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New York Times, Saturday, January 6, 2018

Author:
Peter Wentz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
339/27/20078/31/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
200121216
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.81005
Peter Wentz

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
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 ... read more

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. ... read more

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
4
T
5
W
6
A
7
L
8
T
9
Z
10
A
11
C
12
T
13
S
14
O
N
E
A
15
T
A
T
I
M
E
16
Z
A
H
N
17
B
R
A
K
E
F
L
U
I
D
18
E
P
E
E
19
C
A
D
E
N
T
20
S
21
T
R
I
F
E
22
A
G
U
A
23
S
24
E
25
E
26
S
27
H
A
T
E
R
28
T
E
P
I
29
D
30
G
N
O
31
M
E
32
A
D
S
33
M
A
34
J
O
R
L
A
B
35
E
L
S
36
D
A
R
E
T
O
D
R
E
A
M
37
L
I
T
T
E
R
B
O
X
E
S
38
C
O
G
39
G
R
I
E
F
40
B
Y
41
L
42
A
43
W
44
H
A
I
45
K
U
46
P
D
F
47
S
48
R
E
N
O
49
I
N
C
A
N
50
T
51
P
52
L
I
N
K
O
53
C
O
A
T
54
V
55
O
56
O
57
D
O
O
D
O
L
L
58
H
U
M
E
59
P
O
W
E
R
L
E
V
E
L
60
I
T
S
Y
61
G
F
L
A
T
62
R
O
S
Y
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0106 ( 24,896 )
Across
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
Down
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: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?