New York Times, Friday, September 6, 2013

Author: Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson
Editor: Will Shortz
Brad Wilber
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
492/19/20056/4/201623
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
001101433
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60001
Doug Peterson
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
392/20/20064/2/201620
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
2253111132
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62200

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 33 for Mr. Wilber. This is puzzle # 33 for Mr. Peterson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes: This is another lovely, clean construction from Brad and Doug. Most of the clues are theirs, too.
Constructor notes: BRAD: Doug and I usually achieve something close to a 50/50 split on the fill in our themeless puzzles. The kind of balance we're ... more
Constructor notes: BRAD: Doug and I usually achieve something close to a 50/50 split on the fill in our themeless puzzles. The kind of balance we're looking for is helped along by grid patterns that are fairly modest in their demands — whatever progress I make somewhere should leave Doug lots of flexibility. What I like about grids that Doug picks (like this one) is that they are manageable but they usually present some extra degree of difficulty, like a pair of 10s feeding into the center or reaching into the corners, when we could have bailed out with cheater squares instead. Doug plunked down a nifty new 1A here and worked to 32A. We took turns on the other corners until we were done. We've got movie trivia, history, gastronomy, and baseball here — all elements we both like. I humbly submit a fresh clue for 16A. Doug has concocted some crafty ones for a couple of the 9-letter entries.

DOUG: 1A is an example of my favorite type of themeless seed entry. It may not be familiar to most solvers, but the entry is quite figure-out-able. And most importantly, it's an interesting phrase to learn. You can use it to impress your easily impressed friends at your next cocktail party. I try not to use unfamiliar names as seeds, because they're quickly forgotten once the puzzle is solved. And let me add that I always learn something new (a cool word, some fun trivia, etc.) when constructing a puzzle with Brad.

Jeff Chen notes: A sustained professional duo, working together to produce exponentially more than the sum of its parts, is a rare and beautiful ... more
Jeff Chen notes: A sustained professional duo, working together to produce exponentially more than the sum of its parts, is a rare and beautiful thing. Kerry Walsh and Misty May-Treanor's non-verbal communication on the sand volleyball court. Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell trading killer leads at the bridge table. Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan working a heist-of-the-century angle. All of them are on notice, because Wilberson is on the rise.

It's infrequent that two experts can work so well together, producing quality of this level over an extended stretch of time (this is their fifth NYT collaboration and they have more together in the LAT) without a clash of egos. The grid is well-constructed, with little dreck, and contains so many of the types of phrases that either shine or teach a solver something new. I had to wrestle with the unfamiliar TREEGUARDS but enjoyed reading up on something I walk past all the time (the iron fencing around a tree planted on a city sidewalk).

The SW corner was a little difficult for me due to TREEGUARDS and CARO, but ultimately fair. It's amazing that this is the only hiccup considering the difficulty of this particular construction. Often times the marquee answers are pushed to the perimeter, which helps to isolate them and make construction easier (generally more segmented = easier construction). Doug and Brad extend WARSAW PACT, SAGE GREEN, STEADICAM, RETIREMENT, WEEDEATER, and WORRISOME into the center of the grid, raising the degree of interconnect and thus the level of difficulty. Not all those answers are sparkly, but brilliant clues like "Avocado relative" (not the fruit but the color) add to the solving experience.

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,313
Across Down
1. Old Hollywood low-budget studios, collectively : POVERTYROW
11. "Oh, God!" actress : GARR
15. Wine bottle contents in Hitchcock's "Notorious" : URANIUMORE
16. Only event in which Venezuela medaled at the 2012 Olympics : EPEE
17. Dessert often with cream cheese icing : CARROTCAKE
18. Ironwoman org.? : LPGA
19. Singer born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin : ENYA
20. Map inits. created in the wake of the Suez Crisis : UAR
21. Now-rare connection method : DIALUP
23. Blather : GAS
25. Big name in markers : PENTEL
26. Nitroglycerin, for one : ESTER
29. Director's alternative to a dolly : STEADICAM
32. It was dissolved in 1991 : WARSAWPACT
34. Time in TV ads : NITE
35. Fused : ONE
36. Fortify : BOLSTER
38. Domingo, e.g. : DIA
39. Onetime TV music vendor : KTEL
41. Kind of community : RETIREMENT
43. Avocado relative : SAGEGREEN
45. Ross Sea sights : BERGS
46. Interrupts : CUTSIN
47. Strike out : FAN
48. Excoriates : BLASTS
49. "Revolution 9" collaborator : ONO
51. It may slip in the back : DISK
55. L.B.J. biographer Robert ___ : CARO
56. One-third of a triangle, maybe : OTHERWOMAN
59. Hindi relative : URDU
60. The goddess Kali appeared on its first cover : MSMAGAZINE
61. Bygone : PAST
62. New Jersey childhood home of Whitney Houston and Queen Latifah : EASTORANGE
1. Brownish purple : PUCE
2. Port where Camus set "The Plague" : ORAN
3. Fluctuate : VARY
4. Brings to a boil : ENRAGES
5. Rock in ___ (major music festival) : RIO
6. "Coppélia" attire : TUTUS
7. Hit from the 1978 disco album "Cruisin'" : YMCA
8. More than chuckle : ROAR
9. Planet first mentioned on "Happy Days" : ORK
10. It's used to define a border : WEEDEATER
11. Colorful dessert : GELATIN
12. Press production : APPLECIDER
13. Doing a government agency's job : REGULATING
14. Garner : REAP
22. Not the party type?: Abbr. : IND
24. Part of 20-Across : ARAB
25. Substance that citrus peels are rich in : PECTIN
26. Endor natives : EWOKS
27. Site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution : SANTACLARA
28. Barriers used in urban renewal projects : TREEGUARDS
29. Ire : SPLEEN
30. Get a hint of : TASTE
31. Party tray array : MEATS
33. Vexing : WORRISOME
37. Country name : REBA
40. Releases : LETSOUT
42. Baseball's ___ Line (.200 batting average) : MENDOZA
44. Prime meridian std. : GST
47. Skip : FORGO
48. Smallish lingerie spec : BCUP
49. Electrical units : OHMS
50. Ordered : NEAT
52. "You can count on me" : IMIN
53. Provided backup, in a way : SANG
54. Deep or high lead-in : KNEE
57. Org. with inspectors : TSA
58. "A defeat for humanity," per Pope John Paul II : WAR

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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