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New York Times, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Author: Bruce Haight
Editor: Will Shortz
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421/3/20139/4/20183
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312127440
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1.58032
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJKQZ} This is puzzle # 34 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes: The initial spark for most of my puzzles is rather obscure, but I can say definitively that this one was born on 11/7/16. I had an ... more
Bruce Haight notes:

The initial spark for most of my puzzles is rather obscure, but I can say definitively that this one was born on 11/7/16. I had an NYT puzzle that day with some IC phrases (INNER CHILD, IVORY COAST, etc.) and an "I SEE" revealer. One of the online reviewers commented:

"We remain in the well-worn, hoary, ultra-basic theme-type universe, with loads of dull short fill to boot."

That was actually one of my better reviews at that site, but Loren Muse Smith took offense and fired off the first post of that day, which was very supportive of my puzzle. She then went on to list other potential phonetic theme revealers like excellency and escapee (theme recently done by CC Burnikel elsewhere) and DEVIOUS. I was grateful to Loren for her support, and even more grateful for new theme ideas! I tried to get her to co-construct this one but she begged off — however, she and I have a Valentine's Day puzzle coming up next week in the 42-Down.

Will and Joel said "nicely done, and the fill really sparkled" — I remember wishing I could do something about the crossing of DENOVO and ORONYMS, which Will said pushed this puzzle from a Monday to a Tuesday.

Jeff Chen notes: D* V* phrases, tied together with a revealer of DEVIOUS … as in 'D V us'? Or 'DV's'? I tried to make sense of it for ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

D* V* phrases, tied together with a revealer of DEVIOUS … as in "D V us"? Or "DV's"?

I tried to make sense of it for ten minutes before giving up and asking Bruce. He thought of it as "D V - ous," as in "-ous" = a descriptor, like "-ish" or something.

Huh. It doesn't work for me, but I can understand his thinking.

Bruce did such a great job with his mid-length fill. Having a 9-letter entry in the middle of your puzzle will usually mean a bunch of 7-letter entries in the corners, and those can be so tough to make stand out. But check out DAD BODS / IN ERROR / NO CAN DO, I'll BITE / SAY WHEN, I HOPE SO / LA TIMES, ADOPT ME! Good stuff in every corner.

Earlier in his constructing career, Bruce tended to use too much crossword glue, and there's a hint of that today in TELE, OTOE, OTT, ESS. (I think OTOE is a tribe educated folks ought to know, but I admit that I've only ever seen the word in crosswords.) Today, I didn't mind as much, because these all helped him make the mid-length fill so snazzy. I think it was a worthwhile trade-off.

Oh, NYT constructors! Please please please, can we stay away from ADORBS tween talk? I know it's in the language (no matter how badly this old guy resists), but sigh. Totes srsly!

(Sadly, these are real things people say.)

While I liked many of the themers, DARTH VADER in particular (talk about a DEEP VOICE!), this initialism theme type feels like it's losing steam. These days, an initialism puzzle needs something to elevate it — rare letters like Z or Q, or perhaps a stellar, witty revealer that produces an incredible a-ha moment.

1
D
2
I
3
N
4
R
5
A
6
B
7
B
8
I
9
E
10
P
11
I
12
C
13
S
14
A
N
O
15
A
X
I
O
M
16
C
A
L
L
A
17
D
E
C
18
D
E
A
T
H
19
V
A
L
L
E
Y
20
B
R
A
21
G
22
S
H
E
E
R
23
B
M
W
24
O
R
N
A
25
T
26
E
27
R
E
D
28
D
I
S
H
29
D
O
D
G
E
V
30
I
31
P
E
R
32
O
T
O
E
33
S
R
O
34
L
I
M
A
35
P
E
N
N
36
D
E
E
P
V
37
O
38
I
39
C
E
40
S
41
I
42
L
O
43
E
T
N
A
44
A
45
D
46
O
47
A
H
A
S
48
D
49
A
R
T
H
V
50
A
D
E
R
51
V
O
T
E
52
R
I
D
53
D
E
N
O
V
O
54
E
P
I
55
S
N
O
56
O
57
P
58
S
P
I
N
59
D
E
M
60
O
V
E
R
S
I
61
O
62
N
63
T
O
Y
64
U
S
E
U
P
65
B
L
E
A
R
66
M
U
M
67
P
O
S
T
S
68
S
O
R
T
A
69
E
S
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0206 ( 24,927 )
Across Down
1. Loud commotion : DIN
4. Yeshiva leader : RABBI
9. Films on a grand scale : EPICS
14. Year, in Spain : ANO
15. If a > b and b > c, then a > c, e.g. : AXIOM
16. Kind of lily : CALLA
17. Winter solstice mo. : DEC
18. Lowest point for Americans? : DEATHVALLEY
20. Crow : BRAG
22. Like nylon stockings : SHEER
23. Audi rival : BMW
24. Like the architecture of many cathedrals : ORNATE
27. Visibly blushing : REDDISH
29. American-made sports car with a V-10 engine : DODGEVIPER
32. Plains Indian : OTOE
33. Posted announcement at a theater entrance : SRO
34. Andean capital : LIMA
35. Southernmost of the Ivies : PENN
36. Bass, e.g. : DEEPVOICE
40. Storage tower : SILO
43. Mount that has an insurance company named after it : ETNA
44. Commotion : ADO
47. Solvers' cries : AHAS
48. Film character who says "Give yourself to the dark side" : DARTHVADER
51. Poll worker's request : VOTERID
53. From the beginning: Lat. : DENOVO
54. Prefix with center : EPI
55. Nosy sort : SNOOP
58. ___ room (postdebate area) : SPIN
59. Prototype, maybe : DEMOVERSION
63. Item in Santa's bag : TOY
64. Exhaust : USEUP
65. Dim with tears : BLEAR
66. Closemouthed : MUM
67. Blog entries : POSTS
68. More or less, informally : SORTA
69. Letter before tee : ESS
1. Some schlumpy male physiques : DADBODS
2. Mistakenly : INERROR
3. "Sorry, Charlie!" : NOCANDO
4. Wicked cool : RAD
5. Dismiss abruptly : AXE
6. Favoritism : BIAS
7. Not just one or the other : BOTH
8. Arriver's cry : IMHERE
9. Online greeting : ECARD
10. Bud : PAL
11. "O.K., tell me more" : ILLBITE
12. The Tigers of the A.C.C. : CLEMSON
13. Pourer's instruction : SAYWHEN
19. Zig or zag : VEER
21. [This tastes awful!] : GAG
25. Prefix with commute : TELE
26. ___ Wilcox, daughter in E. M. Forster's "Howards End" : EVIE
28. Amazing, in slang : DOPE
30. Rapscallion : IMP
31. Road worker : PAVER
36. Rx detail : DOSE
37. Mel who was the first N.L.'er to hit 500 home runs : OTT
38. How many TV shows are shown nowadays : INHD
39. Give in : CAVE
40. Put some money away : SAVEDUP
41. "Fingers crossed!" : IHOPESO
42. SoCal daily : LATIMES
44. Sign on a real or virtual pet : ADOPTME
45. Tricky ... or a tricky description of 18-, 29-, 36-, 48- and 59-Across : DEVIOUS
46. Words and phrases that sound approximately alike, like "ice scream" and "I scream" : ORONYMS
48. Eat stylishly : DINE
49. Cute, in modern slang : ADORBS
50. Reply to a ques. : ANS
52. Replies to an invitation : RSVPS
56. ___ Accords (1990s peace agreements) : OSLO
57. Common fishing spot : PIER
60. Openly gay : OUT
61. ___ bran : OAT
62. Org. that sticks to its guns? : NRA

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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