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New York Times, Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Author: David J. Kahn
Editor: Will Shortz
David J. Kahn
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1743/15/199410/11/20175
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4351122551226
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1.5513180

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJQXZ} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 170 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David J. Kahn notes: I'm a big baseball fan and have written two baseball-themed books of puzzles. So when the Cubs made the World Series for the ... more
David J. Kahn notes:

I'm a big baseball fan and have written two baseball-themed books of puzzles. So when the Cubs made the World Series for the first time since 1945, I wrote this puzzle on 68-Across (and, yes, on a 8-Down, too). But when the Indians tied Game 7 in the eighth inning, I thought my puzzle was toast, at least for another year. But the crossword gods were with me and Will/Joel edited the puzzle the very next day!

In constructing the puzzle, I liked the answers WORLD SERIES RING and IVYCOVERED WALLS and went from there. I also had a fun quote by ERNIE BANKS in the clue for him, which never made it to print ("It's a beautiful day for a ball game. Let's play two!")

Jeff Chen notes: I have to admit, I'm not much of a baseball fan — but I do love me some baseball lore. How could you not enjoy something called ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I have to admit, I'm not much of a baseball fan — but I do love me some baseball lore. How could you not enjoy something called the "Curse of the Billy Goat"? Such sadness that this beautiful phrase is too long for a weekday crossword, at 19 letters. Damn you, crossword gods!

David interlocks several long answers about the Cubs in his tribute puzzle. I really like WORLD SERIES RING and IVY COVERED WALLS — I'd happily use them in a themeless or as bonus fill in another puzzle. NATIONAL LEAGUER … it's fine, but more neutral to me. It also has a faint sniff of NLER and ALER, which we see in crosswords fairly often. (They are legitimately used in media, but they seem so inelegant to me.)

I'm sure Cubs fans will appreciate ERNIE BANKS and Harry CARAY. I didn't know much about either, but CARAY was apparently a real personality! I'm going to get glasses like his. (Don't tell my wife.)

Sometimes it's neat to get so many interlocking answers in an early-week, for the sheer novelty. The problem with such interlock, though, is that it creates inflexibility and thus filling difficulty around every crossing. David does better than I would have thought around most regions, the northwest particularly good. Okay, STUBBLES and PITAS are both slightly wonky as plurals, but everything else around that NATIONAL LEAGUER / ERNIE BANKS intersection is smooth.

It surprised me that the one area I really had trouble with is the middle — not around an intersection of themers! Ah … or is it? As fun as Harry CARAY might be to some, GAOL / a long RRN (random Roman numeral) in CCLIV / ELAL are pretty rough for one little section. (I think EL AL is generally okay, but it is one of those entries I only know through crosswords.) That center is an area ripe for solvers crying foul.

Along with a ton of baseball-oriented stuff like MOP UP (closing out a rout) and STL (as the Cubs' rivals), it was more crossword glue than this baseball non-fan wanted. But I can see how Cubs fans might love how packed it was.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1115 ( 24,479 )
Across Down
1. "My Kind of ___ (Chicago Is)" : TOWN
5. Went 90, say : SPED
9. The former Mrs. McCartney : LINDA
14. What you may think of : IDEA
15. Concern for beachcombers : TIDE
16. Tinker to ___ to Chance (Cubs double play combo) : EVERS
17. Curse of the Billy ___, Cubs "jinx" that ended in 2016 : GOAT
18. Western tribe : UTES
19. Things proofreaders look for : TYPOS
20. Hall-of-Famer known as Mr. Cub : ERNIEBANKS
23. Racer Yarborough : CALE
24. Balls : ORBS
25. Blog annoyances : TROLLS
27. Backbone-related : SPINAL
30. The year 254 : CCLIV
32. Opposite of baja : ALTA
33. Its inaugural flight was from Geneva to Tel Aviv : ELAL
35. Kind of blitz : MEDIA
39. 2016 award for each Cub : WORLDSERIESRING
42. Shag or bob : STYLE
43. English lockup : GAOL
44. Barely beat : EDGE
45. Judy Jetson's kid brother : ELROY
47. Moves like a whirlpool : EDDIES
49. Entertain grandly : REGALE
52. Trash-toting transport : SCOW
53. Sleep like ___ : ALOG
54. Wrigley Field events since only 1988 : NIGHTGAMES
60. Finish pitching in a lopsided game : MOPUP
62. Uncouth one : BOOR
63. Newswoman Logan : LARA
64. Capital in a Cole Porter song : PAREE
65. Certain tax-free investment, for short : MUNI
66. Home to French silk makers : LYON
67. Bar drink taken in one gulp : SNORT
68. What many writers write on : SPEC
69. Cubs slugger with 609 home runs : SOSA
1. Buster Brown's canine sidekick : TIGE
2. Something whiffed : ODOR
3. Withdraw gradually : WEAN
4. Cub, e.g. : NATIONALLEAGUER
5. Targets of close shaves? : STUBBLES
6. Some wrap holders : PITAS
7. First place : EDEN
8. What many writers write on : DESK
9. Allow to : LET
10. Unique feature of Wrigley Field : IVYCOVEREDWALLS
11. Country whose capital is more than 4,500 feet above sea level : NEPAL
12. Like some humor : DROLL
13. Burros : ASSES
21. Stat for Jon Lester : ERA
22. Cubs' divisional rivals: Abbr. : STL
26. Hoopsters' hoops : RIMS
27. Familiar sayings : SAWS
28. Secret plan : PLOT
29. Modest reply to a compliment : ITRY
30. Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Harry who regularly led the Wrigley Field crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" : CARAY
31. Oscar : films :: ___ : ads : CLIO
34. Toy block brand : LEGO
36. "What ___ tell you?" : DIDI
37. "Picnic" playwright : INGE
38. Matures : AGES
40. PC brand : DELL
41. Thrilling : ELECTRIC
46. Kylo ___, Adam Driver's role in "Star Wars" : REN
48. Ballpark frank : DOG
49. Stadium walkways : RAMPS
50. Internet finance firm : ELOAN
51. Decide to play for pay : GOPRO
52. Glimmered : SHONE
55. Some early PCs : IBMS
56. Ascend : GOUP
57. Chicken salad ingredient : MAYO
58. Boy with a bow and arrow : EROS
59. Mideast capital supposedly founded by a son of Noah : SANA
61. Favorite : PET

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

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