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New York Times, Saturday, February 14, 2015

Author: David Steinberg
Editor: Will Shortz
David Steinberg
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706/16/201111/24/201713
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1.652123

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: {Z} This is puzzle # 36 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes: I submitted the original version of this puzzle in September 2012. Will liked the grid and fill but was concerned that CATAWBA ... more
David Steinberg notes:

I submitted the original version of this puzzle in September 2012. Will liked the grid and fill but was concerned that CATAWBA crossing CABO and WHAP (as in the original) would be too hard. Undeterred, I replaced PIRATE SHIP with KARATE CHOP and sent the revision back to Will, who then accepted the puzzle.

Never had an ICEBOX CAKE, but now I want one!

I always enjoy looking back at my earlier constructions and contemplating whether I would have built them the same way nowadays; in this case, I still would have been happy to use all of the seed entries (JAVASCRIPT, ICEBOX CAKE, ANGRY BIRDS, etc.), with the exception of WHO DAT GIRL. As a constructor, I've come to prefer including distinctive entries that everyone is familiar with, as opposed to incorporating pieces of trivia that happen to resonate with me. That said, I'll always be a huge Flo Rida fan, and I'm glad Will gave me the opportunity to include one of his songs in a crossword. And yes, all you young whippersnappers, 2011 still feels like yesterday to me!

Also, if I were building the puzzle today, I might have been pickier with the short entries — I'm not a huge fan of ODIC, OPES, and especially ACI. Well, I'm sure I'll have criticisms to make about my current submissions in a few years — I find it fascinating how much my tastes change as a constructor!

For now, I hope you all enjoy the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes: 72-worder from David today, the maximum number of words allowed in a themeless. Going up to the very max allows one to quasi-segment ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

72-worder from David today, the maximum number of words allowed in a themeless. Going up to the very max allows one to quasi-segment the grid, freeing the constructor to work on the grid quadrant by quadrant. It's SO much easier to fill a grid when you're able to work on small parts without having to worry about how they'll affect the rest of the puzzle.

Take the beautiful NW corner for instance. It's not like it's completely sectioned off from the rest of the grid, but only TAMPERED, SNEAKED, and CONTES connect it. One technique I sometimes use it to put (temporary) black squares in to help me isolate a section. Here, they would be at the E of ACHED and the P of PETRIE and the Q of ESQUIRE. In constructing the triple-stack, I'd just make sure I end up with flexible letter patterns in the places that would connect it to the rest of the grid, i.e. at 10-Down (TAM is nice in that it has so many possible endings).

Place: the parlor. Weapon: the waffle cone.

This does reduce grid flow, as there aren't many places to go from one mini-puzzle to the next. And that did make it awfully tough for me to solve the SW quadrant. I'm so bad with pop music – when you need every single crossing to piece together WHO DAT GIRL, and the section is isolated, it can create a solving logjam. I'm thankful for the helpful clue, as the "she" in the lyric eventually led me to figure it out.

Are SERIAL PORTs still in use? That feels like something an ubergeek would make fun of. (Along with my trusty Motorola Razr from 2002.)

A few clues took me a while to understand, even after the solve. Here they are, in case you were equally stumped:

  • CONTES is the French word for "tales," and generally means … well, tales.
  • [Intern] has nothing to do with that poor guy you send out to wash your car. Not that I ever did that. Ahem. Here, it's going for the "internment camp" type definition.
  • PIPEs often have traps, i.e. the P-trap in a bathroom sink.
  • The mysterious Rev. preceding Std.? Apparently it refers to Bible verses. Revised Standard, I believe.
  • The beautiful WAFFLE CONE. Not a product made in the parlor of one's home, but an ice cream parlor. Great misdirect there!

Finally, I love hearing about David's introspection, his never-ending quest for improvement toward perfcetion. Er, perfection. Great attitude.

1
J
2
A
3
V
4
A
5
S
6
C
7
R
8
I
9
P
10
T
11
M
12
A
13
S
14
S
15
I
H
A
D
N
O
I
D
E
A
16
O
N
E
L
17
M
A
I
D
E
N
F
O
R
M
18
O
G
R
E
19
I
S
O
L
A
T
E
20
P
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E
T
R
I
E
22
E
K
E
23
A
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P
E
X
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Y
A
P
26
W
27
S
28
W
29
E
S
30
Q
U
I
R
E
31
B
L
Y
32
A
C
H
33
E
D
34
U
R
G
E
35
P
I
P
E
36
F
R
O
M
37
M
O
O
E
D
38
T
R
O
Y
39
F
E
D
S
40
O
T
R
O
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P
A
D
R
E
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L
E
A
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E
L
E
A
N
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O
R
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S
T
D
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E
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R
E
D
S
48
N
E
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D
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C
I
G
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A
R
S
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D
E
T
E
53
C
54
T
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O
56
O
D
I
C
57
K
58
A
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R
A
T
E
C
H
O
P
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N
O
R
M
61
I
C
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B
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K
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L
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63
N
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0214 ( 23,839 )
Across Down
1. Language introduced in 1995 : JAVASCRIPT
11. Factor in force : MASS
15. "This is a surprise!" : IHADNOIDEA
16. Torts course taker, typically : ONEL
17. Brand that supports women? : MAIDENFORM
18. Major menace : OGRE
19. Intern : ISOLATE
20. Old sitcom family name : PETRIE
22. Scratch : EKE
23. Height : APEX
25. Be a motormouth : YAP
26. Bismarck-to-Billings dir. : WSW
29. It names an annual Sexiest Woman Alive : ESQUIRE
31. "Ten Days in a Mad-House" muckraker : BLY
32. Hankered : ACHED
34. Hankering : URGE
35. Trap locale : PIPE
36. Counterpart of "to" : FROM
37. Talked bull? : MOOED
38. 2004 film featuring Paris : TROY
39. Gangsters' counterparts, informally : FEDS
40. Overseas alternative? : OTRO
41. Man on a mission, maybe : PADRE
42. Michele of "Glee" : LEA
43. Mother of Richard I : ELEANOR
45. Abbr. after "Rev." or before "dev." : STD
46. Head doc? : ENT
47. Cab and others : REDS
48. Sparks in old films : NED
50. Blunts, e.g. : CIGARS
52. Big name in scales : DETECTO
56. Like many works with "To" in their titles : ODIC
57. What's a big hit with the school board? : KARATECHOP
60. It's to be expected : NORM
61. Treat with pudding and graham crackers : ICEBOXCAKE
62. ___ Style Awards : ELLE
63. They have an infamous gap : NIXONTAPES
1. 2010 New York Times best seller subtitled "Sounds Like a Rainbow" : JIMI
2. Sounds accompanying light bulbs? : AHAS
3. Big name in laptops : VAIO
4. Knock for a loop : ADDLE
5. Emulated a cat burglar : SNEAKED
6. Short, imaginative tales : CONTES
7. Chockablock : RIFE
8. Words before a major pronouncement : IDO
9. Rate word : PER
10. Fooled (with) : TAMPERED
11. Subject to dispute : MOOT
12. Top-selling app of 2010 : ANGRYBIRDS
13. Where a techie hooks up : SERIALPORT
14. About to crash, apparently : SLEEPYEYED
21. Application suffix : EXE
23. Free light shows : AURORAS
24. Con victim : PIGEON
26. Parlor product made with an iron : WAFFLECONE
27. Cary Grant or Betty Grable : SCREENIDOL
28. 2011 Flo Rida hit with the lyric "She ain't no rock star, but she got groupies" : WHODATGIRL
30. Like Confucius, often : QUOTED
33. "Mamma Mia" quartet : EMS
35. Grp. with the slogan "Every child. One voice" : PTA
37. Fabric used in adhesive pads : MOLESKIN
41. Excuse : PRETEXT
43. Go too far, e.g. : ERR
44. Like some pickups : ONETON
49. Classic record label that rejected the Beatles with the comment "Groups with guitars are on the way out" : DECCA
51. Height : ACME
52. Olivia who won a Razzie for "Bolero" and "Conan the Destroyer" : DABO
53. Mate : CHAP
54. Blunt hit : TOKE
55. Exposes, old-style : OPES
58. Handel's "___, Galatea e Polifemo" : ACI
59. "Toy Story" dinosaur : REX

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?