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New York Times, Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Author:
Paula Gamache
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1085/21/20021/14/20184
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
81318151217619
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58431
Paula Gamache

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {DJKQVWXZ} This is puzzle # 105 for Ms. Gamache. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Puns on *LESS words today. I really liked the ones involving a drastic change to the first part of the word, SEAMLESS my favorite. So ... read more

Puns on *LESS words today. I really liked the ones involving a drastic change to the first part of the word, SEAMLESS my favorite. So funny to think about a coal miner, his/her shoulders sagging as he/she waves bye-bye to a beloved work site. BASELESS was amusing too, evoking a picture of a soldier roaming the world, BASE-less like a ronin.

Seven themers are rarely easy to fit into a grid. Paula does have the huge advantage of working with seven themers sharing a common four-letter ending, which makes intersecting themers much easier than normal (MOTIONLESS / SEAMLESS). Still, all those themers take up so much space that there are bound to be compromises in the short fill.

I like that Paula tried for some bonus fill, even what with the seven-themer challenge. Entries like POOL CUE, THE CAPE, MY STARS, IN HELL, even a little PASCAL (one of my first programming languages!) added zest to my solve.

I see you though, ISOLA, ON OR, EMAG, ENCL, MTGE, etc. That's too much in one puzzle for my taste, but I can appreciate Paula's decision to push the boundaries, using a good amount of crossword glue in order to cram in some bonus fill. Ah, the trade-offs constructors are eternally faced with.

[It has arms and waves] hinting at SEA made me laugh. I love that kind of riddle, as they remind me of many a beloved children's book I read as a kid. Or yesterday. (A major reason why I'm able to read more than 100 books a year is because most of them have "for kids age 9-12" on the back cover.)

I didn't love the themers where the kooky definition was a little too similar to the original meaning — HELPLESS is defined as "unable to ... act without help," which doesn't seem very different from the kooky clue — but I thought the idea was generally neat and made for an entertaining solve.

1
H
2
A
3
H
4
A
5
C
6
A
7
P
8
E
9
R
10
P
11
I
12
C
13
T
14
I
B
E
T
15
A
L
I
N
E
16
O
N
O
R
17
C
O
L
L
18
A
R
L
E
S
S
19
O
H
M
Y
20
P
U
R
E
21
R
U
T
22
H
L
E
S
S
23
M
24
I
L
N
E
25
F
O
E
26
E
C
L
A
T
27
T
H
E
C
A
28
P
E
29
F
A
U
L
T
S
30
G
O
S
H
31
A
S
32
A
33
R
U
L
E
34
E
P
S
35
A
R
T
L
E
S
S
36
S
37
O
38
B
39
G
U
E
S
S
A
T
40
S
E
G
A
41
A
42
S
43
P
I
R
E
44
M
Y
45
S
T
A
R
S
46
L
H
A
S
A
47
I
48
O
S
49
T
I
M
E
S
50
B
A
S
E
L
51
E
S
S
52
C
A
L
L
53
E
N
C
L
54
M
O
T
55
I
O
N
L
E
56
S
57
S
58
R
I
A
L
59
A
L
E
R
T
60
U
S
E
R
61
T
A
L
E
62
G
A
R
R
Y
63
P
S
A
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0802 ( 24,374 )
Across
1
Reaction to a crack : HAHA
5
Pickled garnish : CAPER
10
Briton of old : PICT
14
"Uh-huh, sure it is" : IBET
15
Fashion cut : ALINE
16
___ about (approximately) : ONOR
17
What the beat cop didn't want to be? : COLLARLESS
19
"Good heavens!" : OHMY
20
Sheer : PURE
21
What the 1920s Yankees didn't want to be? : RUTHLESS
23
Christopher Robin's creator : MILNE
25
No friend : FOE
26
Sparkling effect : ECLAT
27
Martha's Vineyard alternative : THECAPE
29
Serving goofs in tennis : FAULTS
30
"Wow!" : GOSH
31
Generally speaking : ASARULE
34
Short albums, for short : EPS
35
What the museum curator didn't want to be? : ARTLESS
36
Have a bawl : SOB
39
Try to answer or estimate : GUESSAT
40
Onetime Nintendo rival : SEGA
41
Harbor high hopes : ASPIRE
44
"Good heavens!" : MYSTARS
46
Tibetan capital : LHASA
47
Apple devices run on it : IOS
49
V and X, on a sundial : TIMES
50
What the G.I. didn't want to be? : BASELESS
52
Phone : CALL
53
Business letter abbr. : ENCL
54
What the trial attorney didn't want to be? : MOTIONLESS
58
Mideast money : RIAL
59
Incoming text ding, e.g. : ALERT
60
___ ID : USER
61
Chaucer offering : TALE
62
Cartoonist Trudeau : GARRY
63
Pro bono spots, briefly : PSAS
Down
1
Sot's sound : HIC
2
Blood-typing letters : ABO
3
What the mansion owner didn't want to be? : HELPLESS
4
Out for a bite, maybe : ATLUNCH
5
Worry : CARE
6
100% : ALL
7
Painter ___ di Cosimo : PIERO
8
Happen next : ENSUE
9
Chill : REST
10
It has a tip for players in the game room : POOLCUE
11
Suffering, figuratively : INHELL
12
Orbiting info relayer : COMSAT
13
Assignations : TRYSTS
18
Something a line lacks : AREA
22
Makes better : HEALS
23
Part of F.N.M.A.: Abbr. : MTGE
24
Denny's alternative : IHOP
25
Fun gatherings : FESTS
28
Gay ___ : PAREE
29
Rigidly old-fashioned : FUSTY
32
Lou Gehrig's disease, for short : ALS
33
Bawls (out) : REAMS
35
Heard only : AURAL
36
What the coal company didn't want to be? : SEAMLESS
37
Tyrannical sort : OGRE
38
One who can't hit high pitches? : BASS
39
Princess in Disney's "Enchanted" : GISELLE
40
Not yet slumbering : STILLUP
41
Queen Victoria's husband : ALBERT
42
"Any Man of Mine" singer Twain : SHANIA
43
French mathematician Blaise : PASCAL
45
Tennis great Smith : STAN
47
Sicilia, for one : ISOLA
48
Blender maker : OSTER
51
Online publication, informally : EMAG
52
Big name in perfumery : COTY
55
Like some mdse. marked "as is" : IRR
56
It has arms and waves : SEA
57
Commencement participants: Abbr. : SRS

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

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