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Kelly Clark author page

15 puzzles by Kelly Clark
with Jeff Chen comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1510/29/19978/12/20161
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1143510
ScrabbleFresh
1.6330%
Kelly Clark
Puzzles constructed by Kelly Clark by year
Fri 8/12/2016
PETUNIAPIGASAP
SHAKENBAKEGILL
SUPERDUPERECTO
TDSVETSINKEY
SOBSSSTARS
SPROUTPIANOS
POOFSDICKTRACY
ALOTVEXESADOS
NETPROFITINONE
AROUSEJIGGER
AGREESDANE
COOTSJAMSTAG
CRUZABOVEITALL
RENEROTISSERIE
ADDLPOSTITNOTE

Kelly's themeless debut! She's in the small club of constructors with 10 or more NYT puzzles, but lack of themelesses have prevented her from "hitting for the cycle" — a pretty neat feat, showing off a wide range of constructing chops. Just a Saturday puzzle to go now!

Employing a grid with just 12 long (8+ letters) slots, Kelly has to convert almost every one of them to a sizzling entry in order to make it an outstanding themeless. I really liked that upper left trio, PETUNIA PIG plus the crazy sequence of letters in SHAKE N BAKE looking like SHAKEN BAKE. SUPER DUPER fun! I wasn't wild about the plural PAPS, but the abbr. GER was more minor. A fine start to the puzzle.

Some other fun entries, SOFT PRETZEL and especially AGENT ORANGE very colorful answers (pun intended). And although I was just SICK AS A DOG recently, I still liked seeing that snappy phrase.

NET PROFIT wasn't as fun for me. You'd think that this bottom line accounting term would delight this MBA, but I've seen it so many times in crosswords, it doesn't feel that fresh. ROOT AROUND is pretty good, although most any "add-a-preposition" phrase doesn't feel as nice as something like POST IT NOTE. So, a little bit of unfulfilled potential in the 12 long slots.

I did like Kelly's use of her mid-length slots — JIGGER is an interesting word, and I INSIST is a good, colloquial phrase.

I don't mind cheater squares usually, but for a 72-word themeless — the maximum word count allowed — I'd rather not see them. I can tolerate them in this instance if they facilitate unbelievably smooth results, but having SSTARS (all the various types of ?STARS answers feel inelegant to me, as that first letter can be so many things), PAPS, and DEFS right next to cheaters is not ideal. Along with a good amount of crossword glue holding things together — ADDL, ECTO, ROES (plural is usually ROE?) etc. — there was too much for my taste.

But overall, some fun entries, and a very entertaining northwest corner. Hoping to see Kelly's byline on a Saturday to complete the cycle!

Mon 3/10/2014
FIXITOBISAMAT
ELENIFASTDIME
SINGLEFILEAKIN
SEAEELTENPECK
ARNETOPTHIS
ODORINKSRTA
HANINDIAOOMPH
OTTTOOLBOXMOE
HAHASNOBLYERR
ELMSSODAREA
BALLETSTACT
EKEDIOUGOOGLE
TIVOFINGERNAIL
STENFLIPNAVEL
YALESSTSSLEDS

There are two camps when it comes to revealers (an entry which overtly explains the theme): some love them because they make everything crystal clear, some hate them because they leave nothing to the solver to figure out. I think a case can be made either way, but today I really like the fact that Kelly leaves out a revealer. The theme is simple enough to figure out (HAMMER, LEVEL, FILE, NAIL are all items in a TOOLBOX) that is was nice to sit back after I finished and have a little a-ha moment. Nicely done.

Consistency breeds elegance in crosswords, i.e. four themers which work exactly the same is awfully nice. I did appreciate that all four themers today hide their respective item, making it somewhat opaque as to what was going on (DOORNAIL wouldn't hide the meaning of NAIL at all, for example). Well done there. I did find it a little bothersome that FINGERNAIL was the only single word out of the four, and that ON THE LEVEL (such a nice phrase!) was the only themer with three words. It would have been nice to have more consistency there.

The pinwheel arrangement of themers doesn't often allow for much long fill, and today is no exception. It's difficult to work in eights or nines due to grid layout, especially when there's a central theme answer. Still, Kelly manages to work in TOP THIS! and ALL DONE! and STIFFS and OLD AGE, all really nice entries.

The fill is an interesting mix, from the 21st century GOOGLE to the oldies ELENI and ILIE Nastase and XENA the Warrior Princess. It skews a bit toward an older solving crowd, but that will make much of the NYT's solving audience happy. It's a tough job to satisfy every segment of the NYT solving population, so this one does a nice job for the old guard who take pride in knowing automatically what AMICI and AMAT and OBIS are. I personally tend to prefer puzzles that feel a little more modern, but a case could easily be made that puzzle ought to feel "classic," and that "modern" puzzles contain too much stuff that has no staying power. Two sides to every coin.

TEN KS is an interesting little entry. I only ever see them as 10-Ks (both as a race and as a SEC annual filing) so I'm not a fan of seeing it written out. But I know some constructors who like the craziness of how TENKS looks in a grid. I winced a little to see TEN KS and TEN in the same grid, but sometimes these things happen.

All in all, a fun Monday. I like that it made me work a little to figure out the theme.

Thu 12/7/2006
AHSCUPTOG
RANIDOZENWADE
AVERRUINGICON
BREEDERSIGNORE
SERMONSASON
ELSEFRUITED
SUMMERSAUTERNE
ATABENEROTIDE
INTERMIXYAHOOS
DETROITASWE
MATESTEPOFF
LAMARRSHADOWER
EXAMORACHOLLA
ELLAMACAWHELM
SEEMSNTSE
Wed 4/2/2003
PLANTAMPERZIT
BALEOBOISTIDS
SWASHBUCKLEPEE
TEETHESTPAT
ASSESARSALLS
LONGAGOPERUSE
BRAGARMYANTS
STPCLOSUREFOG
OUTOFGASSOHO
SPURNSNEPTUNE
PITAHAHEUROS
ENOLAREEARN
DEFPANICBUTTON
URITRANCEEIRE
PSTSIZZLEDEED
Tue 6/25/2002
EGBDFFOAMVAMP
LANAIELLAETUI
BRAWNLAMANASA
ABIGAILVANBUREN
LOSDOSIDO
ATMOSTUMPS
CHIPANNLANDERS
CADETOILSAMOA
TWINSISTERMILL
KNEEOMELET
HOTTEABSA
INEEDSOMEADVICE
PIPENOONCIDER
POEMIZODALONG
ONESTENSPELTS
Tue 1/15/2002
MACKWEAKAKRON
ICONAMMODIANE
THREEGUYSWALKED
TAKERSHIPNESS
STYLISCENT
COLORTREND
INTOABARTOOTOO
MOOGEMOTEOURS
PARLAYNEXTTIME
SHEERNEATO
CLERKTERRA
HOTSHOTSALOON
IHOPETHEYLLDUCK
SITARERIEETCH
SOOTYRENDREOS
Tue 11/20/2001
MONSGAOLSYNE
AMAHLENTOHOOD
LEGOMUTTONAGED
AGAWAMSEGOLILY
RATEDPGORO
DAYOJUDGMENT
ALBUMTANDYDEY
PERPWHIPSYEAR
EVACHIMERANTO
RIGHTOCENTER
INCSOLDIER
FAILSAFEDIANNE
ELALRINGOTRUTH
EDGEELVESMIRE
TOOLSLYESTEM
Wed 8/9/2000
PARATALESJAZZ
ALEERHODEOLEO
RODSUSAIREPEE
IFYOUDONTPAY
STEPPESIPSAD
DAUBCACKLE
FORYOUREXORCISM
ABIEGEMCRAM
WILLTHERESULTBE
NELLIESNUG
SSSRAHRHONDA
REPOSSESSION
SHEASAHIBCENT
KIEVORATEACNE
ISLENYMETREAD
Thu 10/7/1999
TULSAURSAPSST
WHATSROTCUHOH
AFLATAMAHFADE
AFOOLPROOFWAY
FROROBB
BAMSDRAYSALEM
ABASLAGSELENA
TOMAKEPANTSLAST
HUBRISPEASRUE
STOMPBEETAYES
RISEISM
MAKETHEJACKET
ALASAFARILOSE
MELTMUNIFIRST
EXESSPEDFATES
Thu 4/1/1999
JEANSHAHAGEMS
ARIELICONOVEN
BERRALEONLIRA
ROYALSDOAFLIP
SKITIECELTS
OAFPOLLSDAIRY
ALLENAULD
KEENWAYNETUTU
OHMSOWNER
ADRYPOOLFAILS
CAPRAHEFFLA
APRILFOOLSDAY
SLOEALPOARIAS
TENSCLEOYENTA
EASTTANKSAGAN
Tue 1/19/1999
BROKEZAPPAFDA
MARISSNERTAER
WHENTHATEELMAI
GEEZERMIRE
GASSERSPSALMS
ONITBATSANEYE
PESOSOHNO
WINKRIGHTBACK
IOTASLOES
DONTBESHYCODE
GROUSEIMPASSE
LILTWASHUP
AVATHATSAMORAY
DELOAKIEANODE
ERAWHETSSEWON
Sun 10/11/1998 Mothering
TASTEASHEDOWSEDOSE
OILERPLATOAREDEVES
BRINGUPASTICKYSUBJECT
AGEDSENERTECOARSE
GUSTANTEMONSTER
ONTODISBARTOSSPOTS
EMUETOOLEOCELIA
FLAXENREARWINDSHIELD
RANCIDETAECLAT
ENTERERMITTIERFACT
EGOSROMNAWLODOSLO
DENSSOYGTOSOILSKIN
TETRAATENOTING
RAISEABIGSTINKEVENTS
ISTLEEASTMINSER
BLOODREDREELEDBRIM
OERSTEDEARPREDO
SCARFSRAGEDOEOPEL
CAREFORSOMETHINGTOEAT
APESLEAVEAONESKATE
BEATDOTERLEGSESTER
Thu 7/16/1998
HADONSOPPYNAH
ADELEWALLAARE
HOWDIDAFOOLPLY
DELAYTWEAKED
DERNMETZDINA
OROANDHISMONEY
UMPEDUNHIP
GASLAMPGENTEEL
INUREESSAY
GETTOGETHERPRE
ALOESOUREONS
RAISINSGEARS
NILTOBEGINWITH
ENEEVOKETITHE
REDMAXEDSNOOT
Thu 4/30/1998
TATAMAGICPTAS
SCUMORONOAHSO
AMBISTANDTEEN
REPENTPAPERBAG
USCPETUNIA
STSABEESTTNT
CHIVALRYTOOTOO
HEXAOMEGAVEIN
MINNOWREHEARSE
OROGMTRWYYES
RELEASEELS
DUBBEDINIDIDIT
OREOOCEANBONO
OSHAWHACKYWCA
MATTNIKESANAT
Wed 10/29/1997
SHADOWARASIAN
PALEPICALANCE
ANONINRIEMCEE
DONTBEGINCOO
EIEIOIDYLAMEN
NEATDUHPLO
COWERSSAGALET
ARIWHATYOUEVE
PITARTYSLATED
OOHRANLION
SNOWMOTOFOSSE
UARCANTFINIS
DITSYORGYNOES
IRENESTEPTUNA
GENTSTYROSTAY
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