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New York Times, Saturday, January 30, 2016

Author: Samuel A. Donaldson and Brad Wilber
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2910/2/20086/12/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6146516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64120
Samuel A. Donaldson
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
512/19/200510/21/201725
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
001201434
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60001
Brad Wilber

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 28 Missing: {FJQX} This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Donaldson. This is puzzle # 47 for Mr. Wilber. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: SAM: In December of 2014 I sent a partially completed grid to Brad, asking if he wanted to collaborate. That's code for 'I like ... more
Constructor notes:

SAM: In December of 2014 I sent a partially completed grid to Brad, asking if he wanted to collaborate. That's code for "I like what I've done so far, but I can't seem to make anything else work. HELP!" The grid I sent him had the northwest and southeast corners done. Not surprisingly, what he sent back was terrific. He balances my low-brow MAMA BEAR, SPEED DATING, and SIPPY CUP with the RIG VEDA, the VISIGOTHS, and (what now may be my new favorite word) CREPEY. The result, I hope, is a balanced puzzle that puts up a tough fight.

I always like to track how many original clues survive the editing stage. In this puzzle, 27 of our clues (about 40%) made the cut, while another 10 (almost 15%) were edited slightly, probably for length. Will and company came up with 31 clues from scratch (that's 45% of the total). My favorite new clues are [Following the beat?] for ON PATROL and [What isn't working?] for ME TIME. Of course, I mourn the loss of some clues resting atop the cutting room floor. Maybe we'll have another occasion to use [Turns to stripping?] for SHREDS and [It can be used to drop acid] for PIPET.

BRAD: People would not think me so highbrow if they could see me Facebook messaging with Sam during "Orphan Black," I don't think. Anyway, it's our second puzzle together, and as before, I really liked working with him on it. Sam's chosen grid designs are challenging (usually 68s like this one) without being too constricting, so we steer clear of most haggling over fill and worry that the fill is not clean enough. His corners with the nice 11s were impeccable (I was imagining drinking VEAL MARSALA sauce from a SIPPY CUP and a BAD DEAL or two that might result from SPEED DATING), so I pushed myself to come up with what I hope are relatively fresh SW and NE corners. Sam really goes for it with humor in the clues, so he gave me a lot of "wish I'd thought of that" moments as we put the manuscript together. That plus his nice clue echo at 47D and 49D.

I have to say, when VIZSLA went into the center of the grid, I had a flashback to about ten years ago when my friend Frank Longo put XOLOITZCUINTLI into a themeless grid for the New York Sun. This was well before John O'Hurley had occasion to talk about the XOLO on nationally televised dog shows, so I leaned on the Down crossings for that answer. But I thought it was time to fete our furry friend from Hungary.

Jeff Chen notes: I always learn something new from Brad's puzzles, and today was no different. I always smile at Sam's goofiness shining through his ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I always learn something new from Brad's puzzles, and today was no different. I always smile at Sam's goofiness shining through his puzzles, and again, today was no different. Great combination these two bring us today, entries from all walks of life. Very cool to get such a wide range, from the RIG VEDA and DAWN RAID all the way to SIPPY CUPs and OUR GANG.

The VISZLA

There's a ton of entries/clues I was unfamiliar with, so I'll explain them:

  • MOSSAD is Israel's intelligence agency, not just a generic [Spy group]. I imagine including "Israel" in the clue would have made it too easy?
  • The VIZSLA hunting dog contains such a weird string of letters. Just think if Sam and Brad had used the MAGYAR VIZSLA!
  • I follow stock markets pretty closely, so DAWN RAID was somewhat familiar. It's too bad the clue couldn't have been longer and more interesting due to space limitations, explaining how it's a tactic sometimes used in takeover attempts, to sneakily build up a large stake before the target company notices.
  • SPIEGEL apparently is a mail-order company … right here in America! Perhaps it's not as big here in the West Coast. Or for us folks that buy new clothes once in … never.

I like that Sam and Brad were careful with their crossings. With so much material that felt unfamiliar to me, they still managed to assemble the grid in such a way that I was able to successfully finish. SPIEGEL / VIZSLA / RIGVEDA was almost a guess, but other options like SPIETEL or SPIEGEF just didn't seem as much of a recognizable name as SPIEGEL.

Loved two clues:

  • [What isn't working?] confused the heck out of me, even after I filled in METIME. Took a while to realize it was ME TIME!
  • [Shorts popular in the 1920s and ‘30s] made me put an S at the end. And then I went through cargo shorts, jeans shorts, etc. until it finally dawned on me that it was referring to movie shorts. Just beautiful.

Just on the edge of too much crossword glue for my taste in INST, PORTO (tough to clue any other way), EER, ALOP, etc. but a great variety of entries to tickle all parts of my brain.

1
M
2
A
3
M
4
A
5
B
6
E
7
A
8
R
9
D
10
O
11
U
12
B
13
L
14
E
15
A
L
A
C
A
R
T
E
16
A
U
K
L
E
T
17
W
O
R
N
D
O
W
N
18
W
R
E
A
T
H
19
S
P
E
E
D
D
A
T
20
I
N
G
21
C
H
A
22
E
E
R
23
B
R
A
24
C
K
E
N
25
O
26
B
27
A
28
M
A
S
29
P
I
A
N
O
S
30
B
A
B
E
L
31
V
I
S
I
G
O
T
32
H
33
S
34
I
N
S
T
35
W
I
P
E
D
36
P
O
O
L
37
S
A
T
I
38
R
I
Z
E
S
39
T
E
N
O
R
40
A
M
I
D
S
T
41
S
H
R
E
D
S
42
S
43
P
I
E
G
E
L
44
O
N
E
45
I
O
N
46
V
E
A
47
L
M
A
R
48
S
49
A
50
L
51
A
52
C
R
E
53
P
E
Y
54
O
N
P
A
T
R
O
L
55
E
T
R
A
D
E
56
S
I
P
P
Y
C
U
P
57
M
O
S
S
A
D
58
S
A
Y
Y
E
S
T
O
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0130 ( 24,189 )
Across Down
1. One of a trio in a children's story : MAMABEAR
9. Bar order after a very hard day, maybe : DOUBLE
15. Lacking any sides : ALACARTE
16. Puffin relative : AUKLET
17. Haggard : WORNDOWN
18. Prize at the top of a maypole : WREATH
19. Mixing and matching? : SPEEDDATING
21. Start of many a dance routine : CHA
22. Suffix with market : EER
23. Large fern : BRACKEN
25. Renegade and Renaissance, to the Secret Service : OBAMAS
29. Things bench players need? : PIANOS
30. Pandemonium : BABEL
31. Sackers in the sack of Rome, A.D. 410 : VISIGOTHS
34. Think tank, e.g.: Abbr. : INST
35. Spent : WIPED
36. Hotel amenity : POOL
37. Treats as in "South Park" or "Doonesbury" : SATIRIZES
39. Drift : TENOR
40. During : AMIDST
41. Viciously criticizes, informally : SHREDS
42. Clothing company whose mail-order catalog debuted in 1905 : SPIEGEL
44. It lacks letters on a telephone keypad : ONE
45. ___ cannon (sci-fi weapon) : ION
46. Trattoria entree : VEALMARSALA
52. Saggy and crinkled : CREPEY
54. Following the beat? : ONPATROL
55. Fidelity competitor : ETRADE
56. Toddler's handful : SIPPYCUP
57. Spy group : MOSSAD
58. Green-light : SAYYESTO
1. Traps and yaps : MAWS
2. Like some rabbit ears : ALOP
3. Certain dam : MARE
4. Worrisome marks in high school? : ACNE
5. Source of buyer's remorse : BADDEAL
6. Whittles away : ERODES
7. Battling : ATWAR
8. Torn : RENT
9. Huge stock purchase at the start of a day's trading : DAWNRAID
10. Shorts popular in the 1920s and '30s : OURGANG
11. It might be picked for a song : UKE
12. "The Great" magician whose signature trick was the "floating light bulb" : BLACKSTONE
13. River of myth where one drinks to forget : LETHE
14. ___ Edwards, John Wayne's role in "The Searchers," 1956 : ETHAN
20. Birds in hieroglyphics : IBISES
24. Cask maker : COOPER
25. Eastern ties : OBIS
26. Eric of "Hulk" : BANA
27. Dry sorts : ABSTAINERS
28. What isn't working? : METIME
29. Lab vessel : PIPET
31. Hungarian hunting dog : VIZSLA
32. Tough : HOOD
33. Some photog purchases : SLRS
35. Innocent : WIDEEYED
38. Ancient collection of Sanskrit hymns : RIGVEDA
39. Rehabilitative effort : THERAPY
41. Quick : SNAPPY
42. Dog command : SICEM
43. ___-Novo (capital on the Gulf of Guinea) : PORTO
44. "___ cum pretio" ("Everything has its price") : OMNIA
47. Parenthetical figure, often : LOSS
48. Hot compress target, perhaps : STYE
49. Parenthetical figures? : ARCS
50. Vulgarian : LOUT
51. Brand with a Gravy Cravers line : ALPO
53. Announcement carriers, for short : PAS

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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