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New York Times, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Author:
Brian Thomas
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
511/21/201712/31/20181
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0320000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.72010
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 )
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?