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New York Times, Thursday, August 21, 2014

Author:
Jules P. Markey
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
195/10/20123/12/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0165700
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59461
Jules P. Markey

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Markey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jules P. Markey notes:
This puzzle was originally submitted in February of this year, and it received a rejection with a proviso. Will liked the theme but ... read more

This puzzle was originally submitted in February of this year, and it received a rejection with a proviso. Will liked the theme but not POLAR OPPOSITES because the PO didn't occur at the start of the second word as it did in all the others . Having a foot in the door, so to speak, I focused more intently on improving the puzzle. I replaced the offending entry with POLE POSITIONS but the resulting grid had all plural theme entries, which Will would not go for. To make the revised puzzle work I was forced to remove my favorite entry, POTENT POTABLE(S).

The original grid had all the themers running horizontally, I then realized that if I switched two of the them to the vertical they each serendipitously crossed the reveal symmetrically. The one remaining issue was a SW theme entry to balance POLE POSITION in the NE. After a few tries and some back and forth emails, Will accepted POISON POWDER in July, resulting in a surprisingly quick turn around for a rebus puzzle.

My favorite clues are 25-Across which is a newbie for a well-worn 3-letter word (LEI), and 44-Across. My favorite clue which didn't make the cut and admittedly was a bit of a stretch of the old "?", was 21-across clued as "Feathered friend?" as in "tarred and feathered". Will greatly improved on my cluing, especially for the theme entries, as usual.

A word on the "sausage making". I do not use any crossword compiler software to create my grids (I can hear the snark already: "Yeah we can tell"). I'm not of the graph paper and stacks of reference books school though, I do use an Excel spreadsheet for my grids and clues, and I use XWord Info and OneLook as helpers in weaving the words together.

I hope you like this puzzle, my seventh with a few more in the pipeline.

Jeff Chen notes:
Rebuses have come a long way. Browse the huge list to get a sense for this genre's evolution (mouse over the dates to get a thumbnail ... read more

Rebuses have come a long way. Browse the huge list to get a sense for this genre's evolution (mouse over the dates to get a thumbnail view!). At first it was simply any set of letters without any reason. People then made shapes out of rebus squares, and even tied them to revealers. These days, rebi with rationale for why there are rebus squares are de rigueur — today, the rebus squares are literally PO "boxes." Neat idea, similar to CRUSHED ICE, etc.

I hadn't even noticed that the four rebus containers all 1.) use two words and 2.) start each word with a PO box. Now that's nice consistency and elegance. Sometimes I prefer less order in my rebuses, so I have to work at sussing out where they are, but in this case, I liked seeing the order afterward.

I did find POISON POWDER less compelling than the other themers, which all pop (warning, bad joke ahead), especially POPCORN POPPER. Do schemers put POISON POWDER in wine, or just poison? Methinks the latter, but I could easily be wrong. Now if it had been IOCAINE POWDER...

And as much as I liked the consistency factor, I could do without some of the glue that this constraint necessitated. MESNE and ITER are just two entries in a 76 word grid, but they're pretty old school. One is pretty easy to overlook, two feels crunchy. And having A MERE and A LAW near two of those PO boxes makes me wonder if removing the consistency to produce a smoother fill would have been better. Tough call.

Where will rebuses go next? Tough to say, but I'm looking forward to the next evolutionary step in their development. Evolve or bust!

Jim Horne notes:

For me, AMERE is saved by an outstanding clue. Bravo!

1
T
2
E
3
M
4
PO
5
C
6
L
7
A
8
S
9
S
10
R
11
A
12
P
13
T
14
A
L
A
W
15
S
A
M
O
A
16
A
S
H
E
17
C
A
K
E
18
PO
L
E
PO
S
19
I
T
I
O
N
20
I
T
E
R
21
T
A
R
R
E
D
22
A
N
A
23
T
E
A
PO
24
T
25
L
E
I
26
E
27
PO
N
Y
M
28
F
L
O
29
R
A
30
F
31
L
A
P
32
S
33
H
I
I
T
E
34
W
I
I
35
C
36
E
37
L
38
S
39
P
O
S
T
O
F
40
F
I
C
E
41
B
O
X
E
S
42
Y
E
T
I
43
E
O
N
44
G
A
R
T
E
R
45
C
46
A
R
L
47
M
E
S
N
E
48
D
49
E
50
I
S
M
51
L
52
O
O
53
S
PO
N
54
G
55
E
56
E
L
S
57
I
58
S
O
L
D
59
E
60
P
S
A
T
61
PO
I
S
62
O
N
PO
W
D
E
R
63
P
I
T
H
64
S
O
U
R
65
K
E
I
R
A
66
E
V
E
N
67
E
T
E
S
68
E
D
E
N
S
69
R
E
D
O
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0821 ( 23,662 )
Across
1
Pace : TEMPO
5
Serfs, e.g. : CLASS
10
Absorbed : RAPT
14
Is ___ unto oneself : ALAW
15
American ___ : SAMOA
16
26-Across of a North Carolina "-ville" : ASHE
17
Clump up : CAKE
18
First place : POLEPOSITION
20
Roman road : ITER
21
Besmirched : TARRED
22
Carrier to Tokyo : ANA
23
Cozy thing? : TEAPOT
25
One that's HI-strung? : LEI
26
See 16-Across : EPONYM
28
Biota part : FLORA
30
To-do : FLAP
32
Ayatollah Khomeini, e.g. : SHIITE
34
Super Mario Galaxy platform : WII
35
Mickey Mouse pics, e.g. : CELS
39
Mail conveniences ... or a hint to eight squares in this puzzle : POSTOFFICEBOXES
42
Cryptozoological beast : YETI
43
Many, many moons : EON
44
Hose attachment : GARTER
45
Friend of Homer on "The Simpsons" : CARL
47
Intermediate, in law : MESNE
48
Mark Twain's belief : DEISM
51
John of Liverpool : LOO
53
Freeloader : SPONGE
56
Legal borders? : ELS
57
Wagnerian heroine : ISOLDE
60
H.S. exam : PSAT
61
Means of murder in some Agatha Christie novels : POISONPOWDER
63
Core : PITH
64
Cocktail order : SOUR
65
Knightley of "Pirates of the Caribbean" : KEIRA
66
Like Olympic years : EVEN
67
Seasons in Lyon : ETES
68
Utopian settings : EDENS
69
Edit menu command : REDO
Down
1
Left unsaid : TACIT
2
Send : ELATE
3
Prepare to give blood, perhaps : MAKEAFIST
4
Throwing one's weight around, in international relations : POWERPOLITICS
5
Benjamin : CSPOT
6
[I'm not listening ... I can't he-e-ear you!] : LALALA
7
"___ bag of shells" (Ralph Kramden malapropism) : AMERE
8
Sleep-inducing : SOPORIFIC
9
Return mailer, for short : SASE
10
Mobster's "canary" : RAT
11
___-American : ASIAN
12
Impostor : PHONY
13
Common break time : TENAM
19
Bean product? : IDEA
24
Film pooch : TOTO
27
Feature of many a movie house : POPCORNPOPPER
29
Direct : REFER
31
Feudal lord : LIEGE
32
Plant, maybe : SPY
33
Aid in weed control : HOE
34
___ big : WIN
36
Large-scale : EXTENSIVE
37
Spike in movie sales? : LEE
38
Byelorussian ___: Abbr. : SSR
40
Succeeded : FOLLOWED
41
Stereo control : BASS
46
Last name in despotism : AMIN
47
Hip : MODERN
48
Testify : DEPOSE
49
1948 Literature Nobelist : ELIOT
50
Offspring : ISSUE
52
Almost any hit by Prince or Queen : OLDIE
54
Like some retirement communities : GATED
55
Prefix with botany : ETHNO
58
Umbrella part : SPOKE
59
Pitching stats : ERAS
62
Choice connections : ORS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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