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New York Times, Saturday, October 5, 2013

Author: Byron Walden
Editor: Will Shortz
Byron Walden
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Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 26 Missing: {Q} Spans: 4, (2 double stacks) This is puzzle # 69 for Mr. Walden. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Byron Walden notes: I started out picturing the grid with the two double stacks of 15s. The intersecting central 13s only came into the plan once I ... more
Byron Walden notes: I started out picturing the grid with the two double stacks of 15s. The intersecting central 13s only came into the plan once I started writing the NW corner. 15-Across was the first to go in and I started looking at other 15s staring with F, thinking that 1-Down would be OFF-something. I got really close with CARLOAN/D and TIEGAME (singular) at 2 and 3-Down. I saw ALGORE working nicely but the dearth of OFFA??? led me to try AFFABLE. Then I worked out a pretty good corner if BOANS was a thing (a defunct department store in Perth).

I joked to myself about using CARLEAK instead. That was enough to get me over the hump by thinking of LEASE and adding the central 13 running across. I wasn't psyched about FREONS and would have chucked it if the opposite corner hadn't come together so well. Didn't much like HOMELESS SHELTER as an entry. A lot of space for a word you can't really clue with my usual japery but there was too much good stuff in the SW corner to pass up.

Will Shortz notes: Do you quake a little when you see Byron's byline? He fills his puzzles with lots of vocabulary never seen before in crosswords, ... more
Will Shortz notes: Do you quake a little when you see Byron's byline? He fills his puzzles with lots of vocabulary never seen before in crosswords, which makes them naturally difficult, and then he writes good, tough clues. Most of the clues here are his. So many favorites — 1A, 18A (nice bit of trivia), 20A, 25A, 39A, 54A (more trivia), 9D, 16D (mean!), 34D (whew!), and others.
Jeff Chen notes: Two Puzzles of the Week, can that be? I tried so hard to adhere to my own rule of highlighting a single standout puzzle of the week, ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Two Puzzles of the Week, can that be? I tried so hard to adhere to my own rule of highlighting a single standout puzzle of the week, but I struggled, given how many puzzles I thought were fantastic this week (and we still have a Patrick Berry Sunday to look forward to!) Thanks to my Girlfriend/Wife/Barbarian Jill Denny for the idea of settling on two POWs.

Beautiful puzzle today. To continue my climbing analogy from last week's Saturday puzzle, I looked at this puzzle's teenty-tiny holds, slopers, and near-nothing features, and I quaked. Sure, I fell at times as I made my way up, but I fought through each of the tricky spots, taking a few rests to figure out how to move past a certain section, and came away slapping the top anchors with a triumphant yell. It stretched me in such a way that I wanted to take a picture of it (yes, I take pictures of great gym routes) to bottle the feeling of struggling mightily but ultimately managing to accomplish the near impossible.

Byron is a master at the challenging Saturday grid, a skill that few constructors have honed to his level. He's the 3rd most published Saturday author in the Shortz era, behind only the great Rich Norris (now the editor of the LA Times crossword) and the mystical/magical Patrick Berry. And Byron gives us a constructor's clinic with this puzzle. Two double-stacks, both with interesting answers and (mostly) squeaky-clean crossings, accompanying solid short fill through the puzzle's midsection, makes for a masterful construction. It's amazing how clean all the crossings through the double-stacks are; a real rarity. Only ENS and OEO as your (very minor) dings? You gotta be kidding me.

And it's not often I'm SO impressed with a puzzle's cluing, but the "Large monitors" clue was fantastic; same with "Tip used for icing". For the latter, I kept pounding my head, swearing at Byron for likely tossing some sort of ridiculous esoteric baking tool into the puzzle. When I finally hit on SILENCER, a big smile came to my face.

Brilliant. How could I not name this stonker co-Puzzle of the Week?

1
A
2
C
3
T
4
F
5
I
6
V
7
E
8
O
9
F
10
F
11
C
12
A
13
S
14
T
15
F
A
I
R
B
A
N
16
K
S
A
L
A
S
K
A
17
F
R
E
E
A
S
S
O
C
I
A
T
I
O
N
18
A
L
G
O
R
E
19
M
A
N
X
20
M
P
G
21
B
E
A
N
S
22
P
O
R
T
23
M
O
J
O
24
L
A
M
S
25
B
U
D
S
26
L
O
V
E
S
27
E
S
E
28
B
R
N
O
29
R
O
O
30
E
S
31
P
R
I
T
D
32
E
C
O
R
33
P
34
S
35
A
I
M
36
R
A
M
P
37
L
I
38
D
39
S
40
K
41
O
R
T
42
H
A
S
P
43
N
O
L
O
44
A
A
H
S
45
S
A
G
E
46
J
A
W
E
D
47
I
B
M
48
Z
E
R
O
49
D
U
P
I
N
G
50
D
O
Y
51
O
U
W
A
N
52
N
A
D
A
N
C
E
53
H
O
M
E
L
E
S
S
S
H
E
L
T
E
R
54
I
M
Y
O
U
R
S
55
C
L
A
M
O
R
S
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1005 ( 23,342 )
Across Down
1. It may provide closure in a tragedy : ACTFIVE
8. Discarded : OFFCAST
15. City named for Theodore Roosevelt's vice president : FAIRBANKSALASKA
17. Word search technique? : FREEASSOCIATION
18. Webby Award winner who accepted saying "Please don't recount this vote" : ALGORE
19. With 11-Down, animal called "stubbin" by locals : MANX
20. Nascar stat that rises under caution flags : MPG
21. Diddly : BEANS
22. Opening in the computer business? : PORT
23. Bad thing to lose : MOJO
24. Flights : LAMS
25. Taste makers? : BUDS
26. Has it bad for, so to speak : LOVES
27. -i relative : ESE
28. Largest city in Moravia : BRNO
29. Mob member, informally : ROO
30. Morale : ESPRITDECORPS
35. Second in command? : AIM
36. Cloverleaf section : RAMP
37. Flat top : LID
39. Blended dressing? : SKORT
42. Shutter shutter : HASP
43. Literally, "I do not wish to" : NOLO
44. Sauna exhalations : AAHS
45. Solomonic : SAGE
46. Chewed the fat : JAWED
47. Watson's creator : IBM
48. Lowest of the low? : ZERO
49. Prankery : DUPING
50. 1965 Beach Boys hit : DOYOUWANNADANCE
53. Mission : HOMELESSSHELTER
54. Jason Mraz song that spent a record 76 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 : IMYOURS
55. Outcries : CLAMORS
1. Outgoing : AFFABLE
2. Lot arrangement : CARLEASE
3. Draws : TIEGAMES
4. Some refrigerants : FREONS
5. Reinforcement pieces : IBARS
6. Mantel piece : VASE
7. Nissan bumpers? : ENS
8. Annual event since 1929, with "the" : OSCARS
9. Hard to pick up : FAINT
10. Cigarette paper source : FLAX
11. See 19-Across : CAT
12. Author of 1980's "The Annotated Gulliver's Travels" : ASIMOV
13. Macedonia's capital : SKOPJE
14. "El día que me quieras" and others : TANGOS
16. Large monitors : KOMODODRAGONS
22. Abandon one's efforts, informally : PUNT
23. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" backdrop : MOOR
25. It's around a cup : BRIM
26. 1 Infinite ___ (address of Apple's headquarters) : LOOP
28. Dover soul : BRIT
29. Force in red uniforms: Abbr. : RCMP
31. Course data : PARS
32. Palliate : EASE
33. Hit hard, as in an accident : PLOWINTO
34. Tip used for icing : SILENCER
38. They will be missed : DODGERS
39. Lightly hailed? : SAIDHI
40. Major report : KABOOM
41. "Yowza!" : OHMYMY
42. Hound : HARASS
43. Dresden decimator of 1945 : NAPALM
45. Something beyond the grate divide? : SEWER
46. Herod's realm : JUDEA
48. 1879's Anglo-___ War : ZULU
49. "Fantastic Mr. Fox" author : DAHL
51. War on Poverty agcy. : OEO
52. Advisory grp. that includes the drug czar : NSC

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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