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New York Times, Thursday, November 8, 2018

Author:
Sam Ezersky
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
347/28/20125/31/20199
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
311335117
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.71210
Sam Ezersky

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 77, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. Ezersky. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Ezersky notes:
Welp, this is about everything Constructor Sam could have wanted: A theme with an unconventional revealer that leads to quite the 'aha' ... read more

Welp, this is about everything Constructor Sam could have wanted:

  • A theme with an unconventional revealer that leads to quite the "aha" moment.
  • Kooky bits of fill like I AM ALI and DVD-VIDEO to accompany a youthful, sportsy vibe in AIGHT, NOOB, VIKES, BREES, etc.
  • Shoutouts to (objectively) awesome things in the clues, from Kendrick Lamar to Taco Bell's Baja Blast.

But Constructor Sam is just one solver. Editor Sam certainly knows that this puzzle isn't for everyone, and promises to make sure Constructor Sam chills on those sick, twisted puzzles he creates ... it's been quite the stretch as of late! That said, Editor Sam is at least put at ease by the fact that there's still universally fun fill in TWIST TOP, ROOM TEMP, ACTED BIG and HIP-HOP, as well as a nice theme set he hopes any solver can appreciate.

Whether you're a fan of Constructor Sam, Editor Sam or think Sam should just stick to leading the #HiveMind from his Twitter ... hope you got something out of this one!

Jeff Chen notes:
Loved this concept, GO WEST YOUNG MAN = take phrases ending in LAD and move that young man all the way to the west. I'm usually not a fan of ... read more

Loved this concept, GO WEST YOUNG MAN = take phrases ending in LAD and move that young man all the way to the west. I'm usually not a fan of themes that result in bizarre-looking grid entries (nor is Will), but this worked well for me. Even if you don't know what a POWER BALLAD is (philistine!), it's easy to figure out what LADPOWERBAL started as. Just the right amount of kookiness.

My first reaction after solving was that I wanted different synonyms for "young man," to avoid repetitiveness. You know, BOY … uh … and ... BOYO … Welp, never mind. I thought there'd be a ton of synonyms, but things like SONNY and JUNIOR don't do it as well as LAD. Especially given the old-timey feel of GO WEST YOUNG MAN, I decided that using LAD each time was perfect.

I also like how Sam threw us a curve ball at the very end, using a LAD broken apart in its base phrase, SUPER BOWL AD. Some might say this is inconsistent, but the base phrase was so great that I didn't mind.

I wasn't wild about ENE, SSS, ADIG, or DABBA – the last can't really be clued except for the Fred Flintstone cry – but the total quantity of crossword glue was passable. And to get some great bonuses in SPACE LAB, ROOM TEMP, OIL BASIN made up for it.

Part of the reason for the crossword glue was that the grid is 16x15, which often makes for a surprisingly tricky construction. Along with Sam's choice to stick under the usual 78-word maximum, there was bound to be a little strain. I think it was a fine decision, although I might have personally gone to 79 words and tried to smooth things out just a touch. Personal preference.

I enjoyed the theme so much — and the sagacity of Sam's comments about constructor Sam vs. editor Sam, something that all constructors ought to take to heart — that I was all set to give this one the POW! There's one coming up that edged it out though. Sorry, Sam!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1108 ( 25,202 )
Across
1
Put at sea : ADDLE
6
"As a result ..." : ANDSO
11
Birthed : HAD
14
Ira who wrote "The Stepford Wives" : LEVIN
15
South American forest dweller : COATI
16
Hoarfrost : RIME
17
Many a hit by Def Leppard : POWERBALLAD
19
Grp. that's well-financed? : OPEC
20
N.F.C. North team, to fans : VIKES
21
Bit of crab house attire : BIB
22
"You've got to be kidding me!" : OHNO
23
Stored away : LAIDIN
25
Like medieval knights : ARMORCLAD
27
Screwy : ODD
28
Response to oversharing : TMI
30
Hang tight : SITPAT
31
Religiousness : PIETY
34
A shore thing to happen : EBBTIDE
37
Horace Greeley's advice, as followed by 17-, 25-, 50- and 60-Across? : GOWESTYOUNGMAN
41
Working harmoniously (with) : INPHASE
42
Home of Spaceship Earth : EPCOT
44
Baja blast : FIESTA
47
Sound of a leak : SSS
49
#Me___ : TOO
50
Meal served in an edible bowl : TACOSALAD
53
Follow, as a moral code : LIVEBY
56
Tag line? : IMIT
57
Ending with polypropyl- : ENE
58
Lacking joie de vivre : JADED
59
Montenegro joined it in 2017 : NATO
60
Famously expensive commercial : SUPERBOWLAD
64
Mushy mass : GLOP
65
"Sounds good," in informal pronunciation : AIGHT
66
Part of the unconscious : ANIMA
67
Military term of address : SIR
68
N.F.L. quarterback Drew : BREES
69
Long-limbed : LEGGY
Down
1
Nothing but : ALL
2
Arm for taking needles, for short? : DEA
3
Format that preceded Blu-ray : DVDVIDEO
4
Fatty compound : LIPID
5
Japanese mushroom : ENOKI
6
Air Medal recipients : ACES
7
Negative operation in computing logic : NOR
8
"Yabba ___ doo!" : DABBA
9
Unadventurous : STAID
10
Notable feature of North Dakota and Texas : OILBASIN
11
Kendrick Lamar's genre : HIPHOP
12
Egyptian "king of the gods" : AMENRA
13
Boil down : DECOCT
16
Around 70°F, informally : ROOMTEMP
18
Took one's turn : WENT
23
Cut : LOP
24
Take ___ at (insult) : ADIG
25
Benghazi's land : LIBYA
26
Feature of a forehead or fingerprint : RIDGE
29
Crystal ___ : METH
32
Bottle cap type : TWISTTOP
33
Gossip : YENTA
35
___ nova : BOSSA
36
A school yr. often begins on one : TUES
38
Site of zero-gravity experiments : SPACELAB
39
Played the tough guy : ACTEDBIG
40
Beginner, in video game lingo : NOOB
43
Item in a claw machine : TOY
44
One-night stands, say : FLINGS
45
2014 boxing documentary : IAMALI
46
Person at a desk : EDITOR
48
Swat : SLAP
51
Live in a studio : ONAIR
52
Marsh plant : SEDGE
54
It doesn't get any better than this : IDEAL
55
Actor Troyer of the "Austin Powers" movies : VERNE
58
Protrudes : JUTS
61
Spanish : ella :: English : ___ : SHE
62
Texter's "No 63-Down!" : OMG
63
See 62-Down : WAY

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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