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New York Times, Saturday, September 19, 2015

Author:
Kevin Adamick
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
25/16/20129/19/20150
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ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.43000
Kevin Adamick

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 58, Blocks: 29 Missing: {GJQWX} Minimum word length: 4 Average word length: 6.76 This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Adamick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
What an initial impression this puzzle makes, with its gigantic, wide-open spaces. I usually cringe when I see designs like this, ... read more

What an initial impression this puzzle makes, with its gigantic, wide-open spaces. I usually cringe when I see designs like this, because they're often only made possible with the help of boring(ish) entries and made-up-sounding ones. RE- prefixes, -ER or -ERS suffixes, and pluralized names are often the guilty parties. I find the segmentation into miniature puzzles undesirable as well, because it chokes off puzzle flow.

Thank goodness for the TETRA and his little brother, the PENTA!

I was pleasantly surprised when I finished the upper-left mini-puzzle, though. There are many more delightful entries than I would have ever guessed, featuring VIP PASSES, I NEED A NAP, and even SEA SNAKES. Better yet, not an ugly bit in sight! Well, RIRE is pretty deep French, and PENTA isn't perfect.

But PENTA did give me a much-needed entry into mini-puzzle number two: the upper right. Given how segmented each mini-puzzle is, I really appreciated the extra entry point of TETRA. This second mini wasn't as fun for me, as ALTERNATE and MARINATED are pretty neutral to my eye, and SCENARIST feels somewhat iffy. Speaking of iffy … UCLAN. Yikes! Growing up in California, having friends who went to UCLA, UCLAN … well, yikes.

I liked mini number three better, with TAKE MINE and AMAZON ANT standing out. MAN AT isn't good, but it's not terrible. And the late great Merl Reagle hated — HATED — IRANI because he thought it should be IRANIAN, but I don't mind it much. NANCE and ESTES aren't assets, but they're certainly legit names.

Lastly, I thought the mini-puzzle in the lower right was okay too. TRUE FALSE is nice, and BONES UP and ALABASTER are pretty good too. Are they worth TOYERS, not just a gluey -ER word but a pluralized one? Hmm ... likely, but that's a tough call.

Overall, a great mental workout, those huge open spaces providing an extremely tough challenge in each of four mini-puzzles; very few places to even get a toehold.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0919 ( 24,056 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Dream acquisitions for huge fans : VIPPASSES
10. Central Honshu volcano : ASAMA
15. Words from the weary : INEEDANAP
16. Student with the motto "Fiat Lux," informally : UCLAN
17. Tongue with six phonetic tones : CANTONESE
18. 3-Down minus one : TETRA
19. Wine and dine, say : ENTERTAIN
20. Roger of NBC News : ONEIL
21. Reef swimmers with no gills : SEASNAKES
22. Midway attention-getter : CARNY
23. Laugh, in Lyon : RIRE
24. Ball go-with? : ARNAZ
25. Lightweight boxing option : CARTON
29. Spread from the center : RADIATE
31. Breaking specialists : TAMERS
32. Jon ___, 2006-14 Red Sox pitcher : LESTER
33. Like dromedaries and carob trees : ARABIAN
35. Like some geese and turkeys : BASTED
36. "The Last Tycoon" was the last film he directed : KAZAN
37. Baby step? : ATOB
39. It has some bad strains : ECOLI
40. Like silent partners : NONACTIVE
46. ___-arms : MANAT
47. Power nap wear : EYESHADES
48. Hormuz habitant : IRANI
49. Those who have given legacies : TESTATORS
50. Jack of "Twin Peaks" : NANCE
51. Like some questions : TRUEFALSE
52. Longtime maker of model rockets : ESTES
53. Stimulating shots : ESPRESSOS
Down
1. Subjects of many New Year's resolutions : VICES
2. Like folderol : INANE
3. 18-Across plus one : PENTA
4. ___ Tavern, Manhattan pub that's over 150 years old : PETES
5. Opposite of uglify : ADORN
6. Home of the West Coast's Empire College : SANTAROSA
7. Beat the security system, say : SNEAKIN
8. Like addition vis-à-vis division : EASIER
9. Private eye in dozens of novels : SPENSER
10. They're often escorted by police : AUTOCADES
11. Movie plotter : SCENARIST
12. Stand-in : ALTERNATE
13. Like satay and sauerbraten : MARINATED
14. One doing a dissection : ANALYZER
25. Vulture lookalikes of the falcon family : CARACARAS
26. It raids and enslaves other colony members : AMAZONANT
27. Fix some ledger errors in : REBALANCE
28. Some holy alliances? : TRINITIES
30. Smooth and white : ALABASTER
31. Offer of self-sacrifice : TAKEMINE
34. Lepore of women's fashion : NANETTE
35. Studies hard : BONESUP
38. Flirty types : TOYERS
41. Vex : CHAFE
42. Byes at Wimbledon : TATAS
43. What a heathen might collect : IDOLS
44. It's left in a manuscript : VERSO
45. Business end? : ESSES

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

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