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New York Times, Thursday, September 13, 2018

Author:
Alex Eaton-Salners
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
142/2/201710/22/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0232700
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54210
Alex Eaton-Salners

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 45 Missing: none. Spans: 2 Scrabble average: 1.99 This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Eaton-Salners. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Alex Eaton-Salners notes:
I suspect Will and crew have a backlog of rebus puzzles in their Thursday inventory. This one took nearly as long to go from ... read more

I suspect Will and crew have a backlog of rebus puzzles in their Thursday inventory. This one took nearly as long to go from acceptance to publication (17 months) as my first 5 Thursday puzzles combined (3+1.5+3+5+5 = 17.5 months).

Since I created this puzzle so long ago, I see it now through a very different set of eyes. When I wrote it, I was really into creating pangrammatic grids (i.e., using all the letters of the alphabet at least once). While scrabbly letters can be great since they're generally rarer in crosswords, if I were making this puzzle today, I would prioritize smoother fill over including the last few letters of the alphabet. For example, QED, UTE, and ETRE seem like a high price to pay for the Q in the upper-left corner.

On the other hand, I still agree with my decision to deploy the Utah block (i.e., the Utah-shaped clump of 5 contiguous black squares) in the lower right. Once THIN OUT, INBOX, and OUTBOX were in place, if I hadn't deployed the Utah block (i.e., if I had put a black square where the S in SHELL is and removed the 3 black squares to the left), then there would have been only one entry into that corner (THIN OUT). To create good grid flow, you want at least two words to connect any isolated section with the rest of the grid.

Two other things I like about this puzzle: (1) the symmetry between CARPING ABOUT and RAINBOW TROUT; and (2) the image of a stacked INBOX/OUTBOX sitting on someone's desk. My original cluing for the INBOX/OUTBOX revealer was to treat them as a unit (thereby emphasizing the visual nature of the stacking), but hopefully, solvers will still get the picture (hah!) in the puzzle's current incarnation.

Jim Horne notes:
Jim and Jeff at the Puzzles continues through to Sunday. We expect to get fooled on Thursdays. When we get a Thursday without ... read more

Jim and Jeff at the Puzzles continues through to Sunday.

We expect to get fooled on Thursdays. When we get a Thursday without gimmicks, are we, then, fooled? No need to contemplate this deep philosophy because today we get the standard ins and outs of a regular rebus.

There are hundreds of possible entries that include IN somewhere followed by OUT somewhere, but if you restrict your search to entries where IN doesn't mean "in" and OUT doesn't mean "out" (not possible with our software; you need to do this by hand, I mean eye) you end up with a much smaller set. The non-revealer theme entries today all pass that test. Ponce de León gave the trick away, so I wish it had appeared further down, but the puzzle was still fun. IN BOX and OUT BOX are solid rebus justifications.

I didn't know about KEFIR. Does the Wikipedia comment that "Fermentation of the lactose yields a sour, carbonated, slightly alcoholic beverage, with a consistency and taste similar to thin yogurt" make you more, or less, intrigued?

YOU AGAIN first appeared in 2011 with a more positive clue: "Well, look who's back." I like today's snarkier "Question to a returning pest." AFRO tip-toes around controversy by giving it a music clue. RAINBOW TROUT is delicious. I've lived in America for years, but I still find the LITER spelling jarring. LXX is a cheap entry, but IN BOX stacked over OUT BOX makes it well worthwhile.

Let's see what Jeff has to say. In my experience, if you give him three barleycorns, he'll take 1.60934 kilometres.

Jeff Chen notes:
I liked the visual of INBOX stacked atop the OUTBOX, too. But HEES and especially LXX gave me major pause. I wonder if shifting those ... read more

I liked the visual of INBOX stacked atop the OUTBOX, too. But HEES and especially LXX gave me major pause. I wonder if shifting those guys all the way to the left would have helped.

Jim brings up a good point about restricting themers to only those with OUT embedded within a word. And given those constraints, RAINBOW TROUT is no doubt a colorful (ha ha) choice.

There are still a good number of options, however – enough to make me want better than CARPING ABOUT and FROTHING AT THE MOUTH. I think the former is decent, but nothing to write home about. And for the latter, I so badly wanted FOAMING AT THE MOUTH. Both are dictionary supported, but FOAMING resonates much more strongly for me.

Given the need for some HEES LXX and OST URSI (yikes!), I would have preferred to remove ZEES from the grid. As much as I like the Q and Z in QUIZ, needing ETRE and DEKED (tough for non-hockey players) added to the grid's feeling of not being as smooth as I like. I was glad to hear that Alex changed his mind about this over time!

The Venn diagram of what Jim knows and what I know has surprisingly little overlap. (His circle is about eleventy-thousand barleycorns bigger than mine, though.) I love Trader Joe's KEFIR – it lets me think that I'm doing healthy for myself (I squint so I never notice the massive amount of added sugar). We've had this dissonance so many times now that I've come to appreciate the subjectivity of it all.

One person's weird is another's deliciousness. Just as long as the crossings are fair, why not learn something from your crossword?

I did have some qualms about execution, but overall, I enjoyed uncovering the rebus squares, and the stacked INBOX/OUTBOX made for a nice visual.

1
Q
2
U
3
I
4
Z
5
A
6
M
7
A
8
Z
9
E
10
C
11
C
12
S
13
E
T
R
E
14
K
E
F
I
R
15
H
U
T
16
D
E
K
E
17
D
18
C
A
R
P
IN
19
G
A
B
OUT
20
S
O
21
Y
22
N
O
S
23
U
R
S
I
24
A
25
S
26
K
27
J
O
28
E
S
29
L
L
C
S
30
T
H
E
31
F
O
U
N
T
32
A
33
IN
34
O
F
Y
OUT
H
35
M
I
M
E
36
A
B
O
R
T
S
37
V
O
Y
38
A
G
E
39
G
E
T
40
U
41
P
42
S
43
H
A
R
44
M
O
N
45
S
U
N
46
S
47
F
48
R
49
O
50
T
H
IN
G
A
T
T
51
H
E
M
OUT
H
52
L
E
N
O
53
I
S
L
E
54
P
S
Y
55
A
H
E
M
56
T
57
E
T
58
Y
E
59
T
60
R
A
IN
B
61
O
W
T
R
62
OUT
63
S
H
64
E
65
L
66
L
67
E
S
C
68
L
I
T
E
R
69
IN
B
O
X
70
S
H
H
71
E
X
U
D
E
72
OUT
B
O
X
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0913 ( 25,146 )
Across
1. Interrogate : QUIZ
5. Leave flabbergasted : AMAZE
10. IV units : CCS
13. French 101 verb : ETRE
14. Fermented milk drink : KEFIR
15. Pre-snap signal : HUT
16. Made a false move? : DEKED
18. Finding fault with : CARPINGABOUT
20. Word with sauce or milk : SOY
22. Some R.S.V.P.s : NOS
23. Bears: Lat. : URSI
24. "Fire away!" : ASK
27. Trader ___ : JOES
29. They can be taxed like partnerships, for short : LLCS
30. Goal for Ponce de León : THEFOUNTAINOFYOUTH
35. Give the silent treatment? : MIME
36. Stops partway through : ABORTS
37. Bon ___ : VOYAGE
39. Costumes : GETUPS
43. Actor Mark : HARMON
45. Tatooine has two of them : SUNS
47. Incensed : FROTHINGATTHEMOUTH
52. Successor of Carson : LENO
53. "___ of Dogs" (2018 animated movie) : ISLE
54. Univ. department : PSY
55. "Um, don't look now, but ..." : AHEM
56. Vietnamese new year : TET
58. Still : YET
60. Colorful food fish : RAINBOWTROUT
63. Beach house? : SHELL
67. Key for exiting full-screen mode : ESC
68. Carafe size : LITER
69. Where work piles up ... with a hint to this puzzle's theme : INBOX
70. "Please keep it down" : SHH
71. Radiate : EXUDE
72. Where finished work goes ... with a hint to this puzzle's theme : OUTBOX
Down
1. The end of mathematics? : QED
2. Western native : UTE
3. Tick off : IRK
4. Middle of a puzzle? : ZEES
5. Org. concerned with good breeding : AKC
6. Will, if one can : MEANSTO
7. Start of some hybrid music styles : AFRO
8. Speeds (along) : ZIPS
9. "Dancing With the Stars" co-host Andrews : ERIN
10. Oscar-winning Cliff Robertson title role : CHARLY
11. One in a blue-and-yellow uniform : CUBSCOUT
12. Somewhat stocky : STOUTISH
17. Place to get one's kicks? : DOJO
19. Wide divide : GULF
21. Question to a returning pest : YOUAGAIN
24. Cash cache, for short : ATM
25. Gang weapon : SHIV
26. ___ sabe : KEMO
28. Sportscaster Dick : ENBERG
31. Fairylike : FEY
32. Jargons : ARGOTS
33. One way to stare : INTENTLY
34. German direction : OST
38. "That feels so-o-o good!" : AHH
40. Put into service : USE
41. What you might do with gas or a fist : PUMP
42. Features of tapirs : SNOUTS
44. Headwaiter : MAITRED
46. Prone to blushing, say : SHY
47. Skirt features : FLARES
48. Go over anew : REHASH
49. Three barleycorns, as defined by Edward II : ONEINCH
50. Sepulcher : TOMB
51. Partners of haws : HEES
56. Mars candy : TWIX
57. Roman rebuke : ETTU
59. Become less crowded : THINOUT
61. "Hurrah!" : OLE
62. Weird : OUTRE
64. Go back : EBB
65. John of Cambridge : LOO
66. 70, in old Rome : LXX

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?