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New York Times, Saturday, March 19, 2016

Author:
Byron Walden
Editor:
Will Shortz
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1001192617
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1.59321
Byron Walden

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 62, Blocks: 26 Missing: {BKQX} Spans: 1 Average word length: 6.42 This is puzzle # 79 for Mr. Walden. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Byron Walden notes:
This one was in the oven for a long time, as one might imagine. It was about half-filled last year when Will asked me to construct for ... read more

This one was in the oven for a long time, as one might imagine. It was about half-filled last year when Will asked me to construct for the ACPT finals. I thought about trying to finish this one for the finals puzzle, but it looked like it would take too much work to finish in time, and was a little too name-heavy at that point. The actual finals puzzle ended up being about as much work, and even more name-heavy. Shows how much I know.

I was very tempted to clue ZELDA FITZGERALD as the inspiration for the Eagles' "Witchy Woman," but opted for the clue as is, to clue her by an accomplishment, and possibly misdirect a few solvers into trying SCOTT instead. He really should have dropped the F. off his name if he wanted more crossword love. Hemingway clearly was way ahead of him in that regard.

Jeff Chen notes:
Byron's byline on a wide-open, low word-count puzzle always brings me eager anticipation, but I also brace myself for the challenge to ... read more

Byron's byline on a wide-open, low word-count puzzle always brings me eager anticipation, but I also brace myself for the challenge to come. This 62-worder, using only two cheater squares (before NUDISTS and after PASSERS), is such a tough construction. It makes me shudder to look at all that blank white space. I've tried a few of these, but have only gotten results I've liked by adding in a few more cheater squares. Otherwise, I've needed too many ugly gluey bits to hold it all together.

Green Lantern's weakness is ... the color yellow. Yes, totally lame!

That NE is magical — four great answers stacked atop each other, including NUDISTS on a LOVE SEAT (eew!)? And not a gluey bit in sight? That's perhaps the best corner I've ever seen out of an ultra-low word count themeless.

I also really liked the NW, with SCHMALTZ crossing ZELDA FITZGERALD (no offense implied, I'm sure). It wasn't as sparkly for me as the NE, given that THEODORE is more neutral than an asset, but still, there are some great long entries along with nary a drop of crossword glue.

The other corners didn't quite hold up in my eyes, maybe because the bar was so high by then. I was an avid comic book reader — okay, fine, still am! — so I was overjoyed to break into the SW so easily with SINISTRO. Only, that was misspelled. And even for me, SINESTRO is plunging pretty deep into the DC Comics universe. NO SEE is obviously a partial, and the combination of MOPERS / PASSERS is pretty inelegant. The latter is likely legit, as I can maybe imagine it being used in Sunday football commentary, but all those Es and Ss in a crucial bottom slot make it feel like a crutch.

And ENGIRT … let's let that "old-style" term fade into days of old. MICHELLE WIE makes for a lovely entry, but the W sure constrains the entire SE corner.

Love the Byronesque clues, [Brushed instrument] for SNARE my favorite. Nothing to do with a kitchen implement — a SNARE drum often gets played with brushes in jazz.

I like the audacious construction challenge, and the top half was spectacular.

1
S
2
T
3
J
4
U
5
D
6
E
7
N
8
U
9
D
10
I
11
S
12
T
13
S
14
C
H
E
N
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N
15
L
O
V
E
S
E
A
T
16
H
E
A
V
E
D
17
O
N
E
L
L
A
M
A
18
M
O
N
E
T
S
19
S
C
A
L
A
W
A
G
20
A
D
A
S
H
21
M
I
I
22
S
N
A
R
E
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L
O
U
T
24
S
A
N
T
25
A
26
D
Y
A
D
27
T
R
E
E
28
H
U
G
G
I
N
29
G
30
Z
E
L
D
A
F
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T
Z
G
E
31
R
32
A
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L
34
D
35
M
I
C
H
E
L
L
E
W
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36
A
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M
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F
39
M
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S
C
E
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S
E
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T
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M
A
R
O
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N
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H
P
S
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J
U
D
G
E
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P
R
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P
O
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S
A
L
48
H
A
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D
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S
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T
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E
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G
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U
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W
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53
P
A
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54
S
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D
G
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S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0319 ( 24,238 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Patron for the desperate : STJUDE
7. Ones seeking maximum exposure? : NUDISTS
14. ___ blanc (wine variety) : CHENIN
15. Couples' soft spot? : LOVESEAT
16. Threw : HEAVED
17. A priest, not a beast : ONELLAMA
18. "The Magpie" and "Grainstack" : MONETS
19. Bounder : SCALAWAG
20. Not much, in recipes : ADASH
21. Early second-millennium year : MII
22. Brushed instrument : SNARE
23. Vulgarian : LOUT
24. Stocking stuffer : SANTA
26. Brace : DYAD
27. Extremely green : TREEHUGGING
30. "Save Me the Waltz" novelist, 1932 : ZELDAFITZGERALD
35. 2014 U.S. Women's Open winner : MICHELLEWIE
36. Band options : AMFM
40. "And ... ___!" : SCENE
41. Enraptured : SENT
42. Comedian Marc who recorded a memorable podcast with President Obama : MARON
44. Some PCs : HPS
45. Bench warmer? : JUDGE
46. Tender : PROPOSAL
48. Set : HARDEN
49. Green Lantern's archenemy : SINESTRO
50. Surrounded, old-style : ENGIRT
51. Yet to be imagined : UNDREAMT
52. Twerp : WIENIE
53. QBs, at times : PASSERS
54. Rush relatives : SEDGES
Down
1. Bathos : SCHMALTZ
2. Presidential first name : THEODORE
3. "The Land of Painted Caves" author, 2011 : JEANAUEL
4. Not yet available, as a stock : UNVESTED
5. "And how ___ the wise man? as the fool": Ecclesiastes 2:16 : DIETH
6. Modern synonym for 5-Down : ENDS
7. Aliens : NONCITIZENS
8. Pigmented layer : UVEA
9. Some PCs : DELLS
10. Christmas or Easter, for example : ISLAND
11. Main passage : SEAWAY
12. Good name for a girl who procrastinates? : TAMARA
13. Like heists and operas : STAGED
15. Getting totally confused, idiomatically : LOSINGTHEPLOT
21. Mojos : MAGICCHARMS
24. Eastern mystics : SUFIS
25. Point of view : ANGLE
28. Croque-monsieur ingredient : HAM
29. Set : GEL
31. Came back strong : RESURGED
32. 1978 Robert Altman comedy with Desi Arnaz Jr. and Carol Burnett : AWEDDING
33. Department store department : LINGERIE
34. Global warming periods? : DETENTES
36. Charges : AMPSUP
37. Berth site : MARINA
38. Fans of pharaohs? : FRONDS
39. Ones with a lot of down time? : MOPERS
43. Long time follower? : NOSEE
45. Who's "got a gun" in a 1989 Aerosmith hit : JANIE
47. Common newspaper name : STAR
48. Chops : HEWS

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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