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New York Times, Friday, November 25, 2016

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Berry
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711241672502
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1.54980
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JKQZ} This is puzzle # 217 for Mr. Berry. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Beautiful puzzle; quintessential Patrick Berry. Here a few identifying factors that I identify with PB's themelesses: A ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Beautiful puzzle; quintessential Patrick Berry. Here a few identifying factors that I identify with PB's themelesses:

  • A wide-open, well-connected grid with no real choke points
  • Well under the maximum of 72 words, creating a good challenge for solvers
  • Interesting layout of black squares, always trying something new
  • Some very good long answers like TEA CADDIES, HEAVEN SENT, RISING STAR, SPACE SUITS
  • Very little to no gluey short answers needed to hold everything together
  • Some neutral answers converted into assets through the use of a great wordplay clue, i.e. [Immersive experience] misleading toward a surround-sound theater experience, away from a dunking BAPTISM
  • No really flashy answers, but also no trendy answers that might mystify / dissatisfy big chunks of the solving population

Themelesses always involve trade-offs, and each constructor has his/her own weightings on how important each of the above categories are. Some do low-word count puzzles with a lot of neutral / bleh answers, some have really flashy entries with a ton of crossword glue holding everything together, etc. Patrick's blend of factors works really well for me.

I don't always absolutely 100% love Patrick's themelesses — there's rarely a single mind-blowing entry that makes one of his stick in my mind — but they hit every criterion I use for evaluation at such a darn high level. I really, really, enjoyed this one, an ultra-smooth, wide-open solve with a lot of very good entries and not a single hiccup in gluey short fill.

1
B
2
A
3
S
4
H
5
B
6
E
7
A
8
M
9
H
10
A
11
L
12
L
13
A
L
C
O
14
H
O
L
R
U
15
B
16
E
P
E
E
17
P
A
R
T
I
A
L
I
T
Y
18
Y
O
G
A
19
T
R
A
W
L
20
A
D
E
P
21
T
22
S
O
D
23
I
M
P
A
L
24
A
25
R
U
26
S
T
L
E
27
S
E
E
R
28
L
29
E
30
S
31
S
O
N
P
L
A
N
32
M
D
S
33
T
E
A
C
A
D
D
I
E
S
34
T
A
X
R
E
T
U
R
N
35
B
36
R
I
T
A
N
N
I
C
A
37
H
38
E
39
M
40
H
E
A
V
E
N
S
E
N
T
41
C
O
M
E
42
A
C
C
O
R
D
43
S
44
H
A
R
I
F
45
M
A
E
46
S
E
47
D
48
A
49
N
50
A
T
A
R
I
51
L
U
C
52
Y
53
R
I
S
I
54
N
G
S
T
A
R
55
E
S
A
U
56
S
P
A
C
E
S
U
I
T
S
57
T
E
R
M
58
S
P
E
W
59
P
O
E
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,489
Across Down
1. Strongly disparage : BASH
5. 4x4, e.g. : BEAM
9. College building : HALL
13. Sore muscle treatment : ALCOHOLRUB
16. Pentathlete's need : EPEE
17. Special fondness : PARTIALITY
18. Class with a flexible schedule? : YOGA
19. Drag out of a bed? : TRAWL
20. Versed : ADEPT
22. Nursery purchase : SOD
23. 1958 Chevrolet debut : IMPALA
25. Take stock? : RUSTLE
27. Future reporter : SEER
28. Teacher's homework : LESSONPLAN
32. Ward healers, for short : MDS
33. Gunpowder containers : TEACADDIES
34. Prepared statement : TAXRETURN
35. Pax ___ (century preceding W.W. I) : BRITANNICA
37. Sewer's edge : HEM
40. Arriving at just the right moment : HEAVENSENT
41. Make it : COME
42. Mutual understanding : ACCORD
43. "Genghis Khan" star, 1965 : SHARIF
45. "___ West Lips Sofa" (Dalí piece) : MAE
46. Car buyer's option : SEDAN
50. Early Nintendo competitor : ATARI
51. Archaeological find of 1974 : LUCY
53. Person who's getting bigger : RISINGSTAR
55. Hairy one in a Bible story : ESAU
56. Landing gear? : SPACESUITS
57. Contract stipulation : TERM
58. Expel : SPEW
59. Meter user : POET
1. Immersive experience : BAPTISM
2. Like many an emergency door : ALARMED
3. Difficult situations : SCRAPES
4. Open hostilities : HOTWAR
5. Showgirl prop : BOA
6. Actress Raines of "Tall in the Saddle" : ELLA
7. Like most of Mauritania : ARID
8. Cello attachment near the bridge : MUTE
9. Affronted shout : HEY
10. Paul or Simon : APOSTLE
11. Orlando Bloom's "The Lord of the Rings" role : LEGOLAS
12. Spiritless : LEADEN
14. Marathon runner's bane : HILL
15. Unlooked-for results : BYPRODUCTS
21. Land beyond the tree line : TUNDRA
24. Creamy cocktails : ALEXANDERS
26. Top motion : SPIN
29. Has every right to do : EARNS
30. Show piece? : SCENE
31. Necktie material : SATIN
33. Thanksgiving side dish, informally : TATERS
34. It lets you see what you missed : TIVO
35. Unconvincing response to "Why?" : BECAUSE
36. Numbered vehicle : RACECAR
37. Speaker of the line in 40-Down : HORATIO
38. Dubai, for one : EMIRATE
39. Selfishly eager cry : MEFIRST
40. Play containing the line "Good night, sweet prince" : HAMLET
41. Stuff sold in squeeze bottles : CATSUP
44. Fairy tale cacklers : HAGS
47. Dramatic dance moves : DIPS
48. Straightaway : ASAP
49. "I'm impressed!" : NICE
52. "Dee-lish!" : YUM
54. In need of orientation, say : NEW

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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