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New York Times, Saturday, September 2, 2017

Author:
Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4511/6/20129/21/201921
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955663101
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62160
Erik Agard

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 64, Blocks: 30 Missing: {FJYZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
64-worder, yikes! I've developed a knack for sniffing out low word-count themeless grids — that huge SW alone is a good ... read more

64-worder, yikes! I've developed a knack for sniffing out low word-count themeless grids — that huge SW alone is a good indicator that the constructor is dipping into those daunting waters. Check it out — you start with a 6x6 chunk of white space, hard enough to fill on its own. But then you extend four of the entries into the rest of the puzzle? Daunting is an understatement.

Erik worked in more snazzy feature entries than I'm used to seeing in a 64-worder. Love GREENHOUSE GASES / SOUTH SUDANESE, THE STONES, PAT BENATAR, CHESS SET, AIR TAXIS, SITH LORD, even IRIDESCE. Usually, we see more of the ADDRESSES, ENROLLEE, ETAGERES kind of filler in low-word count themelesses, so great to get these sparkly entries.

So tough to pull off without applying too much crossword glue. DUNNED was the only glob that stood out to me, an old-style word that felt like a throwback to the Maleska era of esoteric crosswords. But with just an OLEO of CTR, LLD otherwise, it's a good overall result.

(SOTU = State of the Union, SDSU = San Diego State University. I think one of those by itself would be fine, but both of them felt somewhat inelegant.)

Erik is so good at cluing — I look forward to the clues in his puzzles even more than the grids. [Movie lot?], as in a lot of people in a CAST, is a great way to kick things off. I didn't know the Vue car model, but a GARAGE as a [Room with a Vue, perhaps] is a clever play on "Room With a View."

A few were over my head this time around:

  • SON = [This is an issue] … ? "Issue" apparently can mean "offspring." Huh.
  • DEICED … I get that the clue is playing on "cleared for landing," but isn't deicing more often done before getting cleared for takeoff, not landing?
  • CRICKET as [Fair play]. (insert sound of crickets here). Ah, I have heard "That's not cricket," as a Britishism?

I enjoyed the solve, a solid Saturday workout. If I had seen some episodes of QUEEN SUGAR (I admit, I read the O magazine and love it, so I've seen ads for this series) or was more familiar with RICE BEER, it might have hit me a little more strongly.

1
C
2
A
3
S
4
T
5
R
6
P
7
G
8
S
9
P
10
O
11
R
12
K
13
R
I
C
E
14
B
E
E
R
15
L
A
U
R
E
N
16
I
R
I
D
E
S
C
E
17
O
N
E
D
G
E
18
C
T
R
19
T
A
K
E
20
G
A
R
A
G
E
21
K
A
O
22
S
23
T
A
N
24
G
E
N
T
I
A
L
25
E
X
C
O
26
P
27
T
H
E
S
T
O
N
E
S
28
T
I
C
T
A
29
C
30
O
L
E
O
31
S
O
U
T
H
32
S
U
D
A
N
33
E
34
S
35
E
36
B
E
D
S
37
T
I
M
I
N
38
G
39
A
40
D
41
D
42
R
E
S
S
E
43
S
44
O
U
T
R
O
45
Q
U
E
E
N
S
U
G
A
46
R
47
S
H
O
D
48
U
N
I
T
A
S
49
A
V
O
50
W
51
L
L
D
52
I
N
C
I
T
E
53
S
E
M
I
54
N
O
L
E
55
L
E
E
R
A
T
56
E
T
A
G
E
R
E
S
57
A
D
D
E
R
58
S
O
N
59
O
D
E
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0902 ( 24,770 )
Across
1
Movie lot? : CAST
5
Dungeons & Dragons or Final Fantasy, for short : RPG
8
It has tiny tines : SPORK
13
Relative of sake : RICEBEER
15
Actress London of TV's "The Game" : LAUREN
16
Sparkle : IRIDESCE
17
Wired : ONEDGE
18
Focal point: Abbr. : CTR
19
Stomach : TAKE
20
Room with a Vue, perhaps : GARAGE
21
Enemy of CONTROL on "Get Smart" : KAOS
23
Barely relevant : TANGENTIAL
25
Person who came out of the blue? : EXCOP
27
Band that really rocks, appropriately? : THESTONES
28
Onomatopoeic mint name : TICTAC
30
Option for a roll : OLEO
31
Neighbor of an Ethiopian : SOUTHSUDANESE
36
Their heads and feet are usually the same distance from the ground : BEDS
37
Comic's concern : TIMING
39
Points of contact? : ADDRESSES
44
Closing bit of music : OUTRO
45
Oprah Winfrey Network show about a family farm : QUEENSUGAR
47
Like derby entrants : SHOD
48
Winning QB in the first N.F.L. playoff game to go into sudden-death overtime : UNITAS
49
Profess : AVOW
51
Deg. for a jurist : LLD
52
Spark : INCITE
53
Creek language : SEMINOLE
55
Check out rudely : LEERAT
56
Pieces of furniture with many shelves : ETAGERES
57
Viperidae family member : ADDER
58
This is an issue : SON
59
Uplifting literature : ODES
Down
1
Fair play : CRICKET
2
They might be used in making hops : AIRTAXIS
3
Volkswagen coupe : SCIROCCO
4
Big name in talks : TED
5
Convened anew : RESAT
6
Eat with no enthusiasm : PECKAT
7
They leave carbon footprints : GREENHOUSEGASES
8
Home to shooting Stars : SANANTONIO
9
P.R. piece? : PUERTO
10
Decree : ORDAIN
11
Wailers' sound : REGGAE
12
Prepares to weed, perhaps : KNEELS
14
Word after safe or side : BET
15
Superior stadium spot : LOGESEAT
22
President's annual delivery to Cong. : SOTU
24
Fix, in a way : GELD
26
Female singer with the second video ever shown on MTV : PATBENATAR
29
32 men are found in it : CHESSSET
32
Calif. school near the Mexican border : SDSU
33
Targets of a 1932 "war" in Australia : EMUS
34
Jedi knight's rival : SITHLORD
35
Course participant : ENROLLEE
38
See 46-Down : GODDESS
39
Eagle constellation : AQUILA
40
Bugged for money : DUNNED
41
Cleared for landing? : DEICED
42
Quit using : RETIRE
43
Put a backup copy on : SAVETO
46
With 38-Down, Diana, e.g. : ROMAN
50
Removable locks : WIG
54
Lead-in to folk or soul : NEO

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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