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New York Times, Saturday, March 15, 2014

Author:
Ed Sessa
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
379/10/200710/16/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4967452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64251
Edward Sessa

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {QVX} This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Sessa. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Edward Sessa notes:
With this puzzle there were four 'seed' words which I wanted to keep if possible, one in each section: HOLMESIAN, leading off the ... read more

With this puzzle there were four "seed" words which I wanted to keep if possible, one in each section: HOLMESIAN, leading off the puzzle in the NW, reminded me of the similarly eponymous KAFKAESQUE which had been used in the LAT, BRAIN FREEZE in the NE which would allow for a clue take-off on "cold comfort," BODACIOUS, in the SE, a portmanteau word ("bold" and "audacious"), and TWITTER JAIL in the SW. I wasn't sure this last entry would fly, and the puzzle was only provisionally accepted last June, as Will said he wanted to see if the phrase had "staying power." I hope solvers have some challenges and fun with this one.

Jeff Chen notes:
This puzzle was right up my alley. A pretty standard-ish layout with 70 words, but jam-packed with great entries, from the classic ... read more

This puzzle was right up my alley. A pretty standard-ish layout with 70 words, but jam-packed with great entries, from the classic HOLMESIAN all the way to the fantastic up-to-date TWITTER JAIL. For those of you not on Twitter, users are limited in their number of tweets per hour and per day, and those that go over (thus annoying the crud out of their followers) get put in TWITTER JAIL. Neat term. And for those of you who think it's impossible to go over 100/tweets an hour, someone I know recently got put in TWITTER JAIL after the explosion around her book deal. Amusing that she had to ask a friend to post that she wanted to respond to each tweet but couldn't.

When I first started choosing Puzzle of the Week selections, I thought I would tend to select more Thursdays, because I like when constructors break the rules. But I've come to realize that I really appreciate Saturdays, especially the fact that the constructors and Will really up their ante when it comes to cleverness of clues. I really enjoyed the clue echo of [A line, e.g.], and [A lines, e.g.], neither of which had to do with the A-line dress.

Even the clues for some of the shorter ones: [How the description of most things usually end?] was very clever for EST, in the sense of clever, cleverer, and cleverEST. Nice to interpret the word "most" in an unexpected way.

Typically ULEE is not something I like to see in a grid, but when it's combined with BEEKEEPER ("Ulee's Gold" is a crossword classic due to the friendly nature of the ULEE pattern) I like the echo as well as the insider's nod to the crosswordy bit.

The only hitch I had was at the AUDIE / AARE crossing, but thankfully I've seen the AARE river enough in crosswords that it's nearly automatic (again, very crossword-friendly combination of letters). And from a construction standpoint, I love MUTANTS, but I wonder if a pair of cheater squares where the S is (and symmetrically the T of TAMARIN) would have allowed for a smoothing out of TBAR, RELET, and ARPEL all in the same little section. I love TAMARIN as an answer though, so the trade-off would have to be pretty good.

Saving my favorite for last, the answer and clue pair for KISSY FACE was great. "Smacked" had me thinking it was something offensive which would initiate a slap, and even when I got the KISS pat of the answer, it took me a while to see KISSY FACE. All in all, a really nice grid with some feature entries and more than a handful of wordplay clues. Beautiful stuff.

1
H
2
O
3
L
4
M
5
E
6
S
7
I
8
A
9
N
10
T
11
B
12
A
13
R
14
S
15
A
T
A
G
L
A
N
C
E
16
A
R
P
E
L
17
K
I
S
S
Y
F
A
C
E
18
M
A
P
L
E
19
E
S
T
20
S
E
N
T
21
H
A
I
L
E
D
22
T
I
L
E
23
H
O
R
N
E
T
S
24
S
25
U
26
B
W
A
Y
27
S
E
R
I
F
S
28
A
L
A
I
N
29
H
U
M
A
N
R
A
30
C
31
E
32
C
E
N
T
33
W
A
R
P
S
34
E
U
R
O
35
S
E
A
T
36
M
A
T
E
S
37
P
E
C
A
N
38
N
E
U
T
E
R
39
D
O
Z
E
N
S
40
S
41
M
A
R
T
E
D
42
A
A
R
E
43
T
I
P
J
A
R
44
B
U
M
S
45
C
46
R
47
U
48
P
A
E
A
N
49
B
O
D
A
C
50
I
O
U
S
51
A
T
E
I
T
52
I
R
I
S
H
M
O
S
S
53
T
A
L
L
S
54
B
E
E
K
E
E
P
E
R
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0315 ( 23,503 )
Across
1
Like some methods of detection : HOLMESIAN
10
Winter athletes' pull-ups? : TBARS
15
Without requiring scrutiny : ATAGLANCE
16
Last name in the skin care industry : ARPEL
17
Indication that one wants to get smacked : KISSYFACE
18
Producer of "whirlybirds" : MAPLE
19
How the descriptions of most things usually end? : EST
20
Cast : SENT
21
Like many taxis : HAILED
22
Bathhouse square : TILE
23
N.B.A. team starting in 1988 : HORNETS
24
A line, e.g. : SUBWAY
27
A lines, e.g. : SERIFS
28
"Essays in Love" writer ___ de Botton : ALAIN
29
People everywhere : HUMANRACE
32
Since 2010 it's had a shield on its back : CENT
33
Buckles : WARPS
34
Jack for Jacques? : EURO
35
Two or three in a row, say : SEATMATES
37
Texas state tree : PECAN
38
Prevent from having anything? : NEUTER
39
What cookies are often baked in : DOZENS
40
Stung : SMARTED
42
Swiss bank depositor? : AARE
43
Spare change collector : TIPJAR
44
Spare change collectors : BUMS
45
Vineyard, in Vichy : CRU
48
Song of exultation : PAEAN
49
Sexy : BODACIOUS
51
Failed in a big way : ATEIT
52
Seaweed used in home brewing : IRISHMOSS
53
Some men's sizes : TALLS
54
One controlling drones : BEEKEEPER
Down
1
Relative of a haddock : HAKE
2
Uplifting company? : OTIS
3
Bad way to finish : LAST
4
Classic two-seaters : MGS
5
Blissful : ELYSIAN
6
Without incident, say : SAFELY
7
Lacking a point : INANE
8
A teller might update it: Abbr. : ACCT
9
Connection between Obama and Robinson? : NEE
10
Member of the marmoset family : TAMARIN
11
Cold discomfort, of sorts : BRAINFREEZE
12
Poppycock : APPLESAUCE
13
Found new tenants for : RELET
14
Polar bearers? : SLEDS
21
They're often accompanied by "Hava Nagila" : HORAS
22
Penalty for some overly prolific posters : TWITTERJAIL
23
Rope and dope sources : HEMPS
24
Body bags? : SACS
25
Title 54-Across of film : ULEE
26
Skin behind a slip, perhaps : BANANAPEEL
27
Less likely to have waffles : SURER
29
Like supervillains : HATED
30
Grape, Cherry or Strawberry lead-in : CRAN
31
A lot of the time? : EONS
33
Need for life : WATER
36
Staples of Marvel Comics : MUTANTS
37
Cayenne producer : PORSCHE
39
Velvety pink : DAMASK
40
Annual winter honoree, briefly : STPAT
41
Modern two-seater : MIATA
42
Murphy of "To Hell and Back" : AUDIE
44
"Zzz" inducer : BORE
45
Something to buy into : COOP
46
Device : RUSE
47
Miracle on Ice loser of '80 : USSR
49
Crab house accessory : BIB
50
"___ Wed" (2007 Erica Durance movie) : IME

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?