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New York Times, Friday, March 25, 2016

Author: Ian Livengood
Editor: Will Shortz
Ian Livengood
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Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 33 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 53 for Mr. Livengood. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes: I submitted this puzzle with GREXIT [Greece exiting the Euro] in the NW corner. It was an entry I'd been saving for a few years ... more
Ian Livengood notes:

I submitted this puzzle with GREXIT [Greece exiting the Euro] in the NW corner. It was an entry I'd been saving for a few years and was disappointed it was eventually nixed. Oh well. The placement was strategic, though, knowing it'd be an easy fix if I had to redo that section. Maybe BREXIT in a few years?

The HATERADE / ODE TO JOY / HASHTAG SW stack is one of my favorites — something new, something old, high brow, low brow, etc. Also, I've been trying to spice up my 6-letter answers. Stuff like PEN PAL, PEBBLE, REFLEX, etc. can keep solvers engaged from start to finish.

Really happy how this one turned out. Hope solvers like it!

Jeff Chen notes: I feel like Ian and I are on the same wavelength. Just last week, I was trying to convince a co-constructor to use HATERADE in a ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I feel like Ian and I are on the same wavelength. Just last week, I was trying to convince a co-constructor to use HATERADE in a Sunday grid we're working on! Along with the colorful phrases HAIR OF THE DOG, STONE AGE, PAPER CUT, LINER NOTES, it made for such an enjoyable themeless solve.

HE DIDN'T SHOOT FIRST! Okay, maybe he did.

Cluing was strong, too. LINER NOTES shined even further with such a deceptively innocent clue: [Statements for the record]. In this case, it was hinting at a vinyl record. [A, B, C, but not X, Y, Z] had me thinking about math, not a VITAMIN. People from Little Rock will appreciate the [Little rock] clue for PEBBLE.

And one of my favorite movie characters of all time, HAN SOLO, gets a quintessential quote: "Look, I ain't in this for the revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess." Who else could that possibly be? Granted, the writing is a bit hammy, but I'm a sucker for a great descriptive quote as a clue.

I always appreciate the care Ian takes to avoid gluey crossword bits. His themeless puzzles are so smooth, hardly a glob that makes me wince. Today, I did hitch at AGUE, a bit unusual for a Livengood puzzle, but Jim (Horne) and I had a discussion about AGUE where he argued that it's a fine piece of language seen often in historical writing. I'm not totally sold, but I can see his point.

With so many assets (I count roughly 13) and so few liabilities (maybe 0.5 apiece for AGUE and ESTER), Ian comes through with another POW! I like how he's always working with new grid patterns, whatever might fit around his choice of snazzy entries.

If there is anything, I'd like to see him push himself more, perhaps working with a lower word count, more long slots, stacks, whatever. Seems like he's more than conquered the 72-word themeless (the max number of words allowed).

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0325 ( 24,244 )
Across Down
1. Far and away one's favorite writer? : PENPAL
7. Mellow R&B track : SLOWJAM
14. Fly : AVIATE
15. Primitive and backward : STONEAGE
16. Items with decorative scrolls : CELLOS
17. Slice from a book? : PAPERCUT
18. Pay homage, in a way : KNEEL
19. "___ off!" (phrase of homage) : HATS
20. Scratches (out) : EKES
21. French border region : ALSACE
23. One on the trail, for short : POL
24. Room in Clue : HALL
27. 20-20 and others : TIES
28. Bungling : INEPT
31. There's one for Best New American Play : OBIE
32. Extreme : ARRANT
34. 500-pound bird hunted to extinction : MOA
35. Film character who said "Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess" : HANSOLO
37. A, B or C, but not X, Y or Z : VITAMIN
39. ___ caution : USE
40. Knee jerk, e.g. : REFLEX
42. Head shop buy : BONG
43. Unite : MERGE
45. Hue : TONE
46. "Woe ___ them that call evil good": Isaiah : UNTO
47. "The Lost Tapes" rapper : NAS
48. Took care of, as guests : HOUSED
50. Z's : sleep :: wavy lines : ___ : ODOR
52. ___ Préval, twice-elected president of Haiti : RENE
53. Crude Halloween costume : SHEET
57. "Drink" for the overly critical : HATERADE
59. Crèche setting : STABLE
60. Schiller work set to music by Beethoven : ODETOJOY
61. Little rock : PEBBLE
62. Symbol of modern communication : HASHTAG
63. Out of retirement? : ARISEN
1. Stuff : PACK
2. Flush : EVEN
3. Water source for 11 countries : NILE
4. Some blonds : PALEALES
5. Snorkeling mecca : ATOLL
6. ___ Echos (French daily) : LES
7. Pink property : STATESAVENUE
8. Cuts (off) : LOPS
9. Light air, on the Beaufort scale : ONE
10. "It's our time to go!" : WEREON
11. "Glengarry Glen Ross" co-star, 1992 : JACKLEMMON
12. Chill in bed? : AGUE
13. Pro team with blue-and-orange jerseys : METS
15. Orthodontic device : SPACER
19. Supposed morning remedy : HAIROFTHEDOG
22. Dusty, fusty or musty : STALE
23. British P.M. before and after Addington : PITT
24. Blah : HOHUM
25. Lower : ABASE
26. Statements for the record : LINERNOTES
29. Aim : POINT
30. Steps in a ballroom : TANGO
33. Puts the kibosh on : NIXES
36. Underground rock bands? : ORES
38. Where Etihad Airways is headquartered : ABUDHABI
41. ___ Tunes : LOONEY
44. One of the knights of the Round Table : GARETH
49. Acid/alcohol compound : ESTER
50. Excited pupil's shout : OHOH
51. Art genre for Man Ray : DADA
52. Punjabi chief : RAJA
54. Weakens : EBBS
55. W competitor : ELLE
56. ___ Vogue magazine : TEEN
58. Go to waste : ROT
59. Day ___ : SPA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later.

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