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New York Times, Friday, February 1, 2019

Author:
Ori Brian
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
55/23/20168/16/20191
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1.65100
Ori Brian

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 31 Missing: {FGJQ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Brian. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ori Brian notes:
HEY, it's my first themeless puzzle! This puzzle started with BLACK MIRROR — have you watched 'Bandersnatch,' the show's recent ... read more

HEY, it's my first themeless puzzle! This puzzle started with BLACK MIRROR — have you watched "Bandersnatch," the show's recent interactive episode? The choose-your-own-adventure mechanism is interesting, but the plot is pretty disturbing, so watch at your own risk.

OVERALL, I'm pretty happy with how this one came together. My favorite clue is [Game-changing invention?], and I love the flair that Will and team added with their edits.

If you are college-aged (or younger!) and want to try your hand at constructing a crossword, feel free to reach out to me! My email address is oribrian@uchicago.edu. I am by no means an expert constructor, but I would be happy to help you brainstorm, give you feedback, and direct you to puzzle-making resources.

Jeff Chen notes:
I haven't laughed so hard at a themeless entry in a long time: UP THE WAZOO! It might speak to my juvenile-at-heart personality, but ... read more

I haven't laughed so hard at a themeless entry in a long time: UP THE WAZOO! It might speak to my juvenile-at-heart personality, but it's such a funny thing to say. Along with POLICE RAID and STATE SEALS — with a delightfully obfuscating clue about where Delaware and Minnesota have farmers — it's a fantastic triplet.

I appreciate how careful Ori was in putting this grid together, too. Perhaps some will balk at SO RARE, but I'm okay with that song title. At least it's two recognizable words! Excellent craftsmanship, taking such pains to polish up the grid with elegance; so little crossword glue.

Speaking of two random words:

BLACK MIRROR. I've heard the title before, and a few friends gush over the show. I don't know how popular it is, but at least if you don't know the series, you can use the crossings to fill in what will be two recognizable words.

ICEBOX CAKE. I'm a huge "Great British Bake-Off" fan, having watched every episode of every season. I didn't know this term, though. Again, at least CAKE ought to be familiar. (ICEBOX refers to the fact that it used to be chilled in an ICEBOX, in olden days.)

LIVER EMOTE. I knew newscasts were trying to get jiggy wit it, go all modern and social media-y and all. I had no idea that they were commonly using emoji now, much less liver emoji. I bet they use these ... when they're presenting bad news, since, in myth, the liver was the organ ripped out of Prometheus every night?

(I kid. But I also got stumped by the wombo-combo of ICEBOX CAKE / LIVE REMOTE.)

Solid work, great craftsmanship. It felt too niche in places for me to give it POW! consideration, but I can see how a BLACK MIRROR fan might vehemently demand that I reflect upon my decision.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0201 ( 25,287 )

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Across
1
Dentist's instruction : BITE
5
Drawing that nobody wants : SHORTSTRAW
15
Stirs : ADOS
16
Common type of TV news broadcast : LIVEREMOTE
17
Do some day jobs : TEMP
18
Dessert that's chilled overnight : ICEBOXCAKE
19
"___ is gained as much by good works as by evil": Machiavelli : HATRED
21
Engaged : RAPT
22
Flashy dance maneuver : DIP
23
Informal greeting : HEY
24
March 15, e.g. : DATE
25
Spots for luggage : BINS
26
Game-changing invention? : HOUSERULE
29
Tavern offerings : ALES
30
Fire sale? : ARMSDEAL
31
Glass with thick-rimmed glasses : IRA
32
Worked hard : LABORED
33
Purina product : CATCHOW
37
Beach ___ : BOD
38
Cocktail with vodka, triple sec and lime juice : KAMIKAZE
39
Lot : HEAP
41
Hot cocoa mix brand : SWISSMISS
42
What spirits can do : SOAR
43
Aid for a start-up business : LOAN
44
Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop ___ You Get Enough" : TIL
45
Some tiebreakers, for short : OTS
46
Toe woe : CORN
47
Fishing need, maybe : PERMIT
50
In excess, in slang : UPTHEWAZOO
53
What lovers' hearts do : RACE
54
Event that catches someone by surprise? : POLICERAID
55
Things pulled out of seams : ORES
56
Where Delaware and Minnesota have farmers : STATESEALS
57
Some loaves : RYES
Down
1
Difficult thing to give a cat : BATH
2
Entrepreneur's start : IDEA
3
Wee folklore hero : TOMTHUMB
4
Place for hot shots : ESPRESSOBAR
5
Declined : SLID
6
Minute Maid brand : HIC
7
As a whole : OVERALL
8
Sales lure : REBATE
9
Recurrent theme : TROPE
10
Scandalous selfie, maybe : SEXT
11
Cinemax competitor : TMC
12
One helping to set the stage : ROADIE
13
Doctor with a well-known diet : ATKINS
14
Is overcome with joy, say : WEEPS
20
Conjunctivitis treatment : EYEDROP
24
Twosome : DUAD
25
Netflix show inspired by "The Twilight Zone" : BLACKMIRROR
26
Kubrick film villain : HAL
27
Italian time period : ORA
28
College from which Steve Jobs dropped out : REED
29
Virtuoso : ARTISTE
31
Purina competitor : IAMS
33
Brother of Seth, in the Bible : CAIN
34
Last-ditch effort : HAILMARY
35
Soda can meas. : OZS
36
___ Matthews, either of an N.B.A. father-and-son duo : WES
38
Annual holiday first celebrated in 1966 : KWANZAA
39
Family-style Chinese dish : HOTPOT
40
Neighborhood with Plaza de la Raza and the Latino Walk of Fame : EASTLA
41
1957 Jimmy Dorsey standard : SORARE
42
Intro courses? : SOUPS
43
Big-box store with the slogan "Never stop improving" : LOWES
46
Best friend of Jess on Fox's "New Girl" : CECE
47
Bean holders : PODS
48
Drink that can cause brain freeze : ICEE
49
Thomas Hardy title heroine : TESS
51
#1, e.g. : HIT
52
Big Angolan export : OIL

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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