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New York Times, Saturday, October 19, 2013

Author: Peter Wentz
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter Wentz
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259/27/200711/18/20160
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1.84005

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 27 Missing: {Q} Scrabble average: 1.94 This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Wentz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter Wentz notes: I submitted this one towards the beginning of 2011, but it had to sit on the shelf for an extended period because coincidentally ... more
Peter Wentz notes: I submitted this one towards the beginning of 2011, but it had to sit on the shelf for an extended period because coincidentally two adjacent entries were identical to those in Joel Fagliano's 03-16-2012 puzzle. I've had themeless puzzles delayed due to a similarity of one marquee answer, but never before for a pair. Surprised to see that none of our downs matched up, but glad they're each unique solves.

As such, it's fun to compare this to some of my more recent publications, given that it's actually older than my last four. The past year or two, I've been putting a greater emphasis on culling weaker shorter entries from my puzzles, and while I still stand by the majority of the fill, I'd probably redo the NW corner given the chance. These days I might be okay with one of ILUV, SADO, or UDE working their way into a quadrant, but definitely not all three. However, the SE is among my all-time favorite work! Really happy I was able to get all those entries in.

Will Shortz notes: This is the second themeless puzzle I've published in the Times in which SPACE JAM sits atop COCA-COLA in the upper-right corner ... more
Will Shortz notes: This is the second themeless puzzle I've published in the Times in which SPACE JAM sits atop COCA-COLA in the upper-right corner (great minds think alike!). But it's been over a year and a half since the last one, and I hope most solvers don't remember.
Jeff Chen notes: Part of the next generation of xw constructors, Peter fills his themeless puzzles with fresh, contemporary fill. Entries like WHATS ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Part of the next generation of xw constructors, Peter fills his themeless puzzles with fresh, contemporary fill. Entries like WHATS UP G?, JOE BOXER, SEX SELLS and WHIP IT (would've been fun to clue it to the recent Drew Barrymore roller Derby movie) feel like they're evolving the NYT crossword, helping to attract and draw in a new wave of solvers. Very fun solve today.

I'm fairly sure there will be some grumbling about some of the very entries I found snazzy, WHATS UP G in particular. A friend of mine we call "G-money" so although it took me almost a minute to parse WHATSUPG properly, man oh man what a smile I got when I did. But I realize plenty of people, even after looking up WHATS UP G will be asking "What's up with that" (G)? Now see how fun that is? Okay, fine, we'll agree to disagree.

Interesting point about the solve: as I was going through it, I had the sense that maybe this was not one of Peter's most current constructions. Typically I associate Peter with very up-to-date fresh new fill and little to no SCHMUTZ in his work, so seeing the I LUV / SADO / UDE region made me pause, wondering what was going on. It made so much more sense to me after reading Will and Peter's notes.

A final note, an apology to a constructor I collaborate with, John Verel. He one day mentioned how great an entry FAZOOL would be. I politely said I wasn't sure if that would be all that interesting an answer. But what a great clue for FAZOOL today, relating to the Dean Martin rhyme with "fool". Shows what I know!

Great to see a constructor talk about his/her development and see it in action. Another one of his earlier this year is one of my favorites.

1
W
2
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P
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G
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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,356
Across Down
1. 1980 new wave classic : WHIPIT
7. 1996 hybrid animation/live-action film : SPACEJAM
15. Cole ___, 2008 World Series M.V.P. : HAMELS
16. "Ahh" sloganeer : COCACOLA
17. Juices : AMPSUP
18. Hot numbers : HITSONGS
19. "Bait Car" channel : TRUTV
20. Some hotels and old cars : OMNIS
21. Lays flat : KOS
22. It can precede masochism : SADO
23. Kind of mile: Abbr. : NAUT
24. Location from which the phoenix rose : PYRE
25. Ulan-___ (city in Siberia) : UDE
26. Biographer biographized in "Poison Pen" : KITTYKELLEY
29. Wear for Teddy Roosevelt : PINCENEZ
31. Amt. of copper, say : RDA
32. Surmounted : GOTOVER
33. Dirty Harry fired them : MAGNUMS
37. Upstate N.Y. sch. : RIT
38. 1985 #1 whose video won six MTV Video Music Awards : TAKEONME
39. Rhode Island cuisine specialty : JOHNNYCAKES
43. Rapper with the 2000 single "Party Up (Up in Here)" : DMX
44. "___ Story" (2007 Jenna Bush book) : ANAS
45. Symbols of strength : OXEN
46. Zales inventory : GEMS
47. Give some juice : REV
48. Benefits : HELPS
50. Have thirds, say : GORGE
51. Jockey competitor : JOEBOXER
53. Jin dynasty conqueror : MONGOL
54. Female novelist whose real first name was Howard : ANNERICE
55. Rhyme for "drool" in a Dean Martin classic : FAZOOL
56. Something between 49-Downs : RESTSTOP
57. Out of alignment : ATODDS
1. "How's it goin', dawg?" : WHATSUPG
2. Hobby with Q codes : HAMRADIO
3. Fresh : IMPUDENT
4. Gnocchi topper : PESTO
5. "___ It" (2006 Young Jeezy single) : ILUV
6. 100 metric drops: Abbr. : TSP
7. Dirt, in slang : SCHMUTZ
8. Like the Simpson kids' hair : POINTY
9. Dramatic opening : ACTI
10. Lewis ___, loser to Zachary Taylor in 1848 : CASS
11. Prefix with tourism : ECO
12. 1995-2013 senator from Arizona : JONKYL
13. 1985-93 senator from Tennessee : ALGORE
14. Raymond who played Abraham Lincoln : MASSEY
20. Cowboy feature : OATER
23. What a leadfoot may do : NINETY
24. City that's headquarters for Pizza Hut and J. C. Penney : PLANO
26. Former Australian prime minister Rudd : KEVIN
27. Supposed sighting off the coast of Norway : KRAKEN
28. Where faces meet : EDGES
30. Tight shoe wearer's woe : CORNS
33. Mercury and Saturn, once : MAKES
34. Follower of one nation? : UNDERGOD
35. Soup line : MMMMGOOD
36. Marketing mantra : SEXSELLS
38. Return service : TAXPREP
39. Sci-fi's ___ Binks : JARJAR
40. Many an early tie : ONEONE
41. Safe spots : HAVENS
42. First marketer of Cabbage Patch Kids : COLECO
46. Outrageously freewheeling : GONZO
48. ___ concours (unrivaled: Fr.) : HORS
49. Last file menu option, often : EXIT
50. Bearded mountain dweller : GOAT
52. Bit of action : BET
53. Deg. from 37-Across : MFA

Answer summary: 15 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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