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New York Times, Friday, December 21, 2018

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1055/2/200612/21/201812
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512253613104
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1.564313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 28 Missing: {FJQZ} This is puzzle # 105 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:

I'd like to dedicate this one to Dorothy.

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm a big fan of two feature entries: UNION CARD and WHERE'S WALDO. The former got a lovely clue playing on 'labor party,' making for ... read more

I'm a big fan of two feature entries: UNION CARD and WHERE'S WALDO. The former got a lovely clue playing on "labor party," making for such a nice "click" when I finally got it.

The latter might have hit me more strongly than others, being a children's book writer. I've read close to 1000 middle grade / young adult books in the past ten years, and yet it was the ubiquitous WHERE'S WALDO that I couldn't locate in my memory banks. How appropriate!

72-words, the max allowable for themelesses – not daring, but still fine if executed very well. Standard triple-stacks-in-each-corner … except for one major difference.

Look at the NE vs. the SE. Both are sort of choked off from the rest of the grid, so they might seem about as easy to fill. But see how the SE has to "turn the corner" with BELLI / ARDEN / GEORG, and then keeps on going with BODY BAG? Makes it much, much harder than the NE.

Not surprising then, to see the killer cross of HULLO / UREY. I couldn't remember the spelling of Harold UREY (okay, this physics nerd sheepishly admits that he didn't know him), so HALLO / AREY seemed like the best option. A constructor's job is to set up solvers for a win – I think this is a fail.

I think solvers ought to at least hear of POLSKA kielbasa, but I'd be sympathetic to complaints about that UREY POLSKA BELLI GEORG concentration.

The NE came out much better, although Steve VAI = whoa. The entry hasn't been used since the Maleskan era in 1979, and every time back then, it was clued to the effect of "Liberian native." Huh.

Some nice moments in my solve, the clue for HANDS in particular – [They operate around the clock] had to be PARENTS OF TWO TODDLERS CLINGING ONTO MY LEGS, right? But overall, I would have liked a smoother grid, especially given the mostly standard themeless layout.

ADDED NOTE: I read Pete's note with curiosity. After studying the grid, I asked him if his wife's name is Dorothy? Nope. An hour of searching later, I finally saw LIONS, TIGERS, and BEARS — OH MY! Fun mini-theme, although I think the effect would have been much stronger if DOROTHY had been in the center of the grid, not unlike another of Pete's hidden themes. I would have forgiven a lot more of the grid trade-offs, too.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1221 ( 25,245 )
Across
1. Striped sea predators : TIGERSHARKS
12. Whirlpool site : TUB
15. Shot : INOCULATION
16. Not you specifically : ONE
17. Entertainment for a long ride, perhaps : BOOKSONTAPE
18. Honoree on the third Friday of Sept. : MIA
19. Business ___ : END
20. Fountain fare : SODAS
21. Expressionist painter James : ENSOR
23. Sends anew : RESHIPS
25. Arugula and escarole : GREENS
26. When the French Open starts : MAY
27. One way to ride : BAREBACK
29. Use, as a mattress : LIEON
32. Having zero interest, say : BORED
33. Steve of rock guitar fame : VAI
34. "Look at me, ___ helpless ..." (opening to "Misty") : IMAS
35. Flock : LAITY
36. Alpine capital : BERN
37. Exclamations of exasperation : OYS
38. Premonishes : WARNS
39. "Where ___ fail, music speaks": Hans Christian Andersen : WORDS
40. Making a mark of a sort : NOTCHING
42. Album fill, informally : PIX
43. Relief : SUCCOR
44. "CSI" prop : BODYBAG
48. "Yuck!" : GROSS
49. Greeting in Britain : HULLO
51. Ahead of, poetically : ERE
52. Org. with a serpent in its logo : AMA
53. 1987 children's best seller : WHERESWALDO
56. Some grad students, for short : TAS
57. Person depicted on the Alabama state quarter : HELENKELLER
58. Denizen of Fangorn Forest : ENT
59. Repeated phrase in the chorus of a classic folk ballad : OHMYDARLING
Down
1. River near the Pantheon : TIBER
2. See 55-Down : INONE
3. Stock : GOODS
4. Johann ___, 16th-century defender of Catholicism : ECK
5. Dressing choice : RUSSIAN
6. Title girl in a 1965 #1 hit : SLOOPY
7. They operate around the clock : HANDS
8. Encouraging start? : ATTA
9. Shore indentations : RIAS
10. Keystone enforcer : KOP
11. Displayed derision : SNEERED
12. Hall-of-Fame pitcher who once struck out 10 consecutive batters : TOMSEAVER
13. Labor party member's holding? : UNIONCARD
14. Hides in a cabin, perhaps : BEARSKINS
22. Mo. neighbor : NEB
24. Coverage options, briefly : HMOS
25. Overcast, in Britain : GREY
27. Comics sound : BOING
28. They may be dark or fine : ARTS
29. Film distribution company for "The Hunger Games" : LIONSGATE
30. Declaration from a volunteer : IMYOURMAN
31. Locale of many a red-eye destination : EASTCOAST
32. Traditionally red structure : BARN
35. Retreat : LAIR
36. Squarish : BOXY
38. Elite group : WHOSWHO
39. Mr. Rochester in "Jane Eyre," e.g. : WIDOWER
41. Mails a dupe : CCS
42. Warszawa's land : POLSKA
44. Harmonize : BLEND
45. Casus ___ (action justifying a war) : BELLI
46. "As You Like It" forest : ARDEN
47. Captain von Trapp's given name : GEORG
49. Bridge position : HELM
50. Manhattan Project scientist Harold ___ : UREY
54. Bit of derisive laughter : HEH
55. With 2-Down, multipurpose : ALL

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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