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New York Times, Thursday, September 17, 2015

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4812/11/201111/7/20182
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74962002
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 33 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Timothy Polin notes:
I can't think of too much to say about this one. The concept grew out of a vague idea of using my initials and the word TEPEE to make ... read more

I can't think of too much to say about this one. The concept grew out of a vague idea of using my initials and the word TEPEE to make a sort of self-referential theme, as others have done.

David Steinberg got there first, however, so I tried to come up with a new way to exploit words that could be spelled phonetically with letters.

One word I regret not being able to include is XQQQ (EXCUSE). XQQQ YOU and WELL XQQQ ME would have been fun entries. The first wouldn't work in this layout though, because it would've had to go at 36A, and it takes a stouter heart than I've got to try to fill an open, double-themed area around three adjacent Qs.

My original grid actually had WELL XQQQ ME at the top. As you can imagine, the patch around those Qs was a little compromised, but it wouldn't have been anything to make solvers gnash their teeth over. Maybe just some light grinding. But after realizing I could, and probably should, set up the themers symmetrically so that there'd be a discernible pattern to the replaced words, I backed down and went for EXCISE instead.

I hope you enjoyed the puzzle. It's always nice when you're not nauseated and altogether strung out in the days before publication. As this one left me just slightly queasy, and only so on Tuesday night, it feels like progress. I await the torches and pitchforks!

Jeff Chen notes:
Great idea here, a single letter + a trio of another phonetically replacing a word. JESSE ONNN (Jesse Owens) was my favorite, and ... read more

Great idea here, a single letter + a trio of another phonetically replacing a word. JESSE ONNN (Jesse Owens) was my favorite, and PUBLIC IVVV (public Ivies) was neat too.

Read "The Book Thief" for the best Jesse ONNN story ever

They're actually all super fun, but those two stuck out for me, since they're ones that I didn't think of when I brainstormed this exact theme a few months ago. Luckily, it's already been accepted at another venue, but man oh man I started to sweat with that "dang, I got scooped!" feeling after uncovering SAAA OF ELIA ("Essays of Elia"). I thought I had gone through every one of the 26*26 combinations, so it's impressive that Tim caught two that I glossed right over.

Serves me right for trying to brainstorm crosswords while feeding my 10-month old.

Very impressive execution, especially given that there are six themers. Okay, two of them are relatively short — XIII TAX and THE EMM (excise tax and the Emmys) — but still, it's hard to work around so many themers. Tim does an outstanding job of working with parallel downs in his upper right and lower left corners. They're all great answers, LION TAMER and SOUR NOTES wonderful answers. And best yet, Tim gets those worked in with nary a gluey entry.

Well okay, AGE TEN is pretty arbitrary, so that does stick out for me as inelegant. I suppose there's a case to be made that it's a big milestone for kids to turn double digits. Hmm. Otherwise, a SNO here and an EXT there is inconsequential.

Something really cool about all those Vs in the lower right corner, too. Three extra Vs worked smoothly in was quite a bonus, making a total of six Vs elegantly packed into a tiny space.

Really strong work and a fun solve.

1
H
2
A
3
L
4
F
5
S
6
O
7
S
8
A
9
D
10
I
11
S
12
L
13
A
14
A
B
E
L
15
A
W
A
R
E
16
M
O
E
S
17
S
A
A
A
18
O
F
E
L
I
A
19
P
U
M
P
20
A
S
S
U
R
E
21
I
O
N
22
S
23
R
O
E
24
T
H
E
T
A
25
J
E
S
S
E
26
O
N
N
N
27
A
L
28
B
I
N
O
29
D
R
O
P
30
E
31
L
32
F
33
A
N
T
34
A
G
E
T
E
35
N
36
X
I
I
37
I
38
T
A
X
39
T
H
E
M
E
E
E
40
T
O
N
S
I
L
41
F
R
O
42
S
L
O
43
N
E
N
A
44
P
R
A
Y
45
E
46
R
47
A
T
T
T
M
48
U
S
I
C
49
V
A
50
L
51
V
52
E
53
R
A
U
54
O
N
E
S
55
G
A
V
E
I
N
56
O
M
N
57
I
58
P
U
B
59
L
I
C
I
V
V
V
60
M
E
E
K
61
I
D
E
A
L
62
N
E
R
O
63
A
R
S
E
64
N
O
E
N
D
65
G
R
E
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0917 ( 24,054 )
Across
1. Almost a controlling interest : HALF
5. "More's the pity" : SOSAD
10. Spanish getaway locale : ISLA
14. Second major figure in the Bible alphabetically : ABEL
15. Clued in : AWARE
16. TV tavern named after its proprietor : MOES
17. Charles Lamb collection first published in 1823 : SAAAOFELIA
19. Question persistently : PUMP
20. Dispel the doubts of : ASSURE
21. They're never free of charge : IONS
23. New school? : ROE
24. First letter in "Thanatos" : THETA
25. Track star known as the Buckeye Bullet : JESSEONNN
27. Pink elephant, e.g. : ALBINO
29. Exhibit extreme exhaustion : DROP
30. Small, playful sort : ELF
33. Subterranean toiler : ANT
34. When many verge on adolescence : AGETEN
36. Duty on gasoline or tobacco : XIIITAX
39. Annual gala usually held in September : THEMEEE
40. Lump in the throat : TONSIL
41. Back : FRO
42. Highway caution : SLO
43. One-named German singer who was a one-hit wonder : NENA
44. Remote chance, informally : PRAYER
47. Prince and Journey output : ATTTMUSIC
49. Gas regulator : VALVE
53. Novelist Santha Rama ___ : RAU
54. Tip jar deposits : ONES
55. Cried "Uncle!" : GAVEIN
56. Upscale hotel chain : OMNI
58. Informal group that includes the Universities of California, Michigan and Virginia : PUBLICIVVV
60. Easily walked over : MEEK
61. Opposite of dystopian : IDEAL
62. Son of Agrippina : NERO
63. Oxford bottom : ARSE
64. Ceaselessly : NOEND
65. Sombre : GREY
Down
1. Goes after, as a task : HASAT
2. Leave red-faced : ABASH
3. Charter : LEASE
4. Mexican rolled tortilla dish : FLAUTA
5. Untagged? : SAFE
6. Put off paying : OWE
7. Worth noting : SALIENT
8. Melodious : ARIOSO
9. School heads : DEANS
10. Small, playful sort : IMP
11. Bad things to hit : SOURNOTES
12. Yellow garnish : LEMONPEEL
13. Resort near Snowmass : ASPEN
18. Viva voce : ORAL
22. Bit of swamp flora : SEDGE
25. Bit of black magic : JINX
26. City west of Provo Peak : OREM
28. False divinity : BAAL
30. No. on a business card : EXT
31. Whipper snapper? : LIONTAMER
32. Makes minuscule modifications in : FINETUNES
34. "Land ___!" : AHOY
35. Natal opening? : NEO
37. "___ that special?" : ISNT
38. Words from an Italian lover : TIAMO
39. All-___ (four-wheel-drive system on old Toyotas) : TRAC
41. Flying saucer : FRISBEE
44. Phony : PSEUDO
45. Emergency rescue, briefly : EVAC
46. Unhinged, say : RAVING
47. Something a bakery produces : AROMA
48. Detach, in a way : UNPIN
50. Wrench, essentially : LEVER
51. Opposite of "mourir" : VIVRE
52. Diplomat : ENVOY
55. Impart a false brilliance to : GILD
57. Adopted "South Park" sibling : IKE
59. Device-linking system, for short : LAN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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