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New York Times, Friday, December 11, 2015

Author:
Barry C. Silk
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
929/1/20037/8/20166
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
358532741
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.651215
Barry C. Silk

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 91 for Mr. Silk. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Barry gives us a dose of computer lingo today, with SPAM FILTER a colorful 1-Across. It was interesting to uncover EVERIFY, which ... read more

Barry gives us a dose of computer lingo today, with SPAM FILTER a colorful 1-Across. It was interesting to uncover EVERIFY, which looked kookily like EVER IF I, and CYBER WAR. I like when mini-themes crop up in a themeless, although I find it more elegant when those answers are in symmetrical spots. Still, having E VERIFY crossing SPAM FILTER is pretty fun.

E-Verify's logo

I thought I had learned all the E-FILE, E-READER, E-TAIL kind of stuff, so I wanted to look up E-VERIFY. Interesting that almost half a million employers use it now. I kind of wish I hadn't looked it up, as it seems to be steeped in controversy around illegal immigration issues.

CYBER WAR … is that "a thing"? Google says it is, although it has an old-timey feel to me, akin to saying "cyberspace." Feels like there's a more colorful term emerging for CYBER WAR, but I'm not sure what it is. Ideas?

Speaking of mini-themes, I really liked the idea of placing two Greek states across the middle. After uncovering SPARTA, I pumped a fist and plunked in ATHENS. Dang it! Well, ITHACA seemed to work better ... no. By the time I got to the correct answer of ATTICA, I really, really wanted some historical tie between it and SPARTA. I found all sorts of information about the rivalry between Athens and SPARTA, but only that ATTICA encompassed the city of Athens. Sigh.

Barry gives us a good amount of colorful long material like SEEK ASYLUM, STARRY EYED, and even FOOD WEB, but it does come at a price. I think most of it is minor, like ISS(ue), the discontinued Olds CIERA, ACR(oss), Mel OTT who shows up in way too much compared to his level of actual fame because of his crossword-friendly name, and the religious inscription INRI. I'd be curious to know how many Christians would say it's a gimme.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1211 ( 24,139 )
Across
1. Junk removal service : SPAMFILTER
11. It featured the parody soap "The Days of the Week" : SCTV
15. Store in the Middle East? : OILRESERVE
16. Erato played one : LYRE
17. Round numbers? : GREENSFEES
18. Construction support : IBAR
19. Set for a regatta : OARS
20. Sharp : TART
21. 1850s Flying Eagle, e.g. : CENT
22. Giant legend : OTT
23. Violinist's prize : AMATI
25. Like newspaper headlines, typically : TERSE
26. "The shadow of a starless night," per Percy Bysshe Shelley : DESPAIR
28. System of what eats what : FOODWEB
30. Detriment : HARM
31. "Sure thing" : YUP
32. From one end to the other: Abbr. : ACR
33. Ancient Greek state : ATTICA
36. Ancient Greek state : SPARTA
38. Growler : CUR
39. Challah need : EGG
41. 1944 battle site : STLO
42. Excellent credit rating : TRIPLEA
44. Runner's shock absorber : HEELPAD
48. Taken together : INALL
49. Some unpleasant reminders : SCARS
51. N.L. West team : ARI
52. TV handyman : VILA
53. Attenuated : THIN
54. Occasion to choose a royal court : PROM
55. Religious inscription : INRI
56. Try to escape a tyrant, maybe : SEEKASYLUM
59. Floor : STUN
60. Put in new words : PARAPHRASE
61. High point of géographie : MONT
62. Idealistic : STARRYEYED
Down
1. "Delicious!" : SOGOOD
2. Sea menace : PIRATE
3. Gives a tip : ALERTS
4. G.I. fare : MRES
5. Swampland : FEN
6. Vol. 1, No. 1, e.g. : ISS
7. What carries a shield, typically : LEFTARM
8. Pay for : TREAT
9. Internet-based Homeland Security program used by employers : EVERIFY
10. Leftovers : REST
11. How most bread is sold : SLICED
12. Large-scale spread of viruses, say : CYBERWAR
13. Divide by cutting : TRANSECT
14. It's in the back : VERTEBRA
23. Small power source : AAACELL
24. Sight on a hot road : MIRAGE
25. Removes from power : TOPPLES
27. N.L. East team : PHI
29. Removal from power : OUSTER
33. Civil disobedience, e.g. : ACTIVISM
34. Become : TURNINTO
35. Test drive : TRIALRUN
37. Service with a 1-Across : AOL
40. Winter warming option : GASHEAT
41. Monterey Pop Festival performer of 1967 : SHANKAR
43. Protest : PLAINT
45. Cumulative series of bets : PARLAY
46. Pique : AROUSE
47. Not so bright : DIMMED
50. Old Olds : CIERA
53. Equal amts. : TSPS
54. Funeral mass : PYRE
57. 4/ : APR
58. Short : SHY

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?