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New York Times, Monday, August 22, 2016

Author:
Emily Carroll
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
108/22/201612/8/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2113210
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53130
Emily Carroll

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQVX} Spans: 1 This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Carroll. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Emily Carroll notes:
So excited to be making my New York Times debut! I got into constructing last year as a fourth year medical student eager to ... read more

So excited to be making my New York Times debut!

I got into constructing last year as a fourth year medical student eager to procrastinate from working on residency applications by any means necessary.

I think the idea for this puzzle was born from a sweet tooth and an empty stomach. I was initially trying to work "Sour Patch Kids" into an overly ambitious themeless with which I quickly grew frustrated and abandoned. Instead I brainstormed ways to fit it into a themed puzzle and hit on the idea of starting the themers with different "Taste makers". My only regret is that there aren't more phrases starting with umami — and by more I mean literally any.

I also agonized over the "Roeg"/"Gerard"/"Andrei" situation for the longest time and sadly couldn't find a way around it. Nothing like intersecting semi-obscure proper names to start your Monday morning. Speaking of proper names, as a die-hard Patriots fan I'm a little disappointed in the clue revision for 60-across, but I suppose I should be grateful Will didn't twist the knife further and include a reference to Eli's Super Bowl MVP awards.

Thanks for solving and I hope you enjoyed!

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! Emily uses the four main tastes — BITTER, SALTY, SWEET, SOUR with TASTEMAKERS as a revealer. I hadn't been familiar with ... read more

Debut! Emily uses the four main tastes — BITTER, SALTY, SWEET, SOUR with TASTEMAKERS as a revealer. I hadn't been familiar with that last term until recently, but fashion is one of my many areas of knowledge deficit. I like that Emily repurposed TASTEMAKERS into a completely different sphere — tastes of the tongue, not fashion — to cleverly wrap up the puzzle.

Great to get some colorful bonus fill from a newbie! UP TO SPEED, RUSH WEEK, ONE BY ONE, WARM SPELL are all excellent phrases. Unusual to see four long and strong pieces of fill from a debut constructor. Wisely spreads all of them across the grid so none of it is too constrained; relatively easy to fill around. Good spacing is so key. She even sprinkles in some NEATNIK and POP OFF throughout.

There are some gluey bits here and there, kicking off with ACUT, some FEM, AMBI, IRREG, MSS, APO, etc. It's too much for what I like in a silky-smooth Monday puzzle, but a lot of it is minor offenders that's still accessible to novice solvers. For example, A CUT is a partial, but it's relatively easy for a newer solver to fill in. APO (Army post office) is much tougher — especially crossing SPATES. I can imagine someone debating SMATES, SLATES, SPATES, STATES, etc. (SMATES really ought to be a word!)

I would have also liked some way of hiding those four main tastes a little, as the concept made itself readily apparent after uncovering the first two themers. Not sure if this is possible, but SALTY LANGUAGE (such a great phrase!) does so much a better job hiding the taste meaning of "salty" than SOUR PATCH KIDS, which are overtly sour.

As Emily said, it would have been great to get UMAMI, the "fifth taste," but trying to incorporate that into a phrase is just about impossible. It might have been neat to have it tucked in somewhere, perhaps as the last across answer? As a revealer? Or in the middle of the center column? Not sure.

Some rough patches here and there, but a fun puzzle with a couple of great theme entries, along with bonus fill that exceeded my expectations.

1
A
2
C
3
U
4
T
5
P
6
O
7
P
8
O
9
F
10
F
11
Z
12
I
13
T
14
L
O
P
E
15
E
N
A
M
E
L
16
E
R
R
17
B
I
T
T
18
E
R
E
N
E
M
Y
19
B
R
A
20
A
F
O
R
E
21
B
E
G
22
C
R
E
D
23
S
A
L
24
T
Y
L
A
25
N
26
G
U
A
G
E
27
U
28
M
P
29
Y
O
O
30
S
E
E
R
31
R
O
E
32
G
33
S
N
34
L
35
A
L
L
36
W
37
E
38
T
39
S
W
E
E
40
T
H
E
A
41
R
T
D
E
A
L
S
42
A
N
D
R
E
I
43
P
U
N
44
D
R
I
P
45
A
M
B
46
I
47
S
I
48
R
49
M
A
S
50
S
51
O
52
U
R
P
A
T
53
C
H
K
I
54
D
S
55
W
I
N
D
56
S
O
W
57
P
U
P
58
A
59
L
60
E
L
I
61
T
62
A
S
T
E
63
M
A
K
E
R
S
64
P
E
T
65
S
P
A
T
E
S
66
E
L
L
A
67
T
R
Y
68
K
O
D
A
K
S
69
S
L
O
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0822 ( 24,394 )
Across
1
___ above (better than) : ACUT
5
Run one's mouth : POPOFF
11
Bit of acne, informally : ZIT
14
Unhurried run : LOPE
15
Protective tooth layer : ENAMEL
16
Blunder : ERR
17
Archfoe : BITTERENEMY
19
Bikini top : BRA
20
Previous to, in poetry : AFORE
21
Say "Please, please, please," say : BEG
22
Rep on the street : CRED
23
Profanity : SALTYLANGUAGE
27
Official sometimes said to be blind : UMP
29
"___-hoo!" ("Hello!") : YOO
30
Nostradamus, for one : SEER
31
"The Witches" director Nicolas : ROEG
33
NBC weekend show since '75 : SNL
35
Completely wrong : ALLWET
39
Golden parachutes, e.g. : SWEETHEARTDEALS
42
Peace Nobelist Sakharov : ANDREI
43
Title like "The Santa Clause" or "Knight and Day" : PUN
44
Faucet problem : DRIP
45
Prefix with dexterity : AMBI
47
Galahad or Lancelot : SIR
49
Pas' partners : MAS
50
Popular movie theater candy : SOURPATCHKIDS
55
Kite flier's need : WIND
56
Plant, as seeds : SOW
57
Like the stage after larval : PUPAL
60
QB Manning : ELI
61
Influential sorts ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 23-, 39- and 50-Across : TASTEMAKERS
64
Teacher's ___ : PET
65
Sudden runs : SPATES
66
"___ Enchanted" (2004 rom-com) : ELLA
67
Attempt : TRY
68
Classic cameras : KODAKS
69
Where to drop a coin : SLOT
Down
1
Jessica of "Dark Angel" : ALBA
2
Hairdo : COIF
3
Fully informed, informally : UPTOSPEED
4
Four: Prefix : TETRA
5
The "p" of m.p.h. : PER
6
In single file : ONEBYONE
7
Group of experts : PANEL
8
Last Greek letters : OMEGAS
9
Opposite of masc. : FEM
10
Travel like Superman : FLY
11
Alphabetically last animal in a zoo, usually : ZEBRA
12
Clearance rack abbr. : IRREG
13
Swap : TRADE
18
Slippery : EELY
22
Like pigs' tails and permed hair : CURLED
24
Samsung competitor : TOSHIBA
25
Fastidious sort : NEATNIK
26
Neuter, as a stud : GELD
27
___ Major : URSA
28
Like a well-kept lawn : MOWN
32
Depardieu of film : GERARD
34
Pool unit : LAP
36
Period of higher-than-average temperatures : WARMSPELL
37
Charles Lamb's "Essays of ___" : ELIA
38
Kitchen amts. : TSPS
40
Office sub : TEMP
41
Important time at a fraternity or sorority : RUSHWEEK
46
"How tragic" : ITSSAD
48
Kelly of morning TV : RIPA
50
Won the World Series in four games, say : SWEPT
51
Edmonton hockey player : OILER
52
Togetherness : UNITY
53
Terra ___ : COTTA
54
"Put up your ___!" : DUKES
58
Guthrie who performed at Woodstock : ARLO
59
Future atty.'s hurdle : LSAT
61
"Naughty!" : TSK
62
Abbr. in a military address : APO
63
Things eds. edit : MSS

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

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