New York Times, Saturday, October 1, 2016

Author: David Woolf
Editor: Will Shortz
David Woolf
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1.54310

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 25 Missing: {JQWYZ} This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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David Woolf notes: This was really just an excuse to get BIGSPOON in a puzzle. With that in at 1A, I decided to shoot for big, open northwest and ... more
David Woolf notes:

This was really just an excuse to get BIGSPOON in a puzzle. With that in at 1A, I decided to shoot for big, open northwest and southeast corners while keeping the number of 3 and 4 word answers to a minimum. So here's a short list of the things I liked about the puzzle while I was constructing it.

  1. The presence of HAHAHA and DADADA in the same corner, the latter of which was made pseudo-famous in the late nineties by a Volkswagen ad.
  2. The Gashlycrumb TINIES are a delightfully morbid piece by the always great Edward Gorey.
  3. Coming up with STRESS EATS saved me from having to completely tear up the northwest after I was most of the way through constructing it.
  4. CELIAC Disease sufferers represent! We should form a club where we lament the lack of good gluten free pizza.
  5. The non-forced dupe clue at 5D and 6D.

I was happy to see many of my favorite clues survive the cut, and particularly enjoyed some of Will's additions in the southwest. Also, the timing of this puzzle's publication couldn't have been better, as my wife just 41D'ed a baby while her family was on 47A for a wedding, so they're surrounded by 16A while we're surrounded by, well, 5D. I hope you enjoyed the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes: That northwest corner is sooooooo impressive. Almost no one tries an 8x4 themeless region, because it's too tough to get both ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

That northwest corner is sooooooo impressive. Almost no one tries an 8x4 themeless region, because it's too tough to get both colorful and smooth. Who would be crazy enough to run a 7x4 region through an 8x4 — along with a long entry as good as STRESS EATS? Check out how much great material David packed in: BIG SPOON, LOGROLLS, BOLO TIE, GAG REEL, STRESS EATS, and even OIL RIG. Yowza! Well worth the price of the unsightly I REST partial. Nice bonus to have POOP deck and ORLOP (that's a thing, apparently) deck right next to each other, too.

Pretty nice work in the opposite corner too, considering the constraints. Seeing things like ETOILES (deep foreign vocab) and ONE TO TEN (felt kind of arbitrary) is more what I'd expect from a giant L-shaped region like this, but to get FIRE SALE and RATS NEST, with only ESOS as a price to pay is a good result.

Snazzy lower left. BMX BIKE has that lovely BMXB start, and TEAR GAS / BAR CAR make for excellent additions to that corner. The one oddity was IN GAME. Tough to swallow — I couldn't force myself to believe that was "a thing" — but apparently it is. Huh.

HOT DOGGER anchored the final corner, and I particularly liked how it echoed the nature of some BMX BIKErs.

I had to really think about why yesterday's themeless struck me better than today's. As a constructor, I really admire the tremendous challenge David set for himself. But there were enough entries that made me hitch — GOOD REASON was another where I wondered "is this good or not?" — that the solving experience was more one of admiration for the construction feat rather than the pure joy of the solve. There were some feature entries today that I've seen several times already, like RATS NEST and ORATORIO, as opposed to debuts like yesterday's HACKATHON.

Still, there's something to be said for very nice piece of ambitious construction work. Kudos!

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,434
Across Down
1. One of a pair of cuddlers : BIGSPOON
9. Desired response to a 3-Down : HAHAHA
15. Handel bars : ORATORIO
16. Bartender's stock : OLIVES
17. Participates in quid pro quo : LOGROLLS
18. Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb ___" : TINIES
19. In trouble for base violations? : ONREPORT
20. 1982 international chart-topper by Trio with a repetitive title : DADADA
21. Digits in flats, maybe : TOES
22. Noted challenges for movers : PIANOS
24. About 92% of britannium : TIN
25. Start of a lawyer's conclusion : IREST
27. Tar liquid : GROG
28. One getting hammered : GONG
29. Some workers along Chesapeake Bay : EELERS
31. Roman soldier who became a Christian martyr : STGEORGE
33. Very long span : AEON
35. Grinder : HERO
36. Call to someone on deck : BATTERUP
40. Like sand dunes : RIDGED
44. G.I. portions : MRES
45. Symbol of happiness : CLAM
47. Iraklion is its capital : CRETE
48. First Chinese dynasty : XIA
49. Relating to the abdomen : CELIAC
51. Just those of Juan's things? : ESOS
52. It's on track to serve people : BARCAR
54. Showy and sudden : DRAMATIC
56. Like live-blogged sports updates : INGAME
57. Everything must go in it : FIRESALE
58. Deceitful sorts : KNAVES
59. Basic count : ONETOTEN
60. Three-footers : EASELS
61. Hoarder's squalor : RATSNEST
1. Western wear : BOLOTIE
2. Major export of Western Australia : IRONORE
3. Series of bloopers : GAGREEL
4. Puts away under pressure? : STRESSEATS
5. ___ deck : POOP
6. ___ deck : ORLOP
7. Where a mud engineer works : OILRIG
8. Awful rating : NOSTARS
9. Showboat : HOTDOGGER
10. Billy the Kid, e.g. : ALIAS
11. Rear : HIND
12. Howard Hughes, for one : AVIATOR
13. Taking seriously : HEEDING
14. Subject of the 2013 film "The Fifth Estate" : ASSANGE
23. Chris of CBS's "The Good Wife" : NOTH
26. Kind of diagram : TREE
28. Motive that makes sense : GOODREASON
30. Spelling pro? : SORCERESS
32. Decker or Dickerson of the N.F.L. : ERIC
34. { }, in mathematics : NULL
36. Off-road racer : BMXBIKE
37. Huffington of The Huffington Post : ARIANNA
38. March interrupter, maybe : TEARGAS
39. Purchased : PAIDFOR
41. Take to term : GESTATE
42. Headliners at le Palais Garnier, e.g. : ETOILES
43. Spelunker's activity : DESCENT
46. Place for an anchor : MARINA
49. Brand once advertised with the line "They never get on your nerves" : CAMEL
50. Addition sign : CARET
53. Give up : CAVE
55. Subway Series squad : METS

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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