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New York Times, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Author: Hal Moore
Editor: Will Shortz
Hal Moore
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
31/26/20179/20/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001110
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.76101

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

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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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 Down
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
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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