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New York Times, Monday, August 25, 2014

Author:
Greg Johnson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
612/16/20139/18/20180
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0311001
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67120
Greg Johnson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVX} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Johnson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Greg Johnson notes:
This puzzle was pretty straightforward ... I ran across the word BLUNDERBUSS and soon found suitable matches and just went for it. The ... read more

This puzzle was pretty straightforward ... I ran across the word BLUNDERBUSS and soon found suitable matches and just went for it. The placement of the main entries led to SORRY, MYBAD and KLUTZ symmetrically. I like using those "extra" themers, as was the case in my Monday debut last year. No revealer, but this one turned out pretty well. See ya next time.

Will Shortz notes:
One tiny thing I debated on this puzzle was whether or not to clue UH-OH (42D) as 'Oops!,' as the main theme answers are. But doing so ... read more

One tiny thing I debated on this puzzle was whether or not to clue UH-OH (42D) as "Oops!," as the main theme answers are. But doing so would naturally have led solvers to look at its symmetrical mate, DREW (21D), which cannot be clued as "Oops!," causing a letdown. It would have looked like the constructor had tried to do something but failed. So ultimately I decided to clue 42D nonthematically.

Jeff Chen notes:
Just a few months ago, my wife pointed out the word BLUNDERBUSS, saying it would make the seed for a nice crossword. We never got any ... read more

Just a few months ago, my wife pointed out the word BLUNDERBUSS, saying it would make the seed for a nice crossword. We never got any further than that, so it's impressive to see Greg's discovery. Four fun words, symmetrically paired, all starting with a synonym for "error"? That's crossword gold.

For only his third NYT puzzle, Greg has gotten up the learning curve extremely fast. Monday puzzles are so challenging to construct, because the best ones not only avoid rough crossings and esoteric entries, but also steer away from those inelegant partials, pluralized names, excessive initialisms, etc. And look what Greg's achieved today. There's an ASST here, an ABA there, but it's all minor dings within a smooth body. He's even managed to work in two pretty good long entries, GAME TABLE and CAMERA MAN, which can be tough to do using this "pinwheel" arrangement of themers.

Perhaps the only subsection that could have used a tiny bit of cleanup is the SE — because it's not heavily constrained, it shouldn't be hard to redo that to remove SKEE and AERO. I do like that [___-Ball] can make life easier for a starting solver, but I don't think it's a terribly elegant answer.

Amazing that Greg found these four entries. I especially like that etymologies of BLUNDER-, BUMBLE-, and BOBBLE- are different enough from the "error" meaning that it hides the theme a little, giving the solver a chance to discover this nice a-ha. It would have been perfect if STUMBLEBUM didn't already refer to as "A person regarded as blundering or inept." But again, that's quite a minor issue.

Nice touch with the symmetrically placed "bonus entries," SORRY, MY BAD, KLUTZ. I hadn't noticed them; nice to see those Easter eggs!

1
S
2
T
3
E
4
M
5
A
6
S
7
S
8
T
9
P
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A
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B
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S
13
T
14
T
O
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P
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A
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P
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F
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E
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M
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B
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D
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S
S
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B
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A
Y
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E
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Y
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Z
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E
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T
O
W
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G
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A
M
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B
34
L
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N
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M
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B
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D
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E
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C
A
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B
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P
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P
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K
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B
O
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B
B
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E
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A
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D
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K
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0825 ( 23,666 )
Across
1. Flower stalk : STEM
5. Secy., e.g. : ASST
9. Blue Ribbon brewer : PABST
14. Pledge drive bag : TOTE
15. Sport with mallets : POLO
16. Mail carrier's rounds : ROUTE
17. Baja's opposite : ALTA
18. Univ. instructor : PROF
19. St. ___ fire : ELMOS
20. Muzzle-loading firearm : BLUNDERBUSS
23. Sandwich with toasted bread, for short : BLT
24. Surgical instrument holders : TRAYS
25. Lipton alternative : TETLEY
27. Lemon-peeling utensil : ZESTER
30. All wound up : TENSE
31. Following behind, as a trailer : INTOW
32. Rec room feature : GAMETABLE
36. Sch. in Lower Manhattan : NYU
37. "Oops!" : MYBAD
38. "All you can ___" : EAT
39. TV news employee : CAMERAMAN
42. Topple : UPEND
44. Smiles proudly : BEAMS
45. New moon and full moon : PHASES
46. Self-confidence : APLOMB
48. All-American Soap Box Derby city : AKRON
50. "The dog ate my homework," probably : LIE
51. Promotional ballpark giveaways : BOBBLEHEADS
56. Site for washing instructions : LABEL
58. Burden : ONUS
59. Roof problem : LEAK
60. Occupied, as a restroom : INUSE
61. Riga resident : LETT
62. The "E" in HOMES : ERIE
63. Wanderer : NOMAD
64. Rice-shaped pasta : ORZO
65. Medicinal amount : DOSE
Down
1. Knife wound : STAB
2. Ring, as a bell in a steeple : TOLL
3. "___, Brute?" : ETTU
4. Had it in mind : MEANTTO
5. Show up : APPEAR
6. "Oops!" : SORRY
7. Unpopular roommates : SLOBS
8. Bean curd : TOFU
9. Birthday party staple : PRESENT
10. "You've got mail!" company : AOL
11. Big pollinators : BUMBLEBEES
12. Embezzled, e.g. : STOLE
13. Short-tempered : TESTY
21. Took from a card deck : DREW
22. Jouster's mount : STEED
26. Screener's org. : TSA
27. ___ oxide (beachgoer's protection) : ZINC
28. New Age star from Ireland : ENYA
29. Second-rate prizefighter : STUMBLEBUM
30. Federal tax enforcer, informally : TMAN
32. "Y" facilities : GYMS
33. Litigator's org. : ABA
34. Lois at the Daily Planet : LANE
35. Gate expectations, for short? : ETDS
37. Sensual ballroom dance : MAMBO
40. Fair-hiring inits. : EEO
41. Talked pointlessly : RAMBLED
42. "I'm in trouble now!" : UHOH
43. Like the walls of many dens : PANELED
45. Magician's cry : PRESTO
46. How a daring poker player goes : ALLIN
47. Instrument for Lady Gaga : PIANO
48. Doubleday of baseball lore : ABNER
49. One who might cry "Oops!" : KLUTZ
52. Shoestring necktie : BOLO
53. Prefix with dynamic : AERO
54. Locale for a speaker and honorees : DAIS
55. ___-Ball : SKEE
57. Spanish "that" : ESA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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