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New York Times, Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Author: Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
Jeff Chen
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
857/5/20106/28/201849
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467151878
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.634192

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 81 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: It's kind of ironic that I made this puzzle, given that my idea of cooking MARINARA is: Buy jar of Ragu Open said jar Find ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

It's kind of ironic that I made this puzzle, given that my idea of cooking MARINARA is:

  1. Buy jar of Ragu
  2. Open said jar
  3. Find spoon
  4. Eat sauce

It makes so much sense! You don't have to wash a bowl. You don't use any oven/microwave power. And then you can just lick the spoon and put it back into the drawer. Easy cleanup!

I hope my wife isn't reading this.

Jeff Chen notes: I so badly wanted the mixed-up ingredients to go vertically, each one intersecting MARINARA SAUCE (which would run horizontally ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I so badly wanted the mixed-up ingredients to go vertically, each one intersecting MARINARA SAUCE (which would run horizontally across the center of the puzzle). How cool would that have been, like each ingredient being dropped in! But it was not to be — I had a limited pool of options for each ingredient (ONION, TOMATO, GARLIC, HERBS, in case you didn't figure them out), and I couldn't get the symmetry to work out.

Gol durn crossword symmetry!

I even tried different "recipes" to get such a fortuitous interlock — PESTO SAUCE with BASIL, PINE NUTS, etc. was the closest to maybe possibly sorta kinda iffily working — but nothing would fully cooperate. Dratted PEN I STUN. Er, PINE NUTS.

To those who have never played ZORK, you have not lived. Okay, maybe you have, but still, ZORK was such an integral part of my childhood, a sort of augmented Choose Your Own Adventure that got me obsessed with computers and programming.

BTW, apologies to those who scratched their heads at the PROSODIC / ZORK crossing. I figured whether you're a techie or a fuzzy (engr/sci vs. humanities), you'd likely know one of them. (PROSODIC is related to "prose," so you should be able to suss it out, yeah?)

I always try to work in a bunch of bonus entries, pushing and pushing, hopefully stopping before having to hold the puzzle together with a bunch of ugly crossword glue. And although my efforts to draw from different areas so that there's something for everyone — MAKES BANK, MON CHERI, INKBLOTS, ARGONAUT cover a lot of ground — I couldn't resist putting in MC HAMMER, even though I had already worked in AEROSMITH.

What can I say, I love me some Hammer pants.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0314 ( 24,963 )
Across Down
1. Early maker of color TVs : RCA
4. Stereotypically "blind" official, for short : UMP
7. Like a cigar bar's atmosphere : SMOKY
12. "___ we there yet?" : ARE
13. Pioneering text adventure game : ZORK
15. Impervious to hackers : SECURE
16. Take dead aim at : ZEROINON
18. Kutcher who played Steve Jobs in "Jobs" : ASHTON
19. Locker room emanation : ODOR
20. CBS series that starred Gary Sinise : CSINY
22. Colloquial contraction : AINT
23. "Friends" character ___ Geller : ROSS
24. Breakfast order often containing cinnamon : HOTOATMEAL
26. Made a cattle call : MOOED
28. "Kapow!" : WHAM
29. Result of a successful squeeze bunt, for short : RBI
31. Jenner of reality TV : KRIS
33. Storytelling uncle of fiction : REMUS
37. Indoor stadium surface : ARTIFICIALGRASS
41. First in a line of 23 popes : JOHNI
42. Ancestry.com diagram : TREE
43. Jennings who wrote "Brainiac" : KEN
44. Garden hose annoyance : KNOT
47. "Hell if I know" : GOTME
49. A cappella genre : BARBERSHOP
53. Hieroglyphics snakes : ASPS
56. Fanzine favorite : IDOL
57. Spa amenity that originated in Finland : SAUNA
58. "Su-u-u-ure it is" : IBET
59. "Mr. ___" (1983 Styx hit) : ROBOTO
61. Sauce made from ingredients mixed up in 16-, 24-, 37- and 49-Across : MARINARA
63. Simpleton, disparagingly : CRETIN
64. Brewski : SUDS
65. Pres. advisory group : NSC
66. German state with Wiesbaden : HESSE
67. Recipe meas. : TSP
68. C major, for one : KEY
1. Whisker whacker : RAZOR
2. Words to live by : CREDO
3. Rock band fronted by Steven Tyler : AEROSMITH
4. Submachine gun designer ___ Gal : UZI
5. "My darling," in France : MONCHERI
6. Pertaining to the rhythm of speech : PROSODIC
7. French possessive : SES
8. "U Can't Touch This" rapper : MCHAMMER
9. Less common of two belly buttons : OUTIE
10. Icelandic money : KRONA
11. Cross-dressing role for Streisand : YENTL
14. Like a cardigan : KNIT
15. Request by someone with a tongue depressor : SAYAH
17. Words akin to "-ish" : ORSO
21. E.R.A.-backing grp. : NOW
25. Chain whose mascot is named Bullseye : TARGET
27. "All right, you win" : OKFINE
29. Indian-born character on "The Big Bang Theory" : RAJ
30. Dude : BRO
32. Plop down : SIT
34. Rakes in the dough : MAKESBANK
35. Put into play : USE
36. 123-45-6789, on a sample doc. : SSN
38. Symmetrical images in psychological tests : INKBLOTS
39. One of Jason's crew : ARGONAUT
40. Preyers on antelopes : LEOPARDS
45. Game show regular ___ Bean : ORSON
46. Org. with millimeter wave scanners : TSA
48. Major water line : MAIN
49. Source of bark for canoes : BIRCH
50. Be all googly-eyed over : ADORE
51. Choir attire : ROBES
52. Plays a kazoo : HUMS
54. In itself : PERSE
55. Keach of TV's "Man With a Plan" : STACY
60. Impossible Super Bowl outcome : TIE
62. AOL or MSN : ISP

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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