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New York Times, Saturday, November 30, 2013

Author: Byron Walden and Brad Wilber
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
9011/23/20017/15/201813
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1001192607
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59321
Byron Walden
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
512/19/200510/21/201725
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
001201434
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60001
Brad Wilber

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 27 Missing: {FJQ} This is puzzle # 70 for Mr. Walden. This is puzzle # 35 for Mr. Wilber. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Constructor notes: BRAD: Byron has always been a clip-and-save constructor for me, so I jumped at the chance when he sent me a corner and proposed we ... more
Constructor notes:

BRAD: Byron has always been a clip-and-save constructor for me, so I jumped at the chance when he sent me a corner and proposed we try the "hook" of mirroring B____ W____ entries. The scary part: I had never done any significant stacks that were four deep, let alone ones with restrictions. After a day or two I sent Byron a few possibilities without any BW, saying perhaps it was the best I could do. He was gracious about it, but luckily I persevered a little longer and a BW section came together. I'd have to say, though, that my favorite part of the puzzle was the last to go in — Byron's zippy NW. A 10-letter entry with only one vowel – how often has THAT happened?

BYRON: Brad was more than up to my little challenge — not that I had any doubts. I do like four deep stacks when possible just because three-letter entries are nearly always tired. (NAS was first clued as the rapper in 1999!)

One other note about the cluing. I suggested to Brad that we clue each other's corners. It was a nice way to completely share in the creation of the puzzle.

Will Shortz notes: Byron and Brad sure know how to put together a great, tough Saturday crossword. The grid is lovely, and most of the clues are ... more
Will Shortz notes: Byron and Brad sure know how to put together a great, tough Saturday crossword. The grid is lovely, and most of the clues are theirs. My favorites are "Singles collection?" (for DATING POOL), "Where filing work is done" (for NAIL SALONS), and "Nearly set?" (for CLUSTERED). Beautifully nasty!
Jeff Chen notes: Another beauty from two of the themeless masters, Byron and Brad, with a neat mini-theme: BW answers in the corners, perfect for Brad ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Another beauty from two of the themeless masters, Byron and Brad, with a neat mini-theme: BW answers in the corners, perfect for Brad Wilber and Byron Walden. They one-up themselves today, using not just triple-stacked 10's in the NW/SE corners, but quadruple-stacked 9's in the NE/SW. You think triple-stacking long answers is hard, try quad-stacking them (I've tried but haven't come up with anything clean enough to submit). Look how beautiful all the crossings in the NE are, with nary an uggo running through the quad. Wow!

And let's take a look at the cluing. I like nothing better than a tricky wordplay clue, so "Early riser?" for BOY WONDER hits my sweet spot. Initially I cycled through images of the early bird and morning people, and it wasn't until I uncovered WONDER that I realized the clue meant a kid who shines early in life. That's WONDER-ful (unlike that pun).

For those of you still wondering about "Nearly set?" for CLUSTERED, don't worry, as it took me a long time to figure out what was going on. "Nearly" isn't talking about "almost", but "nearby". Nearly set = placed in close proximity. Clever, huh? Almost too clever for me. But I got it! (after eight hours and much hair pulled out)

I wasn't a big fan of UNMATED, which yes, is "a word" (imagine me making ridiculous air quote gestures), but not something I would ever run across. Thankfully it gives me a chance to show off my mad air quote skills. HANSA was also a bit of a head-scratcher, but feels more legit to me; something out of European history. But with such an ambitious grid, I'm just picking nits to give a balanced viewpoint.

Overall, a tough but very enjoyable workout, a beautiful grid with some fantastic clues.

1
S
2
G
3
T
4
S
5
C
6
H
7
U
8
L
9
T
10
Z
11
C
12
R
13
A
14
B
15
U
R
A
N
I
U
M
O
R
E
16
L
I
L
O
17
D
A
T
I
N
G
P
O
O
L
18
U
G
L
Y
19
S
P
I
T
E
20
I
K
I
D
21
S
H
O
W
22
Y
E
N
S
23
O
R
S
24
A
25
C
T
T
W
O
26
P
A
E
A
27
N
28
H
E
M
A
N
29
B
30
I
31
O
32
G
A
S
33
T
A
34
M
A
R
I
N
D
35
U
N
M
A
T
E
36
D
37
S
I
L
E
N
C
E
38
S
T
E
V
E
S
A
39
X
40
R
E
D
D
E
R
41
H
E
L
E
N
42
M
R
43
M
E
T
44
W
R
E
A
T
45
H
46
A
I
D
47
S
48
E
49
T
50
I
51
H
A
T
H
52
A
53
P
T
S
54
P
I
C
O
T
55
A
L
P
O
56
N
A
I
L
57
S
A
L
O
N
S
58
C
I
A
O
59
S
A
N
A
N
T
O
N
I
O
60
K
A
N
T
61
A
R
G
Y
L
E
S
O
C
K
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1130 ( 23,398 )
Across Down
1. 1960s sitcom character with the catchphrase "I see nothing!" : SGTSCHULTZ
11. Kvetch : CRAB
15. Pitchblende, e.g. : URANIUMORE
16. Disney title character surnamed Pelekai : LILO
17. Singles collection? : DATINGPOOL
18. Hostile : UGLY
19. Malignant acts : SPITE
20. "Not serious!" : IKID
21. Lose one's place? : SHOW
22. Itches : YENS
23. Places gowns are worn, for short : ORS
24. Setting for many reprises : ACTTWO
26. Elated outpouring : PAEAN
28. Hercules type : HEMAN
29. Result of some fermentation : BIOGAS
33. Ingredient in Worcestershire sauce : TAMARIND
35. Still in the 17-Across : UNMATED
37. Still : SILENCE
38. Second baseman in both of the Dodgers' 1980s World Series : STEVESAX
40. Like South Carolina vis-à-vis North Carolina, politically : REDDER
41. Storied abductee : HELEN
42. Sports mascot who's a popular bobblehead figure : MRMET
44. Ring : WREATH
46. Comfort's partner : AID
47. "The X-Files" project, for short : SETI
51. Verb in the world's first telegraph message : HATH
52. Watergate units: Abbr. : APTS
54. Embroidery loop : PICOT
55. Brand once pitched by Garfield : ALPO
56. Where filing work is done : NAILSALONS
58. Relative of aloha or shalom : CIAO
59. Home of the WNBA's Silver Stars : SANANTONIO
60. Transcendental aesthetic developer : KANT
61. Accent for plus fours, often : ARGYLESOCK
1. Like many drafts : SUDSY
2. Lollipop selection : GRAPE
3. Tarte ___ (French apple dessert) : TATIN
4. Uncooperative moods : SNITS
5. What César awards honor : CINE
6. Stick close to : HUG
7. One paid to make calls : UMPIRE
8. Considers : LOOKSAT
9. "Star Trek: T.N.G." role : TROI
10. Literary wife in "Midnight in Paris" : ZELDA
11. Nearly set? : CLUSTERED
12. Judicious state : RIGHTMIND
13. Minor payment : ALLOWANCE
14. Early riser? : BOYWONDER
23. Locales that may be well-supplied? : OASES
25. Digs on a slope : CHALET
26. Recognition not sought by Benjamin Franklin : PATENT
27. Rapper with the 2012 album "Life Is Good" : NAS
29. Clear one's way, in a way : BUSHWHACK
30. Latin condenser : INTERALIA
31. Cookware that's often hinged : OMELETPAN
32. Cared : GAVEAHOOT
34. Overcome by mud : MIRED
36. Weir : DAM
39. Blue label : XRATING
43. Lose : MISLAY
45. Medieval merchants' guild : HANSA
47. Grain elevator components : SILOS
48. Discount, in combination : ECONO
49. Vodka ___ : TONIC
50. "There, there" : ITSOK
53. "Up to ___" (1952 game show) : PAAR
54. Fancy spread : PATE
57. Show on Sen. Franken's résumé : SNL

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 4 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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