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New York Times, Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Author:
Freddie Cheng
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
87/12/20101/8/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1232000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61000
Freddie Cheng

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FHJWZ} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Cheng. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Freddie Cheng notes:
After seeing a Kandinsky painting one day, I wondered if I could also build an abstract crossword 'work of art' using shape/ color ... read more

After seeing a Kandinsky painting one day, I wondered if I could also build an abstract crossword "work of art" using shape/ color elements. I quickly settled on the idea of using entries that are not normally treated as colored elements to be re-interpreted literally as such. Although the finished ABSTRACT ART will probably never hang in a museum anywhere, I hope that it's fun to check out and solve nevertheless.

As a fun aside, I did come across this crossword museum piece recently however: 91-year-old woman fills in crossword at museum — only to discover it was a £60,000 artwork. Come to think of it; perhaps Will should start a crossword museum somewhere?!

With seven themers, it was a hard slog trying to get a clean fill, leading to numerous revisions in the "product development cycle" with Will and Sam, who were admirably patient with me. It was a good call from them not to settle though, to get to a more polished final product. With so much material already, I regrettably had to dispense with one of my comic book favorites: GREEN ARROW. Moving along in the DC Comics universe, we have instead actors KEATON [23A], and my favorite non-theme entry in the whole puzzle - GAL GADOT [2D/51D]. There's definitely some fanboy appreciation at work there...

The editing of the puzzle made clues generally tighter and better, though the original trickier clues for the theme entries (e.g. "American recorder?" for BLACKBOX and "Mark on a beach bum?" for TANLINE) were made more straightforward for a Tuesday audience.

Constructor's logs: Submitted Oct 2017, revised Feb 2018 after "liked the idea but needs changes," with acceptance in May subject to fill clean-up, and final version in July 2018 after numerous iterations.

Jeff Chen notes:
You ever read 'Olivia'? It's a cute picture book series about a high-energy piglet who gets into all sorts of trouble. In one scene, ... read more

You ever read "Olivia"? It's a cute picture book series about a high-energy piglet who gets into all sorts of trouble. In one scene, she goes to a museum with her mom and spots a Jackson Pollock. I don't get it, she thinks. She then proceeds to splatter paint on the walls of her bedroom. It's art!

I'm with Olivia, especially when it comes to ABSTRACT ART. (Not so much when it comes to paint on bedroom walls.) Isn't it just a bunch of RED SQUAREs, BLACK BOXes, GOLD RINGs … selling for millions of dollars?

I'm apparently in the wrong business.

I liked that Freddie packed in a whole bunch of colorful shapes, making the grid feel like it was an actual piece of ABSTRACT ART. Some compromises – the outdated TREO forced by the overlap of GOLD RING and ABSTRACT ART for example – but I think they're reasonable prices to pay to achieve the desired effect.

Loved the clue for EGGS: a [Baker's dozen?] would make a lot of cake! More amusement in the clue for EROS, who literally takes a bow (and arrow).

I might have put this one up for a POW! if I appreciated art a little more. Now, if we only had a real art aficionado here at XWI

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0108 ( 25,263 )
Across
1
Baker's dozen? : EGGS
5
Wild feline : BOBCAT
11
Path of the tip of a pendulum : ARC
14
Lacking vegetation : BARE
15
Marie ___ (women's magazine) : CLAIRE
16
"Gloria in excelsis ___" (carol chorus) : DEO
17
*Starting point, metaphorically : BLANKCANVAS
19
Equivalent of "Inc." in the U.K. : LTD
20
7'6" N.B.A. star ___ Ming : YAO
21
Gossip : DIRT
22
Outrage : IRE
23
Michael of "Batman" and "Birdman" : KEATON
26
*Important part of a plane : BLACKBOX
28
Longtime weatherman of morning TV : ALROKER
30
Eastern "way" : TAO
31
Where a fishing boat ties up : PIER
32
Tidy : NEAT
35
Fathers, as foals : SIRES
39
Stars-and-stripes land : USA
40
*A swimsuit might leave one : TANLINE
42
Electronica producer Brian : ENO
43
Sample : TASTE
45
Cry made while taking a bow : TADA
46
Dame ___ Everage : EDNA
47
Good rating for a bond : AAA
49
Ties, as a score : EVENSUP
51
*Powerful object in "The Hobbit" : GOLDRING
56
Baghdad residents : IRAQIS
57
King Kong, for one : APE
58
Old Palm smartphone : TREO
59
Critical hosp. wing : ICU
60
Low-I.Q. : DIM
61
What may be created using the answers to the six starred clues? : ABSTRACTART
66
Musical Yoko : ONO
67
Played on the green : PUTTED
68
Mythological figure who takes a bow : EROS
69
Noted number on Downing Street : TEN
70
Parts of college applications : ESSAYS
71
Like the part of a pool with a diving board : DEEP
Down
1
Recede gradually : EBB
2
With 51-Down, star of "Wonder Woman" : GAL
3
*Ill-defined situations : GRAYAREAS
4
Long-term legislator : SENATOR
5
Abbr. in an email field : BCC
6
Portuguese greeting : OLA
7
Cozy accommodations for a traveler, informally : BANDB
8
Counterpart of criminal : CIVIL
9
Where Noah's Ark landed : ARARAT
10
Precedent setter in court : TESTCASE
11
Off-script remark : ADLIB
12
Nostalgia-evoking, as fashion : RETRO
13
Ancient handwritten volume : CODEX
18
Loony : KOOK
23
Done for : KAPUT
24
Form of Elizabeth : ELISA
25
"99 Luftballons" singer : NENA
27
Pond carp : KOI
29
Landlord's income : RENT
33
Doug Jones's home: Abbr. : ALA
34
Best-selling detergent brand : TIDE
36
*Moscow landmark : REDSQUARE
37
Ho-hum feeling : ENNUI
38
Detergents, e.g. : SOAPS
40
Opening strip on a package : TEARTAPE
41
Blue race in "Avatar" : NAVI
44
Small bit : TAD
46
Passed, as laws : ENACTED
48
Boeing rival : AIRBUS
50
Rock's Burdon or Clapton : ERIC
51
See 2-Down : GADOT
52
Offer a thought : OPINE
53
Clunker of a car : LEMON
54
Digs made of twigs : NESTS
55
"___ go!" : GOTTA
62
Heroine of "The Force Awakens" : REY
63
YouTube revenue source : ADS
64
Fish spawn : ROE
65
Seasoning amt. : TSP

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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