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New York Times, Saturday, December 26, 2015

Author: James Mulhern
Editor: Will Shortz
James Mulhern
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2411/16/20096/23/20176
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012001011
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1.60000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 27 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
James Mulhern notes: Happy Boxing Day! I hope you get to enjoy today's puzzle with your loved ones this holiday season. I've been looking forward ... more
James Mulhern notes:

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you get to enjoy today's puzzle with your loved ones this holiday season.

I've been looking forward to this puzzle's publication, as it's probably my favorite solo to date. Along with being pretty clean and fun, one aspect that stands out to me is the breadth of knowledge covered. Hopefully a little something for everyone.

Jeff Chen notes: Nice 70-worder from James today. I like the challenge he gives himself — big 'L' corners like in the NE and SW are no joke. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Nice 70-worder from James today. I like the challenge he gives himself — big "L" corners like in the NE and SW are no joke. It's hard enough to come up with a triple-stack when the crossing answers are short, but try doing it when some of the crossers are eight letters long. Add in the fact that those long crossers have to be snazzy (since you don't want to waste any of your long slots), and it's a real bear.

RIEMANN of the Riemann hypothesis

I like how clean James got this grid. TROJAN WAR / LIFE COACH / CENTER ICE is a beautiful stack, with nothing remotely gluey required. WAIT A BIT and ACCUTANE aren't quite as nice to my ear, especially since ACCUTANE is off the market now, but RHETORIC is a strong word loaded with feeling.

Similar results for the opposite corner. FAT ALBERT / IN ESSENCE / CASUAL SEX all colorful (although the last one feels a bit too edgy for the NYT crossword, IMO), but SPECIFIC and ATHLETES are more neutral than assets in my eyes.

Both corners show how tough this grid arrangement is — James did a great job getting both of them super clean and smooth, but four of the 12 slots fell into neutral territory for me. This is why most people try to separate their triple-stacks, rather than having them intersect.

I'm sure there will be RIEMANN hypothesis haters out there, but I love a good mystery and I love me some math. I can't say I understand the details, but almost anything on a list of "Millennium Prize Problems" will intrigue me. And to James's point, there's such a wide variety of answers today. Something for everyone is a great philosophy.

I also liked James's use of 6-letter entries to try to spice up the puzzle more. WAVE AT is a bit neutral, but there's something fun about I NEVER and HEY NOW! Even SO VERY is kind of nice. I liked that corner a lot.

Totally stumped by ACED — [Didn't get a return from] made me think about the IRS. Great clue. And great piece of trivia about NATO's flag: [… dark blue, symbolizing an ocean].

JimH notes: Simply put, the RIEMANN hypothesis is a deep mathematical conjecture which states that the nontrivial Riemann zeta function zeros, i.e., ... more
JimH notes:

Simply put, the RIEMANN hypothesis is a deep mathematical conjecture which states that the nontrivial Riemann zeta function zeros, i.e., the values of s other than -2, -4, -6, ... such that ζ(s)=0 (where ζ(s) is the Riemann zeta function) all lie on the "critical line" σ=R[s]=1/2 (where R[s] denotes the real part of s).

On a somewhat unrelated topic: while CASUAL SEX may be new to NYT solvers, it's a colorful and welcome phrase. Crosswords can be somewhat staid but they also have a history of lightly flirting with the slightly risqué. Who can be surprised when such behavior eventually leads to casual sex?

1
A
2
B
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R
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A
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M
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J
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A
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W
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1226 ( 24,154 )
Across Down
1. His name was lengthened by God at age 99 : ABRAM
6. Theme in much Greek art : TROJANWAR
15. Beasts of the wild : FAUNA
16. Guru for hire : LIFECOACH
17. N.J. home of the "Ultimate Weapon" monument : FTDIX
18. The puck drops here : CENTERICE
19. Like some explosions : ATOMIC
21. Unwanted buildup : MOLD
22. Syllable of faux rebuke : TUT
23. Group in many conspiracy theories : ILLUMINATI
25. Its flag is dark blue, symbolizing an ocean : NATO
26. Calls : REFS
27. Character builder? : GENE
28. Masonry-supporting rod : REBAR
29. One getting an across-the-board promotion? : PAWN
30. Late-spring arrival : GEMINI
31. Some Winter Olympians : SKATERS
35. Mesoamerican language with 400,000+ speakers : ZAPOTEC
36. Emotional appeal : PATHOS
37. "___ arigato" : DOMO
38. Hawthorne's "___ Brand" : ETHAN
39. 0.5, for 150° : SINE
40. Something made on one's birthday : WISH
44. City famous for bad traffic? : CALI
45. Traveling show with the number "Trading Taps" : RIVERDANCE
47. Half of a rhyming candy duo : IKE
48. First name in industrial design : EERO
49. Extremely : SOVERY
50. Cartoon friend of Dumb Donald and Weird Harold : FATALBERT
53. "This Perfect Day" novelist, 1970 : LEVIN
54. Underneath all the layers : INESSENCE
55. Program with a "Get Ripped" version : TAEBO
56. "Benefit" of some "friends" : CASUALSEX
57. Cast wide : STREW
1. Liaison : AFFAIR
2. With 35-Down, Korea in the 1950s or Iraq in the 2000s : BATTLE
3. Diesel who invented the diesel engine : RUDOLF
4. Loathing : ANIMUS
5. Popular pinup publication : MAXIM
6. Doc's warm treatment : TLC
7. Mathematician with a hypothesis unproven since 1859 : RIEMANN
8. Worth heeding : OFNOTE
9. Beijing-born star of "Kiss of the Dragon" : JETLI
10. Didn't get a return from : ACED
11. "... confirm ___ deny ..." : NOR
12. Hold your horses : WAITABIT
13. Dermatological drug withdrawn by Roche in 2009 : ACCUTANE
14. Stump speeches, often : RHETORIC
20. Ones with big butts : CIGARS
24. What's going on : NEWS
25. Marlin's son, in an animated film : NEMO
28. Take back, in a way : REPO
29. Cog, so to speak : PEON
30. Call of Duty fans, e.g. : GAMERS
31. General's opposite : SPECIFIC
32. Form of Japanese syllabic writing : KATAKANA
33. ___ foot : ATHLETES
34. Indian alternative : THAI
35. See 2-Down : ZONE
37. What "marriage is the chief cause of," per Groucho Marx : DIVORCE
39. They'll stop traffic : SIRENS
40. Greet from a ways away, say : WAVEAT
41. "How dare you!" : INEVER
42. Journalist, informally : SCRIBE
43. "Ea-a-asy, buddy!" : HEYNOW
45. Common hero in American literature : REBEL
46. Yo-yos : DOLTS
48. Film character who brings the snowman Olaf to life : ELSA
51. Pac-12 sch. : ASU
52. Nickname on a cattle drive : TEX

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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