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# New York Times, Thursday, September 14, 2017

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2010/9/20129/14/20184
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1322453
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. ... read more

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 ... read more

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
1. Interjection derived from the Latin for "weary" : ALAS
5. Peak : ACME
9. Rips off : ROBS
13. Food ___ (post-Thanksgiving meal condition) : COMA
14. Innocent sort : CHILD
16. Sal's canal, in song : ERIE
17. With 18-Across, what a boastful guy might do : TOOTHISOWNHORN
20. Wouldn't settle, say : SUED
22. Exhibits : MANIFESTS
23. Condemned : CENSURED
25. Save for later : CACHE
26. What comes before a clue? : GET
27. ___ NFL (video game franchise) : MADDEN
30. Antarctica's ___ Ice Shelf : ROSS
31. They're often made at icebreakers : INTROS
33. Dr. of verse : SEUSS
35. With 37-Across, start of an ethical rule : DOUNTOOTHERS
40. Prop for Gandalf : STAFF
42. "Grease" high school : RYDELL
47. Singer Nicks : STEVIE
49. Fight : VIE
50. Rejoice : EXULT
52. Formal term for the gap suggested by 17/18-, 35/37- and 54/57-Across : DIASTEMA
54. With 57-Across, overextended : SPREADTOOTHIN
58. Tiny treasures from the sea : SEEDPEARLS
60. Dots in la mer : ILES
62. Language of the Lahore Post : URDU
63. Way up : STAIR
65. Quit : STOP
66. Come ___ surprise : ASNO
67. Celebration : FEST
Down
1. It's the law : ACT
2. Something to tie up : LOOSEEND
3. Become in life : AMOUNTTO
4. Fills : SATES
5. German cry : ACH
6. Put in one's two cents, with "in" : CHIMED
7. Does sumthing wrong? : MISADDS
8. University near Greensboro : ELON
9. Did a dry run : REHEARSED
10. Jesse who pitched in a record 1,252 major-league games : OROSCO
11. Demographic statistic : BIRTHS
12. Faculties : SENSES
15. Cause for a suspension, in brief : DWI
19. Giants' grp. : NFC
21. Early TV network competing with NBC, ABC and CBS : DUMONT
23. Most movie explosions these days, for short : CGI
24. Some Jamaicans, informally : RASTAS
28. Job listing abbr. : EEO
29. Burrowing South American rodent : NUTRIA
32. Found, as grub : RUSTLEDUP
34. Most retiring : SHYEST
36. ___-mentioned : OFT
38. Rising notes? : REVEILLE
39. Dieter's goal : SLIMNESS
41. Gangsters' wear, in old movies : FEDORAS
43. Place for a shepherd : LEA
44. Centaur who was killed by Hercules : NESSUS
45. Black belt, e.g. : EXPERT
46. "You betcha!" : SUREDO
48. Quintet instrument : VIOLIN
51. Weak punch? : TAP
53. Dickens's Fagin, e.g. : THIEF
55. Paris's Pont ___ Arts : DES
56. "Toodles!" : TATA
59. Above capacity, for short : SRO
61. Harden : SET

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?