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New York Times, Saturday, September 12, 2015

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

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 36 Missing: {KQWZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
I think it would be ironic if somebody put in GAFFE for 1-Down. I actually start all my algorithms at step zero, not STEPONE. (I ... read more
  1. I think it would be ironic if somebody put in GAFFE for 1-Down.
  2. I actually start all my algorithms at step zero, not STEPONE. (I love a good array-indexing joke.)
  3. I initially thought of CHRISTIANSINGLES for 34-Across and was very disappointed when I realized it was too long. When CHRISTIANMINGLE came to me, it felt like a miracle.
  4. Jim Brown and Jim Kelly were both big BLAXPLOITATION stars, but only one of them is the Pro Football Hall of Famer.
  5. This is the first time IJSSEL has appeared in an NYT puzzle — is AFSLUITDIJK next?
  6. I despise Crosswordese, except, apparently, when it's in French.
  7. Is one who makes nonkosher meals a TREF CHEF?
  8. I tried and failed to come up with a good Vint CERF/surf the Internet pun.
  9. "Vegan wrap?" for FAUXFUR is, I think, a pretty good pun.
  10. I'm not BICURIOUS, but I'm bicurious-curious.
Jeff Chen notes:
Man, what a bizarre (and cool!) spelling of BLAXPLOITATION. I'm sure there will be many others who started with BLACK and then ... read more

Man, what a bizarre (and cool!) spelling of BLAXPLOITATION. I'm sure there will be many others who started with BLACK and then continued with SPLOITATI ... *$%! that doesn't fit! Cool morphing of the CKS into an X.

It's hard to imagine what movie producers were thinking at the time.

I fell into another trap with CHRISTIAN MINGLE, which I was sure was CHRISTIAN SINGLES. Given that this was another answer that didn't fit, it took me a while to convince myself that there wasn't a rebus going on. Sneaky, very sneaky.

Even after reading up on the two Christian dating sites, it's unclear to me what the difference is. Sure makes for a good crossword trap. (And a saucy pairing with BI-CURIOUS!)

Damon's layout doesn't allow for a lot of long (8+ letter) answers, but he does have some seven-letter slots to shore up the snazziness. FAUX FUR is a great one. I would have liked a couple more.

With so many four-letter entries — a whopping 26 of them — it's so important to avoid drawing attention to them. The fine ones like SCOT, CHEF, EDEN, even MOOG, do that job nicely. Not as much so when there are borderline ones, and multiple ones from the same category. Some French (AOUT, ALUI, IDEE), hard proper nouns (CERF, EVIE, along with Tony OLIVA), and some terms I only ever learned from crosswordese (MOIL, TREF, AGHA) ... those last three are all reasonably fine by themselves in my opinion, but when you have them together, it makes for a less than desirable effect.

Same goes for CBER and RAVER. Generally, I don't have an issue with either, but together it seems like a little too much iffiness.

Such a fun clue for SNARE: [It's got game, often]. It's too bad it couldn't fully be misdirectional to something colorful like "he got game," but sometimes you can only go so far without torturing the clue.

And saving the best for last, the clue [What you find crawlers on]. So many times we've been misdirected toward the internet, so that's where I automatically went, looking for a WEB BROWSER or something. ALL FOURS is such a snappy answer.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0912 ( 24,049 )
Across
1
Emperor after Nero : GALBA
6
One celebrating the holiday Hogmanay : SCOT
10
Nickname for many a 6-Across : MAC
13
Step above the rookie leagues, informally : ABALL
14
Ottoman pooh-bah : AGHA
15
___ Bunny (Bugs Bunny's girlfriend) : LOLA
16
Unbroken : FERAL
17
Willing to experiment, in a way : BICURIOUS
19
Vegan wrap? : FAUXFUR
21
Ear malady : OTALGIA
22
Start of an algorithm : STEPONE
23
Be in continuous agitation : MOIL
24
___ Suárez, player suspended during the 2014 World Cup for biting another player : LUIS
25
Bad things to give away : ENDINGS
29
One in a trailer : ACTOR
32
Man's name that means "king" : ROY
33
Juillet follower : AOUT
34
Forum for seekers of faithful partners? : CHRISTIANMINGLE
38
Satisfy : MEET
39
Columbia ___ (D.C. neighborhood: Abbr.) : HTS
40
Expertise, informally : CHOPS
41
Wipes out : EFFACES
43
Thought about France : IDEE
45
Beginning to flop? : TERA
46
It rises out of a depression : JOBLOSS
50
Natural Instincts maker : CLAIROL
53
Whup but good : SHELLAC
54
1961 invasion locale : BAYOFPIGS
56
One of three in a 1986 comedy : AMIGO
57
Starting point of a long race? : EDEN
58
Singer/songwriter Sands : EVIE
59
One going clubbing, maybe : RAVER
60
House measure: Abbr. : RES
61
Persuade : SELL
62
It's got game, often : SNARE
Down
1
Fishing hooks : GAFFS
2
One moment : ABEAT
3
Lash in old westerns : LARUE
4
Genre of the 1970s movies "Foxy Brown" and "Three the Hard Way" : BLAXPLOITATION
5
What you find crawlers on : ALLFOURS
6
Pro team from New York : SABRES
7
Part of many a sci-fi film : CGI
8
"Surely you're joking!" : OHCOMEON
9
Taxonomic designation like Rattus rattus : TAUTONYM
10
Instrument in "Switched-On Bach" : MOOG
11
Writing on a French gift tag : ALUI
12
One may be found on una calle : CASA
15
"Toys in the Attic" playwright, 1960 : LILLIANHELLMAN
18
Bust : RAID
20
College abroad : UNI
26
Aborted : NOGO
27
7-Eleven's Big ___ : GULP
28
Some Fr. honorees : STES
29
Ultimate point : ACME
30
One with a lot of coursework? : CHEF
31
Not kosher : TREF
32
Hall monitors, for short : RAS
35
How things work : THEROPES
36
Horror movie cry : ITSALIVE
37
Knoxville hockey squad : ICEBEARS
42
Vint ___, one of the so-called "fathers of the Internet" : CERF
43
Dutch branch of the Rhine : IJSSEL
44
"Silly me!" : DOH
47
Twins great Tony : OLIVA
48
Relatively prudent : SAGER
49
50-50, maybe : SCORE
50
One navigating breakers? : CBER
51
Put weight on : LADE
52
Side for passage : AYES
55
Scott-Heron who wrote "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" : GIL

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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