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New York Times, Friday, February 6, 2015

Author:
Kyle Mahowald
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
183/22/20042/10/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2303262
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60111
Kyle Mahowald

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 32 Missing: {QVZ} This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Mahowald. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kyle Mahowald notes:
I'm sort of amazed to realize it's been over 6 years since my last NY Times crossword. Apparently grad school can have that effect ... read more

I'm sort of amazed to realize it's been over 6 years since my last NY Times crossword. Apparently grad school can have that effect — I just hadn't been constructing much for a while. I'm tempted to reminisce about the now mystical past (c. 2006 when I was an intern with Will) when people gathered on the Forum, the New York Sun was still shining, and there was a plentiful supply of unlitzed pre-Shortzian puzzles. But instead I'll focus on this puzzle, which I made in the less mystical past (c. the end of 2013).

Who knew? (Apparently she did!)

I started in the middle with THIS OLD THING and YOU'RE TOO MUCH. I'm a fan of in-the-language phrases that it's funny to imagine the puzzle saying to you if it could talk (which it can't). I think those two fit the bill, as does OH GROW UP. I felt a little rusty since this was the first grid I had made in a few years. So, looking back, I apologize for any FLECHE or DII-related unpleasantness in the fill.

On the clue front, I was happy to see that Will kept some of my longish trivia clues, including the one about Nora EPHRON knowing the identity of Deep Throat and the one about the U.S.'s first LT. GEN. being Geo. Washington (which is pronounced "Geology Washington"). As a native Floridian, I was also happy to see the two Everglades clues stick around.

Anyway, I very much hope it won't be another 6 years until my next puzzle and, to that end, am working on some grids. Hope it was a good solve for you!

Jill Denny notes:
Well, would you LOOK AT THAT — challenging Friday puzzle to start the weekend. The partitions make this feel like three ... read more

Well, would you LOOK AT THAT — challenging Friday puzzle to start the weekend.

The partitions make this feel like three separate mini-puzzles, with only YOU'RE TOO MUCH and THIS OLD THING to help you squeeze through the door into the corners. I started off (over)confidently, dropping in LOOKIE HERE before backtracking to just LOOK. Even with that misstep, the NW corner unfolded first, perhaps because I had just ROCKED a baby to sleep before attempting the puzzle.

The SE corner came next, courtesy of Mao, a Magic 8 Ball, and excellent high school history and French teachers (thanks, Messrs. Kivela and Satterlee!). The DOOR in the middle of IT'S DO OR DIE briefly gave me pause, but the best MISREAD entry in that section was parsing HI THERE as HIT HERE, which would of course be clued as "Sign on nerd's back?"

My momentum stalled in the river flowing from NE to SW, with only a few tiny stones to step on. THE CAT and ORGANA were likely gimmes for some, but not for me. As Jeff will attest, my knowledge of all things Star Wars/Trek is shamefully scant (Jeff: "Who said, 'Live long and prosper?' " Me: "Benjamin Franklin?"), and my knowledge of 1960s TV series is even scanter. The Nora EPHRON clue about Deep Throat was a fun factoid, and I particularly liked TAIGA crossing with PANGAEA — two geography terms with uncommon vowel patterns.

The number of colloquialisms was on the high side for my taste. I'd put LOOK AT THAT, YOU'RE TOO MUCH, THIS OLD THING, IT'S DO OR DIE, and EASY DOES IT into this category. The zestiest of those was THIS OLD THING, though I tend to think of it as false modesty, in a Blanche Devereaux sort of way.

My favorite answer: 46A. Without FLECHE, there would be no "Fletch", (and definitely no Fletch F. Fletch), and I'm not sure that's a world I want to live in. He is actually six-five, with the Afro, six-nine.

Jeff Chen notes:

Jill is one of XWord Info's world-famous(-ish) "J Crew," Jim and Jeff rounding out the trifecta.

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D
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P
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M
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F
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0206 ( 23,831 )

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Across
1
"Check it out!" : LOOKATTHAT
11
Book deals? : BETS
15
Buoy : EXHILARATE
16
Org chart topper : EXEC
17
Many a collar attachment : DOGLICENSE
18
When Romeo says he "saw true beauty" before seeing Juliet : NEER
19
Like many babies at bedtime : ROCKED
20
Players often pick it up : TEMPO
21
The Mariners, e.g. : PROBES
23
Like many hooks : JSHAPED
25
Former consumer electronics company bought by Sony : AIWA
26
Studio mixing equipment : PALETTES
27
Comment to a card : YOURETOOMUCH
31
Pep Boys product : STP
32
It underwent a long, massive breakup : PANGAEA
33
Leader who said "It is right to rebel" : MAO
36
Question asked modestly in response to "That looks great on you" : THISOLDTHING
38
Burmese pythons in the Everglades, e.g. : SCOURGES
41
"My reply ___" (Magic 8 Ball answer) : ISNO
42
Everglades transport : AIRBOAT
43
"A sentiment appropriate to the occasion of another's superiority," per Ambrose Bierce : HATRED
45
Geo. Washington was the U.S.'s first : LTGEN
46
Fencing move that means "arrow" in French : FLECHE
48
Sic ___ scriptum : ERAT
49
Takes command of : SPEARHEADS
53
Source of some fevers : MONO
54
"No turning back now!" : ITSDOORDIE
55
Get the picture : SNAP
56
"Not so hard" : EASYDOESIT
Down
1
Took command of : LED
2
Brand name chosen for its symmetry : OXO
3
Response to a puerile joke : OHGROWUP
4
Metric pressure unit : KILOBAR
5
"'Tis the Voice of the Lobster" reciter : ALICE
6
Changes course : TACKS
7
Tag base, perhaps : TREE
8
Straight, say : HAND
9
Cadillac model that debuted in 2012 : ATS
10
It gets swung over : TEE
11
Unworthy of : BENEATH
12
Out of it? : EXEMPT
13
Mobile home : TEEPEE
14
New England delicacies : SCRODS
20
1960s Robert Loggia series about a burglar-turned-bodyguard : THECAT
21
Is beneficial : PAYS
22
Real card : RIOT
23
Crawford who won the 2014 Sixth Man of the Year Award : JAMAL
24
Swung around : SLUED
26
Dances by jumping in place : POGOS
28
Screenwriter who knew the identity of Deep Throat before it was made public : EPHRON
29
Region between the tundra and steppes : TAIGA
30
Dawn : ONSET
33
Makes out clumsily? : MISREADS
34
Colonial heretic Hutchinson : ANNE
35
Start of some pleas : OGOD
36
Wear without straps : TUBETOP
37
Informal greeting : HITHERE
38
Alternative to Camels : SALEMS
39
Fruit historically used for medicinal purposes : CITRON
40
"Star Wars" surname : ORGANA
43
Villain in a Nativity play : HEROD
44
Sound heard before a big blow? : ACHOO
46
Talk, with "up" : FESS
47
Certain noble : LADY
49
You, overseas : SIE
50
Natl. Congress of Mothers, today : PTA
51
Year the Liang dynasty began : DII
52
Radio receiver : SET

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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