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New York Times, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Author:
Scott Yut
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
110/26/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54000
Scott Yut

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVX} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Yut. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Scott Yut notes:
This being my very first published crossword puzzle, I'm quite pleased about seeing it in print. I started constructing a few years ... read more

This being my very first published crossword puzzle, I'm quite pleased about seeing it in print. I started constructing a few years ago after solving more and more puzzles. Thought I'd try my hand being on the other side. I started from ground zero, even submitting a few puzzles that didn't follow the basic rules of construction. Not a good move, but they were so much easier to build when I could make up the rules as I went along.

The theme for this puzzle came to me in a bit of a flash. I was standing on a curb as a friend was pulling up in a car to pick me up. Fooling around, I stuck my leg out and pretended to hitch up my skirt so as to get a lift as a hitchhiker. Because I had been reading Patrick O'Brian novels about Captain Jack Aubrey and the Royal Navy, "show a leg" popped into my head because it is a phrase that frequently appeared in those books. Back in that time period, gentlemen "showed a leg" when they stuck out a stockinged leg and bowed by way of introduction. I was looking for crossword themes at the time so whenever some odd phrase popped into my head, I bounced it around for crossword angles and fell upon "show some leg" and theme answers that had leg parts in them. When I hit upon RIDGEMONTHIGH, it felt like I might have something good.

The editors seemed to like the idea right from the get go, though not the initial theme execution. I am green at this stuff, so their comments were very welcome and very helpful. After a fair amount of back and forth, I finally got something that seemed to work pretty well. I was instructed to build for a Monday puzzle and was surprised to see it coming out as a Wednesday.

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! I had the hardest time figuring out what was going on, but it was ultimately a fun discovery. SHOW SOME LEG hinted at three leg ... read more

Debut! I had the hardest time figuring out what was going on, but it was ultimately a fun discovery. SHOW SOME LEG hinted at three leg parts hidden in themers: ANKLE, CALF, THIGH. I've highlighted them below so they stand out better.

SHOW SOME LEG … it's spot-on as a revealer, no doubt. It did have an odd vibe, or at least a fusty feel to it, though. For me, it evoked an image of construction workers hooting at passing women to SHOW SOME LEG; not a very appealing visual. I was glad to read Scott's explanation — gentlemen displaying their stockings as part of a historical greeting is a lot of fun. I wish the clue could have had referred to that, but it wouldn't have quite worked since that was "show a leg," not SHOW SOME LEG.

That aside, I did enjoy the themer choices. Fast Times at RIDGEMONT HIGH always brings a smile to my face, and TROPICAL FRUIT is fun too.

I also liked how Scott worked hard to incorporate some good long fill, entries like UMA THURMAN, BEATS ME, FINAGLE, helping to build his STREET CRED as a newbie constructor.

There's a smattering of crossword glue holding the puzzle together, not unexpected out of a debut. I don't mind a little ENERO or ERNE here or there, but they get more noticeable for me when they're crossing. And if you have an ERNE, I'd much rather not call attention to it with a cross-reference (to EAGLE).

Reasonably smooth overall though, Scott wisely using some cheater squares to make his life easier in the middle section, between TROPICAL FRUIT and RIDGEMONT HIGH. ITS SO isn't great as a five-letter partial (the clue tries to hide this — it's not fooling anyone), but what would typically be a tough section to fill comes out well.

I would have loved the puzzle if 1) the leg parts were in visually correct order, i.e. THIGH to CALF to ANKLE, and 2) there was a revealer that didn't make me feel a little uncomfortable. Fun idea, though.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1026 ( 24,459 )

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Across
1
Places for hosp. scrubs : ORS
4
Arab Spring country : LIBYA
9
Overcaffeinated : WIRED
14
Bring home : NET
15
"Too rich for me" : IMOUT
16
Month after diciembre : ENERO
17
Blacktop material : TAR
18
Source of start-up cash, perhaps : BANKLENDING
20
___ Cup : AMERICAS
22
Makes up (for) : ATONES
23
Prefix with science or intellectual : PSEUDO
24
Hot 17-Across, e.g. : GOO
25
Guava or papaya : TROPICALFRUIT
32
Certain pool sites, for short : YMCAS
34
Robin Hood, notably : THIEF
35
Verbal zinger : MOT
36
Countess's man : EARL
37
Basic spreadsheet function : SUM
38
Like much Gene Wilder humor : ZANY
39
Roll call vote : AYE
40
Port of Iraq : BASRA
42
Like cobra/mongoose encounters, to cobras : FATAL
43
"Fast Times" school : RIDGEMONTHIGH
46
Indian bread : NAN
47
Running by itself : ONAUTO
50
Low-altitude clouds : STRATI
53
Certain Indonesian : SUMATRAN
55
Not dress overmodestly ... or what 18-, 25- and 43-Across each do? : SHOWSOMELEG
57
G.I. fare : MRE
58
Figure head? : TOTEM
59
"Meet the Press" feature : PANEL
60
___ rule : ASA
61
Glove material : SUEDE
62
It's a blessing : GRACE
63
Zippo : NIL
Down
1
Ready to pour : ONTAP
2
Enlarges, as a hole : REAMS
3
Good rep : STREETCRED
4
Sexual appetites : LIBIDOS
5
Sgt. Friday catchphrase : IMACOP
6
___ fide : BONA
7
Big laughs : YUKS
8
NATO part: Abbr. : ATL
9
Exploded : WENTOFF
10
Like winter soccer, most likely : INDOOR
11
Rider's handful : REIN
12
Fish-eating raptor : ERNE
13
Feet, slangily : DOGS
19
Sea ___ (12-Down) : EAGLE
21
Like Mayberry : RURAL
26
"For real!" : ITSSO
27
Butter maker : CHURN
28
Shoot for : AIMAT
29
"Kill Bill" co-star : UMATHURMAN
30
Inner Hebrides isle : IONA
31
Texter's "ciao" : TTYL
32
Wine bottle datum : YEAR
33
"Please?" : MAYI
38
Restaurant guide name since 1979 : ZAGAT
40
"No clue" : BEATSME
41
Prenatal test, for short : AMNIO
42
Acquire by deceit : FINAGLE
44
Chewed like a chipmunk : GNAWED
45
Onetime for-girls-only course, for short : HOMEEC
48
Sets of foot bones : TARSI
49
Tatum who won an Oscar at 10 : ONEAL
50
J.F.K. landers until 2003 : SSTS
51
G : THOU
52
Tedious way to learn : ROTE
53
Blacken on a grill : SEAR
54
Neighbor of the funny bone : ULNA
56
High fig. for a hybrid car : MPG

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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