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New York Times, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Author:
Ryan Milligan
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
27/8/20153/28/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0011000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60010
Ryan Milligan

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 44 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Milligan. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ryan Milligan notes:
Second puzzle! Glad to see this wasn't blind luck. I was listening to Taylor Swift's then new album 1989 (fantastic album, for what ... read more

Second puzzle! Glad to see this wasn't blind luck. I was listening to Taylor Swift's then new album 1989 (fantastic album, for what it's worth), and I thought it would be cool to turn her last name into an adverb and clue the phrase as Taylor, swiftly. I then started looking for other celebrities with adjective last names and found the set JAMESBLUNTLY, HOWARDSTERNLY, and GLENNCLOSELY. Joel and Will suggested I clue them as Tom Swifties and the puzzle was born. The puzzle needed significantly less editing than my debut, which I was happy to see.

Thanks as always to Will and Joel for their insight. And Taylor, if you happen to be an avid reader of online crossword blogs, I wouldn't object to some backstage passes the next time you're in Boston. Just saying.

Jeff Chen notes:
What a fun idea! I like Tom Swifties, but when they've been so overdone in both real life and in crosswords that they run the danger ... read more

What a fun idea! I like Tom Swifties, but when they've been so overdone in both real life and in crosswords that they run the danger of feeling bleh. I appreciate Ryan's different take on the theme trope, expanding it to full-name celebs. The cluing — done in a Tom Swifty-esque way — is what makes the theme work for me. Given GLENN CLOSE's iconic role in "Fatal Attraction," thinking about her getting a little too close was fun.

I used to listen to HOWARD STERN — my twin brother was once interviewed on it! — so linking STERN to a STERNLY-issued warning was also fun. Great stuff.

JAMES BLUNT wasn't as familiar to me as the others, but that's not a surprise given my horrible pop music knowledge base. It would have been great to get EMILY BLUNT in there to make it two men and two women, but perhaps JAMES BLUNT is more famous? Tough to judge. And JAMES does have that relatively rare J that can make crosswords more interesting.

Love DEAL ME IN as a bonus entry. SPORADIC and OFFLINE are good too. It would have been nice to get maybe one more pair of long downs, but these themers are of "awkward lengths," in that they force placement of several black squares immediately. Makes it much harder to work in high quantity and quality of long fill.

A couple of hiccups in the grid. Some of that is to be expected, especially in places where themers and long fill answers mesh together — EAP and INTER is a prime example, with that east section fairly constrained.

But avoiding DREI should be easier in a relatively flexible section like the lower right. Along with HARRYS (plural name), REG, UNI, ONS, DO NOW, it felt just over the threshold of too much. I'd have liked to seen rework to smooth it all out a tad.

But it's hard to argue with an early-week theme that tickles, and this one gave me a lot of smiles.

1
S
2
W
3
A
4
P
5
C
6
R
7
O
8
C
9
D
10
R
11
A
12
M
13
A
14
H
E
I
R
15
O
A
T
H
16
E
U
L
E
R
17
A
L
D
O
18
N
I
T
E
19
A
D
E
L
E
20
G
L
E
N
21
N
C
L
O
S
22
E
L
Y
23
T
E
E
24
T
A
M
25
E
26
A
27
P
28
H
O
W
A
29
R
30
D
S
T
E
31
R
N
L
Y
32
P
33
S
A
34
L
E
O
35
I
N
T
E
R
36
E
A
R
37
N
38
S
39
G
N
40
U
41
N
A
I
V
E
42
S
T
R
I
P
43
O
N
44
O
45
T
E
X
46
T
A
Y
L
O
47
R
48
S
W
I
F
49
T
50
L
Y
51
O
N
S
52
R
I
P
53
F
A
A
54
J
A
M
E
55
S
56
B
L
U
N
57
T
58
L
59
Y
60
U
61
R
62
G
E
D
63
C
H
A
I
64
D
R
E
I
65
S
A
U
D
I
66
K
I
L
N
67
R
E
A
P
68
C
Y
N
I
C
69
S
A
K
E
70
Y
E
N
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0328 ( 24,612 )
Across
1
Even trade : SWAP
5
Nile predator, briefly : CROC
9
Class with masks? : DRAMA
14
Next in line : HEIR
15
Promise : OATH
16
18th-century mathematician who introduced the function : EULER
17
Designer Gucci : ALDO
18
Nick at ___ : NITE
19
One-named singer who won the 2016 Album of the Year : ADELE
20
"Sorry I'm in your space, it's an actress thing," said ___ : GLENNCLOSELY
23
Shirt that might have a crew neck, informally : TEE
24
Scottish cap : TAM
25
"The Raven" writer's monogram : EAP
28
"Don't interrupt me on my radio show," said ___ : HOWARDSTERNLY
32
"It gets better" spot, e.g., in brief : PSA
34
DiCaprio, to fans : LEO
35
Prefix with galactic and spatial : INTER
36
Works to get : EARNS
39
Lion's prey : GNU
41
Easily fooled : NAIVE
42
Unit of bacon : STRIP
43
Lennon's widow : ONO
45
___-Mex : TEX
46
"Gotta run, pop concert calls," said ___ : TAYLORSWIFTLY
51
Turn-___ : ONS
52
Gravestone letters : RIP
53
Govt. org. with a drone registry program : FAA
54
"Right to the point: You're beautiful, it's true," said ___ : JAMESBLUNTLY
60
Advocated : URGED
63
Tea type : CHAI
64
Three, in Berlin : DREI
65
Mecca resident : SAUDI
66
Drying oven : KILN
67
Harvest, as crops : REAP
68
"A man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin," per H. L. Mencken : CYNIC
69
Rice wine : SAKE
70
Longings : YENS
Down
1
Carpet style : SHAG
2
Word said three times before "What have we here?!" : WELL
3
Assistant : AIDE
4
On the double : PRONTO
5
Hide : CONCEAL
6
Inner part of a racetrack : RAIL
7
Palindromic boy's name : OTTO
8
Treasure holders : CHESTS
9
Request for a hand : DEALMEIN
10
Inspiring 1993 movie about a Notre Dame football team walk-on : RUDY
11
Lager relative : ALE
12
Comical Brooks : MEL
13
"All we ___ saying is give peace a chance" : ARE
21
Just-made : NEW
22
Munch on : EAT
25
Thing that exists : ENTITY
26
Drug whose generic name is naproxen : ALEVE
27
Measuring cup material : PYREX
28
Truman and others : HARRYS
29
Rule laid down by a commission: Abbr. : REG
30
"What should I ___?" : DONOW
31
Material in strands : RNA
32
Sauce with pine nuts : PESTO
33
The Great Tempter : SATAN
37
Zero, in soccer : NIL
38
Occasional : SPORADIC
40
Prefix with -versal : UNI
44
Not connected to a computer network : OFFLINE
47
Pacific ___ : RIM
48
What stars are in the night sky : SPECKS
49
Letter after sigma : TAU
50
Tom who coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 years : LANDRY
54
Revered "Star Wars" figure : JEDI
55
Actor LaBeouf : SHIA
56
Illegal pitching motion : BALK
57
Logician's chart : TREE
58
Not stand completely straight : LEAN
59
Nervousness that causes a golfer to miss an easy putt, with "the" : YIPS
60
Golden State sch. : USC
61
With 62-Down, sci-fi weapon : RAY
62
See 61-Down : GUN

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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