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New York Times, Saturday, March 29, 2014

Author:
Barry C. Silk
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
929/1/20037/8/20166
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358532741
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.651215
Barry C. Silk

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {FJQ} This is puzzle # 81 for Mr. Silk. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Barry C. Silk notes:
My seed entries were the 3 bodies of water: HUDSON BAY, DANUBE RIVER, and OKEECHOBEE. Also, since I'm a big fan of music from the ... read more

My seed entries were the 3 bodies of water: HUDSON BAY, DANUBE RIVER, and OKEECHOBEE. Also, since I'm a big fan of music from the first two decades of rock and roll music, I frequently use songs from that era in my puzzles. This time, I was able to use ON A CAROUSEL although I wasn't quite sure Will would go for it.

Jeff Chen notes:
Strong showing by themeless specialist Barry Silk. Today he utilizes a tough set of triple-stacked 11's, much more difficult to ... read more

Strong showing by themeless specialist Barry Silk. Today he utilizes a tough set of triple-stacked 11's, much more difficult to execute cleanly than triple stacked 8's or 9's (the more common choice in themelesses). Barry also does something unusual in that he breaks up his SW and NE stacks with a black square, resulting in double-stacked 9's instead of triple-stacks. I love it when a themeless constructor plays with grid shapes, so it was really fun for me to study this one.

And upon closer inspection, I really like how Barry has incorporated SIDEARM into the SW corner, and crosses the whole shebang with my favorite entry, SPHINX-LIKE. Now that's some good stuff. I might have preferred a harder clue for SIDEARM — what else could [Like some pitches] be besides OVERARM and UNDERARM? On the other hand, I appreciate seeing a constructor's preferences and tendencies in a grid, so it was neat to get an echo of Barry's proclivity toward baseball.

Although KTS feels like an inelegant abbreviation (chess players might likely disagree), I really liked the clue echo of [They often land next to queens] for two entries right next to each other. Very nice stuff, especially considering "queen" meant two completely different things.

One hitch I had on this puzzle was the handful of short "glue" entries like AMAH, AREAR, CIRC, RTE, ATNO. It's not a huge quantity, but because it's difficult to come up with mind-blowing clues for these shorties, they're often the first things I enter into the grid, thus giving me an impression that there are more than there really are. I can see Stan Newman's viewpoint in his Saturday Stumpers, not allowing certain short answers he considers "not Stumperable." I might put AMAH in that list, in that it's almost a gimme once you do enough crosswords. There aren't that many ways to clue "Eastern nurse."

Finally, my favorite Saturday-hard wordplay clue has to be the one for ALTERNATE. In itself, ALTERNATE is a pretty average answer, but [Every second] is brilliant. For some people, it might be too cute for its own good, but I loved how it messed with my mind. It wasn't "every second" as in "every second counts," but as in "every other one." Really neat how it forced me to think about a common phrase in a completely different way.

1
C
2
O
3
R
4
N
5
C
6
O
7
B
8
P
9
I
10
P
11
E
12
T
13
A
14
M
15
O
N
A
C
A
R
O
U
S
E
L
16
A
L
E
17
R
A
N
A
N
E
R
R
A
N
D
18
K
T
S
19
G
I
G
A
20
D
R
O
N
E
21
B
E
E
S
22
I
R
E
23
A
24
W
E
25
A
R
E
A
R
26
S
T
A
R
27
D
28
O
M
29
T
I
N
30
S
31
S
32
P
33
H
I
N
X
L
I
K
E
34
A
M
A
H
35
Y
O
U
D
O
36
I
C
E
37
O
R
A
T
E
38
N
O
D
E
39
I
N
T
E
40
G
R
A
T
E
D
41
E
L
S
A
42
T
E
A
C
O
Z
Y
43
T
O
R
44
T
E
45
H
B
O
46
S
47
U
48
B
49
S
A
N
M
A
R
50
I
51
N
O
52
C
A
S
E
53
E
B
B
54
D
A
N
U
B
55
E
56
R
I
V
E
R
57
A
L
A
58
A
N
C
I
E
N
T
R
O
M
E
59
U
E
Y
60
S
T
A
T
E
S
E
C
R
E
T
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0329 ( 23,517 )

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Across
1
It's made from an ear and put in the mouth : CORNCOBPIPE
12
Highlander's accessory : TAM
15
1967 hit by the Hollies : ONACAROUSEL
16
One may have a full body : ALE
17
Copied the page? : RANANERRAND
18
They often land next to queens: Abbr. : KTS
19
Prefix with flop : GIGA
20
They often land next to queens : DRONEBEES
22
Cross quality : IRE
23
Move a whole lot : AWE
25
Backward : AREAR
26
Fame : STARDOM
29
Spice stores? : TINS
31
Enigmatic : SPHINXLIKE
34
Nanny, in Nanjing : AMAH
35
Question after a surprising claim : YOUDO
36
Party bowlful : ICE
37
Supply one's moving address? : ORATE
38
Network point : NODE
39
Now whole : INTEGRATED
41
Orphaned lion of literature : ELSA
42
Knit at a social function? : TEACOZY
43
Brownie alternative : TORTE
45
"Veep" airer : HBO
46
Pinch-hitter : SUB
49
Smallest member of the Council of Europe : SANMARINO
52
See 7-Down : CASE
53
Withdraw : EBB
54
It's between Buda and Pest : DANUBERIVER
57
After : ALA
58
Forum setting : ANCIENTROME
59
180 : UEY
60
Target of a spy : STATESECRET
Down
1
Herder from Wales : CORGI
2
Live warning? : ONAIR
3
Voice lesson topic : RANGE
4
Bulldogs play in it: Abbr. : NCAA
5
86 : CAN
6
Rush target : ORE
7
With 52-Across, something in a gray area : BORDERLINE
8
Himalayan production : PURR
9
Golfer Aoki : ISAO
10
Ayn Rand, e.g. : PENNAME
11
Higher-up? : ELDER
12
Target : TAKEAIMAT
13
Every second : ALTERNATE
14
Jam : MESS
21
Product of some decay : BETARAY
23
O's is one more than N's : ATNO
24
Comb composition : WAX
26
Like some pitches : SIDEARM
27
Orders : DICTA
28
Locals call it the "Big O" : OKEECHOBEE
30
Where spades may be laid down : SHED
31
End of a song often sung by inebriated people : SYNE
32
Shark's place : POOLTABLE
33
Polar Bear Provincial Park borders it : HUDSONBAY
37
Minestrone ingredient : ORZO
39
Repetitive : ITERANT
40
Bunch : GOB
44
Self-congratulatory cries : TADAS
46
Not just wolf down : SAVOR
47
"I'd love to help" : USEME
48
Part of Che Guevara's attire : BERET
49
Junior in 12 Pro Bowls : SEAU
50
Highlander of old : INCA
51
Period sans soleil : NUIT
52
Magazine fig. : CIRC
55
Half of nine? : ENS
56
U.S.P.S. assignment : RTE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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