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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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