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# New York Times, Thursday, September 14, 2017

 Author: John Guzzetta Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1910/9/20125/19/20184
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1322443
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 69, Blocks: 35 Missing: {JKQZ} This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes: The inspiration for this puzzle came from looking in the mirror. I have a gap wide enough to stick a screwdriver through. ... more
John Guzzetta notes:

The inspiration for this puzzle came from looking in the mirror. I have a gap wide enough to stick a screwdriver through.

Initially, I laid this out as a Sunday 21x, wanting to have all the gaps exactly in the middle of the puzzle. Even when I tried some rebus ideas (like Delaware Water GAP and SinGAPore), and threw in the names of famous people with gaps, there just wasn't enough there for a Sunday, and I boiled it down to a 15x.

Initially, I had SPREADS TOO THIN where SEED PEARLS / ILES is now but chose to break symmetry and bump it up a row in order match the tenses of the verbs.

Jeff Chen notes: DIASTEMA? That's a … gap in one's teeth? I was confused at the end of my solve, having missed the concept, but I got a nice ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

DIASTEMA? That's a … gap in one's teeth? I was confused at the end of my solve, having missed the concept, but I got a nice a-ha when I realized that John split theme answers so that they were "gap-toothed": TOOT / HIS OWN HORN, DO UNTO / OTHERS, SPREAD TOO / THIN. Fun twist on the old "words hidden within theme phrases" theme type.

DIASTEMA is an unusual revealer. I might have chosen to go with GAP TOOTHED so as to be more transparent, but there's something to be said about using DIASTEMA to delay the a-ha moment; to make the solver work for it. It does run the risk of the solver finishing the grid without understanding the theme, and putting the puzzle aside.

I get John's point about matching verb tenses in the themers, but I found the lack of symmetry odd. Along with DIASTEMA being in an unusual location for a revealer — with no symmetrical theme answer — the layout felt a little clunky. Other solvers might not notice any of this, but symmetry is such a core feature of crosswords that breaking it requires an extraordinary or theme-specific reason to do so, in my book.

I wonder if it would have helped to split MOLAR, CANINE, INCISOR, etc. instead of just TOOTH? Or to use TEETH?

Some tough fill. Totally fine to use esoteric words in a Thursday puzzle, like DUMONT, RYDELL, NESSUS (and DIASTEMA!). But too many of them can be a turn-off, especially when they leave room for a solver to finish with an unfair error. I finished with SHIEST / RIDELL instead of SHYEST / RYDELL, and DOMONT / CENSORED instead of DUMONT / CENSURED. Ultimately, I think both errors are more on me than on the puzzle — SHIEST is apparently a variant spelling — but that didn't stop me from coming away frustrated.

Neat concept, fun to see those gaps in the TOOTHs (maybe it should have been TEETH!). Some problems in execution, though.

 1A 2L 3A 4S 5A 6C 7M 8E 9R 10O 11B 12S 13C O M A 14C H I L 15D 16E R I E 17T O O T H I S O W 19N H O R N 20S U E 21D 22M A N I F E S T S 23C E N S U 24R E D 25C A C H E 26G E T 27M A D D 28E 29N 30R O S S 31I N T 32R O S 33S E U 34S S 35D O U N T 36O O T H E 38R 39S 40S T A F 41F 42R Y D E L 43L 44N 45E 46S T 47S T E 48V I E 49V I E 50E X U L 51T 52D I A S 53T E M A 54S P R E A 55D 56T O O T H I N 58S E E D P E A R L 59S 60I L E 61S 62U R D U 63S T A I R 64E L S E 65S T O P 66A S N O 67F E S T
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0914 ( 24,782 )
 Across Down 1. Interjection derived from the Latin for "weary" : ALAS5. Peak : ACME9. Rips off : ROBS13. Food ___ (post-Thanksgiving meal condition) : COMA14. Innocent sort : CHILD16. Sal's canal, in song : ERIE17. With 18-Across, what a boastful guy might do : TOOTHISOWNHORN20. Wouldn't settle, say : SUED22. Exhibits : MANIFESTS23. Condemned : CENSURED25. Save for later : CACHE26. What comes before a clue? : GET27. ___ NFL (video game franchise) : MADDEN30. Antarctica's ___ Ice Shelf : ROSS31. They're often made at icebreakers : INTROS33. Dr. of verse : SEUSS35. With 37-Across, start of an ethical rule : DOUNTOOTHERS40. Prop for Gandalf : STAFF42. "Grease" high school : RYDELL44. Twitter site : NEST47. Singer Nicks : STEVIE49. Fight : VIE50. Rejoice : EXULT52. Formal term for the gap suggested by 17/18-, 35/37- and 54/57-Across : DIASTEMA54. With 57-Across, overextended : SPREADTOOTHIN58. Tiny treasures from the sea : SEEDPEARLS60. Dots in la mer : ILES62. Language of the Lahore Post : URDU63. Way up : STAIR64. In addition : ELSE65. Quit : STOP66. Come ___ surprise : ASNO67. Celebration : FEST 1. It's the law : ACT2. Something to tie up : LOOSEEND3. Become in life : AMOUNTTO4. Fills : SATES5. German cry : ACH6. Put in one's two cents, with "in" : CHIMED7. Does sumthing wrong? : MISADDS8. University near Greensboro : ELON9. Did a dry run : REHEARSED10. Jesse who pitched in a record 1,252 major-league games : OROSCO11. Demographic statistic : BIRTHS12. Faculties : SENSES15. Cause for a suspension, in brief : DWI19. Giants' grp. : NFC21. Early TV network competing with NBC, ABC and CBS : DUMONT23. Most movie explosions these days, for short : CGI24. Some Jamaicans, informally : RASTAS28. Job listing abbr. : EEO29. Burrowing South American rodent : NUTRIA32. Found, as grub : RUSTLEDUP34. Most retiring : SHYEST36. ___-mentioned : OFT38. Rising notes? : REVEILLE39. Dieter's goal : SLIMNESS41. Gangsters' wear, in old movies : FEDORAS43. Place for a shepherd : LEA44. Centaur who was killed by Hercules : NESSUS45. Black belt, e.g. : EXPERT46. "You betcha!" : SUREDO48. Quintet instrument : VIOLIN51. Weak punch? : TAP53. Dickens's Fagin, e.g. : THIEF55. Paris's Pont ___ Arts : DES56. "Toodles!" : TATA59. Above capacity, for short : SRO61. Harden : SET

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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