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New York Times, Friday, January 19, 2018

Author: David J. Kahn
Editor: Will Shortz
David J. Kahn
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1763/15/19941/19/20185
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4351222551326
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1.5513180

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 33 Missing: {HJKQWXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 176 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The completed puzzle conceals the name of a famous composer, along with something that might help you listen to him. Who and what are they?
David J. Kahn notes: When I first wrote this puzzle, I had BRIGHTMAN (as in Sarah) crossing BEETHOVEN; the idea was to pair a classical composer with ... more
David J. Kahn notes:

When I first wrote this puzzle, I had BRIGHTMAN (as in Sarah) crossing BEETHOVEN; the idea was to pair a classical composer with a "cross-over" artist. Will, tho, liked EARPHONES, which could also be paired with Beethoven better, so I reworked some of the original grid. I think gimmicks like this in a Friday or Saturday are fun and add something to an otherwise-themeless puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes: What's that H doing in the middle of my Friday themeless puzzle? Forming the words BEET(H)OVEN and EARP(H)ONES, that's what! Cool ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

What's that H doing in the middle of my Friday themeless puzzle? Forming the words BEET(H)OVEN and EARP(H)ONES, that's what! Cool finds, those. EARPHONES aren't totally related to BEETHOVEN — PIANO, MUSICIAN, CLASSICAL MUSIC, SONATAS, etc. are much closer — but the pairing mostly works.

What didn't work for me was running it as a Friday themeless puzzle. It ended up in limbo, caught between three crossworlds:

THEMELESS. I love me a great mini-theme, as long as the rest of the themeless puzzle doesn't get compromised. This mini-theme is pretty good (notwithstanding EARPHONES being not that related to BEETHOVEN). The visual of the H working in the answers is cool.

But I need more snazz out of a themeless than ALL IN ONE PRINTER, DELICATE BALANCE, and … well, that's NOT A LOT. Along with odd BORESOME and PIERO, and some LEM RRR TAMA crossword glue, it didn't meet my (admittedly high) expectations for a themeless.

THEMED. Not nearly enough themage to be a workable mid-week puzzle. It could have gone more in this direction — Beethoven wrote a lot, so there's all sorts of FUR ELISE, MOONLIGHT SONATA, themage possibilities. Even the fact that SCHROEDER of Peanuts was a big fan!

METAPUZZLE. The NYT is missing the boat here. This could have been a fun contest, where solvers submit the name of a famous composer and something that's used to listen to him. Yes! But to do it with a notepad, and have no contest? No prizes? No challenge? No bueno! And if it had been a metapuzzle, David could have gone up to a more reasonable word count of say, 74 or 76, and made the fill more snazzy and smooth.

It's a neat finding, that BEET + large H + OVEN = BEETHOVEN. I wish it had gone solidly into one of the three above camps, though, as trying to straddle these crossword types didn't quite work for me. I can see how others would appreciate the crossover efforts, though. Valiant attempt.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0119 ( 24,909 )
Across Down
1. Help during the fall? : GRABBAR
8. Spanish hotel : PARADOR
15. Venting, e.g. : RELEASE
16. Hardin-Simmons University setting : ABILENE
17. N.L. East city : ATLANTA
18. Branded : LABELED
19. Neo-___ : NOIR
20. Touching things in competitions : EPEES
22. Web developer's development : SITE
23. Shipload : TON
24. Like some veal chops : BREADED
26. Hardly fresh : COY
27. It's not on the level : SLOPE
29. Ed basics : RRR
30. Give a kick? : ELATE
32. Small grouse : NIT
33. Wiretapper, e.g. : SPY
34. Specifies : CITES
35. Healthful juice source : BEET
36. Kind of mitt : OVEN
37. Thrill-seeker's appurtenance : GOPRO
38. Nap sack : COT
41. Girl in a gown : DEB
42. Fluff : ERROR
43. Stuff of life : RNA
44. Virtual connection? : EDATE
47. ___ Lan (giant panda born at the 17-Across zoo) : MEI
48. Soaked (in) : STEEPED
51. The Eagle, e.g. : LEM
52. That right introduction? : ISNT
54. Third-largest city of Switzerland : BASEL
55. Car once advertised with the slogan "The relentless pursuit of common sense" : SAAB
56. Bubkes : NOTALOT
58. Cabinet part : DEFENSE
60. Last new Beatles track before their split in 1970 : IMEMINE
61. Loose, in a way : UNLACED
62. Wraps around the shoulders : SERAPES
63. Big name in shoe stores : PAYLESS
1. Accords : GRANTS
2. Update at the factory : RETOOL
3. Home office convenience : ALLINONEPRINTER
4. Difficult thing to do, informally : BEAR
5. Smoking ___ : BAN
6. Flower whose name derives from the shape of its cluster : ASTER
7. Some farm equipment : REAPERS
8. Light-colored and medium-sweet : PALEDRY
9. Mortify : ABASE
10. Leaf part : RIB
11. Stout cousins? : ALES
12. 1966 Pulitzer-winning Edward Albee play, with "A" : DELICATEBALANCE
13. Common rating scale : ONETOTEN
14. All-nighters? : REDEYES
21. Role in 1993's "Tombstone" : EARP
24. Those who may accept tips : BETTORS
25. Figured out : DECODED
28. Renaissance artist ___ della Francesca : PIERO
31. Kept going : LIVED
35. Tedious : BORESOME
37. Expressive and quick-witted sorts, they say : GEMINIS
38. Fashions : CREATES
39. Much of binary code : ONES
40. Like a boxer's hands during sparring, maybe : TAPEDUP
45. Beguilers : TEASES
46. Sets securely : EMBEDS
49. Something to gnaw on : TBONE
50. "The Vampire Diaries" protagonist : ELENA
53. Writer Janowitz : TAMA
55. It makes an impression : SEAL
57. Place for a piercing : LIP
59. Work, as a proposal : FLY

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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