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New York Times, Saturday, January 30, 2016

Author:
Samuel A. Donaldson and Brad Wilber
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3010/2/20081/15/20197
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6156516
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 what ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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
Down
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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