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New York Times, Friday, September 8, 2017

Author: Sam Trabucco
Editor: Will Shortz
Sam Trabucco
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
610/29/20159/8/20170
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2100120
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.70030

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {V} Spans: 1 Scrabble average: 1.96 This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Trabucco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Trabucco notes: It takes a pretty specific sort of person to create an NYT crossword puzzle centered around BUZZFEED QUIZZES, but here I am. ... more
Sam Trabucco notes:

It takes a pretty specific sort of person to create an NYT crossword puzzle centered around BUZZFEED QUIZZES, but here I am. Consider this my love letter to the fallen BuzzFeed Crossword, which I miss dearly both as a solver and a constructor. I'm still sitting on some profanity-laden, otherwise-inappropriate crosswords from that period, if anyone's looking.

I generally shy away from the gratuitous use of JQXZ-type letters because usually it results in lower quality fill. And though I know no one will believe me, I really didn't prioritize any of those letters here (beyond the initial selection of BUZZFEED QUIZZES, which I definitely liked in part for its Scrabbliness). They just gave me the best combination of smooth and fun.

For those who think two sitcom references is a lot for one puzzle (ROSA from "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and ARTIE from "Glee"), imagine if Will had kept the other two I put in (ROSS from "Friends" and ALIA Shawkat from "Arrested Development"). I love all those shows, so I'm happy at least a few survived the edit. And I'm especially happy to see ROSA Diaz still here — badass character in my favorite current sitcom (for many reasons, including Amy and Captain Holt's obsession with crosswords).

Jeff Chen notes: Check out all those rare letters in BUZZFEED QUIZZES! Four Zs and a Q = snazzy seed for a themeless. I didn't realize Buzzfeed does ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Check out all those rare letters in BUZZFEED QUIZZES! Four Zs and a Q = snazzy seed for a themeless. I didn't realize Buzzfeed does quizzes, but I've finally started to admit that I'm no longer cool enough to know about these things.

I was cool once, honest!

(Okay, I wasn't.)

Sam didn't stop there with the rare letters. BAZOOKA JOE running through BUZZFEED QUIZZES gave us a juicy J in the SW, as did YOU'RE A JERK. I loved the former, but wasn't as hot on the latter, especially given the presence of I'M A MORON. These are fine entries, but both in one puzzle seemed to me like a bit of a downer. Personal preference — I'd rather my crosswords be uplifting; an escape from the daily grind.

And don't forget the first Q in QUEEQUEG! Or the X in FIREAXES! During my solve, I didn't notice quite how many rare letters there were. Impressive, a full 10 complement of JQXZs.

It's not easy to work with so many rare letters. Those two Js in the SW force some unsightly crossword glue in REJOIN and AJA. (Steely Dan fans might disagree, but AJA is one of those constructors' crutches for the difficult-to-fill ?J? pattern.) That QUEEQUEG / BUZZFEED QUIZZES crossing constrained the middle, forcing SQ IN (square inch) and the awkward plural FIDOS.

So many constraining rare letters also force trade-offs in terms of the long slots. Sam did well to generally fill the grid smoothly, but using UNTAPED, the outdated-sounding CYBERCAFE, SIT AT HOME, RATE CAP / BASE SALARY tailored to finance wonks … these more take up space than shine, in my eyes.

I'm not a huge baseball fan, but MIKE PIAZZA does seem crossworthy to me. Most any Hall-of-Famer is fair game, methinks.

Neat to get all those rare letters. Along with some standout entries like SAYONARA and FAKE NAME, I enjoyed this one.

1
T
2
A
3
P
4
A
5
S
6
B
7
A
8
R
9
S
10
U
11
M
12
A
13
C
14
A
L
O
T
T
O
D
O
15
S
A
F
I
R
E
16
F
I
R
E
A
X
E
S
17
P
I
C
K
E
D
18
T
A
T
A
R
19
S
20
Q
I
N
21
E
W
E
22
S
C
23
A
24
R
25
U
N
T
26
A
P
E
D
27
C
28
Y
29
B
E
R
C
A
30
F
E
S
31
N
I
C
32
N
O
A
33
A
R
T
I
E
34
S
T
A
L
35
E
36
B
U
Z
37
Z
F
E
E
D
Q
38
U
I
Z
Z
E
S
39
C
R
O
A
T
40
C
O
U
R
T
41
Z
A
P
42
E
O
N
43
B
A
S
E
S
A
44
L
A
R
Y
45
C
A
K
E
46
P
O
P
47
G
A
T
E
48
A
J
A
49
R
O
S
50
A
51
H
A
52
S
53
P
54
S
55
R
E
J
56
O
I
N
57
S
58
A
59
Y
O
N
A
R
A
60
B
R
O
W
N
S
61
I
M
A
M
O
R
O
N
62
S
K
E
E
T
63
F
A
K
E
N
A
M
E
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0908 ( 24,776 )
Across Down
1. Place to order sardinas and sangria : TAPASBAR
9. Poison ___ : SUMAC
14. Plenty of work ahead : ALOTTODO
15. Wordsmith William : SAFIRE
16. Tools for escaping the heat? : FIREAXES
17. Like apples and Afros : PICKED
18. Many a Volga native : TATAR
19. Abbr. in many an area measure : SQIN
21. Rams fan? : EWE
22. Bare place on the side of a mountain : SCAR
25. Live, in a way : UNTAPED
27. Places to get wired, in two senses of the word : CYBERCAFES
31. Actor Cage, informally : NIC
32. "___ thousand times ..." : NOA
33. Wheelchair-bound "Glee" character : ARTIE
34. Tired : STALE
36. Things like "Which Disney Princess Are You?" : BUZZFEEDQUIZZES
39. Neighbor of a Bosnian : CROAT
40. Group around a king : COURT
41. Be a buzzkill? : ZAP
42. Length of a long wait, in hyperbole : EON
43. Amount before bonuses : BASESALARY
45. Dessert on a stick : CAKEPOP
47. Receipts : GATE
48. Double-platinum Steely Dan album : AJA
49. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" detective Diaz : ROSA
51. Padlock holders : HASPS
55. Meet up with again : REJOIN
57. "Adios!" : SAYONARA
60. A.F.C. North team : BROWNS
61. "D'oh!" : IMAMORON
62. Shooting game : SKEET
63. Something that's assumed : FAKENAME
1. Chief justice appointed by Harding : TAFT
2. Inter ___ : ALIA
3. Trading hub : PORT
4. Lolling : ATEASE
5. Hit sci-fi video game set around the 26th century : STARCRAFT
6. Crossword unit : BOX
7. Summertime cooler : ADE
8. Who set the standard for the United States? : ROSS
9. Valentine, e.g. : SAINT
10. Certain pay-per-view event organizer, for short : UFC
11. Catcher who won a record 10 consecutive Silver Slugger Awards : MIKEPIAZZA
12. "Capisce?" : AREWECLEAR
13. Gave up : CEDED
15. Does some postdebate political commentary : SPINS
20. First principal character encountered by Ishmael in "Moby-Dick" : QUEEQUEG
23. Israeli city that shares its name with a unit of measure : ACRE
24. Some loan specifications : RATECAPS
26. Hit 1998 animated film : ANTZ
27. "Closing Bell" channel : CNBC
28. Intemperate put-down : YOUREAJERK
29. Comics character seen on gum wrappers : BAZOOKAJOE
30. Cousins of Spots : FIDOS
34. Not go out : SITATHOME
35. Spot : ESPY
37. Billy of "Titanic" : ZANE
38. ___ Major : URSA
43. Unexpected benefits : BOONS
44. Pressure : LEANON
45. What whole-grain foods and sugary drinks have lots of : CARBS
46. Counterpart to digital : PRINT
50. Expression of doubt : ASIF
52. ___ Lee : SARA
53. Last dance? : PROM
54. Not a candidate for the invoking of the 25th Amendment, say : SANE
56. "How much do I ___?" : OWE
58. Supporter of the A.C.A. : AMA
59. Go on and on : YAK

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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