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# New York Times, Thursday, August 17, 2017

 Author: Peter A. Collins Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1045/2/20064/18/201812
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
51225361394
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.564313

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 39 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 100 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Peter A. Collins notes: Once I had the idea for this puzzle, I had a harder time than I thought I would to come up with expressions of the form FOUR ... more
Peter A. Collins notes:

Once I had the idea for this puzzle, I had a harder time than I thought I would to come up with expressions of the form FOUR ___, where the second word has exactly four letters and is in-the-language. What made it even tougher is I had the additional constraint that two of the four letters had to be embedded in the long answer (which, in each case, is really a definition of FOUR ___). One other possibility I considered was (FOUR) IRON hooked onto the "IR" in FAIRWAY CLUB, but I realized IRON (without the FOUR) would be a perfectly good answer (definition) of "fairway club" on its own.

I like the multiple meaning of GANG OF FOUR in the context of the puzzle.

I'm happy I stuck with the consistency that in all three instances, the gang of four circled letters is always read clockwise from the upper left. As I was building the grid, I toyed with the idea of having them start in various locations, with some going clockwise and some counterclockwise. Yikes!

Sorry, not a lot of bonus fill. QUIZ SHOW is kind of fun, I suppose.

Jeff Chen notes: This is Pete's 100th NYT puzzle! Congrats, sir. He sent me a post Jim did about him from almost a decade ago, which was funny to ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

This is Pete's 100th NYT puzzle! Congrats, sir. He sent me a post Jim did about him from almost a decade ago, which was funny to read. I guess he didn't run out of steam after all!

The GANG OF FOUR played upon today. (Never thought I'd say those words, considering their infamous place in history!) I like Pete's novel take, using 2x2 blocks — GANGs of FOUR squares, if you will — that intersect their defining answers. (four) STAR = GOOD RATING, the (four) TOPS = MOTOWN SINGERS, etc.

I usually don't care for dictionary definitions — it's not much fun to struggle and toil, with only something as stilted as GLASSES WEARER as your reward — but I appreciate that Pete found definitions that can contain the appropriate GANG OF FOUR. MOTOWN SINGERS is a good phrase, so to work the T O of (four) TOPS in there is neat.

For those of you non-baseball fans, SLUGGER gets a fun clue, referring to Barry BONDS. Nice way to disguise Bonds vs. bonds by having that word start the clue. (Assuming you knew who Barry Bonds was, of course.)

With definitional themes, I think it's even more important than usual to include a ton of bonus fill to jazz up the solving experience. I love QUIZ SHOW, CARGO NET, even BORZOI and HAGGIS are fun. But my favorite was the confusing AND SOON … er, AND SO ON. Great use of a mid-length slot, providing a mini a-ha moment when I finally parsed that correctly.

Given the extra constraints put on by those three GANGs of FOUR, and the need to include all the bonus fill for spice, I think some ISR, TIA, OTC (over the counter), FAS, QAT (what a Scrabble-friendly word!) is not bad in terms of crossword glue.

This one didn't quite clear my (very high) threshold for the definitional theme type, but I appreciated Pete's interesting pairing of the definitions with the literal GANGs OF FOUR.

 1A 2B 3I 4T 5H 6A 7G 8G 9I 10S 11Q 12A 13T 14T O D O 15A T R E S T 16U N O 17E R I N 18G O O D R A 19T I N G 20A Z O 21T E M P 22K A Z O O 23M O T 24O W N S I 25N 26G E R S 27I S P Y 28N I A 29S H 30O 31D 32S L 33U 34G G E R 35I O W A 36O 37T 38C 39A R E 40L B 41S 42W E B 43D I A 44Z 45A N 46D S O O 47N 48D A R E 49L E Y 50B E 51T 52S 53G L 54A S S E 55S 56W E A R E 57R 58A 59V O I D 60L A I R 61A C E 62G A N G O 63F 64F O U R 65A V O N 66O N E 67P L A T T E 68G E N T 69G E T 70T O S S E D 71O L D S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0817 ( 24,754 )
 Across Down 1. Somewhat : ABIT5. Scottish delicacy : HAGGIS11. Arabian stimulant : QAT14. ___ list : TODO15. Still : ATREST16. Colorful card game : UNO17. One side of St. George's Channel : ERIN18. First set of circled letters : GOODRATING20. Like some synthetic colorants : AZO21. Stand-in, maybe : TEMP22. Instrument anyone can play : KAZOO23. Second set of circled letters : MOTOWNSINGERS27. Game often played on car rides : ISPY28. Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : NIA29. Like a racehorse : SHOD32. Bonds, e.g. : SLUGGER35. Its motto is "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain" : IOWA36. Like Tylenol PM, for short : OTC39. "___ you not entertained?" : ARE40. About 1,400 of them is the record for a human: Abbr. : LBS42. Attic construction : WEB43. Barrymore and Liu's "Charlie's Angels" co-star : DIAZ45. Yadda yadda yadda : ANDSOON48. Impetus for a bungee jump, maybe : DARE49. ESPN broadcaster Bob : LEY50. Parlays : BETS53. Third set of circled letters : GLASSESWEARER58. Verb for a dieter : AVOID60. Home in the woods : LAIR61. Crack : ACE62. Faction in China's Cultural Revolution ... or a hint to each set of circled letters : GANGOFFOUR65. River through Bath, England : AVON66. "Rogue ___" : ONE67. River paralleled by I-80 through a long stretch of the Plains : PLATTE68. Mannerly man : GENT69. Pick up : GET70. In the trash : TOSSED71. Delta 88, e.g., informally : OLDS 1. Starters : ATEAM2. Russian wolfhound : BORZOI3. "The Complete ___ Guide to ..." (popular book series) : IDIOTS4. Shipping unit : TON5. Golfer Walter with 11 major championships : HAGEN6. Smithereens : ATOMS7. Searching blindly : GROPING8. Subj. of a Kaplan prep course : GED9. Eastern Med. land : ISR10. Commercial interest : STAKE11. Quest for knowledge? : QUIZSHOW12. A.D. part : ANNO13. Like some orders : TOGO19. Tibia connectors : TARSI21. Tharp of dance : TWYLA24. Black ___ : OPS25. Nobelist Bohr : NIELS26. "Grand Hotel" actress : GARBO30. Be in the red : OWE31. Dollop : DAB33. Range located along the 60th meridian : URALS34. Things in pools : GENES36. Like the number of games in a "best of" series : ODD37. One in la familia : TIA38. Mesh for securing items in a truck bed : CARGONET41. Lacking sauce? : SOBER44. 1983 Woody Allen film : ZELIG46. What knitters need to match, often : DYELOTS47. Govt. org. whose funding is perennially debated : NEA51. Commit a court violation : TRAVEL52. Baseball position, informally : SECOND54. Take in : ADOPT55. Pan-fry : SAUTE56. Hyper : WIRED57. Lets : RENTS58. All atwitter : AGOG59. Pointer for a meteorologist? : VANE63. Rapper ___ Rida : FLO64. Scale notes : FAS65. Past : AGO

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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