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New York Times, Saturday, December 12, 2015

Author:
Byron Walden
Editor:
Will Shortz
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1.59321
Byron Walden

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 30 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 77 for Mr. Walden. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Byron Walden notes:
This may be the most lightly edited puzzle I've had in the Times, so direct all complaints and recriminations to me. The most ... read more

This may be the most lightly edited puzzle I've had in the Times, so direct all complaints and recriminations to me.

The most interesting edit was for 6-Down. When I was originally cluing the puzzle (only a few months back), I checked to see how the Times styled said Angelina. She was generally just "Ms. Jolie," especially in her professional capacities. So my original clue was [Surname of six Hollywood scions]. But in the run up to her latest film, there was a long feature in the Times where she was now styled as Ms. Jolie Pitt. I shot Will and Joel an e-mail suggesting a change to the clue might be in order. Had I waited until after the film's release, I might have suggested ["By the Sea" bombmaker], but I'm guessing that wouldn't fly anyway.

The other major change was effected by the addition of a single word in the clue for 21-Across (JOHN MCENROE). That word is "American". Editorial Fairness 1, Constructor Mischief 0. (Oh well, there's always 1-A, 4-D, 17-A, 28-D, ...)

I'm guessing the most polarizing entry will be 5-Down (MY HUMPS). If it's not your dish of tea, there's always BRAHMS. The song itself is so annoying and insipid, but getting it and its deadpan clue into the Times ranks as one of my most cherished cruciverbal achievements.

Jeff Chen notes:
Byron is one of the most creative constructors when it comes to new entries. So many of his puzzles contain phrases I have to stare at ... read more

Byron is one of the most creative constructors when it comes to new entries. So many of his puzzles contain phrases I have to stare at before deciding if I love them or think they're bizarre. Or both! I was worried to hit [Angelina of Hollywood] since I only know one Angelina. It was so curious to uncover JOLIE to start … and what a great a-ha to finish it with PITT. (She officially added his name after getting married.)

Why hasn't Brad taken her name? Hmm?

[Targeting the Fourth Estate] had to start or end in PRESS. ANTIPRESS ... huh. It's in the dictionary, but it gets very few Google hits. I do think it's fair — it's inferable from the clue and word etymology — but it didn't give me the same feeling of satisfaction as uncovering JOLIE PITT.

I worked out the end of [One of the currencies replaced by the euro in 2002] = POUND, but figuring out which pound was challenging. I was thankful for all the fair crossings + the neat trivia that Ireland used to have a distinctive pound currency. Such a shame to lose the beautiful artwork.

[Balcony address?] had to relate to "Romeo and Juliet," but I could not figure out where the opening O should go. So it was a disappointment to fill in ROMEO ROMEO and see that my "knowledge" yet again failed me. Or did it! I was happy to find out that I did have the quote right — and not happy to see ROMEO ROMEO as a snippet cut out of the full quote. Didn't seem like a complete phrase.

Love his innovative and colorful stuff like SCAMPER AWAY. POST SALES … not so much, not even for this capitalist.

Byron always has great clues. Here are my favorite today, which really pep up the short entries.

  • [Skilled forger] makes you think about check fraud. Nope, it's a (metal)SMITH.
  • STENO has an old-timey feel to it, but the [Pool party] clue is great (office pool of stenos).
  • [New seal] had me thinking about state seals. Turns out it was a young PUP.
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P
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1212 ( 24,140 )
Across
1. Light shower? : PRISM
6. Bars where swingers hang out? : JUNGLEGYM
15. Reef denizen : MORAY
16. Private detective : OPERATIVE
17. Skilled forger : SMITH
18. Deploys to one's advantage : LEVERAGES
19. Joseph's uncle, in Genesis : ESAU
20. How the operas "Artaxerxes" and "Iolanthe" are usually performed : INENGLISH
21. German-born American tennis star who won 17 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles : JOHNMCENROE
23. "Mountain, Navel, Anchors, Table" artist, 1925 : ARP
24. New seal : PUP
25. "Hungarian Dances" composer : BRAHMS
30. Pitch ___ : WOO
31. Go a few rounds? : SPIRAL
34. Fancy : POSH
35. Longtime radio rival of Stern : IMUS
37. Pool party : STENO
38. Franklin who sang "Piece of My Heart" : ERMA
39. State symbol with a reduplicative name : NENE
40. Possible cause of vertigo : OTITIS
42. Lose tone : SAG
43. Lose tones? : GODEAF
45. Suffix with 4-Down : IST
46. Lead-in to drop or roll : EGG
47. Make a squirrellike exit : SCAMPERAWAY
51. Collapse at one's desk, say : SLUMPOVER
55. The gamut : ATOZ
56. "Whatevs" : LIKEICARE
57. African desert that includes the Skeleton Coast : NAMIB
59. Feature of some mattresses : OPENCOILS
60. Bathroom brand with a Snake Plus variety : DRANO
61. Part of a business that might include invoicing, payment, updates and equipment maintenance : POSTSALES
62. Raw power : SINEW
Down
1. Residents of 24 Sussex Dr. in Ottawa : PMS
2. Balcony address? : ROMEOROMEO
3. One of the currencies replaced by the euro in 2002 : IRISHPOUND
4. Job tester : SATAN
5. Grammy-winning hit that begins "Whatcha gon' do with all that junk" : MYHUMPS
6. Angelina of Hollywood : JOLIEPITT
7. Wharton's home, briefly : UPENN
8. Ultimatum retort : NEVER
9. In a sauce of browned butter, capers, parsley and lemon : GRENOBLOISE
10. Like South Dakota vis-à-vis North Dakota : LARGER
11. Citation shortening : ETAL
12. Best Picture Oscar winner before "Ben-Hur" : GIGI
13. Cosmetics company founder Rocher : YVES
14. Protection against mosquitoes : MESH
21. Gossiping : JAWING
22. Après-ski warmers : CUPSOFCOCOA
26. Pantomime : APE
27. Lady Godiva, for one : HORSEWOMAN
28. It has issues with feminism : MSMAGAZINE
29. Unkempt : SHAGGY
32. Retailer with stylized mountaintops in its logo : REI
33. Targeting the Fourth Estate : ANTIPRESS
36. "Capeesh?" : SEE
41. Beaches, in two senses : STRANDS
44. Gelatinous dishes : ASPICS
48. Be handy : AVAIL
49. ___ Norman Cosmetics : MERLE
50. Maker of Basketbrawl and Robo-Squash : ATARI
51. Food for hogs : SLOP
52. Contouring procedure, briefly : LIPO
53. Relatives of banjoleles : UKES
54. Base closure? : MENT
58. Decorative flourish : BOW

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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