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New York Times, Thursday, August 31, 2017

Author: Zachary Spitz
Editor: Will Shortz
Zachary Spitz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
411/18/20158/31/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0011101
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Spitz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zachary Spitz notes: I don't remember what sparked this, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially around the corners. One change to ... more
Zachary Spitz notes:

I don't remember what sparked this, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially around the corners. One change to the grid: in my submission, the PERCENT / NECK crossing was PERCEPT / PECK. I think the team also upped the overall difficulty a bit (probably so they could clue LIE that way).

My to-do list includes reading FUN HOME and making MAMIE's fudge. Looking over the puzzle again, I see my parents' names at 42-Across and 8-Down. See you two in a few days!

Jeff Chen notes: Rebus, with four CORNER / OFFICEs: BOX office, POST office, OVAL office, HOME office. Zach produced a nice and clean grid, with ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Rebus, with four CORNER / OFFICEs: BOX office, POST office, OVAL office, HOME office.

Zach produced a nice and clean grid, with just some minor IMET, ENO (not sure he's really crossworthy), NCO, with some great bonuses in LIONS DEN, SAFE HARBOR, YAKITORI, AMBIANCE. Made for smooth sailing all the way through the grid.

Well, except for that NRA / MACLEOD crossing. It would have been perfectly fine with a straightforward clue for NRA, but [F.D.R. created program …] = the National … Recovery Administration? Yikes. I ended up with MCCLEOD, which seemed perfectly fine, as did NRC. I'll own up when I think the mistake is my fault, but today ... no bueno!

The grid does end up pretty segmented — the SW is only connected to the rest of the puzzle by two answers, GROOMER and RED CENT — but it seems like a reasonable trade-off in order to end up with the smooth final product. It's so difficult to work with a big swath of white space like that in the SW, even more so when you have two crossing answers (FDA APPROVAL / OVALTINE) fixed into place. The segmentation is definitely understandable — sometimes, you need to compromise a bit to create a quality overall grid.

Love that DEFOE clue, the author doing work on Friday. (That's the character Friday from "Robinson Crusoe," not the day of the week.)

Given that we've seen a ton of rebuses over the years, I like when they distinguish themselves by including some additional creative layer. I enjoyed that Zach chose four different types of office, rather than just cramming the word OFFICE into four corner boxes, but I would have liked something more.

ADDED NOTE: Reader Sean MACLEOD tells me that Mac and Mc are very common Scottish last name starts, but MCC is almost always a misspelling. Thanks for expanding my world view, Sean!

1
BOX
2
C
3
A
4
R
5
P
6
A
7
D
8
S
9
G
10
O
11
A
12
L
13
POST
14
S
A
L
E
15
I
M
E
T
16
M
A
M
I
E
17
E
T
O
N
18
S
A
F
E
19
H
A
R
B
O
R
20
A
N
N
21
G
A
S
O
V
E
N
22
I
N
C
23
T
A
S
24
E
R
25
S
E
E
R
26
W
A
S
H
27
S
P
O
T
O
28
N
29
B
30
R
A
N
D
I
31
C
O
R
32
N
33
E
34
R
35
E
X
C
E
L
36
F
37
R
38
Y
39
M
A
C
L
E
40
O
D
41
E
N
D
42
D
I
A
43
N
E
44
O
F
F
I
C
45
E
46
A
N
K
A
R
47
A
48
L
E
N
49
I
50
N
51
S
52
A
S
I
S
53
P
54
A
55
A
56
R
57
N
O
N
E
T
58
P
E
T
59
P
E
R
C
E
60
N
T
61
L
I
E
62
P
O
O
63
R
E
X
C
U
S
E
64
P
I
M
A
65
R
U
R
A
L
66
E
R
I
C
67
D
E
A
L
68
OVAL
T
I
N
E
69
D
A
N
K
70
F
U
N
HOME
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0831 ( 24,768 )
Across Down
1. Transporter with sliding doors : BOXCAR
5. Saddle accessories : PADS
9. Kicker's target : GOALPOST
14. Consumer's boon : SALE
15. "How ___ Your Mother" : IMET
16. First lady with a popular recipe for "million-dollar fudge" : MAMIE
17. School founded by Henry VI : ETON
18. Refuge : SAFEHARBOR
20. Mitt Romney's wife : ANN
21. Pilot's surroundings : GASOVEN
22. Business add-on? : INC
23. Alternative to a gun : TASER
25. Futurist : SEER
26. Situation with equal losses and gains : WASH
27. "Precisely!" : SPOTON
29. Soccer star Chastain with two Olympic gold medals : BRANDI
31. With 44-Across, V.I.P. area represented four times in this puzzle : CORNER
35. Microsoft offering : EXCEL
36. Fish ___ : FRY
39. Gavin of "The Love Boat" : MACLEOD
41. What a Möbius strip lacks : END
42. Rehm of public radio : DIANE
44. See 31-Across : OFFICE
46. Capital on an Asian peninsula : ANKARA
48. ___ Tomb : LENINS
52. Without modification : ASIS
53. Jack who was quick with a quip : PAAR
57. Odd group of musicians? : NONET
58. Extra cost for an airline passenger : PET
59. Shift+5 on a keyboard : PERCENT
61. "This puzzle is relatively easy," say : LIE
62. Not a good example : POOREXCUSE
64. High-quality cotton : PIMA
65. Like most of Maine : RURAL
66. Holder of the Obama cabinet : ERIC
67. Bargain : DEAL
68. Popular drink : OVALTINE
69. Like some cellars : DANK
70. Alison Bechdel memoir made into a hit 2015 Broadway musical : FUNHOME
1. Luxuries for theatergoers : BOXSEATS
2. Quick break : CATNAP
3. King in "The Tempest" : ALONSO
4. Kylo ___ of "The Force Awakens" : REN
5. City with a famous bell tower : PISA
6. Collect : AMASS
7. Author who did part of his work on Friday : DEFOE
8. Jobs once in California : STEVE
9. F.B.I. agent, informally : GMAN
10. Conjunction in a rebus puzzle : OAR
11. Atmosphere : AMBIANCE
12. Locale of hostile criticism, metaphorically : LIONSDEN
13. Archetype : POSTERCHILD
19. Cannabis, e.g. : HERB
21. Shelter staffer : GROOMER
24. Alternative to "..." : ETC
26. Material for Icarus' wings : WAX
28. F.D.R.-created program with the slogan "We Do Our Part" : NRA
30. Pittance : REDCENT
32. Base fig. : NCO
33. "The Lord of the Rings" figure : ELF
34. Certain whistle blower : REF
36. Need for drugs : FDAAPPROVAL
37. De-suds : RINSEOUT
38. Japanese style of chicken : YAKITORI
40. Palm ___ : OIL
43. Rapper who famously feuded with Jay-Z : NAS
45. "Music for Airports" composer : ENO
47. Tiptop : APEX
49. Taking the place (of) : INLIEU
50. Artist LeRoy : NEIMAN
51. Sneakily advance from third : STEALHOME
54. Parabolic, e.g. : ARCED
55. Automaker whose current models all end in "X" : ACURA
56. Material used in mummification : RESIN
59. "The King of Football" : PELE
60. Make out : NECK
63. Controlled : RAN
64. Common email attachment : PDF

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

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