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New York Times, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Author: Ryan Milligan
Editor: Will Shortz
Ryan Milligan
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27/8/20153/28/20170
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1.60010
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 44 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Milligan. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ryan Milligan notes: Second puzzle! Glad to see this wasn't blind luck. I was listening to Taylor Swift's then new album 1989 (fantastic album, for ... more
Ryan Milligan notes:

Second puzzle! Glad to see this wasn't blind luck. I was listening to Taylor Swift's then new album 1989 (fantastic album, for what it's worth), and I thought it would be cool to turn her last name into an adverb and clue the phrase as Taylor, swiftly. I then started looking for other celebrities with adjective last names and found the set JAMESBLUNTLY, HOWARDSTERNLY, and GLENNCLOSELY. Joel and Will suggested I clue them as Tom Swifties and the puzzle was born. The puzzle needed significantly less editing than my debut, which I was happy to see.

Thanks as always to Will and Joel for their insight. And Taylor, if you happen to be an avid reader of online crossword blogs, I wouldn't object to some backstage passes the next time you're in Boston. Just saying.

Jeff Chen notes: What a fun idea! I like Tom Swifties, but when they've been so overdone in both real life and in crosswords that they run the danger ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

What a fun idea! I like Tom Swifties, but when they've been so overdone in both real life and in crosswords that they run the danger of feeling bleh. I appreciate Ryan's different take on the theme trope, expanding it to full-name celebs. The cluing — done in a Tom Swifty-esque way — is what makes the theme work for me. Given GLENN CLOSE's iconic role in "Fatal Attraction," thinking about her getting a little too close was fun.

I used to listen to HOWARD STERN — my twin brother was once interviewed on it! — so linking STERN to a STERNLY-issued warning was also fun. Great stuff.

JAMES BLUNT wasn't as familiar to me as the others, but that's not a surprise given my horrible pop music knowledge base. It would have been great to get EMILY BLUNT in there to make it two men and two women, but perhaps JAMES BLUNT is more famous? Tough to judge. And JAMES does have that relatively rare J that can make crosswords more interesting.

Love DEAL ME IN as a bonus entry. SPORADIC and OFFLINE are good too. It would have been nice to get maybe one more pair of long downs, but these themers are of "awkward lengths," in that they force placement of several black squares immediately. Makes it much harder to work in high quantity and quality of long fill.

A couple of hiccups in the grid. Some of that is to be expected, especially in places where themers and long fill answers mesh together — EAP and INTER is a prime example, with that east section fairly constrained.

But avoiding DREI should be easier in a relatively flexible section like the lower right. Along with HARRYS (plural name), REG, UNI, ONS, DO NOW, it felt just over the threshold of too much. I'd have liked to seen rework to smooth it all out a tad.

But it's hard to argue with an early-week theme that tickles, and this one gave me a lot of smiles.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 24,612
Across Down
1. Even trade : SWAP
5. Nile predator, briefly : CROC
9. Class with masks? : DRAMA
14. Next in line : HEIR
15. Promise : OATH
16. 18th-century mathematician who introduced the function : EULER
17. Designer Gucci : ALDO
18. Nick at ___ : NITE
19. One-named singer who won the 2016 Album of the Year : ADELE
20. "Sorry I'm in your space, it's an actress thing," said ___ : GLENNCLOSELY
23. Shirt that might have a crew neck, informally : TEE
24. Scottish cap : TAM
25. "The Raven" writer's monogram : EAP
28. "Don't interrupt me on my radio show," said ___ : HOWARDSTERNLY
32. "It gets better" spot, e.g., in brief : PSA
34. DiCaprio, to fans : LEO
35. Prefix with galactic and spatial : INTER
36. Works to get : EARNS
39. Lion's prey : GNU
41. Easily fooled : NAIVE
42. Unit of bacon : STRIP
43. Lennon's widow : ONO
45. ___-Mex : TEX
46. "Gotta run, pop concert calls," said ___ : TAYLORSWIFTLY
51. Turn-___ : ONS
52. Gravestone letters : RIP
53. Govt. org. with a drone registry program : FAA
54. "Right to the point: You're beautiful, it's true," said ___ : JAMESBLUNTLY
60. Advocated : URGED
63. Tea type : CHAI
64. Three, in Berlin : DREI
65. Mecca resident : SAUDI
66. Drying oven : KILN
67. Harvest, as crops : REAP
68. "A man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin," per H. L. Mencken : CYNIC
69. Rice wine : SAKE
70. Longings : YENS
1. Carpet style : SHAG
2. Word said three times before "What have we here?!" : WELL
3. Assistant : AIDE
4. On the double : PRONTO
5. Hide : CONCEAL
6. Inner part of a racetrack : RAIL
7. Palindromic boy's name : OTTO
8. Treasure holders : CHESTS
9. Request for a hand : DEALMEIN
10. Inspiring 1993 movie about a Notre Dame football team walk-on : RUDY
11. Lager relative : ALE
12. Comical Brooks : MEL
13. "All we ___ saying is give peace a chance" : ARE
21. Just-made : NEW
22. Munch on : EAT
25. Thing that exists : ENTITY
26. Drug whose generic name is naproxen : ALEVE
27. Measuring cup material : PYREX
28. Truman and others : HARRYS
29. Rule laid down by a commission: Abbr. : REG
30. "What should I ___?" : DONOW
31. Material in strands : RNA
32. Sauce with pine nuts : PESTO
33. The Great Tempter : SATAN
37. Zero, in soccer : NIL
38. Occasional : SPORADIC
40. Prefix with -versal : UNI
44. Not connected to a computer network : OFFLINE
47. Pacific ___ : RIM
48. What stars are in the night sky : SPECKS
49. Letter after sigma : TAU
50. Tom who coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 years : LANDRY
54. Revered "Star Wars" figure : JEDI
55. Actor LaBeouf : SHIA
56. Illegal pitching motion : BALK
57. Logician's chart : TREE
58. Not stand completely straight : LEAN
59. Nervousness that causes a golfer to miss an easy putt, with "the" : YIPS
60. Golden State sch. : USC
61. With 62-Down, sci-fi weapon : RAY
62. See 61-Down : GUN

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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