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New York Times, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Author:
Hal Moore
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
41/26/20179/9/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1001110
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.76201
Hal Moore

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: none – this is a pangram. Scrabble average: 1.93 This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Moore. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: When finished, this crossword grid will have 25 things that complete a set, in the order indicated by the clues.
Hal Moore notes:
The pangram (a puzzle containing every letter of the alphabet) is nothing new, and indeed, when constructors put a Q or Z where it ... read more

The pangram (a puzzle containing every letter of the alphabet) is nothing new, and indeed, when constructors put a Q or Z where it doesn't really belong – "doing it for the ‘Gram," in the parlance of our times – they may find themselves accused of lewd acts against a certain board game!

But I thought the restriction of having each letter appear adjacent to the one before/after it in the alphabet would make for a fun construction challenge that wouldn't require too many compromises in the fill.

I started off by placing the Q – I knew both PQ and QR had very few options, and figured it would be most efficient to use a single Q to cross the two answers near a corner. WX and JK were the other most challenging pairings, so I found a way to include them in longer answers with otherwise friendly letters, and then to cross those answers near a corner as well. I would have loved to include the RIJKSMUSEUM in Amsterdam, but couldn't manage it, and also that's probably a late-week answer.

It was Will and Joel's idea to include the note and bracketed numbers indicating alphabetic position, and I thank them for their editorial efforts. They also made one change to the grid, at NATHANIEL/INIS. My original submission had NATHANAEL/INAS, figuring that IN AS was a slightly more palatable partial. I had also considered ETAL/IT IS/JAE in that section. I watch a lot of basketball, so Jae Crowder is well-known to me, but is he crossworthy? I wonder which option solvers prefer.

The LYS/SSRS crossing is a bit ugly as well, but other than that, I don't think the grid shows too much sign of strain. I hope solvers feel the same, and that they appreciate the rationale behind this construction.

Jeff Chen notes:
Even after finishing my solve, it took me a while to figure out the notepad's meaning. 25 consecutive things? At first, I thought it ... read more

Even after finishing my solve, it took me a while to figure out the notepad's meaning. 25 consecutive things? At first, I thought it was alphabetical order, with BCE as #2 and CDS as #3? But #1 was … SCAB? Huh. I'm not sure I would have given it more thought if I was a typical solver, which would have been a shame because it's an interesting concept: each of the numbered entries contains two consecutive letters of the alphabet, covering all 25 pairs. SCAB, BCE, CDS, etc.

I probably should have figured it out from BMW X SERIES. What a cool entry, with its five consonants in a row! There aren't many *WX* entries to choose from, and even though I'm no car aficionado, I thought this was fun. JK ROWLING is a great way to get the *JK* sequence, too.

Given that there needed to be 25 theme answers, it's no surprise that there was quite a bit of crossword glue holding the grid together. Sure, there's a lot of flexibility given that AB has tons of choices, as does DE, GH, etc., but anytime you need to shove in 25 themers, it ain't going to be easy. That constructor's viewpoint made it a little easier to stomach AFORE, ENOL, INIS, KMS, LYS, SSRS, ROI, OF GOD, etc.

But just a little.

Many nice thematic entries in this grid, like POP QUIZ, BBQ RIBS, SWAYZE. But as a solver, it didn't have much impact for me — not enough to make up for the necessary compromises.

Perhaps if there had been a better visual element? Even highlighting the letter doublets? It would have been cool if all the doublets connected, snaking their way through the puzzle. Likely impossible to do, but fun to think about.

1
S
2
A
3
N
4
D
5
P
6
C
7
D
8
S
9
C
10
A
11
V
12
A
13
C
L
A
R
E
14
K
L
E
E
15
O
L
A
F
16
A
F
T
E
R
17
S
H
A
V
E
18
N
O
G
O
19
B
A
H
20
S
W
A
M
I
S
21
D
O
U
R
22
A
23
V
I
A
N
24
L
A
25
T
E
F
E
E
26
F
27
E
N
W
A
Y
28
W
I
M
29
I
N
I
S
30
Z
31
E
32
S
33
T
34
A
N
35
J
36
O
37
U
38
J
O
E
39
B
E
T
T
O
40
R
S
41
K
M
S
42
I
L
L
43
B
E
44
S
U
V
A
45
B
R
A
E
46
B
A
47
T
48
D
49
E
C
O
R
S
50
P
51
O
52
P
Q
U
I
53
Z
54
S
I
N
E
W
55
A
F
A
R
56
M
U
57
S
E
U
M
58
L
59
Y
60
S
61
U
G
L
I
62
B
M
W
X
S
E
63
R
I
E
S
64
L
O
M
B
65
E
B
A
Y
66
S
O
N
A
R
67
A
D
E
S
68
R
A
G
69
H
I
G
H
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0920 ( 24,788 )
Across
1
Wall Street index, for short : SANDP
6
Things in jewel cases [3] : CDS
9
Vena ___ (major vessel) : CAVA
13
County north of Limerick : CLARE
14
Painter Paul [11] : KLEE
15
Patron saint of Norway : OLAF
16
Witch hazel or bay rum : AFTERSHAVE
18
Scrapped, to NASA : NOGO
19
Cry from Scrooge : BAH
20
Hindu ascetics : SWAMIS
21
Gloomy : DOUR
22
Bird-related : AVIAN
24
Book borrower's penalty [5] : LATEFEE
26
Green Monster's ballpark : FENWAY
28
Wenders who directed "Buena Vista Social Club" : WIM
29
"Last one ___ a rotten egg!" : INIS
30
Marmalade bit : ZEST
34
Pear variety : ANJOU
38
Diner cupful, slangily : JOE
39
Some trackgoers [18] : BETTORS
41
Eur. distance measures : KMS
42
"How about that!" : ILLBE
44
Capital of 26-Down [21] : SUVA
45
Scottish hillside : BRAE
46
What A.L. pitchers normally don't do : BAT
48
Interior designs : DECORS
50
Classroom surprise [15][16] : POPQUIZ
54
Muscular strength : SINEW
55
Off in the distance : AFAR
56
Curator's workplace : MUSEUM
58
Fleur-de-___ : LYS
61
Citrus named for its appearance : UGLI
62
Line of upscale German autos [23] : BMWXSERIES
64
Bausch & ___ (lens maker) : LOMB
65
"Buy It Now" site : EBAY
66
Salvage ship's detection system : SONAR
67
Fruity quaffs : ADES
68
Sleazy newspaper : RAG
69
Euphoric states [8][7] : HIGHS
Down
1
Persona non grata to a striker [1] : SCAB
2
Letter before bravo : ALFA
3
Hawthorne who created Hester Prynne : NATHANIEL
4
Rap's Dr. ___ : DRE
5
Shah's domain until 1935 : PERSIA
6
Chowder flavor : CLAM
7
He "made me do it," with "the" [4] : DEVIL
8
Like games with several lead changes : SEESAW
9
Mark for demolition [13] : CONDEMN
10
Distant : ALOOF
11
Like the description "somewhere in the U.S." : VAGUE
12
Prior to, poetically : AFORE
14
Wrathful "Star Trek" villain : KHAN
17
Patrick of "Dirty Dancing" [25] : SWAYZE
23
Golfs, e.g. [22] : VWS
25
Aunts, in Andalusia : TIAS
26
Part of Oceania [9] : FIJI
27
Hydroxyl group compound [14] : ENOL
31
"Star Wars" extras, for short : ETS
32
Early Beatle Sutcliffe [19][20] : STU
33
"Mazel ___!" : TOV
35
Creator of Hogwarts [10] : JKROWLING
36
Stickup man on "The Wire" : OMAR
37
Plays for a sap : USES
39
Steady guy : BEAU
40
Wheel spoke, essentially : RADIUS
43
Pitmaster's offering [17] : BBQRIBS
45
Pre-A.D. [2] : BCE
47
Cry before a fall : TIMBER
49
Catch in a web : ENMESH
50
TV journalist Zahn : PAULA
51
Act ___ [6] : OFGOD
52
___ d'Or (Cannes award) [12] : PALME
53
Fitness program done to Latin music : ZUMBA
54
Like Playboy models [24] : SEXY
57
___ bag (event handout) : SWAG
59
"You betcha!" : YEAH
60
They became independent in 1991: Abbr. : SSRS
63
Le ___ Soleil (Louis XIV) : ROI

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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