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New York Times, Friday, December 13, 2013

Author: Gary Cee
Editor: Will Shortz
Gary Cee
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
325/28/20093/28/20160
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1888421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56011

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 27 Missing: {KXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes: Gary Cee is a radio program director and on-air host for two New York/New Jersey rock stations. One of them is Rock 93.3, billed as ... more
Will Shortz notes: Gary Cee is a radio program director and on-air host for two New York/New Jersey rock stations. One of them is Rock 93.3, billed as the Hudson Valley's Next Generation of Classic Rock — in my neck of the woods. Maybe I should tune in! This puzzle has a lot of great vocabulary. I especially like SNOW JOB, MAN-HOUR, BEN HUR, ONE-OFF, IT'S DONE, MA AND PA, FOUR-COLOR, NOSE-TO-NOSE, BLUETOOTH, and the two 15s. That's a lot of great stuff.
Jeff Chen notes: Lots of snazzy entries today, headlined by AN ACQUIRED TASTE and HERES HOW TO ORDER. So many great entries all over the grid, my ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Lots of snazzy entries today, headlined by AN ACQUIRED TASTE and HERES HOW TO ORDER. So many great entries all over the grid, my favorite one was one Will didn't highlight: LIQUORED UP. Those types of colloquial in-the-language phrases get me schnookered every time.

I love the wordplay type of clues which has become the hallmark of a great NYT themeless. VCHIP clued as "Blocker working with a receiver" is pure gold. I went through END, FULLBACK, even QB before realizing I had too much football on the mind (go Seahawks!). Perfect misdirection to go with an already nice answer. Same goes for ITS DONE, with the in-the-language "finish line" being repurposed.

Gary told me that his original clue for ITS DONE was "Hit man's confirmation". I like that a lot too; nice and colorful.

So sad that FOUR COLOR wasn't clued to the four-color map theorem (google it if you're interested). It's pretty esoteric but reading about this some 25 years ago helped trigger my interest in math and puzzles. I'd love to see a crossword about it, but perhaps that's best for a different venue like the Chronicle of Higher Education. If only the four-color theorem, Fermat's last theorem, and Euler's identity (linking e, i, pi, 1 and 0) were part of everyone's standard education. (dreamy sigh)

Tyler Hinman, constructor extraordinaire and former ACPT champ, wrote last week that "'an awesome themeless with a few crappy entries' is simply a contradiction. The fill is all there is in a themeless, so it really has to shine for me to consider it 'awesome.'" Astute commentary. I think it's reasonable that themeless puzzles should undergo extra fill scrutiny compared to a themed puzzle, because so much of a themeless is all about the fill. I wasn't a fan of ENSE, A SAD, OLIO, ANGE, CIEN, but those types of entries almost always are required to make a themeless work. So very, very hard to create an awesome themeless; to make all the snazzy pieces lock together without any gluey short fill.

Nice work today; a very good themeless from Gary.

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,411
Across Down
1. Kid in shorts with a cowlick : ALFALFA
8. Soft soap relative : SNOWJOB
15. Twisting : TORSION
16. Industrial production unit : MANHOUR
17. What black licorice or blue cheese is, for many : ANACQUIREDTASTE
19. What a parade may necessitate : DETOUR
20. Goulash : OLIO
21. Give the ax : HEW
22. Organ showpiece : TOCCATA
24. Things that are put on ... or don't go off : DUDS
25. Sound of a belt : BAM
28. Agitates : ROILS
29. "Stand and fight" grp. : NRA
30. Like agateware and graniteware : ENAMELED
32. One might be made for the shower : BOOTEE
35. Goosed : EGGEDON
36. Consolation prize recipient : ALSORAN
37. Novel followed up by "The Boyhood of Christ" : BENHUR
38. Out to lunch : CLUELESS
39. Need for muscle contraction, briefly : ATP
40. Person who may work a lot : VALET
41. One having a ball? : EYE
42. Like a Madrilenian millionairess : RICA
44. Apex : VERYTOP
46. Geology topic : ERA
47. Plot element? : ACRE
48. Singular publication : ONEOFF
52. Line near the end of an infomercial : HERESHOWTOORDER
55. Get limited access? : ENTRAIN
56. Finish line? : ITSDONE
57. Rural parents : MAANDPA
58. Sexual desire, euphemistically : THEURGE
1. Not much : ATAD
2. Singular : LONE
3. Rushing home? : FRAT
4. Bit of chichi wear : ASCOT
5. Smashed : LIQUOREDUP
6. Like a common printing process : FOURCOLOR
7. The Skywalker boy, for short : ANI
8. Processes, as ore : SMELTS
9. Tennis star Petrova : NADIA
10. Not suckered by : ONTO
11. Inquiry made while half awake, maybe : WHA
12. Mojave Desert sight : JOSHUATREE
13. Like some celebrities blogged about by Perez Hilton : OUTED
14. Inn inventory : BREWS
18. Chemistry Nobelist Hoffmann : ROALD
23. Hernando's hundred : CIEN
24. Go gaga (over) : DROOL
25. English channel's nickname, with "the" : BEEB
26. Being with une auréole : ANGE
27. King John sealed it : MAGNACARTA
29. Direct, as a confrontation : NOSETONOSE
31. Israel Philharmonic maestro : MEHTA
32. Technology standard named for a Danish king : BLUETOOTH
33. "Calm down now ..." : EASY
34. Massachusetts motto opener : ENSE
36. Hitch horses : ALLY
38. All-Star 18 consecutive times from 1967 to 1984 : CAREW
40. "Where we lay our scene," in Shakespeare : VERONA
42. Take up one more time, say : REHEM
43. ___ Sendler, heroine of W.W. II's Polish Underground : IRENA
44. Blocker working with a receiver : VCHIP
45. Out of sight : PERDU
47. "Like ___ Song" (John Denver hit) : ASAD
49. With 51-Down, unscented : ODOR
50. Wind, in Chinese : FENG
51. See 49-Down : FREE
53. Midwest attachment? : ERN
54. Bearded ___ (reedling) : TIT

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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