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New York Times, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Author:
Evan Mahnken
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
210/4/20174/24/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0002000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55000
Evan Mahnken

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQVZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Mahnken. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Evan Mahnken notes:
It was a big goal of mine to get a puzzle accepted into the Times before I turned 21, and I just barely got there. And boy, it was not ... read more

It was a big goal of mine to get a puzzle accepted into the Times before I turned 21, and I just barely got there. And boy, it was not easy. With six theme clues in the puzzle, it was tough to get them all to fit nicely, and it meant completely changing the grid and reworking the fill many times during the revision process. I learned a lot from it though, and I hope my next submissions won't require quite so much tinkering. I'm very happy with the final result.

As for the theme, I'd had the idea floating around for awhile but didn't think it'd amount to a full crossword's worth of clues. The first one I came up with was BY ITSELF, and I at the time I couldn't think of any more. But I revisited the idea, brainstormed a bunch, and managed to get six in total. My favorite is definitely BENEATH ME. I hope you enjoy this crossword as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Happy solving!

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun debut! At first, I thought it was a simpler concept I'd seen before — listing the very next word in the dictionary AFTER ... read more

Fun debut! At first, I thought it was a simpler concept I'd seen before — listing the very next word in the dictionary AFTER HOURS as the clue (perhaps "house arrest"?) — but Evan's idea is so much better. Not only does "house party" come shortly AFTER HOURS, alphabetically … it's also described by AFTER HOURS! "Flanked" comes UNDER(neath) FIRE in the dictionary … but it's also described by UNDER FIRE! Loved it.

I appreciated how solid all the themers were. BENEATH ME was the only somewhat iffy one (sorry, Evan!), feeling like a partial without "That's" or "It's" preceding it. Five out of six is excellent. (AROUND NOON is a tad arbitrary, but I've heard it plenty to describe lunch plans.)

Tough task to debut with six themers. Evan did a good job with his layout, placing AFTER HOURS above NEAR MINT, and keeping UNDER FIRE well away in another corner. It's a variant on the "windmill" pattern many constructors use with just four themers, and it usually makes for good spacing.

I was worried about execution when I quickly ran into OER, RAH, SDS, all at the top. And there was quite a bit of crossword glue scattered about — DER, EDY, GAI, IRR, MES, ORI — but at least there wasn't another section quite so dense with it as the north.

And Evan did give us some strong bonuses in BROWNIE MIX, SONIC YOUTH, LEONARDO, DARE I SAY. I'd personally have preferred a smoother grid with fewer snappy bonuses, especially because the theme already tickled me. But I think this trade-off is a reasonable one.

Overall, a great idea, taking a concept I'd already seen to another level. The theme, plus all the great bonuses, plus the fact that it was a debut, were enough for me to overlook the glut of crossword glue. POW!

1
A
2
R
3
I
4
O
5
R
6
B
7
I
8
T
9
S
10
U
11
L
12
N
13
A
14
M
E
N
15
E
A
R
N
E
D
16
N
E
E
D
17
A
F
T
18
E
R
H
O
U
R
S
19
D
O
W
D
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R
U
H
R
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W
I
N
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Y
E
N
S
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N
E
A
R
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M
25
I
N
T
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G
E
R
A
R
27
D
28
A
L
T
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O
R
I
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S
E
T
F
R
E
E
31
B
O
R
E
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D
O
M
33
I
D
E
A
34
B
35
I
36
D
E
37
M
O
N
38
R
O
L
L
39
E
G
A
N
40
L
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E
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D
42
L
E
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G
O
R
E
44
T
E
X
45
C
U
E
46
G
47
A
48
I
49
S
T
E
A
D
Y
50
B
Y
I
T
51
S
E
L
F
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N
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T
S
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P
L
O
54
U
N
T
O
55
M
E
S
H
56
A
R
O
U
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N
58
D
N
O
O
N
59
E
X
A
M
60
G
O
A
T
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61
M
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L
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S
T
Y
E
63
E
S
T
H
E
R
64
E
D
Y
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1004 ( 24,802 )

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Across
1
"Exodus" hero : ARI
4
John Glenn famously had three of them : ORBITS
10
It's found by the radius : ULNA
14
Bathroom sign : MEN
15
Brought home : EARNED
16
Poverty : NEED
17
Where "house party" is in the dictionary? : AFTERHOURS
19
Op-Ed writer Maureen : DOWD
20
German industrial region : RUHR
21
Bring home the gold : WIN
22
Itches : YENS
23
Where "new" is in the dictionary? : NEARMINT
26
Actor Depardieu : GERARD
28
___-rock : ALT
29
Dwarf brother in "The Hobbit" : ORI
30
Manumit : SETFREE
31
Along with pain, one of "the two enemies of human happiness," per Schopenhauer : BOREDOM
33
What a cartoon light bulb represents : IDEA
34
Something to do with one's time : BIDE
37
The day of M.L.K. Day: Abbr. : MON
38
Bundle of coins : ROLL
39
Edward ___, longtime archbishop of New York : EGAN
40
Sit : LIEIDLE
43
Water-repellent material : GORETEX
45
Help for an actor : CUE
46
Moo goo ___ pan : GAI
49
Like a good surgeon's hands : STEADY
50
Where "isolated" is in the dictionary? : BYITSELF
52
Things faultfinders pick : NITS
53
Arafat's grp. : PLO
54
"Render ___ Caesar ..." : UNTO
55
Chicken wire, e.g. : MESH
56
Where "midday" and "one" are in the dictionary? : AROUNDNOON
59
Procedure at a doctor's office : EXAM
60
Malcolm X facial feature : GOATEE
61
A small amount in science or a large amount in business : MIL
62
Eye sore : STYE
63
Book before Job : ESTHER
64
Big name in ice cream : EDY
Down
1
Cuneiform discovery site : AMARNA
2
Put more gas in the tank : REFUEL
3
Because : INTHAT
4
Anthem contraction : OER
5
When doubled, enthusiastic : RAH
6
Betty Crocker product : BROWNIEMIX
7
Certain Alaskan : INUIT
8
Bird found on all continents, including Antarctica : TERN
9
Activist campus org. : SDS
10
Where "flanked" is in the dictionary? : UNDERFIRE
11
One of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : LEONARDO
12
Old-time premovie fare : NEWSREEL
13
Recipe instruction : ADD
18
Blunder : ERR
22
Nevertheless : YET
24
Herd noise : MOO
25
Like some sale items: Abbr. : IRR
26
Glam rock? : GEM
27
One may be made with a handshake : DEAL
30
Band featured in the documentary "1991: The Year Punk Broke" : SONICYOUTH
31
Where "menial" is in the dictionary? : BENEATHME
32
John or Jane, at court : DOE
34
Pleads : BEGS
35
"After this, it's my turn" : IGOTNEXT
36
Lead-in to a controversial comment : DAREISAY
40
Science writer Willy : LEY
41
You could get one if you're over .08% : DUI
42
Rent out : LET
44
Scores for Seahawks and Eagles, for short : TDS
46
It wasn't mapped until 2003 : GENOME
47
Alternative to a Tic Tac : ALTOID
48
"I wish!" : IFONLY
50
Swell : BLOAT
51
What Helios personified : SUN
53
Arguments for : PROS
55
Parisian possessive : MES
56
Word after golden or old : AGE
57
Once called : NEE
58
German article : DER

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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