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New York Times, Saturday, August 8, 2015

Author:
Alan Arbesfeld
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1238/27/198112/5/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
25724352615
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.595099
Alan Arbesfeld

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 30 Missing: {FJQVXZ} Spans: 6, (2 triple stacks) This is puzzle # 109 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Eye-catching grid. Even though the puzzle is chunked into three very separate sections, I was tickled by the visual aesthetic. Neat to ... read more

Eye-catching grid. Even though the puzzle is chunked into three very separate sections, I was tickled by the visual aesthetic. Neat to see only four sets of connected black squares!

Raise the Titanic! Or Jaws. What is that thing?

The 15-letter entries have to carry so much burden to create zing, as the next-longest entries are only 7-letters. I liked most of them, although RAISE THE TITANIC … I used to be a Clive Cussler fan, but not so much these days after I realized how repetitive they get. And RAISE THE TITANIC wasn't one of the better ones. If only the RAISE THE TITANIC movie had done better, but it was a flop. Sorry, Dirk Pitt.

Alan does work in some snazz using his 7-letter slots, EUNUCHS and GOALIES elevated by their great clues. I'm glad EUNUCHS was clued in its metaphorical sense, rather than its (insert crude joke here) sense. And [Ones who have saving accounts?] fooled me but good. I should have seen the weirdness in "saving" vs. "savings" but I missed it (unlike HOPE (GO) SOLO, who got almost everything this year!).

Certainly some prices to pay, though. That middle section tossed me over its lap and gave me an old fashioned spanking. I guessed at the ETAMINE / AMICE / GANNETS crossings, and like the bad guy in Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail, I chose poorly. ETAMINE is so crossword-friendly — check out its Es and Ts and its perfect consonant alternation — but pretty solver unfriendly.

And as with most grid-spanning triple stacks, the crosses required compromises. The top didn't bother me too much, even with a RLS / DES / ISTH concentration, as those are all fairly minor and common. The crossings on the bottom stack felt like a higher price to pay, what with the oddball RESAT, and a slew of IT IN, UNARY crossing NON U along with the toughies INA and TAL. (Note: chess players consider TAL a must-know person, and crossworders looking to improve their skill ought to follow suit.)

Great first impression what with the beautiful patterns of white space and connected black squares, marred somewhat by compromises throughout the grid.

1
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C
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0808 ( 24,014 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. As expected : ACCORDINGTOPLAN
16. Game with an oxymoronic name : DOUBLESOLITAIRE
17. Within a stone's throw, perhaps : ACROSSTHESTREET
18. Spread out on a table : PATE
19. Cookie or pumpkin : HON
20. Hot star : IDOL
21. Keeps busy : TIESUP
24. Become helpless? : GOSOLO
26. Nation's boundaries? : ENS
27. Dry : SAHARAN
31. "Never ___" : WAS
32. "The Shield" fig. : DET
33. Light cotton fabric : ETAMINE
34. Old Tetris runner, briefly : NES
35. Fashion show collection : DESIGNS
36. What factoring is a factor in: Abbr. : ALG
39. Do some fancywork : CROCHET
40. It's often preceded by "&" in Fr. : CIE
43. Cutting class, for short? : BIO
44. O'Toole of TV's "Smallville" : ANNETTE
45. The Golden Eagles of the Summit League, in brief : ORU
46. Italian food court staple : SBARRO
48. Fire up : SPURON
50. Heraldic border : ORLE
51. Response to an overly personal comment : TMI
54. Lower-class, to Brits : NONU
55. 1976 novel featuring adventurer Dirk Pitt : RAISETHETITANIC
60. Get bad marks? : BREAKOUTINARASH
61. Some techies : SYSTEMSANALYSTS
Down
1. Like many screenplays : ADAPTED
2. Ingredient in a Brompton cocktail : COCAINE
3. Maximally short : CURTEST
4. Woods in a pit : OBOES
5. Creator of Jim Hawkins and Ben Gunn, briefly : RLS
6. Some Parisian? : DES
7. Neck: Abbr. : ISTH
8. Big Apple neighborhood : NOHO
9. Secluded stream site : GLEN
10. Sole word in the last chapter of "Angela's Ashes" : TIS
11. He hit 35 in '34 : OTT
12. "Do not deny to him that you love me" speaker, in literature : PARIS
13. Prepare for a time out? : LIEDOWN
14. Eye parts bordering on pupils : AREOLAE
15. What might be shown for a quarter : NETLOSS
22. Any Olds, now : USEDCAR
23. Winningest coach in college football history : PATERNO
24. Plunge-diving seabirds : GANNETS
25. Simple in the extreme : ONESTEP
28. Sports : HASON
29. Garment worn partly under an alb : AMICE
30. "Bingo!" : RIGHT
36. Doesn't merely listen to : ABSORBS
37. Where many spines are visible : LIBRARY
38. Players with saving accounts? : GOALIES
40. Heavenly rings : CORONAS
41. One who's full of surprises? : IRONIST
42. Ineffectual sorts : EUNUCHS
47. Convened anew : RESAT
49. Involving a single element, as a math operation : UNARY
51. As follows : THUS
52. Like the "Scream" horror films : META
53. Mail or phone follower : ITIN
56. Stretch (out) : EKE
57. Waits on a CD : TOM
58. Concert closing? : INA
59. Chess champion of the early 1960s : TAL

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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