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New York Times, Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Author:
Freddie Cheng
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
77/12/20107/4/20180
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1222000
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1.62000
Freddie Cheng

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 39 Missing: {FJQ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Cheng. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Freddie Cheng notes:
This puzzle, which I like to call 'Eve All About', was submitted 2 years ago in March 2014, aiming for a Monday audience (I missed). I ... read more

This puzzle, which I like to call "Eve All About", was submitted 2 years ago in March 2014, aiming for a Monday audience (I missed). I guess KEROGEN and KOPECK ruined it for a Monday…

The revealer / idea really just came out of the blue. With that in hand, the remaining theme entries followed quickly, though the symmetrical EVEs around the grid took some work to get a clean fill. After finishing the fill however, an "Uh-oh" moment struck me during cluing, when I realized that Americans rarely used EVEN STEVENS to mean "balanced", but instead used EVEN STEVEN. The former is much more common in the UK where I'm from, so it didn't even occur to me till then that I had a problem. Luckily, after a frantic Google search, I was rescued by the Disney TV series of the same name, and in the process learned quite a bit about its etymology.

As for EVEL KNIEVEL, I remember seeing him in his snazzy outfits on TV when I was a kid, and thinking, "Hey, that doesn't look too difficult, I can jump 20 double-decker buses easy, what's the big deal?!" That's the amazing thing about a child's mind — nothing's ever impossible, and, anything goes. Luckily for me, I only had a push-bike to experiment with…

About half of the clues survived the editing process, and that's a good ratio for me. Pro-skater Tony HAWK didn't make the cut (rightly so, since it would have made that area too difficult), but "Tri and tri again?" for HEXA did. Personal favorite entries: PETPEEVES / SEALEVELS. Note: even though in real life the first bothers us a heck of a lot more than the second, we should really pay a lot more attention to the second!

Jeff Chen notes:
Freddie interprets ALL ABOUT EVE to mean 'place 15 instances of EVE in the puzzle.' I often have trouble with this sort of concept, as ... read more

Freddie interprets ALL ABOUT EVE to mean "place 15 instances of EVE in the puzzle." I often have trouble with this sort of concept, as the jam-packing usually necessitates all sorts of gluey bits, and it can result in an underwhelming payoff. But today, I enjoyed seeing all those EVEs strewn about. Although it's not the hardest trigram to incorporate (what with those two Es), that V does make it non-trivial. And there's something kind of mesmerizing about all those EVEs jumping out at you.

EVEL KNIEVEL's skycycle. Bad ass!

I liked many of the long entries Freddie chose containing EVE — NEVER MIND and PET PEEVES are excellent. It's also fun that EVEN STEVENS, EVEL KNIEVEL, and SEVEN ELEVEN all contain two instances apiece, but EVEN STEVENS feels a bit outdated (show ended in 2003 after only a few years), and I always see the convenience store written as 7 ELEVEN.

Although there are quite a few EVEs in shorties like EVENT, SIEVE, and ALEVE, I appreciate that Freddie stuck to all fine entries (no MEVE, EVEA, NIEVE kind of ugly bits).

There were some gluey bits, no doubt. Starting with ESSO is passable (it's a major brand in Canada), but when you need OLEO and ALEE and HEXA before leaving that NW section, that adds up. It's too bad there was a concentration right at the start, because the rest of the puzzle was pretty smooth, aside from an ANO crossing ENERO and a random STEN. It's not easy at all to pack in so many trigrams, so it's not a bad result.

(I loved the clue for HEXA: [Tri and tri again?]. It still doesn't erase HEXA as a piece of crossword glue, but that wordplay sure did give me a smile).

KEROGEN is an interesting word. Even having a decent science background, I needed every crossing word (thankfully Freddie laid it out so every cross was easy!). Given how much press fracking gets, I'm surprised I haven't come across this term before today. Glad to add it to my vocabulary.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0301 ( 24,220 )
Across
1. "Put a tiger in your tank" brand : ESSO
5. One watching very, very closely : HAWK
9. Egyptian vipers : ASPS
13. Theater ticket price factor : TIER
14. Bread spread : OLEO
15. Like the Parthenon : GREEK
16. Tri and tri again? : HEXA
17. Ooze : SEEP
18. Fine Cremona violin : AMATI
19. 2000-03 Disney Channel series with Shia LaBeouf : EVENSTEVENS
22. Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" : LPS
23. Pigeon's perch : LEDGE
24. High-stress hosp. area : ICU
25. Follower of wye : ZEE
26. Daredevil who survived more than 400 bone fractures : EVELKNIEVEL
31. Not socially acceptable : UNPC
35. Dawn goddess : EOS
36. Advil competitor : ALEVE
37. Oil-producing matter in shale : KEROGEN
39. User names on Twitter : HANDLES
41. Each and ___ : EVERY
42. Extension for the White House website : GOV
43. Number two: Abbr. : ASST
44. Place to buy a Slurpee : SEVENELEVEN
48. Like most Twizzlers : RED
49. Accept, as losses : EAT
50. "Eek!" : YIPES
55. Watergate monogram : RMN
56. 1950 Bette Davis film hinting at something found 15 times in this puzzle : ALLABOUTEVE
59. Chat up at a bar, say : HITON
61. Missing, militarily : AWOL
62. W.W. II British gun : STEN
63. 56-Down opener : ENERO
64. Some shortening : LARD
65. ___ Health magazine : MENS
66. Throws in : ADDS
67. Affirmations to captains : AYES
68. Art Deco designer of the 1920s and '30s : ERTE
Down
1. Merman of song and stage : ETHEL
2. Forty-niner's tool : SIEVE
3. Birds-and-the-bees class : SEXED
4. Sumatran swinger, informally : ORANG
5. Chris Rock, for the 2016 Oscars : HOST
6. Sailor's heading : ALEE
7. Plantation pests : WEEVILS
8. Fraction of a ruble : KOPECK
9. Fjord vis-à-vis an ocean : ARM
10. Things that are rising globally, according to scientists : SEALEVELS
11. Personal annoyances : PETPEEVES
12. Super G needs : SKIS
15. "What a ___!" : GAS
20. "Get it?" : SEE
21. Certain rosary counter : NUN
25. Nintendo video game princess : ZELDA
27. Shape of some shirt necks : VEE
28. It's been a long time : EON
29. Sir ___ McKellen (Gandalf portrayer) : IAN
30. For fear that : LEST
31. Luau music makers, for short : UKES
32. "Forget I said that" : NEVERMIND
33. Stopped : PREVENTED
34. Hollowed out, as an apple : CORED
38. Ob-___ : GYN
39. Kind of lane for car-poolers : HOV
40. "___ Maria" : AVE
42. Quick vacation : GETAWAY
45. Prey for a barracuda : EEL
46. Syllables delivered with fingers in the ears : LALALA
47. Greenwich Village sch. : NYU
51. Response to "Who's there?" : ITSME
52. Flying Pan : PETER
53. High jump or 4 x 100-meter relay : EVENT
54. Brains : SENSE
55. Cousin of an ostrich : RHEA
56. Year, in Uruguay : ANO
57. Snoozer : BORE
58. Bygone G.M. car, appropriately enough : OLDS
60. Surgery sites, briefly : ORS

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

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