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New York Times, Monday, August 25, 2014

Author:
Greg Johnson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
712/16/20133/30/20190
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0311002
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65120
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
10
A
11
B
12
S
13
T
14
T
O
T
E
15
P
O
L
O
16
R
O
U
T
E
17
A
L
T
A
18
P
R
O
F
19
E
L
M
O
S
20
B
L
U
N
21
D
E
R
B
U
22
S
S
23
B
L
T
24
T
R
A
Y
S
25
T
E
26
T
L
E
Y
27
Z
28
E
29
S
T
E
R
30
T
E
N
S
E
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I
N
T
O
W
32
G
33
A
M
E
T
A
B
34
L
35
E
36
N
Y
U
37
M
Y
B
A
D
38
E
A
T
39
C
A
M
40
E
41
R
A
M
A
N
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U
43
P
E
N
D
44
B
E
A
M
S
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P
H
A
S
E
S
46
A
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P
L
O
M
B
48
A
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K
R
O
N
50
L
I
E
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B
O
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B
B
L
E
H
E
53
A
54
D
55
S
56
L
A
B
57
E
L
58
O
N
U
S
59
L
E
A
K
60
I
N
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S
E
61
L
E
T
T
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E
R
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N
O
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D
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O
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D
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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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?