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New York Times, Friday, March 21, 2014

Author: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor: Will Shortz
Brendan Emmett Quigley
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1788/7/19965/6/201816
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354152017472614
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1.635213

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {Q} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 161 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brendan Emmett Quigley notes: Sometimes you stumble upon a word (entry) that has to appear in The New York Times crossword and you can probably guess which entry that is.
Jeff Chen notes: BEQ! If you haven't read his story on how he came up with a brain-bending ACPT puzzle 5 (typically the hardest one, designed to ... more
Jeff Chen notes: BEQ! If you haven't read his story on how he came up with a brain-bending ACPT puzzle 5 (typically the hardest one, designed to spread the field), you owe it to yourself to do so. It's hard enough to come up with something that's never been done before, but to do it under the vice-like pressure of a ridiculously short deadline? My hat is off to THE MAN.

The thing I like the most about the ACPT is getting a chance to hang out with everyone, but especially the other constructors. It's so fascinating to chat over a beer and hear what others have to say about construction philosophy, what's working for them and what isn't. It was really fun to chat with BEQ about his previous Sunday puzzle, which he kind of shrugged at and I thought was really good. He comes at construction from an interesting perspective, in that he's a professional puzzle-maker, making a living doing it. Anyway, super fun to share thoughts with one of the greats.

On to the puzzle. As with all his themelesses, he packs all sorts of goodness in. When I emailed him about this puzzle (see his Note above) I honestly wasn't sure which word he was talking about. Both of us being music sorts (me a faker these days), CRUMHORN was up there for me. Turns out he was talking about BETWEEN TWO FERNS, which I had just recently heard about.

I had a super-hard time figuring out that central down entry, so I went over to Funny or Die to check out the show. I do like current entries in my crosswords, but I personally don't care for them if they don't have staying power. It's simply a personal preference, but I like my crosswords to have a classic feel, like they're regal, in a way (I also like them to be Reagle, BTW). And man oh man did I laugh, watching the clip of Galifiankis "interviewing" President Obama. I can't believe I haven't watched this before, and fully approve. Congrats BEQ, for being the one to debut it.

There are a couple of clunker entries like ONERS and ULT and IN A PET (which probably is a real saying but feels so weird to me), but they're few and far in between. Overall, I loved seeing the gimme [Enemy of Cobra] as it brought back many memories of me and my brother watching hours of cartoons when we were supposed to be doing homework. And I'm sure some people won't care for BESSEMER, but being a mechanical engineer, I plopped it in with pride. Toss my favorite entry and clue pair, [One learning how to refine oils?] for ART MAJOR and you get an entertaining Friday puzzle.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0321 ( 23,509 )
Across Down
1. Spa supplies : TOWELS
7. Sir Henry ___, pioneer in steelmaking : BESSEMER
15. Sulky : INAPET
16. Getting-off point : EXITLANE
17. Household : MENAGE
18. Drink made with tequila, rum, vodka, gin, bourbon, triple sec, sweet-and-sour mix and Coke : TEXASTEA
19. Contractor's fig. : EST
20. Edward who was dubbed "The Dark Prophet" by Time magazine : SNOWDEN
22. Invoice nos. : HRS
23. Actor/director Schreiber : LIEV
25. Standouts : ONERS
26. 2014's "The ___ Movie" : LEGO
27. Contribute : ADDIN
29. Mauna ___ : KEA
30. Figure skater Kadavy : CARYN
31. Breaks away from a defender : GETSOPEN
33. Feature of many a Duchamp work : PUN
34. Follow every rule : DOITBYTHEBOOK
38. N.B.A.'s Gibson : TAJ
39. Became tiresome : WORETHIN
41. Formal dress option : ASCOT
44. Bush beast, briefly : ROO
45. "A Midsummer Night's Scream" author : STINE
46. What can help you toward a peak performance? : TBAR
47. Barbed spears for fishing : GAFFS
49. Classic work in Old Norse : EDDA
50. Many Ph.D. candidates : TAS
51. Assesses : SIZESUP
53. End: Abbr. : ULT
54. One learning how to refine oils? : ARTMAJOR
56. ___ Mouse : MINNIE
58. Renaissance woodwind : CRUMHORN
59. Fasts, perhaps : ATONES
60. Nonviable : HOPELESS
61. Engage in horseplay : CAVORT
1. Skype annoyance : TIMELAG
2. Very unbalanced : ONESIDED
3. Had the itch : WANTEDTO
4. Sustainable practices grp. : EPA
5. Durability : LEGS
6. Anagram of "notes," appropriately : STENO
7. Funny or Die web series hosted by Zach Galifianakis : BETWEENTWOFERNS
8. Semicircular recess in Roman architecture : EXEDRA
9. High rolls : SIXES
10. Pollster Greenberg : STAN
11. High rollers : ELS
12. Big name in colonial Massachusetts : MATHER
13. Cabinet department : ENERGY
14. "The natural organ of truth": C. S. Lewis : REASON
21. Well-pitched : ONKEY
24. Tourist : VISITOR
26. 1961 Michelangelo Antonioni drama : LANOTTE
28. Away from : NOTAT
30. High rollers' rollers : CUBES
32. Popular sandwich, informally : PBJ
33. ___ usual : PER
35. Dances onstage : HOOFS
36. "Hmm, ya got me" : OHIDUNNO
37. More sympathetic : KINDLIER
40. Most smart : NEATEST
41. Paper-clip, say : ATTACH
42. Pizza chain since 1956 : SBARRO
43. Raise by digging : CASTUP
44. Some T.S.A. confiscations : RAZORS
47. Enemy of Cobra : GIJOE
48. Shrub that produces a crimson-colored spice : SUMAC
51. Comic Mort : SAHL
52. Kind of bread : PITA
55. Abbr. on a letter to Paris, maybe : MME
57. National Adoption Mo. : NOV

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?