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New York Times, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Author:
Tracy Bennett
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
37/21/20139/20/20160
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1010010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54001
Tracy Bennett

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Ms. Bennett. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tracy Bennett notes:
Croquembouche, a traditional French wedding 'cake,' is an impressive assemblage of small cream-filled pastry balls that form a tiered, ... read more

Croquembouche, a traditional French wedding "cake," is an impressive assemblage of small cream-filled pastry balls that form a tiered, tapering tower which is then adorned with spun sugar and caramel. Baumkuchen is a delicate cake batter poured over a continuously spinning cylinder, with each filament-like layer allowed to brown and set before the next layer is poured. I'm bringing this up primarily because Croquembouche and Baumkuchen are delicious words to think about and say out loud. Secondarily, I'm getting ready to belabor an analogy. Here goes…

I'm still mastering simple but good recipes. I will confidently deviate from a recipe and try something new, but as the recipes get trickier my results have varied. I work diligently to learn and improve, I experiment when and where I can, and I study the masters every day. It is my dream to some day have the skill to make the finest Baumkuchen my friends have ever tasted.

In the meantime, I'm grateful to have a third puzzle appearing in the New York Times. For those who don't know me, I also make indie-flavored puzzles for BUST magazine, a bimonthly feminist publication, and I'm enjoying cooking up snack-sized puzzles for the Daily Celebrity Crossword.

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a fun puzzle! I'm still addicted to 'The Great British Bake-off,' and my mouth watered as I read the clues. I normally skip over ... read more

Such a fun puzzle! I'm still addicted to "The Great British Bake-off," and my mouth watered as I read the clues. I normally skip over any clue that looks too long, but I stopped to read [Layers of sherry-soaked torte, homemade custard and fruit served chilled in a giant stem glass] several times. I can barely look at that without going to the fridge and wishing there was an ENGLISH TRIFLE waiting for me!

Fun punchline, too. Although the ENGLISH TRIFLE, BAKED ALASKA, and PLUM PUDDING do look a lot like cakes, they technically aren't. NO PIECE OF CAKE is so apt. Neat a-ha!

Speaking of NO PIECE OF CAKE, this puzzle wasn't a piece of cake for me — but in a good way. I stopped very early at … RUCHE? I double-checked all my crossings to find my error, but everything was fine. Then I remembered that Tracy is big into certain crafts, so learning that word for decorative edging gave me a grin. Very glad every crossing was a gimme, though!

Very nice gridwork overall. DARE WE SAY is fun, and I can't type YOU SEND ME without breaking into song. And I really liked her mid-length stuff. PRUSSIA, SVELTE, NICOISE, SUCKER — what interesting words. Great to see MELINDA Gates get her due, too. Amazing what the Gates are attempting to do for the world.

A couple of minor gluey bits in Max BAER (yes a boxing champ, but from such a long time ago), plural Spanish TIOS, GLO. But all of these are so negligible. Tracy took such care in putting together each and every section of her grid.

Another minor point: I usually don't care if a grid entry is duplicated in a clue, but DARE WE SAY felt cheapened to me by seeing ["I dare you"!] for the DO IT clue. The two in close proximity made it stand out even more. This is an awfully nit-picky thing, but it did jump out at me as inelegant.

Just about everything I want in a Tuesday. Delicious puzzle.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0920 ( 24,423 )

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Across
1
___ of the Apostles : ACTS
5
Ending with neo- or proto- : PLASM
10
Pushing conventional limits : EDGY
14
Blade in the pen : SHIV
15
Strip of fabric used for trimming : RUCHE
16
Low ground, poetically : VALE
17
Rock's ___ Inch Nails : NINE
18
Habitual customer's order, with "the" : USUAL
19
Clothes presser : IRON
20
Layers of sherry-soaked torte, homemade custard and fruit served chilled in a giant stem glass : ENGLISHTRIFLE
23
Dreadlocked ones, informally : RASTAS
24
Comical "Dame" : EDNA
25
"Kilroy ___ here" : WAS
28
Give off, as vibes : EMIT
30
Summary : DIGEST
32
___-December romance : MAY
35
Ice cream and sponge topped with meringue and placed in a very hot oven for a few minutes : BAKEDALASKA
38
Oodles : ALOT
40
Singer with the site imaginepeace.com : ONO
41
Boxer Max : BAER
42
Steamed-for-hours, aged-for-months concoction of treacle, brandy, fruit and spices, set afire and served at Christmas : PLUMPUDDING
47
Fabric purchase: Abbr. : YDS
48
Teacher's plan : LESSON
49
Uncles, in Acapulco : TIOS
51
___ contact : EYE
52
Units of resistance : OHMS
55
Ham-handed : CLUMSY
59
What a chef might call each dessert featured in this puzzle, literally or figuratively : NOPIECEOFCAKE
62
Command-Z command : UNDO
64
Actress Watts : NAOMI
65
Kardashian matriarch : KRIS
66
Fool : SIMP
67
Latches (onto) : GLOMS
68
Land of Blarney : EIRE
69
Ones who are splitsville : EXES
70
Lauder of cosmetics : ESTEE
71
"Phooey!" : RATS
Down
1
Ed of "Up" : ASNER
2
Set traditionally handed down to an eldest daughter : CHINA
3
Tiny bell sounds : TINGS
4
Willowy : SVELTE
5
German kingdom of old : PRUSSIA
6
Growing luxuriantly : LUSH
7
Severe and short, as an illness : ACUTE
8
Glass fragment : SHARD
9
Gates of philanthropy : MELINDA
10
Voldemort-like : EVIL
11
"Hesitating to mention it, but ..." : DAREWESAY
12
Mop & ___ : GLO
13
Itch : YEN
21
da-DAH : IAMB
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Pass's opposite : FAIL
26
"___ and answered" (courtroom objection) : ASKED
27
Constellation units : STARS
29
Walloped to win the bout, in brief : TKOD
31
Chew the fat : GAB
32
Sugar ___ : MAPLE
33
Locale for urban trash cans : ALLEY
34
Sam Cooke's first #1 hit : YOUSENDME
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Come to a close : END
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"I dare you!" : DOIT
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Designs with ® symbols: Abbr. : TMS
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Lowdown, in slang : POOP
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Drive mad : UNHINGE
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Salade ___ : NICOISE
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Club game : GOLF
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Lollipop : SUCKER
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"Square" things, ideally : MEALS
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"Git!" : SCOOT
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"West Side Story" seamstress : MARIA
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Mini, e.g. : SKIRT
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Positive R.S.V.P.s : YESES
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Error report? : OOPS
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J.Lo's daughter with a palindromic name : EMME
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Manipulate : USE
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Kill, as an idea : NIX

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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