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New York Times, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Author:
Joe Kidd
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
18/23/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62000
Joe Kidd

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 1 This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Kidd. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
ELS additions in today's debut offering. SECURITY CAMELS confused me at first — I thought it was a CAMERAS to CAMELS ... read more

ELS additions in today's debut offering. SECURITY CAMELS confused me at first — I thought it was a CAMERAS to CAMELS transmogrification. But trying to guess what the theme revealer might be, I only came up with RATOL. (RA to L.) Is RATOL a thing? Surely it's a bit of crossword glue that Joe was playing upon?

No? Drat!

(It was SECURITY CAM to SECURITY CAMELS, not SECURITY CAMERAS to SECURITY CAMELS. D'oh!)

I find that letter addition puzzles can be greatly helped by an apt revealer (I'm still holding out hope that RATOL is a thing. Anyone?). It can be fine to "add three random letters," as long as the results are amusing, but there's something so elegant to having a raison d'etre that puts a final bow on a puzzle.

With just three themers, I'd expect a ton of great long fill, and Joe did not disappoint. Fantastic choices in FAT CHANCE, YOUR MOVE, EASY THERE, KA-CHING, INSURGENT, ODE TO JOY, OH COME NOW, all entries I'd happily include in a themeless puzzle. These extras are so important to hold the attention of solvers with whom the theme might not have resonated.

Nice spacing, too, alternating these long bonuses up, down, up, down, etc. all the way across the grid. That's a great way to do it, not putting too much constraint on any one part of the grid.

Even with so much great fill though, I'd expect little to no crossword glue, given the low theme density. There's so much flexibility in those long bonus slots, that with enough work and effort, it should be possible to find options that don't end up requiring something like ADRIP/ODEA in one region. As much as I love YOUR MOVE (sounds like a Bond villain's utterance) and EASY THERE, I'm sure there exists a pair of long entries that would have allowed Joe to fill that north region more cleanly.

Overall though, I appreciated the effort of working in so much stellar bonus material, especially from a debut constructor.

1
D
2
O
3
F
4
F
5
Y
6
A
7
L
8
E
9
B
10
R
11
E
12
D
13
A
R
I
A
14
O
D
E
A
15
N
A
I
V
E
16
B
E
L
T
17
U
R
N
S
18
E
L
L
E
N
19
S
E
C
20
U
R
I
T
Y
21
C
A
M
E
L
S
22
H
E
M
P
23
T
O
T
S
24
N
25
O
26
M
A
Y
O
27
A
H
M
E
28
T
29
B
30
A
31
I
C
O
N
32
V
33
I
L
E
34
S
35
O
R
E
S
36
C
H
I
C
37
K
E
N
B
R
38
O
T
H
E
L
S
39
H
O
S
E
A
40
S
E
E
D
41
C
A
L
E
42
E
A
T
43
C
44
L
U
E
45
E
46
M
O
T
E
S
47
C
H
E
R
48
I
T
E
M
49
M
50
A
51
R
R
I
A
G
52
E
V
O
W
E
53
L
54
S
55
O
R
I
O
N
56
E
M
A
J
57
N
A
I
58
L
59
S
L
A
N
G
60
N
I
N
O
61
O
N
T
O
62
H
O
L
Y
63
T
R
A
Y
64
W
E
S
T
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0823 ( 24,760 )
Across
1. Remove, as a hat : DOFF
5. Alma mater for Bush 41 and Bush 43 : YALE
9. Born on a stud farm, say : BRED
13. Diva's opportunity to shine : ARIA
14. Ancient Greek theaters : ODEA
15. Born yesterday, so to speak : NAIVE
16. Alternative to suspenders : BELT
17. Caterers' dispensers : URNS
18. Actress Page of "Juno" : ELLEN
19. Dromedaries on patrol? : SECURITYCAMELS
22. Burlap fiber : HEMP
23. Pre-K attendees : TOTS
24. Sandwich shop request : NOMAYO
27. Sighed words : AHME
28. "Still open," on a sched. : TBA
31. Smartphone screen image : ICON
32. Deplorably bad : VILE
34. Results of abrasions : SORES
36. Henhouses of ill repute? : CHICKENBROTHELS
39. Book between Daniel and Joel : HOSEA
40. Gardener's spring purchase : SEED
41. Nascar's Yarborough : CALE
42. "Mangia!" : EAT
43. Whodunit game : CLUE
45. Overdoes it onstage : EMOTES
47. Mother of Chaz Bono : CHER
48. Agenda particular : ITEM
49. The "I" and "o" of "I do"? : MARRIAGEVOWELS
55. Celestial hunter : ORION
56. Key with four sharps: Abbr. : EMAJ
57. Do flawlessly : NAIL
59. Urban Dictionary fodder : SLANG
60. El ___ (weather phenomenon) : NINO
61. Not fooled by : ONTO
62. H.R.E. part : HOLY
63. Drive-in restaurant need : TRAY
64. Wicked Witch's home : WEST
Down
1. Apply with a sponge, say : DAB
2. What you might take your lead from? : ORES
3. Escape tool secreted in a cake, in cartoons : FILE
4. "It'll never happen!" : FATCHANCE
5. Reminder to a chess opponent : YOURMOVE
6. Leaky, as a faucet : ADRIP
7. Post-Mardi Gras period : LENT
8. "Whoa! Not so fast!" : EASYTHERE
9. Ointments containing aloe, perhaps : BALMS
10. Agitate, with "up" : RILE
11. First name in stunt cycling : EVEL
12. Bears' homes : DENS
15. Most worthy of a handwriting award : NEATEST
20. One-eighty : UEY
21. Common URL ending : COM
24. Specialized market segment : NICHE
25. Lorena of the L.P.G.A. : OCHOA
26. Like a basted turkey : MOIST
27. "The Zoo Story" playwright Edward : ALBEE
28. Grab the tab : TREAT
29. One having a ball? : BELLE
30. Pack-toting equines : ASSES
33. Guerrilla fighter : INSURGENT
35. "Let's be serious here ..." : OHCOMENOW
37. Cash register sound : KACHING
38. Schiller work adapted by Beethoven : ODETOJOY
44. Place to graze : LEA
46. Kitten's cry : MEW
47. Political bosom buddy : CRONY
48. The first Mrs. Trump : IVANA
49. Slam-dance : MOSH
50. Guthrie at Woodstock : ARLO
51. Iranian money : RIAL
52. Leader in a robe : EMIR
53. Penny or memory follower : LANE
54. Rides the bench : SITS
58. Developer's site : LOT

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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