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New York Times, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
204/1/20069/19/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3234521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59432
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 42 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Kwong. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Kwong notes:

There's a Ted Talk and a YouTube video to help explain this puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
Another puzzle from the crossword magician! I recently saw 'Now You See Me,' for which David was the lead magician. Talk about a ... read more

Another puzzle from the crossword magician! I recently saw "Now You See Me," for which David was the lead magician. Talk about a childhood dream to hand out business cards entitled LEAD MAGICIAN to Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg. Live the dream, David, live the dream.

Nice revealer today, A FAREWELL TO ARMS being both a perfect 15 and a way to describe wacky answers which had ARM removed. Usually the fun in these types of themes for me is enjoying the kookiness of the resulting phrases, but today I found the quest to understand the base phrase amusing. BURGLAR AL clearly starts with BURGLAR ALARM, but GENT DISTRICT was a little harder (GARMENT DISTRICT). Same with SNAKE ARMCHER, which was incredibly hard to suss out.

I jest, of course. Some say I charm. Mostly me, unfortunately.

So although DEATH WED OVER was the only one that wed me over — er, won me over, I enjoyed the wordplay and quest to find the base phrases. I did have an incredibly hard time finishing the puzzle, given the tough TORV and BWI crossing one of the harder to figure out themers. BWI I only know as the airport code for Baltimore's airport, and it turns out BWI also stands for Book Wholesalers, Inc.; who knew the Bahamas was such a literate place? Learn something new every day.

(British West Indies)

So given the tough entries and the difficulties I had in sussing out the phrases, I had my first DNF (did not finish) on a Tuesday in years. It's good to get a dose of humility every once in a while. I did appreciate some long fill like MOTOROLA (I still proudly show off my Razr, sadly) and RATTED ON. The construction is extremely challenging, given that the 9/12/15/12/9 represents a whopping 57 theme squares. All those interconnected areas produce difficult constraints, resulting in a few unfortunate entries such as NORW, AGOGO, SSW and ITA as direct results of all those necessary crossings. Perhaps a slightly less ambitious construction would have resulted in a smoother end product.

Finally, I appreciate when I learn something new from the crossword. I had never really thought of BUFF as a color, so it was neat to finally uncover. And I was supposed to have read Dante's The Divine Comedy in college, but I had a much more divine comedic college experience and failed to read past the title page. So it was fun to read up on the role Beatrice Portinari played in Dante's life!

ADDED NOTE: check out this blog post about the magic trick David integrated into the puzzle. Cool!

1
B
2
A
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D
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C
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O
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B
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B
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S
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M
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A
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R
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P
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C
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B
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L
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A
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G
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N
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C
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C
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C
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O
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G
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L
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D
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B
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C
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B
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K
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M
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0318 ( 23,506 )
Across
1
Corrupt : BAD
4
Outfielder Ty : COBB
8
Brainy : SMART
13
Amman's Queen ___ International Airport : ALIA
15
Law office worker, for short : PARA
16
Talented newbie : COMER
17
Home-invading Gore? : BURGLARAL
19
Opera's birthplace : ITALY
20
Response to "Are not!" : AMTOO
21
Señor chaser? : ITA
23
Elevator pioneer Elisha : OTIS
24
Area for aristocrats? : GENTDISTRICT
28
Mistake : BOOBOO
30
Bush's labor secretary : CHAO
31
Eight fluid ounces : CUP
32
Retrovirus material : RNA
34
Obstructs, as a pipe : CLOGS
38
W.W. I novel ... hinted at by 17-, 24-, 52- and 64-Across : AFAREWELLTOARMS
43
Liszt's "Consolation No. 3" is in it : DFLAT
44
Story of one's life : BIO
45
Irritating cry : CAW
46
Leading inits. in frozen desserts : TCBY
49
Visual gag character of British TV : MRBEAN
52
Exchange of vows again for the Grim Reaper? : DEATHWEDOVER
56
Railroad chartered in 1832 : ERIE
57
Old Testament prophecy book: Abbr. : ISA
58
"X-Men" character with blue fur : BEAST
62
Remove gradually : ERODE
64
Emmy, Oscar and Grammy-winning reptile? : SNAKECHER
67
Dwelling changes, in Realtor-speak : RELOS
68
"Don't take ___ seriously!" : ITSO
69
Oscar nominee Garr : TERI
70
Neighbor of Minneapolis : EDINA
71
Keep in check, with "in" : REIN
72
Explorer's aid : MAP
Down
1
Yeast cake made with rum : BABA
2
Eisenhower vis-à-vis West Point, informally : ALUM
3
Malicious gossip : DIRT
4
E-file preparer : CPA
5
Rower's need : OAR
6
Alternative to a ponytail : BRAID
7
Like Latvia or Lithuania : BALTIC
8
Discovery Channel subj. : SCI
9
Razr maker : MOTOROLA
10
One instrumental in history? : AMATI
11
Old object : RELIC
12
Secret meeting : TRYST
14
To the max, '60s-style : AGOGO
18
Editor Marshall of financial publications : LOEB
22
Residue in a fireplace : ASH
25
Oslo's home: Abbr. : NORW
26
Hue : TONE
27
Burrito alternative : TACO
28
Yellow-brown color : BUFF
29
Translucent gem : OPAL
31
Heel : CAD
33
Edmonton's province: Abbr. : ALB
35
Whale of a movie? : ORCA
36
Agent under Hoover, informally : GMAN
37
Yemen-to-Zimbabwe dir. : SSW
39
Turned in, in a way : RATTEDON
40
Help make an impression? : ETCH
41
Exec's car, maybe : LIMO
42
Star of "Fringe," Anna ___ : TORV
47
Home of the Bahamas, once: Abbr. : BWI
48
Emphatic affirmative : YESSIR
50
Early film star Daniels : BEBE
51
Put up : ERECT
52
Caterpillar rival : DEERE
53
Acted in a human way? : ERRED
54
Need for some fish dishes : AIOLI
55
Beatrice's adorer : DANTE
59
"Excuse me" : AHEM
60
Lab fluids : SERA
61
Excursion : TRIP
63
Finnish hockey star Tikkanen : ESA
65
"Try ___ might ..." : ASI
66
___-Tiki : KON

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

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