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New York Times, Saturday, October 4, 2014

Author: Julian Lim
Editor: Will Shortz
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221/6/201010/8/20160
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1.63101
Julian Lim

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Lim. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Julian Lim notes: My big worry as I dropped this one into the mailbox was whether DURIANS were well-known enough to appear in a NYT crossword — ... more
Julian Lim notes: My big worry as I dropped this one into the mailbox was whether DURIANS were well-known enough to appear in a NYT crossword — I don't recall ever seeing one in my time in the States. I'm glad they passed muster with Will! Curious to see in comments if anyone has had the pleasure of eating one.

The other thing I noted about the final version of this puzzle is that most of my "?" clues survived the edit. I'm fond of writing them, but I think they often come out a bit too crazy for editors' tastes. It's nice that [Mixer for losers?] made the cut — the image amused me when I thought it up (or perhaps I'm just very easily amused).

Jeff Chen notes: Five things I think I think: 1.) Beautiful NW/SE corners. It's so hard to stack four long entries atop each other and keep them ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Five things I think I think:

1.) Beautiful NW/SE corners. It's so hard to stack four long entries atop each other and keep them both lively and clean. BROMANCE / EASY POUR / NTH POWER / TEAR GAS with MY PRECIOUS is beautiful work, with just the tiny EER as a blemish. Just about the prettiest corner I've seen in a long time. How is it possible to pack so much great stuff into such a small area?

2.) Julian does deploy a lot of his black squares in order to segment those corners. Perfectly fine, but it does make filling the rest of the grid a bit harder. That central section is a biggie — awfully tough to fill an open area featuring a lot of 7's and 6's. He does well there, using a bit of neutral stuff like VARIED and SERIES to cement some nice answers in place.

3.) For those of you who don't know what DURIANS are, they're a divisive power in Asia. Some people (like Julian) go crazy for them, others (like me and the rest of the sane world) say they don't pass the breakfast test. They smell so horrifically bad (sorry Julian!) that some hotels in Malaysia have "NO DURIAN" signs. When Jill and I were there two years ago, a cabbie talked about how sad it was he couldn't eat his beloved DURIANS in his car because he would lose all his customers for the day. Go figure.

4.) Just EER / RTE / AGNI / A GOB felt like a fairly low price to pay for the sheer quantity of great entries — I count roughly 15 entries toward Julian's assets; a huge number. If it hadn't been for that pesky DRURY / IDY crossing, this would be POW material for me. Even for a Saturday puzzle where solvers are expected to know more, to be able to figure out crazy wordplay, I find this crossing unfortunate. Even if it might be deemed fair because Drury Lane is well-known enough in the theater community, I think this corner's going to detract from overall solver satisfaction.

5.) A shame that contract bridge isn't as wildly popular as it used to be. One very useful bidding convention is called "reverse DRURY." As I keep on telling anyone too slow to run away, bridge would solve all the world's problems.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1004 ( 23,706 )
Across Down
1. Two-man band? : BROMANCE
9. Blush-inducing : RIBALD
15. Anti-spill, say : EASYPOUR
16. Green machine : ECOCAR
17. Exponential unknown : NTHPOWER
18. "Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy" philosopher : LAOTZU
19. Cause of a stinging breakup? : TEARGAS
20. Less significant : DINKIER
21. Sonnet extender? : EER
22. Enjoyed muchly : DUG
23. Mount ___, Charley Weaver's hometown : IDY
24. See 41-Across : SAUCE
27. Partner of many : VARIED
30. Lambs, to Lucius : AGNI
31. One being strung along? : MARIONETTE
35. Decline dramatically : GOTORACKANDRUIN
37. 180s : ABOUTTURNS
38. Title subject of a search in a 2003 film : NEMO
39. "Twilight," e.g. : SERIES
40. Gets a clue, with "up" : WISES
41. With 24-Across, barbecue finger stainer : RIB
44. "___ really help" : ITD
45. Storm designation : SHE
46. To whom Charles Darwin dedicated "Different Forms of Flowers" : ASAGRAY
49. Bartending tool : STIRRER
53. In-flight : MIDAIR
54. Mixer for losers? : DIETCOKE
55. Pioneer in literary realism : BALZAC
56. "Servant of the Bones" author : ANNERICE
57. "Really?" : OHYEAH
58. Ditch : GETRIDOF
1. Like some straws : BENT
2. Have prestige : RATE
3. Org. that, when spelled backward, is an old-timey exclamation : OSHA
4. What Gollum calls the Ring in "The Lord of the Rings" : MYPRECIOUS
5. Nadir's opposite : APOGEE
6. Dove's dream : NOWAR
7. Aids after blanking out : CUES
8. Slip : ERR
9. Service providers? : RELIGIONS
10. Statement of confidence : ICAN
11. Musical component : BOOK
12. Last part of "Waiting for Godot" : ACTII
13. Was a slug : LAZED
14. ___ Lane, London theater locale : DRURY
20. Southeast Asian fruits with large, thick spines : DURIANS
22. Burgundy or claret : DARKRED
24. "Twilight," e.g. : SAGA
25. Oodles : AGOB
26. "Adventure most ___ itself": Emily Dickinson : UNTO
27. Empty-headedness : VACUITY
28. Word with deep or dead : END
29. Newest fashion : DERNIERCRI
31. Mother superior? : MATRIARCH
32. It's named for a Scand. god of battle : TUES
33. "Pencils down!" : TIME
34. Nonhuman Earth orbiter of 1961 : ENOS
36. Trip planner's option: Abbr. : RTE
40. More like a sheet? : WHITER
41. Fanatically militant sort : RAMBO
42. "Veep" actor ___ Whitlock Jr. : ISIAH
43. Very much : BADLY
45. Widening agent in medicine : STENT
47. Goggle : GAZE
48. Gold-certifying grp. : RIAA
49. 0.5, for 30 degrees : SINE
50. ___ rage (result of juicing) : ROID
51. Sister brand of CorningWare : EKCO
52. Shipping hazard : REEF
54. The U.N.'s ___ Hammarskjöld : DAG

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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