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New York Times, Monday, March 7, 2016

Author:
Damon Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3711/8/20045/14/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
14608810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65320
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
In June, 2006 a puzzle of mine ran in the New York Times with the central revealer 80SFADS. Since that was about 10 years ago, I ... read more

In June, 2006 a puzzle of mine ran in the New York Times with the central revealer 80SFADS. Since that was about 10 years ago, I figured — why not a sequel '90s puzzle?

I tried to cut a wide swath culturally and categorically with the types of fads I chose, but with only two pairs of symmetrical entries, I was obviously quite limited. Noticeably absent is a hip-hop fad. I tried to get one in, but the fads that were distinctly '90s didn't fit (e.g., overalls with one strap undone), and the ones that did fit weren't distinctly '90s (e.g., high top fades).

A few technical things: I think the clue for 14-Across contains an inaccuracy. The Wham-O product appears to be stylized Slip'N Slide, without a space between the apostrophe and the N (this is how it was written in my submission). Also, my original clue for FIVE0 explicitly referenced the remade version of the show, as the original is "Hawaii Five-O" with the letter O at the end, not the number 0. The clue isn't wrong as stated — there is a TV show called "Hawaii Five-0" — but I wanted to remove the ambiguity. Oh well, no biggie.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. The good thing about making a puzzle like this is that even if it's not very good, a certain segment of the population will like it anyway because it reminds them of the good old days (it's the same phenomenon that makes Jimmy Fallon popular). And so, I will leave you with some '90s fads that didn't make the cut: flannels, Zubaz pants, starter jackets, Reebok Pump, Hypercolor, Umbro shorts, Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo, Pogs, frosted tips, Baja hoodies, No Fear tees, snap bracelets, wallet chains, chokers, hacky sack, pagers, and the Spice Girls.

Does anybody else have the urge to play some Sega Genesis?

Jeff Chen notes:
90s FADS today, a nice trip down memory lane, allowing me to recall the days when TAMAGOTCHIS were hot, THE MACARENA earworm ate away ... read more

90s FADS today, a nice trip down memory lane, allowing me to recall the days when TAMAGOTCHIS were hot, THE MACARENA earworm ate away my sanity, and THE RACHEL hairdo was in. Oddly enough, apparently there's a new cadre of young adults getting into "Friends," as it speaks to a sense of simplicity, of pleasantly hanging out with a group of close compadres. I must admit I was wrong about that show's ability to persist!

Rachel doesn't seem terribly excited about THE RACHEL

That made me wonder about DR MARTENS (which I call "Doc Martens" — is that just me?). They were ultra-popular back in the 90s, but I still see people wearing them. Perhaps it's the Seattle fashion sense, still influenced by grunge.

Very unusual to have numerals in a Monday puzzle, and it was a nice change of pace. FIVE-0 (zero) threw me for a loop, as I know it as FIVE-O ("oh"), and I don't seem to be the only one. Apparently it was such a controversy that there was a vote to determine which was "correct"! Officially, the original show is FIVE-(zero) and the remake is FIVE-(oh), so both are acceptable.

It would have been nice to have something better for 9's crossing — 9 PM is so unspecific. Something like 9 LIVES (the cat food) or DISTRICT 9 (the movie) — something containing the actual digit — could have been really fun. Using a longer entry does make the construction harder, of course. It's so easy to tuck the three-letter 9PM into the middle of the puzzle.

I appreciated Damon giving us a bit of bonus fill in FENNEL, SMURFS (I must admit I watched every episode as a kid), FUGUE, and my favorite, METADATA. What a cool word! Also appreciated is Damon's effort to keep the grid smooth and free of crossword glue. silky solve, aside from my internal FIVE-O / FIVE-0 debate.

Overall, a fun concept. I would have preferred not having two "THE" themers, and maybe more consistency — I did appreciate the variety, but it did feel a bit random as to which of the dozens of 90s FADS were included — but I still enjoyed the solve.

1
O
2
U
3
T
4
E
5
R
6
F
7
A
8
Q
9
A
10
B
11
U
12
S
13
E
14
W
H
A
M
O
15
A
S
U
16
F
U
G
U
E
17
L
U
M
P
S
18
T
H
E
19
R
A
C
H
E
L
20
S
H
A
R
I
21
F
22
L
A
R
K
23
G
E
N
I
24
A
25
L
L
Y
26
E
27
T
28
C
29
H
30
U
31
F
O
S
32
V
I
E
33
S
34
A
Y
H
E
Y
35
S
E
T
S
36
E
R
A
37
S
E
E
M
E
38
A
N
C
39
9
0
S
F
40
A
41
D
S
42
M
E
N
43
U
N
H
44
I
P
45
L
I
E
46
N
A
N
A
47
S
E
I
S
M
48
S
49
E
W
E
50
A
C
T
S
51
A
L
S
O
52
M
53
E
T
A
D
54
A
T
A
55
L
56
O
U
D
57
S
M
U
R
58
F
59
S
60
D
61
R
62
M
A
R
T
E
63
N
64
S
65
B
R
E
A
K
66
A
C
U
T
E
67
N
I
T
68
L
A
N
C
E
69
P
A
G
E
S
70
S
L
Y
71
E
L
A
T
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0307 ( 24,226 )
Across
1
Exterior : OUTER
6
Acronym on an online help page : FAQ
9
Treat cruelly : ABUSE
14
Toy company that gave us Frisbee and Slip 'N Slide : WHAMO
15
Sch. in Tempe : ASU
16
Type of composition that Bach is noted for : FUGUE
17
They're taken in punishment, so to speak : LUMPS
18
*Hairstyle popularized by Jennifer Aniston's character on "Friends" : THERACHEL
20
Omar who portrayed Dr. Zhivago : SHARIF
22
Happy as a ___ : LARK
23
In a cheerful and pleasant manner : GENIALLY
26
Write permanently : ETCH
30
Mysterious sightings that hover : UFOS
32
Compete (for) : VIE
33
The ___ Kid (Willie Mays) : SAYHEY
35
Tennis match units : SETS
36
A low one is good in baseball, in brief : ERA
37
Words written by a teacher on a failed test, perhaps : SEEME
38
Nelson Mandela's org. : ANC
39
What the answers to the four starred clues are : 90SFADS
42
Fellows : MEN
43
So not cool : UNHIP
45
Tell a whopper : LIE
46
Mom's mom : NANA
47
Tremors : SEISMS
49
Female sheep : EWE
50
Does stage work : ACTS
51
"Oh, one more thing ..." : ALSO
52
Set of info about sets of info : METADATA
55
Opposite of quiet : LOUD
57
Little blue cartoon characters whose adversary is named Gargamel : SMURFS
60
*Boots brand big in grunge fashion : DRMARTENS
65
Shatter : BREAK
66
Sharper than 90° : ACUTE
67
Trivial gripe : NIT
68
Jouster's weapon : LANCE
69
"War and Peace" famously has more than 1,200 : PAGES
70
Crafty : SLY
71
Thrill : ELATE
Down
1
Avian hooters : OWLS
2
"Forget it!" : UHUH
3
*Hand-held "pets" with digital faces : TAMAGOTCHIS
4
Catherine the Great, for one : EMPRESS
5
Bagful on a pitcher's mound : ROSIN
6
Obese : FAT
7
Baseball bat wood : ASH
8
Stop, as an uprising : QUELL
9
Many miles off : AFAR
10
Ohio State student : BUCKEYE
11
"Blech!" : UGH
12
"A Boy Named ___" (1969 song) : SUE
13
Fish that is long and thin : EEL
19
Fish that are flat and wide : RAYS
21
TV's "Hawaii ___" : FIVE0
24
Puts on TV : AIRS
25
Printed handout : LEAFLET
27
*Dance associated with a #1 Los del Rio hit : THEMACARENA
28
Sidewalk material : CEMENT
29
"Laughing" animals : HYENAS
30
Patriotic Olympics chant : USAUSA
31
Herb sometimes called "sweet anise" : FENNEL
34
Donkey : ASS
39
2100, in civilian time : 9PM
40
Onetime big name in Japanese electronics : AIWA
41
Monopoly cards : DEEDS
44
Quarantine : ISOLATE
46
Word before gas or disaster : NATURAL
48
Obscene material : SMUT
53
Perfect places : EDENS
54
Mosey along : AMBLE
56
Metals from lodes : ORES
58
Fiction's opposite : FACT
59
___-Ball (arcade game) : SKEE
60
Fist bump : DAP
61
___ Victor : RCA
62
Make a face for the camera : MUG
63
Zero, in a soccer score : NIL
64
Very messy room : STY

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?