New York Times, Friday, July 25, 2014

Author: Peter A. Collins
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter A. Collins
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This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 29 Missing: {JQVX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 82 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes: My biggest concern with this one was the seed entry — DOWN GOES FRAZIER. While it certainly has resonance with me, it ... more
Peter A. Collins notes: My biggest concern with this one was the seed entry — DOWN GOES FRAZIER. While it certainly has resonance with me, it is over forty years old and it's about a sport whose popularity has largely dimmed in the public eye. So how many younger solvers and non-sports fans are going to go be flummoxed by that one, I don't know. For those of you who don't know the reference:

Also, I think it helps if you say "Down goes Frazier" in your best Howard Cosell accent — if you know who Howard Cosell was.

Jeff Chen notes: I laughed at Pete's comment about not knowing Howard Cosell. How could anyone not know Cosell, perhaps the most iconic sportscaster ... more
Jeff Chen notes: I laughed at Pete's comment about not knowing Howard Cosell. How could anyone not know Cosell, perhaps the most iconic sportscaster of the 20th century? And then I remembered that Matt Fuchs (who debuted a few days ago) was only alive for about three years of the 20th century. Huh. Thankfully, Pete and I have had some laughs over his constantly changing photos, which usually show him going back in time. I'm demanding a prom photo next.

At first I was a little worried that this puzzle wouldn't have many long entries — puzzles featuring 15's often lean heavily on those grid-spanners for jazz, leaving not much space for other long entries. But Pete gives us a neat optical illusion, making it look like the puzzle has a lot of 15's because of all the open space, but there are actually only two. He includes about the normal number of long entries (a dozen 7+ letter entries is roughly the minimum for themeless puzzle), but all scattered around. I appreciated getting pieces of great long stuff through the puzzle — most themelesses concentrate all their good material in the four corners.

Huge, wide-open spaces give solvers a lot of ways to break into any one section of the puzzle. Today's was almost TOO wide-open, if such a thing exists, as there were very few places I could grab a toehold. Typically there's a small area with a couple of gettable four or five-letter entries that get me going, but there wasn't much that was easy. I struggled to inch into each bit of the puzzle, but with multiple ways to attack any region, it was more than fair. Nice workout.

The wide-open layout does make construction more challenging, because if you change a little section of the puzzle, the effect cascades far and wide. Check out the ON CLOUD NINE and AT ALL COSTS crossing, for example. It causes some difficulty in the east region, with OISE and ASSN and COSA all crammed together. But if you change ON CLOUD NINE to something else in an attempt to smooth out the fill there, so many other entries must also be changed.

Overall, there was a bit too much of the TOD, STDS, ELAM, ASTI sort of fill for my taste, but all the great fill like CHINCHILLA, CRUDE OIL, and OLD GOATS (ahem, not applicable to me or Pete) was fun to uncover.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,635
Across Down
1. It's part of a club : MAYO
5. Place for vino : ASTI
9. Like some floors and series : SWEPT
14. Ancient land east of the Tigris : ELAM
15. Fur source : CHINCHILLA
17. Repeated cry in a 1973 fight : DOWNGOESFRAZIER
19. High class : SENIORS
20. Mo. of Indian Independence Day : AUG
21. Annihilate, arcade-style : ZAP
22. Many a New York Post headline : PUN
23. Geezers : OLDGOATS
25. Aptly named N.F.L. M.V.P. of the 1960s : STARR
28. Tudor who lost her head : BOLEYN
29. The Glass Capital of the World : TOLEDOOHIO
31. Thing, in Spain or Italy : COSA
35. Minority report? : DISSENT
36. Polish rolls : BIALIES
38. ___-eyed : SLOE
39. Regardless of the repercussions : ATALLCOSTS
41. Fox in the Baseball Hall of Fame : NELLIE
43. Bring up to speed : CUEIN
44. They might become bats : ASHTREES
47. Death, to Mozart : TOD
48. People often strain to make it : TEA
49. D.C.-based intercontinental grp. : OAS
50. Calls upon : TURNSTO
54. Many Victoria Cross recipients : BRITISHSOLDIERS
57. Heads with hearts : ARTICHOKES
58. One hit on the head : NAIL
59. Indian yogurt dish : RAITA
60. "No ___ nada" ("It's all good": Sp.) : PASA
61. Journeyer through Grouchland, in a 1999 film : ELMO
1. Doc's orders : MEDS
2. Palliation application : ALOE
3. Demonstration of disinterest : YAWN
4. Like God : OMNIPRESENT
5. Fall faller : ACORN
6. Hens and heifers : SHES
7. "___ true" : TIS
8. Like God : INFALLIBLE
9. Like yaks : SHAGGY
10. Richard Pryor title role, with "the" : WIZ
11. The "you" in "On the Street Where You Live" : ELIZA
12. Fold : PLEAT
13. Some cover-ups : TARPS
16. Tanker's tankful : CRUDEOIL
18. Currency of 46-Down : GOURDE
23. "Impressive!" : OOH
24. Elated : ONCLOUDNINE
25. Touchstones: Abbr. : STDS
26. Bust a hump : TOIL
27. Further : ALSO
28. Liquor store, Down Under : BOTTLESHOP
30. Restrained : ONALEASH
32. Beauvais's department : OISE
33. Institute in the 1997 sci-fi film "Contact" : SETI
34. N.R.A. member?: Abbr. : ASSN
37. Agreement : ACCORD
40. Start of an alphabet book : AIS
42. Work first publicly performed at the Theater an der Wien in 1805 : EROICA
44. In open court : ATBAR
45. Junípero ___, founder of San Francisco : SERRA
46. Where 18-Downs are currency : HAITI
47. Home of minor-league baseball's Drillers : TULSA
50. Ducky web sites? : TOES
51. Dollar bill feature : SEAL
52. Quick cut : TRIM
53. Europe's Tiger City : OSLO
55. Cousin of a chickadee : TIT
56. The English Beat's genre : SKA

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

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