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New York Times, Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
242/9/20172/5/20202
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5394300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61041
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 23 for Mr. Trudeau. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
This puzzle is a good example of how cluing decisions affect the solving experience. The theme clues as I submitted them were: ... read more

This puzzle is a good example of how cluing decisions affect the solving experience. The theme clues as I submitted them were:

  • THREE POINTER: Distance jumper?
  • GHOST OF A CHANCE: Vanishingly low probability of success?
  • LANDSCAPE PHOTO: Very wide snap?
  • OUTSIDE SHOTS: What point guards, dark horses, and exterior shutterbugs take, and a hint to 20-, 28-, and 42-Across

Will Shortz decided to clue the theme answers more straightforwardly (today is a Tuesday, after all), and to clue the ostensible "revealer" with simply "What 20-, 28-, and 42-Across are." This has the effect of turning the theme answers into a group revealer for OUTSIDE SHOTS, which creates a different sort of "aha" moment for the solver.

Also, if you're looking to get into crossword constructing, and especially if you identify as non-male, LGBTQ+, or as a person of color, I'd be thrilled to offer whatever assistance I can to help you get your puzzles published. Contact me via Instagram (@rosstrudeau) or Twitter (@trudeauross).

Jeff Chen notes:
This is a fantastic example of one of my favorite early-week theme types, where seemingly unconnected phrases suddenly link together ... read more

This is a fantastic example of one of my favorite early-week theme types, where seemingly unconnected phrases suddenly link together in a surprising way. I completely failed at "Name that Theme," and pleasantly smacked my forehead when realizing how OUTSIDE SHOTS described the three themers:

  1. The usual meaning of OUTSIDE SHOT is a long shot; an outside chance. Ross could have gone with a dictionary-ish definition like LOW CHANCE OF SUCCESS, but finding a sizzly in-the-language phrase like GHOST OF A CHANCE is dynamite.
  2. I ruptured my Achilles tendon taking a THREE POINTER (sadly, with no one guarding me, even more sadly, it bricked). I'm all too familiar with what an outside shot I have of making any given three, given my heaving, grunting form.
  3. LANDSCAPE PHOTO isn't as strong a phrase as the others, but it works. It also gives a completely different meaning of OUTSIDE SHOT, this one a literal interpretation.

Together, the three form a trifecta of near perfection.

Speaking of perfection, the grid shows a master at his best.

  • Color: OVERSHARING BEDHOG, INTENTIONAL SCHISMS, IRON BARS, along with MR OCTOBER and STEPNIECE.
  • Cleanliness: just a minor blip in ALG.

Not only is it a friendly grid for newbs, but it's so juicy. There's no magic to what Ross has achieved, but the time, care, and hard work are much appreciated. All constructors working with four themers can and should be outputting grids as excellent as this one.

This crossword put a huge smile on my face. I'd gladly give it not just to newbs, but to more experienced solvers as well. I love lauding art that's on par with Ansel Adams.

1
B
2
B
3
O
4
Y
5
I
6
N
7
I
8
T
9
T
10
R
11
A
12
P
13
R
E
V
U
14
P
15
N
O
R
A
16
H
U
G
E
17
A
D
E
L
E
18
M
R
O
C
19
T
O
B
E
R
20
T
H
R
E
E
21
P
O
I
N
T
E
R
22
S
O
S
23
P
I
N
24
B
I
C
25
I
26
A
27
M
28
G
H
29
O
S
T
O
30
F
A
C
H
31
A
N
C
E
32
A
W
A
Y
33
E
R
S
34
C
T
R
L
35
B
36
U
R
N
T
37
C
D
S
38
S
H
E
E
T
39
E
R
I
E
40
S
O
U
41
E
C
O
N
42
L
A
N
D
43
S
C
A
P
44
E
P
H
O
T
45
O
46
A
L
G
47
P
O
R
48
L
E
I
49
I
P
50
O
51
O
U
T
S
52
I
D
E
S
53
H
O
T
S
54
S
55
T
56
E
P
N
I
E
C
E
57
M
A
N
I
A
58
P
A
V
E
59
A
L
E
S
60
S
L
A
C
K
61
A
X
E
D
62
N
Y
E
T
63
E
L
S
A
© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0107 ( 25,627 )
Across
1
Break-dancer, slangily : BBOY
5
Not yet out of contention : INIT
9
Big, fat mouth : TRAP
13
Gun, as an engine : REVUP
15
"Silkwood" screenwriter Ephron : NORA
16
Bigger than big : HUGE
17
"Hello" singer, 2015 : ADELE
18
Nickname for baseball's Reggie Jackson : MROCTOBER
20
Long jumper, in hoops : THREEPOINTER
22
Call to the U.S.C.G. : SOS
23
One of 10 felled in a strike : PIN
24
Big name in lighters : BIC
25
Terse affirmative : IAM
28
Very slight probability : GHOSTOFACHANCE
32
On vacation : AWAY
33
Triage locales, briefly : ERS
34
Bottom-left PC key : CTRL
35
Beyond well-done : BURNT
37
Audiophile's rack contents : CDS
38
Ream unit : SHEET
39
What the "E" stands for in HOMES : ERIE
40
Trifling amount : SOU
41
Subj. for an M.B.A. student : ECON
42
Picture from Ansel Adams, say : LANDSCAPEPHOTO
46
H.S. math class : ALG
47
"___ favor" : POR
48
Island ring : LEI
49
Wall St. debut : IPO
51
What 20-, 28- and 42-Across are : OUTSIDESHOTS
54
Relative via remarriage : STEPNIECE
57
Reaction to the Beatles in 1964, e.g. : MANIA
58
Give a smooth surface : PAVE
59
Hoppy quaffs : ALES
60
What a lenient boss might cut you : SLACK
61
Gave the heave-ho : AXED
62
Turndown from Putin : NYET
63
"Let It Go" singer in "Frozen" : ELSA
Down
1
Spoiled sorts : BRATS
2
One monopolizing a mattress : BEDHOG
3
Describing one's bathroom routine in detail, say : OVERSHARING
4
Time for a TV log : YULE
5
How LPs were originally recorded : INMONO
6
"Me neither" : NORI
7
Cell window fixtures : IRONBARS
8
Military science subject : TACTICS
9
Hammer-wielding Norse god : THOR
10
Cause chafing, perhaps : RUB
11
969, for Methuselah at his death : AGE
12
One ___ customer : PER
14
Gets a furtive glimpse of : PEEPSAT
19
Part of I.T., for short : TECH
21
"Alas!" : PITY
25
Like some flagrant fouls : INTENTIONAL
26
Lot unit : ACRE
27
Go soft : MELT
29
Dominated, in gamer lingo : OWNED
30
Sick and tired : FEDUP
31
"Gesundheit!" elicitor : ACHOO
35
___ Fleck, banjo virtuoso : BELA
36
River of Eurasia : URAL
37
In a crude way : COARSELY
38
Splits that may give rise to sects : SCHISMS
40
Nova ___ (Halifax native, say) : SCOTIAN
41
Sword with a sensor : EPEE
43
Like cocoons and cotton candy : SPUN
44
Like Liesl, among the von Trapp children : ELDEST
45
Public perception, in political lingo : OPTICS
50
Port of Honshu : OSAKA
51
Essay offering an alternative viewpoint : OPED
52
Drink similar to a Slurpee : ICEE
53
In fine fettle : HALE
54
Place where one might get a mani-pedi : SPA
55
Line on a bill just above the total : TAX
56
First lady : EVE

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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