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New York Times, Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2912/25/201310/8/20180
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3448640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59790
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {BFJQXZ} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
The first draft of this puzzle contained the theme answer RPG, clued as 'Shoulder-launched weapon, for short.' Will found that answer ... read more

The first draft of this puzzle contained the theme answer RPG, clued as "Shoulder-launched weapon, for short." Will found that answer "unappealing," so I swapped it out for CRAPGAMES, yielding an aptly vice-filled if somewhat old-fashioned northeast corner. Other theme-answer candidates included UPGRADE, GOSSIPGIRL, and PHILIPGLASS, to whom this puzzle could be considered a stealth tribute.

Jeff Chen notes:
PG-13 interpreted as 'THIRTEEN instances of PG inside the grid.' I've highlighted them below, as it took me forever to catch all of ... read more

PG-13 interpreted as "THIRTEEN instances of PG inside the grid." I've highlighted them below, as it took me forever to catch all of them. I particularly liked the stairstep of connected PGs in the upper right corner — cool little section. A similarly neat effect from the linked PGs in the upper left.

Top Gear, the BBC show

It may seem like not a big deal to incorporate a bigram into a puzzle 13 times, but the PG combination isn't a super common one. Take the center area, for example — you might wonder why Jacob didn't put a single instance in there. But with only short slots, how would you incorporate PG? Perhaps JPG or PGUP? Perhaps, but the J would be hard to work in, and PG UP isn't the greatest of entries. LPGA is out, since PGA has already been used. Not easy!

Given how hard that *PG* constraint is to work with, I did like quite a few of the "themers," like STOPGAP, TOP GEAR, CRAP GAMES and SWAMP GAS. Colorful choices.

A theme like this is so heavily constrained that it's tough to avoid gluey bits galore. I've come to appreciate more and more a good upper left corner, which sets the tone for my solving experience. Fun MAO clue [Leader with an -ISM], but getting two abbreviations in MASC and ANS was not ideal.

It's an unfortunate by-product of stacking SWAMPGAS and CAMPGROUND. Both are very nice answers in which to hide PG, but with the MPG further constraining it, that's a tough area to cleanly fill around. CMII (random Roman numeral) and MSGR and ISAO further make for feeling of a gluey pile-up.

Same issue in the lower right, with LIP GLOSS stacked under PG THIRTEEN forcing some compromises in the NSEC / LIC / REOIL corner.

So, an audacious theme idea, causing all sorts of filling problems. Very difficult to fill around so many instances of that PG bigram.

1
M
2
A
3
O
4
C
5
M
6
I
7
I
8
A
9
S
10
P
11
C
12
A
13
A
N
S
14
A
S
S
N
15
S
A
T
I
R
E
16
S
W
A
17
M
P
G
A
S
18
A
R
E
N
A
S
19
C
A
M
P
G
R
O
U
20
N
D
21
P
U
P
22
R
A
G
U
23
M
E
A
24
L
25
P
G
26
A
27
N
28
E
29
W
30
S
T
O
31
P
G
A
P
32
S
33
I
34
K
35
H
36
V
A
37
S
T
38
P
R
I
M
O
39
O
N
E
A
40
A
S
K
E
41
W
42
I
R
E
S
43
U
T
E
N
44
N
45
H
I
G
H
46
E
L
S
E
47
T
O
P
G
E
48
A
R
49
G
Y
50
M
51
H
O
G
52
S
P
A
53
S
54
E
55
A
56
R
57
P
58
D
O
59
A
60
P
G
T
61
H
62
I
R
T
E
E
63
N
64
W
E
I
G
65
H
T
66
L
I
P
G
L
O
S
S
67
V
E
N
U
E
S
68
E
R
S
E
69
I
C
E
70
A
P
G
A
R
71
O
T
O
S
72
L
I
C
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0908 ( 24,045 )
Across
1. Leader with an -ism : MAO
4. The year 902 : CMII
8. Org. with pet causes : ASPCA
13. Clue on "Jeopardy!": Abbr. : ANS
14. The "A" in 25-Across: Abbr. : ASSN
15. "Catch-22" or "Don Quixote" : SATIRE
16. It's mostly methane : SWAMPGAS
18. Concert sites : ARENAS
19. Place to erect a tent : CAMPGROUND
21. Kind of tent : PUP
22. Sauce brand : RAGU
23. Soup kitchen offering : MEAL
25. Org. whose members may be putting on a show? : PGA
27. Fresh : NEW
30. Sufficient for now, as a measure : STOPGAP
32. Turbaned believer : SIKH
36. Immense : VAST
38. First-rate : PRIMO
39. Qualified to serve : ONEA
40. Not straight : ASKEW
42. Angers : IRES
43. Knoxville sch. : UTENN
45. Runner's feeling : HIGH
46. In addition : ELSE
47. BBC car series listed by Guinness as the most widely watched factual TV program in the world : TOPGEAR
49. Class followed by a shower : GYM
51. Non-sharer : HOG
52. Places offering facials : SPAS
54. Marshal played in film by Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner : EARP
58. ___ good deed : DOA
60. Somewhat family-friendly ... or a title for this puzzle, as suggested by the completed grid? : PGTHIRTEEN
64. Boxer's stat : WEIGHT
66. Cosmetic applied with a small brush : LIPGLOSS
67. Concert sites : VENUES
68. Gaelic tongue : ERSE
69. Frost, essentially : ICE
70. ___ score (neonatal measure) : APGAR
71. Midwest tribe : OTOS
72. What a D.M.V. issues: Abbr. : LIC
Down
1. Like the Fr. "le," but not "la" : MASC
2. With 15-Down, 1978 Nobel Peace Prize winner : ANWAR
3. 2005 biography subtitled "The Making of a Terrorist" : OSAMA
4. Noisy toy : CAPGUN
5. Roman Cath. title : MSGR
6. Golfer Aoki : ISAO
7. All together : INSUM
8. Swiss river to the Rhine : AAR
9. Bit of a climb : STEP
10. Figure on a soldier's poster in W.W. II : PINUPGIRL
11. Casino activities with dice : CRAPGAMES
12. D.D.E. opponent : AES
15. See 2-Down : SADAT
17. Car sticker fig. : MPG
20. Individual retirement account, say : NESTEGG
24. Cut (off) : LOP
26. Strike ___ (model) : APOSE
28. Bond girl Green : EVA
29. Cloth for cleaning : WASHRAG
31. ___-dieu (kneeling bench) : PRIE
32. 6:00 on a compass : SOUTH
33. Past the point of no return : INTOODEEP
34. Carry on : KEEPGOING
35. Chill (with) : HANG
37. Hit the slopes : SKI
41. "___ me?" : WHY
44. Bygone video game inits. : NES
48. Engagement calendar listings: Abbr. : APPTS
50. Goes from two lanes to one : MERGES
53. Fifth-century pope known as "the Great" : STLEO
55. The Falcons, on scoreboards : ATL
56. Maintain, in a way, as a car engine : REOIL
57. Joe of "Once Upon a Time in America" : PESCI
59. Contents of el océano : AGUA
61. "Java" trumpeter Al : HIRT
62. ___ facto : IPSO
63. Tiny amount of time: Abbr. : NSEC
64. Big coal-mining state: Abbr. : WVA
65. Woody Allen's "Hannah and ___ Sisters" : HER

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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