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New York Times, Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
976/16/201110/30/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
76691132242
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645173
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 42 Missing: {JQVWXY} This is puzzle # 97 for Mr. Steinberg. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
Getting these critters that use camouflage to split across symmetrical rows was quite a challenge, and I tried many arrangements before ... read more

Getting these critters that use camouflage to split across symmetrical rows was quite a challenge, and I tried many arrangements before settling on the one you see. My three goals were splitting the critters in surprising ways (BECHAMEL/E! ONLINE is my favorite example), making sure none of the resulting answers felt like trade-offs (e.g., splitting LEAF INSECT at SECT to make SECTION rather than at ECT to make the prefix ECTO), and having at least two letters from a critter in each theme answer.

For the nonthematic fill, I made smoothness my top priority, since it's so easy for a theme-heavy puzzle like this one to get bogged down by subpar short answers. I went up to the maximum allowable word count for a 16x15, used extra black squares liberally, and fiddled around with the ordering of the theme answers until I'd squelched as many short stinkers as I could. I hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
I've always wanted to do a CAMOUFLAGE crossword, but I've never figured out an interesting way to execute it. This is it! At first glance, ... read more

I've always wanted to do a CAMOUFLAGE crossword, but I've never figured out an interesting way to execute it. This is it! At first glance, I thought I missed everything. Indeed, I did — just a s with real CAMOUFLAGEd creatures! It was so much fun to scan through the grid a few times before finally locating CHAMELEON, OCTOPUS, LEAF INSECT, and LEOPARD.

The middle two were especially eye-popping, David managing to hide those in such a clever way. I'd never have thought of trying for LEAF INSECT – it seems impossible to insert those into a grid stealthily. LEA / FIN / SECT, I love it!

I did wonder if it was odd to break up those four creatures with black squares, but the overall effect overshadowed that qualm in a major way. It's an incredibly neat effect, one part "Where's Waldo" and another part "Magic Eye."

AND a ton of bonuses worked in throughout? When you have to build around short fragments, that's usually near impossible. GOES STAG, LACOSTE, TIE CLIP, DOORMAT – that all speaks to the PRO SHOP David runs. Such careful, polished gridwork.

AND a hat tip to DADS changing diapers? With a young son going through potty training, this dad (doing a lot of dirty work) appreciated it.

This notion makes all my dozens of CAMOUFLAGE ideas run to shamefully hide in the woodwork.

1
D
2
A
3
L
4
I
5
R
6
O
7
B
8
C
9
Z
10
E
11
C
12
H
13
S
14
A
N
A
P
15
H
O
R
A
16
P
R
O
S
H
O
P
17
B
E
C
H
A
M
E
L
18
E
O
N
L
I
N
E
19
M
O
O
R
E
20
I
21
S
S
U
E
22
P
E
A
23
P
O
S
T
D
O
24
C
25
T
O
P
26
U
S
S
R
27
I
N
T
O
28
O
29
P
U
S
30
G
R
I
T
31
T
E
E
32
D
33
E
C
A
F
34
S
I
G
N
35
C
A
M
O
U
F
36
L
A
G
E
37
T
O
D
O
38
L
E
A
P
S
39
A
40
D
41
D
42
A
I
D
S
43
L
I
D
S
44
A
L
O
E
45
P
L
E
A
46
F
I
N
47
S
48
E
49
C
T
I
O
N
50
A
K
C
51
C
R
E
E
52
L
53
G
A
M
E
R
54
G
A
L
55
I
L
E
O
56
P
57
A
R
D
O
N
M
58
E
59
E
L
I
S
I
O
N
60
G
O
E
S
S
T
A
G
61
S
I
P
H
O
N
62
A
L
T
63
T
O
T
O
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1030 ( 25,558 )
Across
1
Painter of melting pocket watches : DALI
5
Stick up : ROB
8
Neighbors of Poles : CZECHS
14
Repetition of words at the starts of successive phrases, in rhetoric : ANAPHORA
16
Place to find a driver : PROSHOP
17
French white sauce : BECHAMEL
18
Celebrity gossip site : EONLINE
19
Michael who directed "Fahrenheit 9/11" : MOORE
20
Something to debate : ISSUE
22
One may have a black eye : PEA
23
Aspiring prof, maybe : POSTDOC
25
Bunk bed option : TOP
26
The Beatles' "Back in the ___" : USSR
27
Passionate about : INTO
28
Numbered composition : OPUS
30
Stick-to-it-iveness : GRIT
31
Shorts go-with : TEE
32
Late-night Starbucks choice : DECAF
34
Omen : SIGN
35
"Trick" used by the creatures found in rows 3, 5, 11 and 13 : CAMOUFLAGE
37
Checklist heading : TODO
38
Ballet moves : LEAPS
39
Tack (on) : ADD
42
Helps : AIDS
43
Targets for some eye makeup : LIDS
44
Spiky yet soothing plant : ALOE
45
Fund-raising letter, e.g. : PLEA
46
Bit of scuba equipment : FIN
47
Stadium ticket info : SECTION
50
Org. that recognizes nearly 200 breeds : AKC
51
Fishing basket : CREEL
53
Fortnite devotee, e.g. : GAMER
54
Astronomer who first observed Saturn's rings : GALILEO
56
"Sorry!" : PARDONME
59
Feature of "G'day" or "Yes'm" : ELISION
60
Attends without a date, say : GOESSTAG
61
Gas thief's device : SIPHON
62
Key near Ctrl : ALT
63
Dog on the yellow brick road : TOTO
Down
1
Modern dance move : DAB
2
Sea ___ (tide pool dweller) : ANEMONE
3
Polo shirt brand : LACOSTE
4
Longtime Apple program whose icon featured a camera : IPHOTO
5
Amorous guy : ROMEO
6
Mine cart filler : ORE
7
Island with volcanoes and rice paddies : BALI
8
Infant's ailment : CROUP
9
The "Z" of ZIP code : ZONE
10
Fluency-building subj. : ESL
11
Contributes a little : CHIPSIN
12
"No lie!" : HONEST
13
Caveman's weapon : SPEAR
15
Tough : HARD
16
Colombian coins : PESOS
21
Like some peppers and ballot boxes : STUFFED
23
Ball ___ (play area) : PIT
24
2017 Disney/Pixar film set in the Land of the Dead : COCO
26
Strong desire : URGE
29
Film critic Kael : PAULINE
30
Parties, e.g., for D.J.s : GIGS
32
Some diaper changers : DADS
33
Genre for Fall Out Boy : EMO
34
It sticks to a trunk : SAP
35
Musical finale : CODA
36
Girl in a bonnet, maybe : LASS
37
Haberdasher's accessory : TIECLIP
39
Not recognizable by : ALIENTO
40
One might say "Welcome" : DOORMAT
41
Place to hibernate : DEN
42
High-pH compound : ALKALI
43
Use, as a mattress : LIEON
44
No more than : ATMOST
45
Leaves at the library? : PAGES
46
Air-conditioning coolant : FREON
48
Bird known for its plumes : EGRET
49
Scoundrels : CADS
51
Muse of history : CLIO
52
Michelle Wie's org. : LPGA
55
"Kinda sorta" : ISH
57
Part of Verizon Media : AOL
58
___-surf (Google yourself) : EGO

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

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