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New York Times, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Author:
Brian Thomas
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
611/21/20173/7/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0320100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.74010
Brian Thomas

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Thomas. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brian Thomas notes:
Don't remember too much about the puzzle construction - was hoping to get NBC in there too to hit all major networks but there's ... read more

Don't remember too much about the puzzle construction - was hoping to get NBC in there too to hit all major networks but there's nothing. Hope people feel the tradeoffs in the north/south sections were worth stacking a couple more themers in there.

I did enjoy seeing previews last year for "Battle of the Sexes" and seeing BOBBY RIGGS right after putting him in a crossword.

Jeff Chen notes:
I like playing the 'guess the theme' game on early-week puzzles. It was clear from XOF and CBA that TV stations were reversed, but ... read more

I like playing the "guess the theme" game on early-week puzzles. It was clear from XOF and CBA that TV stations were reversed, but what a nice a-ha moment in BACK CHANNEL. It's a colorful phrase, and its CHANNEL has enough of a different meaning from TV channels that the connection felt clever.

What spicy theme answers, too! WAX ON WAX OFF, ZIPLOC BAG, USB CHARGER, yay! That last one feels particularly fresh and modern.

I'm usually not a fan of ultra-high theme density, especially if it forces grid compromises. But there's something neat about seeing all these channels, just like you might see in a high-density TV channel menu.

There were some compromises, no doubt. In particular, the south region felt a little gluey with ITBE and SOYS. But I think these are reasonable prices to pay for the packed array of channels.

I also like what Brian did with the grid layout. With six themers, the usual thought is to place them every other row – 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13. But that's often hard to do, causing problems with spacing. Squeezing two themers into rows 3 and 4 can often be easier, as long as your overlapping letter pairs are reasonably friendly. The TC overlap of JOB HUNTER / BACK CHANNEL no doubt forced the pain in the south.

But check out how smoothly Brian addressed the north. ??FL is a rough pattern. Yay for textese! (Rolling on the floor laughing)

This was one that I admired more and more the longer I studied it and considered its merits. So many things done well here. Congrats on the POW! Brian, and thanks for the pleasurable solve!

1
P
2
O
3
T
4
S
5
I
6
E
7
B
8
A
9
R
10
D
11
B
12
A
13
D
14
A
P
A
T
O
W
15
O
T
O
E
16
O
U
R
17
W
A
X
O
N
W
18
A
X
O
F
F
19
B
R
A
20
S
L
I
P
21
Z
I
P
L
O
22
C
B
A
G
23
S
24
A
25
L
O
N
26
R
H
Y
S
27
M
28
A
29
R
I
N
A
30
A
31
R
M
O
R
32
G
L
E
N
N
C
33
L
34
O
S
E
35
W
I
36
F
37
E
38
M
O
D
39
S
E
E
R
E
S
40
S
41
G
R
U
42
T
E
A
43
M
44
U
S
B
C
H
A
45
R
G
E
R
46
S
W
47
A
P
S
48
O
W
E
S
T
O
49
N
A
A
N
50
D
51
O
E
S
T
52
J
O
B
H
U
53
N
54
T
E
R
55
I
56
A
57
M
58
S
59
I
K
E
60
B
A
C
K
C
61
H
62
A
N
N
E
L
63
V
I
E
64
I
T
B
E
65
I
D
U
N
N
O
66
E
A
T
67
S
O
Y
S
68
S
E
E
O
U
T
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0828 ( 25,130 )

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Across
1
Richie and Ralph's pal on "Happy Days" : POTSIE
7
Shakespearean title : BARD
11
Misbehaving : BAD
14
"Knocked Up" director Judd : APATOW
15
Tribe at Council Bluff : OTOE
16
First word of the Lord's Prayer : OUR
17
Teaching catchphrase popularized by "The Karate Kid" : WAXONWAXOFF
19
Sports ___ : BRA
20
Spot for a yacht : SLIP
21
Resealable container for chips or cheese : ZIPLOCBAG
23
Place to get a perm : SALON
26
Jean who wrote "Wide Sargasso Sea" : RHYS
27
Spot for a yacht : MARINA
30
Rhinoceros's skin, essentially : ARMOR
32
Portrayer of Cruella de Vil in 1996's "101 Dalmatians" : GLENNCLOSE
35
Portia de Rossi, to Ellen DeGeneres : WIFE
38
Customize, as a video game : MOD
39
She reads the signs : SEERESS
41
Animated movie villain with Minions : GRU
42
Lions, Tigers or Bears : TEAM
44
Connection point for a smartphone cable : USBCHARGER
46
Trades : SWAPS
48
Should pay : OWESTO
49
Indian flatbread : NAAN
50
Biblical verb with "thou" : DOEST
52
One using Monster.com : JOBHUNTER
55
Alpo alternative : IAMS
59
"We Like ___" (old campaign slogan) : IKE
60
Covert means of communication ... or what's hiding in the circled letters? : BACKCHANNEL
63
Compete : VIE
64
The Beatles' "Let ___" : ITBE
65
"Couldn't tell ya!" : IDUNNO
66
Gobble up : EAT
67
Edamame beans : SOYS
68
Show the door : SEEOUT
Down
1
What dogs "shake" with : PAWS
2
Australia's national gem : OPAL
3
Prepare to go on the runway : TAXI
4
Comes calling : STOPSIN
5
B+, e.g. : ION
6
"Gross!" : EWW
7
Trap, as a car : BOXIN
8
On : ATOP
9
"Hilarious!," briefly : ROFL
10
Twist out of shape : DEFORM
11
Loser of tennis's Battle of the Sexes : BOBBYRIGGS
12
Mysterious vibes : AURAS
13
What a Pride Day parader might dress in : DRAG
18
___ dye : AZO
22
Vittles : CHOW
24
Raggedy ___ (dolls) : ANNS
25
Prepare for a hockey game : LACEUP
27
Powers that be: Abbr. : MGMT
28
Sunburn soother : ALOE
29
Really sunburned : REDASABEET
30
"Gimme just ___" : ASEC
31
Do some farrier's work on : RESHOE
33
What frugal people make do with : LESS
34
Ball in the sky : ORB
36
Be in a dither : FRET
37
Currency of Italy or France : EURO
40
Makes the cut? : SAWS
43
[Blown kiss] : MWAH
45
Royal attendants : RETINUE
47
Wolf-headed Egyptian god : ANUBIS
49
Finnish-based consumer electronics giant : NOKIA
50
Hockey feints : DEKES
51
Tolkien beast : ORC
52
Nonsense talk : JIVE
53
___ alphabet : NATO
54
Soft-serve chain : TCBY
56
___ Domini : ANNO
57
It might start with "For Starters" : MENU
58
Part of a TV schedule : SLOT
61
That dude's : HIS
62
Ending with many fruit names : ADE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?