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New York Times, Friday, August 23, 2013

Author: Ian Livengood
Editor: Will Shortz
Ian Livengood
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554/12/20109/15/20164
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617667112
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1.64371
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 30 Missing: {FQVZ} This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. Livengood. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes: Oddly enough, this puzzle's seed answer — JUBA — was also one of the shortest. The South Central was the hardest part ... more
Ian Livengood notes: Oddly enough, this puzzle's seed answer — JUBA — was also one of the shortest. The South Central was the hardest part to construct, mostly because I clung to SIDESHOW BOB at 40-Across for-ev-er (pronounced Sandlot style). Also, I must have been hungry when I made this since a CHALUPA and MACNCHEESE combo is downright delicious.
Jeff Chen notes: POW! In the spirit of the great Ryan and Brian (of 'Ryan and Brian do Crosswords'), I'm trying out a new feature: Jeff's Puzzle of ... more
Jeff Chen notes: POW! In the spirit of the great Ryan and Brian (of "Ryan and Brian do Crosswords"), I'm trying out a new feature: Jeff's Puzzle of the Week!, or POW! for short. I'll use it to celebrate what I believe is the "best" puzzle of the week, the one that best exemplifies what that type of puzzle (early-week, late-week, themeless, or Sunday-size) ought to be. This week my POW! goes to Ian for his beauty of a themeless.

Ian incorporates several marquee answers to bring a smile to solvers' faces (BOBBLE HEAD, MAC N CHEESE, EPIC WIN, etc.), with a minimum of subpar entries (if ES SU and ENE are your worst entries, that's a tremendous success). Most notably, look at the wide-open NE and SW sections, big 6x5 blocks of white space that typically require an ugly answer or two to fill. I often shudder when faced with these types of cavernous areas, usually having to redo the section two or three dozen times before I get something even passable. Ian's are impeccably executed, not a stinker amongst them, and he even managed to work in BRAPADS and RWANDA, a call-out to his seed entry.

Speaking of that, I really enjoy learning what a constructor used to seed a themeless puzzle. I expect that some people are going to gripe about JUBA because they've never heard of it, but I think it's a perfect example of something I was glad to learn about.

Final note: great to hear Ian's comment about SIDESHOW BOB. Kudos to him for this decision; it's really tough as a constructor to give up on an answer you love, but it's the right thing to do if it means coming up with better overall fill. This willingness is one factor that separates the great constructors from the rest.

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,299
Across Down
1. Human-powered transport : PEDICAB
8. Lingerie enhancements : BRAPADS
15. Japanese "thanks" : ARIGATO
16. Consumed : EATENUP
17. Like some Mideast ideology : PANARAB
18. Grammy-winning singer from Barbados : RIHANNA
19. "___ me later" : ASK
20. Barrister's deg. : LLB
21. Belief opposed by Communists : TSARISM
22. Hammer and sickle : TOOLS
24. Small arms : INLETS
25. "Be right there" : JUSTASECOND
29. Labor outfits : UNIONSHOPS
30. Bubbly brand, for short : MOET
34. Oral reports? : BURPS
35. Des Moines-to-Cedar Rapids dir. : ENE
36. It's known to locals as Cymraeg : WELSH
37. "Money" novelist, 1984 : AMIS
38. Orange entree, informally : MACNCHEESE
40. Not take a back seat to anyone? : RIDESHOTGUN
41. Diner freebies : STRAWS
45. Fisherman's Wharf attraction : SEALS
46. Young colleen, across the North Channel : WEELASS
48. Browns' home, for short : CLE
49. Bring to a boil? : IRE
52. By the boatload : APLENTY
53. Wastes : RUBSOUT
55. Cubs' home : BEARDEN
56. Improbable victory, in slang : EPICWIN
57. Potentially embarrassing video : SEXTAPE
58. Mezzo-soprano Troyanos : TATIANA
1. Quebec preceder, to pilots : PAPA
2. Meaningful stretches : ERAS
3. Soft touch? : DINK
4. Supermarket inits. : IGA
5. Some bank offerings : CARLOANS
6. Totally flummoxed : ATALOSS
7. Spring figure? : BOBBLEHEAD
8. Pitcher Blyleven with 3,701 strikeouts : BERT
9. Oatmeal topping : RAISINS
10. Close : ATHAND
11. Unit of wisdom? : PEARL
12. "Little Girls" musical : ANNIE
13. Actress Kirsten : DUNST
14. Hits with some trash : SPAMS
22. Sporty auto options : TTOPS
23. Torch carriers : SCONCES
25. Capital of South Sudan : JUBA
26. Old one : UNUM
27. Her voice was first heard in 2011 : SIRI
28. It's already out of the bag : OPENSECRET
30. Parts of a school athletic calendar : MEETS
31. Designer Cassini : OLEG
32. "Mi casa ___ casa" : ESSU
33. Segue starter : THEN
36. Everything, with "the" : WHOLEBIT
38. Trip : MISSTEP
39. Fried tortilla dish : CHALUPA
40. Landlocked African land : RWANDA
41. Collectors of DNA samples : SWABS
42. Hides from Indians, maybe? : TEPEE
43. Chill : RELAX
44. All-points bulletin, e.g. : ALERT
47. Final word in a holiday tune : SYNE
49. Locale for many political debates : IOWA
50. Perdition : RUIN
51. Site of the Bocca Nuova crater : ETNA
54. Poli ___ : SCI

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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