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New York Times, Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Author:
Byron Walden
Editor:
Will Shortz
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1.59321
Byron Walden

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 75, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQWZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 78 for Mr. Walden. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Byron Walden notes:
Don't throw out your calendars — it is indeed Tuesday. Given the basic nature of the theme, I was shooting for Monday, but I couldn't ... read more

Don't throw out your calendars — it is indeed Tuesday. Given the basic nature of the theme, I was shooting for Monday, but I couldn't resist the siren song of opening up the grid with extra connectivity. Hope you enjoy the result.

Jeff Chen notes:
Could it really be that this is Byron's Tuesday NYT debut? I think of him as one of the few 'five-tool constructors,' with the ability to ... read more

Could it really be that this is Byron's Tuesday NYT debut? I think of him as one of the few "five-tool constructors," with the ability to construct:

  1. 140-word Sundays
  2. Tricky Thursdays with a clever twist
  3. Themeless with both voice and clean execution
  4. Early-week ultra-smoothness
  5. Mid-week intermediate difficulty

I list these in approximate order of difficulty/rarity, so I suppose it's no surprise that Byron hasn't worked much on tool number 5 — not as much of a challenge. I am curious to see if he can hit for the cycle with an ultra-smooth, interesting Monday puzzle.

Don't mind me, just skating along

I was very glad to get a revealer today, GONE FISHING sort of hinting at the theme: four fish starting long entries. I really liked Byron's consistency of starting with a type of fish that has a different meaning, making it past tense, and then adding a preposition to finish it off. FLOUNDERED AROUND seemed like the weakest of the bunch, as I usually think of FLOUNDERED by itself, but I can see the usage. It's impressive to find four fish that work this consistent manner — without repeating a preposition.

Byron has great ability to work in vocabulary that makes me think. I mulled over RICE SEEDS, wondering if rice really starts with seeds? (It does.) I wasn't familiar with SALT DOMES, but they were interesting to read up on. And then to get SIR GALAHAD, KEPT IT REAL, OLD MONEY, TAX DODGES — that's the kind of great stuff I expect out of a Walden. Even BAD PR is a great little entry.

It does come with a price, in gluey bits like IME (partial), GINO (poor guy never went anywhere after his Heisman), ENNE (suffix), APAL (partial). This sort of thing is to be expected when you cram so much good long fill into an already theme-dense puzzle, but I normally don't see quite this much in a Walden puzzle.

I think this trade-off is fine though, as mid-week puzzles can tolerate a little more crossword glue than Monday puzzles (where the gluey stuff might turn off newbies) or most themelesses (where there are so many people making them that the bar is ultra-high).

1
G
2
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A
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C
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K
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B
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0119 ( 24,178 )
Across
1. Boots, backpack, tent, etc. : GEAR
5. Triangle on a pool table : RACK
9. "You ___" ("Sure thing") : BETCHA
15. ___ Reader (alternative digest) : UTNE
16. Maker of Arctic Blast and Java Freeze beverages : ICEE
17. Arthurian island : AVALON
18. Some PC screens : LCDS
19. Criticized nigglingly : CARPEDABOUT
21. Roosted on : PERCHEDATOP
23. Mentalist Geller : URI
24. Ticks off : STEAMS
25. Tattered : INRAGS
28. Travelers with paddles : CANOEISTS
31. Gun, slangily : PIECE
34. Mideast ruler : EMIR
35. Landlord's counterpart : TENANT
36. Struggled to make progress : FLOUNDEREDAROUND
42. Digs deeply (into) : DELVES
43. Beano competitor : GASX
44. Bull session? : RODEO
45. Halite formations that might be oil reservoirs : SALTDOMES
50. How-to book : MANUAL
52. Address of Juliet's balcony? : OROMEO
54. Umberto ___, author of "The Name of the Rose" : ECO
56. Proceeded without trying very hard : SKATEDALONG
59. Classic out-of-office sign ... or what this puzzle's author has done? : GONEFISHING
62. "C'mon, be ___" : APAL
63. Nearest target for a bowler : ONEPIN
64. Fashion designer Klein : ANNE
65. Repetitive means of learning : ROTE
66. Hitting high in the air : SKYING
67. Colors, as Easter eggs : DYES
68. Did 80 on the highway, say : SPED
Down
1. Swallows deeply : GULPS
2. " ... and on and on and on" : ETCETC
3. Newswoman Mitchell : ANDREA
4. Make another image of : RESCAN
5. They get the paddy started : RICESEEDS
6. Part of U.S.C.G.A.: Abbr. : ACAD
7. "Juno" actor Michael : CERA
8. Avoided phoniness : KEPTITREAL
9. Celeb's arrest report, to the celeb, say : BADPR
10. Actress Mendes of "2 Fast 2 Furious" : EVA
11. Neighbor of Caps Lock : TAB
12. Bumbling detective of film : CLOUSEAU
13. "Spring forward, fall back" unit : HOUR
14. One in opposition : ANTI
20. Time immemorial : EONS
22. Aetna offering, briefly : HMO
26. Mimic : APER
27. ___ Torretta, 1992 Heisman Trophy winner : GINO
29. "___ Mine" (George Harrison autobiography) : IME
30. Noble knight who found the Holy Grail : SIRGALAHAD
32. Wolf Blitzer's employer : CNN
33. You may be asked to arrive 90 mins. prior to this : ETD
35. Sneaky shelters : TAXDODGES
36. Pres. who recuperated at Warm Springs, Ga. : FDR
37. Sign before Virgo : LEO
38. Aristocratic ancestry : OLDMONEY
39. Eye layer whose name derives from the Latin for "grape" : UVEA
40. Gas in signs : NEON
41. "Spring forward, fall back" inits. : DST
45. Fifth Avenue retailer : SAKS
46. 13-Down, in Italian : ORA
47. Grinding teeth : MOLARS
48. Fall Out Boy genre : EMOPOP
49. Where John Kerry and Bob Kerrey served : SENATE
51. On drugs : USING
53. Eyed caddishly : OGLED
54. They benefit from boosters : EGOS
55. Crash, with "out" : CONK
57. Minuscule : TINY
58. Feminine suffix : ENNE
60. Prefix with center : EPI
61. 1950s car feature : FIN

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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