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New York Times, Friday, January 11, 2019

Author:
Jim Horne and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
27/13/20121/11/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000020
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61000
Jim Horne
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
997/5/20106/13/201960
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2578172598
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.636212
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Horne. This is puzzle # 93 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I love working with Jim. He's thoughtful, brilliant, talented in so many arenas (check out his Hamilton cover band!), and best of all, ... read more

I love working with Jim. He's thoughtful, brilliant, talented in so many arenas (check out his Hamilton cover band!), and best of all, funny. While we were working on this puzzle, I was endlessly amused by one of his clue suggestions for ARCHIMEDES: [One of his inventions really screwed things up].

His more risqué version: [The guy who invented screwing].

This particular themeless was borne out of a curiosity: what new 10-letter entries from our XWord Info Word List would make for great themeless seeds? (When it comes to themelesses, 8-10 letter entries are the easiest to build around, and there's a larger quantity of 10-letter entries compared to 8s and 9s.)

For several weeks, we culled out a sub-list, adding only entries that

  1. were strong in their own right, and
  2. had the potential for a clever clue (i.e., didn't require a straightforward definition).

I thought we'd be able to incorporate at least three seeds into this standard-ish sort of themeless grid, but only MARS LANDER and MBA STUDENT (go UW Huskies, class of 2002!) made it in. As we flowed the fill from right to left, it became apparent that we'd get more colorful / cleaner fill if we didn't fix anything further in place. So we didn't push it.

Hopefully, more seed entries from our list will show up soon! Jim and I are always working on something fun.

Jim Horne notes:
Will Shortz or one of his minions came up with the clue [Contents of some childproof containers, for short] for MEDS. This is ... read more

Will Shortz or one of his minions came up with the clue [Contents of some childproof containers, for short] for MEDS.

This is clever clue-writing. Instead of a simple definition or a sneaky pun, the clue takes a side-step away from the obvious to build a tiny story that points indirectly at the answer. This kind of once-removed creativity is something I struggle with. I suspect Will, with his decades of experience, does this naturally.

Today marks Jeff Chen's 55th collaboration puzzle in the NYT, more than half his total count. Only Nancy Salomon has more. Well, a lot more; she has 116. Here's the list of NYT constructors sorted by the number of collaborations.

And what about that clue for APOSTROPHE? Not ours either, but awesome.

1
C
2
A
3
M
4
E
5
R
6
A
7
S
8
H
9
Y
10
S
11
P
12
A
13
M
14
T
A
L
E
S
O
F
W
O
E
15
C
U
R
B
16
O
P
E
D
C
O
L
U
M
N
17
O
R
C
A
18
T
O
S
S
19
T
O
M
E
20
S
O
P
H
S
21
B
O
A
22
S
23
P
O
T
L
I
T
24
D
25
I
26
S
27
T
A
N
T
28
P
E
W
29
E
M
U
30
I
N
P
U
T
31
Q
U
E
N
32
C
H
E
D
33
S
N
O
B
34
P
35
F
U
N
K
36
L
A
D
E
37
P
A
R
A
38
N
O
I
A
39
D
O
Z
E
N
40
E
M
T
41
O
U
R
42
D
43
N
A
T
E
S
T
44
R
E
S
45
P
I
T
E
46
R
E
D
47
S
O
B
E
R
48
O
49
D
E
S
50
G
51
U
52
S
53
H
54
I
N
R
E
55
A
P
O
S
T
56
R
O
P
H
E
57
O
L
A
V
58
M
A
R
S
L
A
N
D
E
R
59
N
Y
S
E
60
P
L
A
Y
E
D
G
O
D
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0111 ( 25,266 )

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Across
1
Afraid of getting shot : CAMERASHY
10
Send a bunch of messages to, say : SPAM
14
Sob stories : TALESOFWOE
15
Keep in check : CURB
16
Slanted writing : OPEDCOLUMN
17
Creature with a 17-month gestation period : ORCA
18
Eject : TOSS
19
"The way I see it ..." : TOME
20
Many P.S.A.T. takers, for short : SOPHS
21
That's a wrap! : BOA
22
Drew attention to : SPOTLIT
24
Aloof : DISTANT
28
Something shared by churchgoers : PEW
29
Layer of dark green eggs : EMU
30
It gets typed : INPUT
31
Rapidly cooled, as metal : QUENCHED
33
One quick to pass judgment : SNOB
34
Music style associated with George Clinton, informally : PFUNK
36
Put on : LADE
37
"There is no literature and art without ___": Thomas Pynchon : PARANOIA
39
Dirty or daily follower : DOZEN
40
Checker of vitals, for short : EMT
41
___ Lady (Virgin Mary's title) : OUR
42
23andMe service : DNATEST
44
Breather : RESPITE
46
Like Chianti : RED
47
Clearheaded : SOBER
48
Works toward one's passion? : ODES
50
Effuse : GUSH
54
About : INRE
55
Character in "All's Well That Ends Well" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" : APOSTROPHE
57
Viking king of note : OLAV
58
NASA's InSight probe, for one : MARSLANDER
59
Org. that rings a bell : NYSE
60
Acted omnipotent : PLAYEDGOD
Down
1
Crime boss : CAPO
2
Public house options : ALES
3
Contents of some childproof containers, for short : MEDS
4
"Exit full screen" button : ESC
5
Cheer for : ROOTON
6
Financially O.K. : AFLOAT
7
Like some Olympic races : SWUM
8
Folksy : HOMESPUN
9
Kyoto cash : YEN
10
Skedaddle : SCOOT
11
#2 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" : PURPLEHAZE
12
Pioneer in hydrostatics : ARCHIMEDES
13
Many an aspiring exec, academically : MBASTUDENT
14
Young 'un : TOT
20
Planted : SOWN
21
Card holding? : BAT
23
Something you shouldn't do around Christmas : PEEK
24
Scattering of things : DISPERSION
25
Theoretically, but not actually : INNAMEONLY
26
Supports for some athletes : SPORTSBRAS
27
Big brass : TUBA
31
Acting as : QUA
32
Curdle : CLOT
34
Something you shouldn't do around Christmas : POUT
35
Brilliantly colored gemstone : FIREOPAL
38
Film ___ : NOIR
39
Stereotypical teller of a groan-worthy joke : DAD
42
Black-tie : DRESSY
43
Company that makes Coffee-mate : NESTLE
45
Cause of irritation : PEEVE
49
Cartoon pal of the monkey Boots : DORA
50
Bit of percussion : GONG
51
Prom coif : UPDO
52
Take off : SHED
53
"I'm with ___" : HER
55
Product from Fender : AMP
56
"Sick, dude!" : RAD

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?