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New York Times, Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
184/1/200612/27/20175
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2234421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59232
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
30. E's equivalent : FFLAT
31. Results of chafing : SORES
32. "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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