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New York Times, Friday, November 29, 2013

Author: Ned White
Editor: Will Shortz
Ned White
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
171/16/201012/5/20161
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1102148
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QVXZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. White. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Will Shortz notes: A very handsome construction today. My favorite entries are PUDDY TAT, KELLOGG'S, JEWISH RYE, MINT JELLY, COOL IT, ONE OR TWO, MEL BLANC, J.R. EWING, CORNCOB, and NO DUH. That's a lot of great stuff!
Jeff Chen notes: I really enjoyed corresponding with Ned. He declined to write a Constructor Note for this particular puzzle, but we had some ... more
Jeff Chen notes: I really enjoyed corresponding with Ned. He declined to write a Constructor Note for this particular puzzle, but we had some enlightening conversations. What I appreciated the most about him was that he seemed unusually self-aware, musing on what he could do better and how he could improve the solver's experience for future puzzles. Much, much appreciated; an attitude I hope all constructors strive for.

I loved the mini-theme of PUDDY TAT and MEL BLANC. It's fun to get a change of pace, a themeless that does something a little different. It doesn't hurt that my twin brother and I still watch Looney Tunes. Er, with my nephew. Yeah, that's why.

As Will mentioned, there's a lot of snazzy stuff in here. I was stuck on the ridiculous looking JRE???? until something tore itself from the deepest recesses of my memories. Great clue on that one, I was thinking originally about famous cliffhanging movies, then Cliffhanger the Stallone movie, and back around to my original thought. Amusing that MR BURNS came to mind before JR EWING. I wonder if younger solvers today will think "Who's this JR EWING and what nerve he has to copy the Simpsons!"

Sigh.

I had a bear-wrestling match in the NE corner. I really like the dual cluing of "One with a game collection", but absolutely nothing opened up in that region. ACTA sure didn't help (yikes!), nor did the opaque clues for PLURALS and SHED. I like a good workout on Fridays, but having so many killer clues in one corner did me in. I would have love to have had more a mixture in that region, perhaps a tricky wordplay clue to balance out all the esoterica.

As with most themeless puzzles, trade-offs are necessary. I really liked the triplet of HERCULES with its awesome wordplay clue, ONE OR TWO, and the mini-themed MEL BLANC, but ASU/USOC crossing feels a bit inelegant, and we see our old friend the TERN in that region. Not knowing Geoffrey BEENE, I thanked my lucky stars that BAR carried an easy clue.

Good Friday workout with an unusual grid. Ned mentioned he has another one in the hopper — looking forward to it!

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,397
Across Down
1. Cartoon canary's bane : PUDDYTAT
9. Lymph liquid : PLASM
14. Launch : INITIATE
15. Many a predictable plot : CLICHE
16. Rests : LIESDOWN
17. One with a game collection, maybe : HUNTER
18. Gate announcement, briefly : ETD
19. Longtime model Parkinson of "The Price Is Right" : DIAN
20. One with a game collection : ARCADE
21. Home to Bar-Ilan Univ. : ISR
22. Grp. supported by 17-Acrosses : NRA
23. Something groundbreaking : AFIRST
27. Post rival : KELLOGGS
32. "That is so obvious!" : NODUH
33. What corned beef is often served on : JEWISHRYE
34. Weights, to a weightlifter : IRON
35. Heart-felt thing? : PULSE
36. Where to take stock? : BARN
37. Lamb accompaniment : MINTJELLY
39. Shade similar to bay : COCOA
40. One getting into briefs? : ATTORNEY
41. Least brazen : COYEST
42. "Eldorado" inits. : EAP
43. Forbid : BAR
44. Urban phenomenon : SPRAWL
48. Coastal diver : TERN
49. Sun Devil Stadium's sch. : ASU
52. Chill : COOLIT
53. Labor leader? : HERCULES
55. Ray Charles's Georgia birthplace : ALBANY
56. A sprinkling : ONEORTWO
57. Inc. magazine topic : REORG
58. Voice of 1-Across : MELBLANC
1. Ton : PILE
2. Ton, e.g. : UNIT
3. Quit running : DIED
4. Detoxing woe : DTS
5. Bagel source? : YIDDISH
6. Many a Taiwanese : TAOIST
7. More than bickering : ATWAR
8. It has eight neighbors: Abbr. : TENN
9. Stars and stripes, say : PLURALS
10. Tod's sidekick on "Route 66" : LINC
11. Court records : ACTA
12. Hammer and sickle holder, maybe : SHED
13. Trivial : MERE
15. Delta lead-in : CHARLIE
22. Like many holiday letters : NEWSY
23. Jungian principle : ANIMA
24. In favor of the idea : FORIT
25. Words before know and care : IDONT
26. Total : RUNTO
27. See 29-Down : KELLY
28. Sarcastic "I can't wait" : OHBOY
29. With 27-Down, her last film was "High Society" : GRACE
30. Some food festival fare : GYROS
31. French body of law? : SENAT
33. Derby favorite : JULEP
35. 10 or 15 yards, say : PENALTY
38. One shot in a cliffhanger : JREWING
39. Inner ear? : CORNCOB
41. Stall near the stacks : CARREL
43. Designer Geoffrey : BEENE
44. Evidence of damage : SCAR
45. John Paul II, e.g. : POLE
46. ___-call : ROBO
47. Creator of bad apples? : ALAR
48. Hartmann of talk radio : THOM
49. Mont. neighbor : ALTA
50. Wrapped (up) : SEWN
51. Grp. with national antidoping rules : USOC
54. It might end in "mil" : URL

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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