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New York Times, Friday, August 4, 2017

Author:
Damon Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3811/8/20047/1/20190
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15608810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65330
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQWZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
I once heard (or possibly read) an interview with Will Shortz, in which he was asked about common grammatical errors, and he said the ... read more

I once heard (or possibly read) an interview with Will Shortz, in which he was asked about common grammatical errors, and he said the word "led" was misspelled as "lead" relatively frequently, even by well-educated people. This got me thinking about other "words even smart people mess up," and I think we can add "pharaoh" to the list.

At the Indie 500 crossword puzzle tournament a few years ago (2015, America Pharoah's big year, as it was), PHARAOH was an entry in a puzzle, but it wasn't clear from the crossings whether it should be A-O or O-A, and I surprised to find out that even a few of the top solvers had it the wrong way. So, I wonder how this played for most people. Did they try AMERICA PHARAOH first? Is the misspelling common knowledge? Or were they blissfully unaware that anything was strange at all?

Jeff Chen notes:
The wide-open grid provided me a nice wow factor. Giant center, giant NW and SE, along with two grid-spanning entries? Yes, please! ... read more

The wide-open grid provided me a nice wow factor. Giant center, giant NW and SE, along with two grid-spanning entries? Yes, please! Grid patterns in themed puzzles rarely make me sit up straight and take notice, so I enjoy when a themeless grid is eye-popping.

Some great entries, too. AMERICAN PHAROAH hasn't made many reappearances since his 2015 Triple Crown win. Surprising on one hand, as the odd spelling is notable. I wonder how many crossword constructors are horse racing fans, though.

I didn't know much (anything, really) about TSAR ALEXANDER II, but what a cool nickname.

I HAD NO IDEA was fun too, although I had no idea there was such a thing as the GIG ECONOMY. I read the WSJ regularly, but perhaps this term just hasn't trickled down to this old-school finance wonk. And it does make sense; an economy based around one-time gigs.

I also didn't understand LATE EDITION. The late edition of the newspaper, okay. What makes it quaint? I researched this for hours (okay, three minutes) to figure out what clever wordplay was eluding me, but I failed. Best guess is that "quaint" implies that these days, not many newspapers run a late edition?

A couple of compromises to make the wide-open sections work, i.e. IS SO / SLO / APPT in the big SE, and BIGA (Big A?) / BS'S in the big NW. No terrible trade-offs, but not amazingly elegant, either.

I appreciated how many interesting long feature entries Damon managed to work in, and from so many walks of life. It's too bad a few of them didn't have much of an impact--or had a confusing one--for me.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0804 ( 24,741 )

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Across
1
Some undergrad degs. : BSS
4
Plans nefariously : PLOTS
9
Rout : DRUB
13
"That's a shocker" : IHADNOIDEA
16
___ number : CELL
17
Labor market short on long-term work : GIGECONOMY
18
Gunn of "Breaking Bad" : ANNA
19
3-year-old in 2015 sports news : AMERICANPHAROAH
21
"Sorta" : ISH
22
Ahead of, old-style : ERE
23
Like pawns and puppets : USED
26
Point guard, e.g. : PLAYMAKER
32
Historic "restructuring" : PERESTROIKA
35
Grp. with the 1976 platinum album "A New World Record" : ELO
36
Nova Scotia's Grand ___ National Historic Site : PRE
37
Who said "All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl" : CHAPLIN
38
Bass part : FIN
39
Ellipsis alternative, maybe : ETC
40
Quaint evening reading material : LATEEDITION
42
Low-level computer work : DATAENTRY
44
Like many indie films : ARTY
45
Chafe : IRK
46
It appears at the top of a page : URL
48
Autocrat known as "the Liberator" : TSARALEXANDERII
57
What fish or chicken can be, but not turkey : VERB
58
They're light-years away : EXOPLANETS
59
Nuisance : PAIN
60
Band featured in the mockumentary "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" : SEXPISTOLS
61
Seizure : GRAB
62
White Cloud competitor : SCOTT
63
___-mo : SLO
Down
1
N.Y.C. racetrack, informally : BIGA
2
Level : SHIM
3
Learned : SAGE
4
Doggy : POOCH
5
Chinese tennis star who has won both the French and Australian Opens : LINA
6
Go crazy with, in a way : ODON
7
Many a sub : TEMP
8
Teammate of Hammerin' Hank in 22 All-Star Games, with "the" : SAYHEYKID
9
The N.I.H. is based in it : DCAREA
10
City near Pyramid Lake : RENO
11
Bone involved in pronation : ULNA
12
Eliciting a "meh" : BLAH
14
Pooh-pooh : DERIDE
15
Longtime TV procedural : NCIS
20
Fendi rival : ARMANI
23
Hiked : UPPED
24
Maker of the iComfort line : SERTA
25
At attention : ERECT
26
Brooklyn art institute : PRATT
27
Horse or gazelle, at times : LOPER
28
The ___ School (Manhattan dance institution) : AILEY
29
Sour, fermented milk drink : KEFIR
30
"Burnt Norton" poet : ELIOT
31
"The Daily Show" correspondent Chieng : RONNY
33
White of the eye : SCLERA
34
Like ingrates : THANKLESS
41
Object of a scout's search : TALENT
43
Modern travelers' marketplace : AIRBNB
46
Black : UNLIT
47
Food figs. : RDAS
48
"Modern Family" rating : TVPG
49
Brand : SEAR
50
Cantatrice's delivery : ARIA
51
C.F.O., e.g. : EXEC
52
Love letters : XOXO
53
Datum for a secy. : APPT
54
Some old fire trucks : REOS
55
"___ do" : ITLL
56
Playground rejoinder : ISSO

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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