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New York Times, Monday, March 11, 2019

Author:
Trent Evans
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
39/3/20188/30/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0200010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54000
Trent H. Evans

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 37 Missing: {JKQXZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Evans. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Trent H. Evans notes:
Perhaps some will say this theme is OLD NEWS. Others may say it is AWFUL GOOD. Either is a DEFINITE POSSIBILITY. When I sent in the ... read more

Perhaps some will say this theme is OLD NEWS. Others may say it is AWFUL GOOD. Either is a DEFINITE POSSIBILITY. When I sent in the FINAL DRAFT of this puzzle, I thought it had REAL POTENTIAL, but likely faced EVEN ODDS for acceptance. So I was TERRIBLY PLEASED when I got the good news it would be in the New York Times. NOTHING MUCH beats that feeling. I'm FAR CLOSER to where I'd like to be as a constructor thanks to the expert guidance of Will and his team. This is BITTERSWEET for me since my father Ron passed late last year before he was able to see my puzzles published in the Times. GOOD GRIEF was he a SERIOUSLY FUNNY guy.

I like the challenge of constructing Monday puzzles because it's HARDLY EASY to make them clean, interesting, and accessible to new solvers. ONCE AGAIN, it's a privilege to have the chance to give you a moment or two of entertainment as you start your week. I hope you enjoy the puzzle. I have a FEW MORE on the way.

Also, I got a puppy since last you heard from me. His name is Donut. He is far more entertaining than any crossword puzzle could hope to be. My kids are trying to make him Instagram-famous. Follow him if you like! @mydonutlife #shamelessplug

Jeff Chen notes:
This puzzle is no GENUINE IMITATION! Wait. I didn't mean to say that. Or maybe I did. I'm such an (oxy)moron. Four (awful) good ... read more

This puzzle is no GENUINE IMITATION! Wait. I didn't mean to say that. Or maybe I did. I'm such an (oxy)moron.

Four (awful) good oxymorons featured today. It's tough for me to get excited about straight-up oxymoron themes, given how many puzzles I've made about them, and how many people have asked me for help with their own oxymoron puzzle. There are tons of lists out there, chock full of hundreds of oppositional phrases, including one that's my go-to.

Although I liked the four Trent chose, I did hitch on FOUND MISSING, as it made me think right away of pictures on milk cartons. As a parent, I don't want any hint of that in my five minutes of recreation. (It was also on the aforementioned list, so no points for freshness, either.)

Execellent execution on the grid. It's rare that I fly through a Monday so quickly; such buttery smoothness. Even after a second pass, I couldn't find anything even minorly objectionable in the fill. It's common to have just one or two blips but to have zero deserves high kudos.

And jazzy long fill, too. LIP BALM and WAR HERO are excellent. STATE LAW and MONEY PIT! Even NO DICE and FUDGED were fun. The added spice was much appreciated, especially given my oxymoron burn-out.

Check out what Trent did with his themers. Instead of alternating left-right-left-right, he has two on the left, then two on the right. That often makes for a tougher construction job. Here, it (indirectly) led to having to segment the grid up into a top mini-puzzle and a second bottom one. Not ideal — solving flow is compromised.

It also made it tougher to work in long downs, since it's much easier to have a long down go through just one themer rather than two. I bet Trent could have worked in even more long bonuses — and even juicier than the ones he had — if he had used standard themer alternation.

Overall, nice work. I'm always happy with a smooth, well-crafted Monday grid. I bet most newer solvers won't have encountered oxymorons as much as I have so the impact may be stronger for many.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0311 ( 25,325 )
Across
1
Cause of an infant's crying : COLIC
6
Back talk : SASS
10
The first "N" of CNN : NEWS
14
Chicago air hub : OHARE
15
Voice below soprano : ALTO
16
Lena of Hollywood : OLIN
17
Zombies : LIVINGDEAD
19
Eat fancily : DINE
20
Like bread and newlyweds, maybe : TOASTED
21
Pudding ingredient from the cassava root : TAPIOCA
23
"Dallas" matriarch : ELLIE
25
Had a role in a movie or play : ACTED
26
Like a concert album : RECORDEDLIVE
31
Fragrance : ODOR
32
One-named Grammy winner for "Soldier of Love" : SADE
33
Hip-hop's ___ Wayne : LIL
36
ChapStick product : LIPBALM
40
Recipient of a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart : WARHERO
42
Spike who won a 2018 Oscar : LEE
43
Where Santa lands : ROOF
45
Bard of ___ (Shakespeare) : AVON
46
Like a stolen object, when it's not where it's supposed to be : FOUNDMISSING
50
Perfect grade : APLUS
53
Wear away, as soil : ERODE
54
In a crass way : CRUDELY
56
Freestyle skiing jumps : AERIALS
61
Purchase before popping the question : RING
62
Supposedly unknown but actually well-known fact : OPENSECRET
64
Beat narrowly, with "out" : EDGE
65
What clocks keep : TIME
66
Who lives at the North Pole, in reality : NOONE
67
No. 1 ___ (tournament favorite) : SEED
68
Variety of poker : STUD
69
Establish, as a university chair : ENDOW
Down
1
Indianapolis footballer : COLT
2
Separator of Indiana and Pennsylvania : OHIO
3
Volcano's spew : LAVA
4
Colored part of the eye : IRIS
5
Tallest player on a basketball team, typically : CENTER
6
Equestrian's seat : SADDLE
7
Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE
8
Measure after the governor's signature : STATELAW
9
Soft drink : SODA
10
"Not gonna happen!" : NODICE
11
Poet T. S. ___ : ELIOT
12
Facial reaction to pain : WINCE
13
Golfer Sam with a record 82 P.G.A. Tour wins : SNEAD
18
Neuter, as a male horse : GELD
22
One finishing a road : PAVER
24
Driver's licenses and passports, for short : IDS
26
Toilet paper unit : ROLL
27
Falco of "The Sopranos" : EDIE
28
Deal (with) : COPE
29
Spherical body : ORB
30
Ore-___ (brand of tater tots) : IDA
33
Jeans maker Strauss : LEVI
34
Remove wrinkles from : IRON
35
What "L" stands for in pant sizes : LONG
37
Got up : AROSE
38
"Skip to My ___" : LOU
39
Interminably expensive project : MONEYPIT
41
Possesses : HAS
44
Only four-term prez : FDR
46
Wasn't exact with, as facts : FUDGED
47
Made a ghostly sound : MOANED
48
Middle-of-the-month day : IDES
49
Tranquil : SERENE
50
Land measures : ACRES
51
Pack of lions : PRIDE
52
Sudden move in fencing : LUNGE
55
Land parcels : LOTS
57
Symbol on a computer screen : ICON
58
Former Yankee slugger, familiarly : AROD
59
Jay who preceded Jimmy Fallon : LENO
60
Ratatouille, e.g. : STEW
63
Relative of an ostrich : EMU

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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