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New York Times, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
511/3/20137/29/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
315149460
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59043
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 NYT ... read more

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 ten ... read more

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
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
Down
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?