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New York Times, Monday, October 7, 2019

Author:
Keiran King
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
24/11/201810/7/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0101000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67000
Keiran King

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 44 Missing: {BJ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. King. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Keiran King notes:
Placing theme entries is always tricky. But when they're pinned to specific numbers, it's a major pain in the asterisk. Add or remove ... read more

Placing theme entries is always tricky. But when they're pinned to specific numbers, it's a major pain in the asterisk. Add or remove a black square anywhere and watch half the grid fall into misnumbered mayhem. Fix one corner only to break another. It took forever to set all seven themers. As a result, my first submission didn't have a revealer—it seemed impossible to fit in.

Of course, Will Shortz and Joel Fagliano then (quite rightly) requested one. Five months and seventeen layouts later — Q.E.D. The Monday slot feels like getting an A+ for keeping the puzzle relatively open and free of crosswordese.

Lastly, a shoutout to my own roots, as the product of an econ professor and a math teacher who've been solving problems together for 35 years.

Jeff Chen notes:
One of the great joys in my life is taking on a Herculean construction task and seeing it through to a finished product. The ... read more

One of the great joys in my life is taking on a Herculean construction task and seeing it through to a finished product. The exhilaration of finally cracking a seemingly impossible challenge is 75% of why I keep on constructing.

(The other 25% is stupidity.)

Requiring certain theme entries to be at fixed numbers is right up there with the toughest of trials. It's easy to get the first two or three into place, but trying to massage everything in is like solving a Rubik's cube — that operates under its own internal laws of physics. Thought you had a way to get all the reds and blues lined up? Bwa ha ha, I now operate in n-dimensional space, you sad little 3-dimensional being!

A great construction challenge doesn't necessarily lead to a great solving experience, though. Once I saw the gimmick and put in ONE, I quickly wrote in TWO through SEVEN at the appropriate spots, and the puzzle was effectively over.

Now, thanks to Keiran's careful craftsmanship, I did get a lot of pleasure from such long extras as FOREST FLOOR, SOLILOQUY, VIOLINIST, THOREAU. Talk about FINESSE — classing up the joint!

And better yet, the grid is so Monday-friendly. No major offenders, only minors such as ARR, FTS, SGT, TUE – stuff that's called out on editors' spec sheets as undesirable, but all easy entries for newer solvers to figure out.

There is something to be said about lobbing up a softball once in a while. I bet a lot of newer solvers will feel great about finally being able to finish a NYT crossword.

Although the solver in me shrugged and didn't get a lot out of the puzzle, the constructor in me was awed by the audacity of the task. I'm not sure I would have taken it on, seeming like the constructor's equivalent of building a perpetual motion machine.

Jim Horne notes:

Notice that seven of the Down clues have radical (square root) signs before their clue numbers. Good Monday gimmick.

1
O
2
P
3
T
4
T
5
V
6
S
7
S
8
G
9
T
10
P
11
R
12
A
N
C
E
13
O
W
I
E
14
H
U
H
15
F
O
R
E
S
T
16
F
L
O
O
R
17
A
R
R
18
F
T
S
19
R
O
D
20
L
E
21
A
G
U
E
22
T
H
O
23
R
24
E
A
U
25
F
I
N
E
S
S
E
26
N
O
W
27
R
28
E
I
N
E
R
29
C
30
H
I
M
E
31
S
32
A
V
I
33
O
34
D
35
E
36
S
37
P
I
S
A
38
O
39
O
Z
E
S
40
S
I
R
I
41
A
T
T
N
42
L
A
Y
43
T
44
H
O
R
A
X
45
T
46
R
I
K
E
47
S
48
A
L
E
49
S
50
E
51
R
I
A
L
S
52
L
53
E
N
S
C
54
A
55
P
56
E
X
A
C
T
O
57
O
U
R
58
T
U
E
59
V
I
N
60
S
Q
61
U
A
R
E
62
R
63
O
O
T
S
64
E
S
C
65
O
U
S
T
66
C
A
R
R
O
T
67
N
T
H
68
N
Y
C
69
T
E
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1007 ( 25,535 )
Across
1
Choose : OPT
4
Prominent items in sports bars : TVS
7
"___ Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" : SGT
10
Spring jauntily : PRANCE
13
Painful injury, in totspeak : OWIE
14
"Say again?" : HUH
15
Place for ferns and pine needles : FORESTFLOOR
17
Opposite of departure: Abbr. : ARR
18
Basketball one-pointers: Abbr. : FTS
19
Bathroom towel support : ROD
20
The "L" of N.F.L. : LEAGUE
22
Philosopher who wrote "Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty" : THOREAU
25
Skillful handling of a situation : FINESSE
26
This very instant : NOW
27
Filmmaker Rob : REINER
29
Church bell sounds : CHIMES
32
Bird: Prefix : AVI
33
Poetic tributes : ODES
37
Leaning Tower city : PISA
38
Trickles slowly : OOZES
40
iPhone voice : SIRI
41
Abbr. at the top of an office memo : ATTN
42
Unordained : LAY
43
Middle part of an insect's body : THORAX
45
Transports for tots : TRIKES
48
Ginger ___ : ALE
49
Stories in installments : SERIALS
52
Often-lost camera part : LENSCAP
56
"Right," slangily : EXACTO
57
Start of the Lord's Prayer : OUR
58
Election Day in the U.S.: Abbr. : TUE
59
Sauvignon blanc, e.g. : VIN
60
Some Down answers in this puzzle : SQUAREROOTS
64
Corner key on a keyboard : ESC
65
Remove from power : OUST
66
Snack for Bugs Bunny : CARROT
67
To the ___ degree : NTH
68
Home of the Empire State Bldg. : NYC
69
Golf peg : TEE
Down
1
{See Notepad} : ONE
2
Products pioneered by IBM : PCS
3
Prefix with -hedron : TETRA
4
{See Notepad} : TWO
5
Orchestra's concertmaster, usually : VIOLINIST
6
Peaceful : SERENE
7
Makes love to, à la Austin Powers : SHAGS
8
Experts : GURUS
9
{See Notepad} : THREE
10
Sound of failure : PFFT
11
___ I.R.A. : ROTH
12
Flame thrower? : ARSONIST
13
Outdated : OLD
16
{See Notepad} : FOUR
21
Most deodorants, once : AEROSOLS
23
With 35-Down, literary period known for flowery poetry : ROMANTIC
24
Ram's mate : EWE
25
{See Notepad} : FIVE
28
"Straight Outta Compton" rapper, 1988 : EAZYE
29
Many an I.R.S. employee : CPA
30
Chart-topper : HIT
31
"To be or not to be ...," e.g. : SOLILOQUY
34
Person who calls "Action!" : DIRECTOR
35
See 23-Down : ERA
36
{See Notepad} : SIX
39
Acorn producers : OAKS
44
Solo in the "Star Wars" saga : HAN
46
Betrays, as to the cops : RATSON
47
Talk trashed? : SLUR
49
{See Notepad} : SEVEN
50
Be : EXIST
51
Style of house or dressing : RANCH
53
Put up, as a house : ERECT
54
Hertz rental : AUTO
55
Little brother, stereotypically : PEST
57
Bit of horse feed : OAT
61
The Trojans of the Pac-12 Conf. : USC
62
Issa of HBO's "Insecure" : RAE
63
Valuable rock : ORE

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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