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# New York Times, Friday, March 17, 2017

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3449640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.597100

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {QWXZ} Spans: 4, (2 double stacks) Grid has up-down mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
In the version of this puzzle that I sent to the Times, each of the 'foolish' answers had its own clue — e.g., [___ straw] for ... read more

In the version of this puzzle that I sent to the Times, each of the "foolish" answers had its own clue — e.g., [___ straw] for SILLY. INANE was clued as [Synonym for four of this puzzle's answers...or, with two spaces, how those answers are arranged]. Even after sending in the grid, I was uncertain whether Will and the solvers would accept SENSELESS as a synonym for INANE, so I was glad to see the final version elegantly sidestep this issue.

(Fun fact: the quotation in 24-Down's clue follows the line "I am too childish-foolish for this world.")

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat mini-theme — did you catch the giant E made of INANE words? I've highlighted them below. Fun to parse INANE as IN AN E, ... read more

Neat mini-theme — did you catch the giant E made of INANE words? I've highlighted them below. Fun to parse INANE as IN AN E, accurately describing the shape.

Top-bottom symmetry is rare. Will has rejected one of mine where I've used up-down symmetry, saying that it just looks odd. (I tend to agree, looking back on it.) I like the novel image today's presents, but my left-right eyes want me to turn my head 90 degrees so that symmetry will be more pleasing.

At first, I wondered why Jacob didn't use regular crossword symmetry — or even left-right — by shifting the giant E one space over to the right. But that would have forced him to use a symmetrical answer to SENSELESS, requiring a Y???Y???Y pattern. I couldn't find anything that would work with all those pesky Ys.

Stupid crossword gods!

As much as I like the INANE IN AN E notion, I felt like EMPTY and SAPPY didn't quite hit home. Yes, both are in the thesaurus for INANE, but it would have felt much more powerful to me if somehow Jacob could have used ABSURD, ASININE, DAFT, STUPID, etc. (I didn't mind SENSELESS as much as Jacob did.)

Stupid English language, not conforming to what crossword constructors want!

I can see why Will ran this as a "themeless," as it would have felt like a very thin theme on a Wednesday or Thursday. And there were some nice bonuses like MADE TO LAST and ON THE SLY.

Themelesses are rarely done with left-right (or up-down) symmetry because normal symmetry allows for so many more long grid entries in general — the typical themeless uses a set of triple-stacked long answers in each corner, which left-right (or up-down) symmetry does not allow.

Jacob does well to get in four grid-spanning entries, but none of them did much for me. Along with some minor LPS, SRS, LTRS, ETDS, ETAS holding it all together, it didn't give me the same impact as a typical themeless.

Tough, when you have to work with that inflexible giant E formed in the center of the grid.

Wish the a-ha moment had been stronger, but I do like the creative thinking here.

Jim Horne notes:

This is only the third NYT crossword with up-down mirror symmetry. Here are the first two.

 1H 2A 3H 4A 5R 6A 7M 8P 9S 10G 11A 12M 13E 14E T A S 15A T A R I 16A M I S 17L T R S 18M A D E T 19O L A S T 20L E D 21S I L L Y 22V I T A E 23O N T 24H E S L Y 25J U L E P S 26D O I N 27C O M E U P 28B A S E S 29A 30L 31A R Y 32E R R 33S 34A N T 35E M P T Y 36F O R 37M C A 38L L I S T E 39R 40S O P S 41E R I E 42R A 43P T O R 44A S B E S 45T 46O 47S 48P A R T I 49I 50S H O 51S A P P 52Y 53L A B A N 54K E A 55N 56T R I O 57S O N A T A 58M E R E 59A A N D P 60G L E N 61E T D S 62S H E A F 63E L S E
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0317 ( 24,601 )
Across
1. "Hilarious!" : HAHA
5. Flight alternatives : RAMPS
10. Tag, for example : GAME
14. HH : ETAS
15. Centipede creator : ATARI
16. "Lionel Asbo: State of England" novelist, 2012 : AMIS
17. Some paperwork: Abbr. : LTRS
20. Ran : LED
21. Foolish : SILLY
22. Curriculum ___ : VITAE
23. Sub rosa : ONTHESLY
25. Bourbon drinks : JULEPS
26. Off : DOIN
27. Arise : COMEUP
28. Amount before bonuses : BASESALARY
32. Slips : ERRS
34. Hill dweller : ANT
35. Foolish : EMPTY
36. Dedicated to : FOR
37. Fort ___ (Civil War landmark near Savannah) : MCALLISTER
40. Gravy go-withs : SOPS
41. City on Amtrak's Boston-to-Chicago line : ERIE
42. Osprey, for one : RAPTOR
44. Once-common building material : ASBESTOS
48. Sequel : PARTII
50. "Homeland" airer, for short : SHO
51. Foolish : SAPPY
53. Jacob's father-in-law : LABAN
54. Thomas who headed the 9/11 Commission : KEAN
56. Bach's "Musical Offering" includes one : TRIOSONATA
58. Simple : MERE
59. Supermarket chain until 2015 : AANDP
60. ___ Rock, N.J. : GLEN
61. Displays near gates, briefly : ETDS
62. Stack of papers : SHEAF
63. "Who ___?" : ELSE
Down
1. When its second syllable is drawn out, "Are you out of your mind?!" : HELLO
2. Skipping record? : ATTENDANCESHEET
3. Command for turning sharply right : HARDTOSTARBOARD
4. Biblical mount : ASS
5. "Groundhog Day" director : RAMIS
6. Whatsoever : ATALL
7. How one might fall in love : MADLY
8. Hunted : PREY
9. Be idle : SIT
10. Region bordering Lebanon : GALILEE
11. Recreational soccer, to Brits : AMATEURFOOTBALL
12. Embezzles, e.g. : MISAPPROPRIATES
13. ___ Park : ESTES
19. Sex-ed subject : OVUM
21. Foolish : SENSELESS
24. "___ thee to hell for shame": "Richard III" : HIE
25. Beatitude : JOY
27. Jon of "Two and a Half Men" : CRYER
28. Comic book sound effect : BAM
29. Question in response to an insult, maybe : AMI
30. Some wax : LPS
31. Phone inits. : ATT
33. Top class: Abbr. : SRS
38. Be idle : LIE
39. Grammy category : RAP
40. Off : STRANGE
43. ___ Alto : PALO