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New York Times, Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
194/1/20062/17/20195
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3234421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59332
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 37 Missing: {KQXZ} This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Kwong. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Kwong notes:
I've been looking for another magic themed puzzle ever since Kevan Choset and I had MAGIC WORDS in the Times ten years ago! There ... read more

I've been looking for another magic themed puzzle ever since Kevan Choset and I had MAGIC WORDS in the Times ten years ago!

There weren't a ton of "ladies" that worked for this puzzle. They needed to be well-known and have an even number of letters. MARMALADE was out, unfortunately.

I was excited when I saw CHATTERLEY would work and this largely drove the puzzle.

JANE was almost impossible to hide in anything but JANET. I toyed with JANEIRO, but it did not work with the black square lay out. Similarly, I wanted to distance GREY from the surname and fought with the grid to make THE GREY happen. Lost that battle.

Ultimately though, I am pleased that I was able to get a stack of 4, 6, 8, and 10 lettered ladies.

The original submission for this puzzle had the central clue as "What they saw in Las Vegas?" and not "what some performers saw". I guess Will and Joel thought that was too hard.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. I'm proud of the construction and fill. Tada! (sorry)

Jeff Chen notes:
(Sawing) LADIES / IN HALF today, (lady) GAGA, (lady) GODIVA, (lady) JANE GREY, (lady) CHATTERLEY. So appropriate for a professional ... read more

(Sawing) LADIES / IN HALF today, (lady) GAGA, (lady) GODIVA, (lady) JANE GREY, (lady) CHATTERLEY. So appropriate for a professional magician; David has worked on movies such as "Now You See Me."

Excellent choices for LADIES to saw in half, GAGA, GODIVA, and CHATTERLEY so recognizable. JANE GREY didn't come right to the forefront my mind, but she was hiding back there somewhere. I did wish that she had been another one-namer for consistency's sake. But I couldn't find any other even-lettered ones besides (lady) DI, and that's not super interesting to saw in half.

I didn't notice at first, but Jim pointed out that the LADIES go in a length series, 4 to 6 to 8 to 10. Cool!

I hitched on the revealer's execution, LADIES / IN HALF feeling stilted. Perhaps SAW A LADY IN HALF would have been better? But that's an unfortunate 14 letters in length, not crossword-friendly. SAWS would make it a 15, but that would feel stilted, too. Huh. Stupid crossword gods!

How cool would it have been if SAW A LADY IN HALF ran vertically down the middle ... as if it were literally sawing the LADIES / IN HALF!

Pretty good execution: 1.) some color in the themers GAG ORDER / GOD OF LOVE, 2.) a couple of fill bonuses in SEND CASH, INERTIAL mass, AIRWAVE, and 3.) not much crossword glue, just ADOT, ILE, DEDE … drat, David ended with OSS / TRE. OSS (office of … strategic services?) is one of those uglies that screams "constructor's crutch," and may cause some head-scratching among solvers. Ah well, you can't win ‘em all.

Fun concept. If the revealer had been presented more smoothly, this would have been a POW! candidate.

P.S. You put in CORE for [Ending with hard or soft] too, didn't you? What, no? Me neither.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1227 ( 24,886 )
Across
1
Slugger's stat : RBI
4
Shout from a coach driver : WHOA
8
With 63-Across, what some performers saw in Las Vegas? ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme : LADIES
14
Extension : ARM
15
BMW competitor : AUDI
16
Get back for : AVENGE
17
Media muzzler : GAGORDER
19
Neighborhood grocery : BODEGA
20
Fed. bond : TNOTE
21
Frank : WIENER
23
Just ___ on the map : ADOT
24
In the slightest : ATALL
26
Letterhead abbr. : TEL
29
Cupid, e.g. : GODOFLOVE
31
Fearsome Hindu deity : SHIVA
33
Punishment short of jail time : FINE
34
Judge's pronouncement at a hearing : NOBAIL
35
Error at cards : MISPLAY
39
Popular Toyota : COROLLA
40
"Carmen" and "Elektra" : OPERAS
41
Choice : AONE
42
Leigh of "Psycho" : JANET
43
Anne Brontë's first novel : AGNESGREY
48
Anomalous : ODD
49
Like dessert wines, typically : SWEET
50
Many a staffer : AIDE
51
Reserves : CACHES
54
Crows : BRAGS
55
Garrulous : CHATTY
57
Saxophonist Cannonball : ADDERLEY
60
Prefix with -pod : GASTRO
61
Marvin of Motown : GAYE
62
Three, in Tuscany : TRE
63
See 8-Across : INHALF
64
Augur : OMEN
65
C.I.A.'s forerunner : OSS
Down
1
Shabby : RAGTAG
2
1972 Oscar refuser : BRANDO
3
"That's enough, thanks" : IMGOOD
4
Ending with hard or soft : WARE
5
1963 Paul Newman movie : HUD
6
Tribute of a sort : ODE
7
Broadcasting unit? : AIRWAVE
8
Name : LABEL
9
River through Bath : AVON
10
"___ Dinah" (1958 hit for Frankie Avalon) : DEDE
11
Kind of mass, in physics : INERTIAL
12
Shape of a Silly Putty container : EGG
13
Multitude : SEA
18
Palindromic man's name : OTTO
22
Land in la mer : ILE
24
Wanted poster word : ALIAS
25
"West Side Story" role : TONY
27
Malevolence : EVIL
28
"___ Land," 2016 film : LALA
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E's equivalent : FFLAT
31
Results of chafing : SORES
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"Westworld" network : HBO
34
Large jazz combo : NONET
35
Voodoo : MOJO
36
Apple Store purchase : IPAD
37
Message from a short person? : SENDCASH
38
School commencement? : PRE
39
Shape of a sushi hand roll : CONE
41
Way, way back : AGESAGO
43
Really move : AWE
44
Teri of "Young Frankenstein" : GARR
45
Classic theater name : RIALTO
46
Border cutters : EDGERS
47
"Absolutely!" : YESYES
49
Below, as a goal : SHYOF
52
Lead-in to girl or boy : ATTA
53
Keyboard key abbr. : CTRL
54
"How have you ___?" : BEEN
55
Modern film effects, for short : CGI
56
Ben Solo's father : HAN
58
Challenge for salmon : DAM
59
Salon job : DYE

Answer summary:

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