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New York Times, Friday, July 18, 2014

Author: Ian Livengood
Editor: Will Shortz
Ian Livengood
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
554/12/20109/15/20164
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
617667112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64371

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 29 Missing: {QWX} This is puzzle # 40 for Mr. Livengood. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Ian Livengood notes: Not my cleanest themeless construction ever, but certainly one of my favorites. Bronze my statue with that NW corner, please. I ... more
Ian Livengood notes: Not my cleanest themeless construction ever, but certainly one of my favorites. Bronze my statue with that NW corner, please. I should have used NUTCAKE / POKE instead of NUT CASE / POSE to avoid the CASE / ENCASE dupe. Oh well.
Jeff Chen notes: Hard to tell that Ian's a sports nut, yeah? There's only COSTAS, THE REBELS, TERRELL Davis... and TEAM SPORTS, of course. Thankfully ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Hard to tell that Ian's a sports nut, yeah? There's only COSTAS, THE REBELS, TERRELL Davis... and TEAM SPORTS, of course. Thankfully I like sports too. Even not being a Broncos fan, it wasn't too hard to pull out TERRELL's name. Poor NFL running backs have such a short career lifespan, often topping out before the age of 30. You have to cram a lot of big runs into a small number of years if you're ever going to become famous enough to make the NYT crossword! What, that's not your goal? Ridiculous.

I like the vibe of Ian's puzzles, skewing both more slangy and more sporty than average. I remember the first time one of the kids I work with saying YA HEARD? to me — I give a lot of knowing nods. I'm not sure if YA HEARD will stand the test of time a la WHAT UP G? or go the way of FO SHIZZLE, but for now it seems to be holding up all right.

I always appreciate the variety in Ian's themeless grids. He's always trying out something new, not content to fall into a pattern of using establish grid patterns. This one has so much interconnect it's hard to describe or even grok it all. Beautiful puzzle flow, a feng shui masterpiece, with each section having so many ways to break into it. And look at that intersection of FIREHOSES / RAP GROUPS / RUSSIAN MOB / DR SEUSS / BED HOP etc. That's just one area packed with all sorts of goodness.

I'm a bit mixed on BEDHOP, actually. As much as I enjoy nervously tittering at answers like SHTUP, there's a quaint indirectness with SHTUP, almost like something your grandma might say (at least my grandma, who is awesome). BEDHOP is so direct, so in your face IMO. A matter of taste, of course, but it feels a bit out of place to me in the NYT.

A little more glue than I'm used to in a Livengood themeless, what with both AMO and AMAT (with the same clue, even!) , OON, AZO, ETD, etc., but well worth the price of all the great stuff jam-packed in.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,628
Across Down
1. "Know what I'm sayin'?," in hip-hop slang : YAHEARD
8. "Yep, alas" : FRAIDSO
15. Feature of many a reception : OPENBAR
16. 1998 N.F.L. M.V.P. Davis : TERRELL
17. Tablet alternatives : GELCAPS
18. Laughed menacingly : CACKLED
19. Any of the Baleares : ISLA
20. Political leader? : GEO
22. Bob of play-by-play : COSTAS
23. Squeeze : SCRUNCH
26. Kind of dye : AZO
27. Things that wind up on trucks : FIREHOSES
30. Sounded wowed : AAHED
32. Days ___ : AGO
33. Villainous organization in the 007 film "GoldenEye" : RUSSIANMOB
35. Sleep around : BEDHOP
37. Like many Plains Indians : SIOUAN
39. Football and basketball : TEAMSPORTS
43. Like innuendo : SLY
44. Electronics component : DIODE
45. Ole Miss, athletically : THEREBELS
47. What you might arrive two hrs. early for : ETD
48. Central American capital : SANJOSE
49. Blue-flowered Mediterranean herb : BORAGE
52. Buff finish? : OON
53. Nuzzling spot, maybe : NAPE
57. Leader referred to as "His Imperial Majesty" : AKIHITO
59. 1994 memoir with a chapter on "New Robot Novels" : IASIMOV
61. Oscar-nominated Greek-American actor : SAVALAS
62. Crank : NUTCASE
63. Certain solution holder : EYEBATH
64. Figure in many a New Yorker cartoon : STPETER
1. Meditative sort : YOGI
2. Big tree climbers : APES
3. Something to catch from scolding parents : HELL
4. Box : ENCASE
5. Org. the Utah Stars belonged to : ABA
6. Public Enemy and others : RAPGROUPS
7. Who wrote "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not" : DRSEUSS
8. U.S. fraud watchdog : FTC
9. Breadth : REACH
10. ___ Arena (past Kings home) : ARCO
11. Needles : IRKS
12. Campus spot for Bluto, Otter and Boon : DELTAHOUSE
13. Scuzz : SLEAZEBALL
14. Motherland : OLDSOD
21. Tender with Washington : ONES
24. Google browser : CHROME
25. Ted Danson hit series : CSI
27. "Groovy!" : FAB
28. "All right already!" : IGETITOKAY
29. Walk of Style locale : RODEODRIVE
30. Flavorings in some root beers : ANISES
31. Member of a loving trio? : AMO
34. Person on a mission? : ASTRONAUT
36. Ordered : HAD
38. George Clinton was its first gov. (for 21 years) : NYS
40. K-12 grp. : PTA
41. "Whoops!" : OHNO
42. Answers : REJOINS
44. Lower : DEBASE
46. "Quit your squabbling" : BENICE
48. Switched to, as on a thermostat : SETAT
50. Fictional boss of Stubb and Flask : AHAB
51. River to the Colorado : GILA
54. Member of a loving trio? : AMAT
55. Work for an artist, maybe : POSE
56. "Would I ___!" : EVER
58. Start of a kids' clothing line name : OSH
60. Letters on a track : STP

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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