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New York Times, Friday, November 23, 2018

Author:
Temple Brown
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
111/23/20180
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0000010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.73000
Temple Brown

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 28 Missing: {X} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Brown. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Temple Brown notes:
When I was a kid, I remember seeing my grandmother solve entire books of crossword puzzles in ink. Nowadays, I have a friend who is ... read more

When I was a kid, I remember seeing my grandmother solve entire books of crossword puzzles in ink. Nowadays, I have a friend who is always flying across the country to crossword competitions. Somehow, these two people in my life sparked an interest not so much in solving puzzles, but in constructing them.

In the wee hours of a West Hollywood, Calif. winter night (yes, there is a winter season in these parts), I downloaded CrossFire and started tinkering. Before long, I had built three puzzles and, aiming for the stars, sent them to Will.

He burst my bubble promptly — "bland" was a descriptor — but regardless, I felt this one had promise. I revisited, revised, resubmitted, and this time, received a more encouraging response.

Compound answers like BBC AMERICA, SALARY HIKE, POCKET COMB, and TIME TRAVEL sang to me. SQUILLIONS was a lot of fun, too, all the more so because it is a debut (along with BLOWS APART). I had to put in a lot of work to get the crosses up on their feet.

As I prepare these notes, I see that my grid is identical to one by David Steinberg, and I am pretty sure this happened because I had seen his name as a prolific constructor, and thought, well, heck, I can tackle four long triple stacks, too. My puzzle is now running the day before a new one of his tomorrow, so thanks for the inspiration, David. You have a new neighbor!

By the way, I'm really excited because this is not just my first puzzle to appear in The Times, it's my first anywhere. Talk about a feather in my cap! I hope everyone enjoys it.

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! I'm impressed to see a new constructor using mid-length slots so wisely. It's often tough to wring juice out of them, as so ... read more

Debut! I'm impressed to see a new constructor using mid-length slots so wisely. It's often tough to wring juice out of them, as so many entries in the 6-7 length are ordinary, overlookable words. Not so with VIP PASS / MILK BAR (a high-end place that's too fancy for the likes of me) / PT BOAT. Not SUBPAR at all!

Heck, even APBIO and CBSTV / CSPAN elevated the joint. Well done.

I was doubly impressed to see how little crossword glue Temple used. Such a smooth solving experience; virtually nothing that gave me a hitch as I went along. I've heard complaints from solvers about the Thai BAHT and other currencies, but as a finance junkie, they seem like terms that ought to at least be in an educated solver's cloud of knowledge. (Floating in the periphery, at least.)

Seriously, the Thai BAHT played a central role in the worldwide financial crisis of … okay, you've stopped listening. I don't blame you.

With a traditional 72-word layout – four sets of triple-stacked 10s in the corners – it's critical to make every precious long slot count since there are so few of them. I'm a huge sci-fi fan, so TIME TRAVEL was a standout for me. And that clue! [Not live in the present?] is a brilliant repurposing of "live in the present."

I use the terms billions, jillions, kajillions, bazillions. Not SQUILLIONS, though. A little research leads me to believe it's one of those words I'm not cool enough to be permitted entrance to (see: MILK BAR). And when I start using it, everyone else will stop.

Humph.

It's tough for a debut to push into POW! territory for me, but this one made a good run. Having never seen ANIMANIACS, feeling like BLOWS APART was more neutral than an asset, and being undecided on ABOMINATES ("abomination" seems great to me, "abominates" less so), it didn't quite get there.

But quite a strong debut; smart decision to go for a low level of difficulty and execute on it well.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1123 ( 25,217 )
Across
1. Airer of "Orphan Black" and "Almost Royal" : BBCAMERICA
11. Foreign dishes? : UFOS
15. Dislikes intensely : ABOMINATES
16. Stop : HALT
17. Ginormous quantities : SQUILLIONS
18. ___ Reville, Alfred Hitchcock's wife and collaborator : ALMA
19. Jocular response to "How did you know?!" : ESP
20. Baby rabbit : KIT
21. Presented in rows and columns : TABULAR
23. Home of Colbert and Corden : CBSTV
25. Cobbler's job : SOLING
26. Craft for J.F.K. in W.W. II : PTBOAT
29. Li'l : ITSY
31. Org. behind the magazine America's 1st Freedom : NRA
32. Fuel holder : OILER
33. Science class for ambitious H.S. students : APBIO
34. Lead role on TV's "30 Rock" : LIZ
35. "Get your act together!" : CMON
36. It covers the floor : CSPAN
37. One to swear by? : JOVE
38. ___ Gardens : KEW
39. Patch growth : BRIAR
40. Tennis's only two-time Grand Slam winner : LAVER
41. Sightings in 11-Across : ETS
42. Some flashlight needs : AAAS
43. Things drawn during the Napoleonic Era : SABERS
44. Classless : TRASHY
46. Urges : SPURS
48. Site on the National Mall : CAPITOL
50. 1970 title lyric after "Simple as do re mi" : ABC
51. State without words? : AWE
54. Like some tracks : OVAL
55. Number 2, for one : LEADPENCIL
58. Old World blackbird : MERL
59. Warner Bros. cartoon series presented by Steven Spielberg : ANIMANIACS
60. Short orders to a short-order cook? : BLTS
61. Raise : SALARYHIKE
Down
1. Core political support : BASE
2. Some cookouts, informally : BBQS
3. Major success : COUP
4. Lead-in to right or wrong : AMI
5. Relative of a malt shop : MILKBAR
6. Win the help of : ENLIST
7. Bonnie with five 1990s Top 40 hits : RAITT
8. Four-time Japanese premier : ITO
9. Word before sign or after red : CENT
10. One making a killing : ASSASSIN
11. Many a trailer : UHAUL
12. Get hit by one of Cupid's arrows : FALLINLOVE
13. Musical standard from "Show Boat" : OLMANRIVER
14. Daydreamers : STARGAZERS
22. Laddie : BOYO
23. Family name of Hollywood brothers : COEN
24. One might say "All access" : VIPPASS
26. Important item for a '50s greaser : POCKETCOMB
27. Not live in the present? : TIMETRAVEL
28. Explodes : BLOWSAPART
30. Way up a ski mountain : TBAR
33. Where the Olympics were held for the first time in 1964 : ASIA
36. Box of 64, maybe : CRAYOLAS
37. Quick strikes : JABS
39. Thai currency : BAHT
40. Something "grand" that's not really so grand : LARCENY
43. Poor : SUBPAR
45. Places for small herb gardens : SILLS
47. Lakshmi of "Top Chef" : PADMA
49. Largest river to the Laptev Sea : LENA
51. ___ bowl (dish for the health-conscious) : ACAI
52. Absorb, as body moisture : WICK
53. If-then-___ (computer coding statement) : ELSE
56. Feel ill : AIL
57. Medical research org. : NIH

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

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