept the puzzle IF I could substitute in a different phrase.

There aren't that many phrases in the language that start with HAR to begin with, much less exactly 15 letters, so it was a nice coincidence that I stumbled on HARVARDGRADUATE just as I was headed back East for my 35th reunion (OK, I threw in YALE at 18D for equal time).

Since the grid was pretty restricted in the order which things had to appear (I only had flexibility in swapping out the second and third HAR), Joel Fagliano helped me substantially lay out the grid so I could get as smooth a fill as possible. He deserves structural credit here!

I particularly like MADCAP and "So's YER old man!" My favorite corner is the Northeast, where SAIL crosses ALEE, and JESSE/ OZAWA/ EZRA and SWEE' pea all play together with EASE.

ALOHA!

Jeff Chen notes:
HARDY HAR HAR! Amusing (pun intended) phrase hidden at the beginning of themers. I was more a 'The Three Investigators' kind of kid, ... read more

HARDY HAR HAR! Amusing (pun intended) phrase hidden at the beginning of themers. I was more a "The Three Investigators" kind of kid, imagining myself to be the Jupiter Jones character. Terribly unathletic, too smart for his own good, so much so that no one liked him — what kid wouldn't want to be that?

No LAUGHING OUT LOUD for these serious fellas

Hmm.

Although I do like HARDY HAR HAR being opaque until the end of the puzzle, LAUGHING OUT LOUD didn't seem quite apt. Not that I ever say HARDY HAR HAR, but it seems to me a sarcastic phrase, akin to VERY FUNNY BUSTER. Perhaps kids these days have done something with LOL that I don't know of.

Some nice touches in the mid-length fill with MADCAP and TIPTOP (with its insidery clue … [Acme]!). I would have liked some longer fill too, which could have been made possible by removing the black squares in between EZRA/YER and IRV/UGLY (among other possibilities). Even one pair of 8+ letter entries peps up a grid so much for me.

Speaking of those two corners, Acme is a big fan of Scrabble and of Scrabbly letters. In the upper right, it does add spice to get a J and a Z. I personally wouldn't make the trade-off of having SWEE (partial-ish entry) and ALEE (esoteric term) to get the J and Z, but that's a judgment call — it was interesting to read her viewpoint, which is perfectly valid. I prefer when Monday grids are silky smooth, more like Acme's bottom left corner. Not as high-Scrabble value with just the K, but not a gluey bit down there.

For a 78-word grid, I'd expect there to be nary a gluey entries in the grid, and the old-timey SERE is a noticeable standout for me. This is totally subjective, I see SERE as one of the outliers from the bad old days of crosswords, the type of entry that turns people off from crosswords. It's one I'd like to see gone for good.

Congrats to Acme for NYT puzzle #50!

1
B
2
E
3
A
4
M
5
D
6
I
7
O
8
R
9
J
10
E
11
S
12
S
13
E
14
A
L
F
A
15
E
T
N
A
16
O
Z
A
W
A
17
H
A
R
D
18
Y
B
O
Y
S
19
S
E
R
I
E
S
20
S
N
O
C
A
T
21
X
C
I
22
A
L
E
E
23
A
L
O
24
E
25
A
L
26
F
27
H
28
A
29
R
P
E
R
V
30
A
L
L
E
31
Y
32
P
33
T
34
A
35
A
L
I
36
S
I
L
37
S
E
E
R
E
D
38
R
O
S
39
I
40
E
41
L
O
42
S
43
D
R
A
N
O
44
S
H
E
R
R
45
I
46
N
A
47
P
48
D
E
B
49
H
A
R
V
A
R
50
D
G
R
A
51
D
52
U
A
T
E
53
T
A
R
54
I
S
O
N
55
E
56
T
57
T
58
U
59
Q
U
60
A
61
T
I
P
62
T
63
O
64
P
65
L
A
U
G
66
H
I
N
G
67
O
U
T
L
O
U
D
68
K
U
B
L
A
69
K
E
R
R
70
U
R
S
A
71
S
T
A
Y
S
72
S
E
R
E
73
G
E
T
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0817 ( 24,023 )
Across
1
Smile broadly : BEAM
5
Fashion designer Christian : DIOR
9
Outlaw ___ James : JESSE
14
___ Romeo (Italian car) : ALFA
15
Sicilian peak : ETNA
16
Seiji ___, former Boston Symphony director : OZAWA
17
Mysteries starting with "The Tower Treasure" and "The House on the Cliff" : HARDYBOYSSERIES
20
Ski resort vehicle : SNOCAT
21
91, to Nero : XCI
22
Sheltered at sea : ALEE
23
Soothing stuff : ALOE
25
Furry TV extraterrestrial : ALF
27
1968 hit song that spawned a 1978 movie and a 1981 TV show : HARPERVALLEYPTA
35
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" boxer : ALI
36
"Répondez ___ vous plaît" : SIL
37
Become enraged : SEERED
38
Comedian/TV host once called the "Queen of Nice" : ROSIE
41
The "L" of U.C.L.A. : LOS
43
Liquid-Plumr rival : DRANO
44
"The View" co-host ___ Shepherd : SHERRI
46
Forty winks : NAP
48
Belle of the ball, for short : DEB
49
Crimson alumnus : HARVARDGRADUATE
53
Driveway topper : TAR
54
"Help ___ the way!" : ISON
55
Accusation to Brutus : ETTU
59
Sine ___ non : QUA
61
Acme : TIPTOP
65
Bit of textspeak, unshortened ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 27- and 49-Across : LAUGHINGOUTLOUD
68
Coleridge's "___ Khan" : KUBLA
69
Deborah who was nominated for a record six Best Actress Oscars without ever winning : KERR
70
Bear in constellation names : URSA
71
Death row reprieves : STAYS
72
Very dry : SERE
73
Comprehends : GETS
Down
1
Exclamations from Scrooge : BAHS
2
Pizazz : ELAN
3
Retro hairstyle : AFRO
4
Wild and crazy : MADCAP
5
Ones owing money : DEBTORS
6
"Who am ___ judge?" : ITO
7
Jet-black gem : ONYX
8
Little troublemaker : RASCAL
9
Baseball's DiMaggio : JOE
10
Biblical prophet : EZRA
11
Go wherever the wind blows? : SAIL
12
___'Pea (Popeye's kid) : SWEE
13
Military order, after "at" : EASE
18
Where Bill and Hillary Clinton met : YALE
19
Window ledges : SILLS
24
Wicked : EVIL
26
Oats, for a horse : FEED
27
Like Siberian winters : HARSH
28
2015 rom-com set in Hawaii : ALOHA
29
Staircase part : RISER
30
"I knew it all ___!" : ALONG
31
"So's ___ old man!" : YER
32
Gucci alternative : PRADA
33
Founding principle : TENET
34
Pueblo brick : ADOBE
39
___ Cross, first African-American full-time sports analyst on national TV : IRV
40
The "E" of Q.E.D. : ERAT
42
Hindu dress : SARI
45
Baghdad native : IRAQI
47
Grazing land : PASTURE
50
Sots : DRUNKS
51
"Just ___" (Nike slogan) : DOIT
52
Go acoustic, informally : UNPLUG
55
Antlered animals : ELKS
56
Like a rope during a tug-of-war match : TAUT
57
Marching band instrument : TUBA
58
Hideous : UGLY
60
"A Death in the Family" writer James : AGEE
62
Shredded : TORE
63
Remove, as in a coup : OUST
64
Multipurpose hand-held devices, for short : PDAS
66
"Elvis ___ left the building" : HAS
67
Bobby of the N.H.L. : ORR

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?