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New York Times, Saturday, January 6, 2018

Author: Peter Wentz
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter Wentz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
299/27/20071/6/20180
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100121114
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1.83005
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 34 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. Wentz. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Peter Wentz notes: This grid layout has become something of a go-to for me, with a similar one published about two years ago and another being written ... more
Peter Wentz notes:

This grid layout has become something of a go-to for me, with a similar one published about two years ago and another being written as we speak. It offers good opportunities for a variety of stacks, is reasonably wide-open, and can accommodate edits without sacrificing the entire puzzle. This one appears to hold up even years after its original creation, so it'll likely continue to be a staple on down the line.

I thought I'd struck gold with my original clue for 11-Down ["Family Matters" central character], but the whole "character" bit of wordplay for CAPITAL_ entries is old-hat at this point, so the revised clue referencing the Gmail logo is a nice alternative. Lots of other improvements in the clue department as well, with my favorite probably being 54-Across.

Hope everyone enjoys!

Jeff Chen notes: A triple of MAJOR LABELS / DARE TO DREAM (love it!) / LITTERBOXES with a funny 'kitty corner' clue makes for a great centerpiece. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

A triple of MAJOR LABELS / DARE TO DREAM (love it!) / LITTERBOXES with a funny "kitty corner" clue makes for a great centerpiece. Getting DART GUN, EGO TRIP, EASY RIDER, and THE BEEB (nickname for BBC) running through it makes it outstanding.

Stairstacks like this depend on the NW / SE corners to give extra sizzle, and Peter delivers on both counts. VOODOO DOLL was my favorite entry, and the awesome "sticking point" clue made it even better. POWER LEVEL was a fun one for this huge "Clash Royale" player (giant + night witch is my deck of choice).

Not as wild about TAKE AIM AT in the other corner — felt more neutral than an asset, given that added preposition — but ONE AT A TIME makes me imagine some poor bureaucrat imploring people to wait. And BRAKE FLUID is pretty good.

Stairstack puzzles can finally eke out a bit more juice in the SW / NE corners, but this is a tough task, given that these corners are already constrained by that middle stair stack. CAPITAL M was good, especially since it misdirects to the ENVELOPE in the Gmail logo — sneaky that both are eight letters! — but DIGICAMS and LOAN OUT didn't do much for me.

I normally love THE FEDS as an entry, but the minor dupe with THE BEEB nearby felt inelegant.

Such a smooth puzzle, maybe just INCANT a bit of an odd duck. So few constructors can get so much snazz packed into a 68-word grid without relying on any short crossword glue as a crutch.

Overall, another beaut from one of my favorite themeless constructors.

1
B
2
E
3
L
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W
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A
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Z
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C
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B
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M
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J
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D
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M
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0106 ( 24,896 )
Across Down
1. Champion's accessory : BELT
5. What you can do to "Moon River" : WALTZ
10. Follower of John : ACTS
14. "Don't rush in!" : ONEATATIME
16. One of the initial anchors of CNN's "American Morning" : ZAHN
17. Something that might be replaced during car servicing : BRAKEFLUID
18. Event in every Summer Olympics since 1900 : EPEE
19. Rhythmic : CADENT
20. Conflict : STRIFE
22. Chaser of un trago de tequila : AGUA
23. Determines (if) : SEES
27. Misanthrope : HATER
28. Lacking in passion : TEPID
30. Garden sight : GNOME
32. Block between shows : ADS
33. Universal, Sony and Warner : MAJORLABELS
36. Have high hopes : DARETODREAM
37. Kitty-corner things? : LITTERBOXES
38. Lowly worker : COG
39. Something good for Charlie Brown? : GRIEF
40. Internal rule : BYLAW
44. Writing form even more constrained than a tweet : HAIKU
46. Results of some scans : PDFS
48. City at the foot of the Sierra Nevada : RENO
49. Recite : INCANT
51. Popular pricing game on "The Price Is Right" : PLINKO
53. Chesterfield, for one : COAT
54. Sticking point? : VOODOODOLL
58. Noted Brit in the news : HUME
59. Strength rating in video games : POWERLEVEL
60. Teeny : ITSY
61. Black piano key : GFLAT
62. Promising : ROSY
1. Ohio University player : BOBCAT
2. Tee off : ENRAGE
3. Prelim : LEADUP
4. Put in one's sights : TAKEAIMAT
5. Moves lightly through the air : WAFTS
6. Home of the world's busiest airport: Abbr. : ATL
7. Actress Lucy : LIU
8. "Did not need to know that" : TMI
9. Terminals at London Heathrow? : ZEDS
10. High-end Hyundai : AZERA
11. Main feature of the Gmail logo : CAPITALM
12. National force, informally : THEFEDS
13. Mocking responses : SNEERS
15. Blue-striped ball : TEN
21. English channel : THEBEEB
24. Something only I can go on? : EGOTRIP
25. In vestments : ENROBED
26. Liquidated : SOLDOFF
29. Park ranger's weapon : DARTGUN
31. Who said "Revolutions are the locomotives of history" : MARX
34. Foul call : JEER
35. 1960s movie with the tagline "A man went looking for America. And couldn't find it anywhere" : EASYRIDER
36. Devices that hurt sales at Kodak : DIGICAMS
37. Give for a bit : LOANOUT
38. Precious : CHICHI
41. Dell competitor : LENOVO
42. Places for braces : ANKLES
43. Like some caterpillars : WOOLLY
45. Sagal of "Futurama" : KATEY
47. Friendly term of address : SPORT
50. What suggestive dialogue may result in : TVPG
52. Response to a joke, maybe : LOL
55. "You got me good!" : OOF
56. "Wide-staring" one in a Wordsworth poem : OWL
57. Deal breakers, for short? : DEA

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle.

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