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New York Times, Friday, April 15, 2016

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
956/16/20117/13/201918
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66681132242
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1.645163
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 27 Missing: {JKQZ} This is puzzle # 49 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
I built this crossword in May 2014. I don't remember all the details of the construction process, but I believe I started in the upper ... read more

I built this crossword in May 2014. I don't remember all the details of the construction process, but I believe I started in the upper left corner with GUY CODE, which was a big deal back when I was a junior in high school. Once I discovered that I SAID NO and FALSIES fit on top of GUY CODE, I was off and rolling! SOEVER bugged me a bit, but I was happy with everything else, so I decided to accept the tradeoff.

Next came the lower right, which I seeded with DUBSTEP. ECOCIDE and MEXICAN seemed like interesting choices, and I especially liked the CHILLAX/BASS SAX duo, so I moved onto the upper right. I was pleasantly surprised to find a lively fill for that section given that it was already constrained by BASS SAX and BELIEBER.

The last part to fall was the lower left. Over the years, I've built several themelesses using this grid, and I've found that there's always one corner that refuses to be simultaneously clean and lively! No matter how hard I tried, the lower left was not turning out the way I wanted. Luckily, I eventually stumbled upon DERRIERE and CHANDLER, and I figured that these entries combined with CHEW TOY and HAM BONE could make up for blah bits like ONE OVER.

Looking through the clues, the 17-year-old within me was sorely disappointed that FALSIES was changed to refer to fake eyelashes instead of fake boobs! I was so proud of the clue "They fill their cups"; also, I've never even heard of falsie eyelashes. Now that I'm almost 20, though, I have more of an appreciation for why Will/Joel made this change. 1-Across tends to set the tone for a whole crossword, as well as its constructor; I wouldn't want anyone to view me as misogynistic (definitely not true!) or immature (well, that one has some grounding, but hey, I'm still a teenager for 8 more months!).

Happy solving!

Jeff Chen notes:
I often have trouble with themelesses heavy on 7-letter entries, as it can be tough to make those mid-length words sing. It's tough to ... read more

I often have trouble with themelesses heavy on 7-letter entries, as it can be tough to make those mid-length words sing. It's tough to find great ones like GUY CODE — much more common for things like SNORTED or ALIASES to fit into a grid like today's. But I think David did well, spreading the love around with BAR TABS and BAT ROPE (anyone else remember the ridiculous Adam West Batman, "climbing" a wall, where they tilted a camera 90 degrees?), DUBSTEP, CHEW TOY next to HAMBONE.

Imagine this guy, "scaling your building, with Robin behind him, valiantly trying to keep in perfect sync but failing.

This grid pattern doesn't allow for many longer answers, so I really like David's working in of BELIEBER (a Justin Bieber follower). That's strong work, given that these 8-letter entries run straight into big chunks of 7s all stacked atop each other. DERRIERE is pretty good too, although DESISTED and CHANDLER aren't as exciting to me.

Agreed with David, I hitched at SO EVER. Whatsoever, yes. SO EVER … I SAID NO! It does hold that very nice corner together though, and it is palatable given the smoothness everywhere else.

I'm glad to see David acknowledge the clue change on FALSIES. Some risqué humor is perfectly fine. But given the emphasis on it in his previous puzzles, I don't want to see him get pigeonholed as a constructor that uses too much of it.

Do people still say CHILLAX? Hearing that would give me the opposite reaction, methinks.

I enjoy a good clue echo when it makes a connection between two disparate things. Really well done to link SAUCE and HALOS, both as types of "angel hair toppers." It takes lateral thinking to figure out those weird connections. I really appreciate seeing a good one.

Finally, a great pair of clues for a pair of crossing answers in TAUPE / TIMED. I can never remember what color TAUPE is, but knowing that it's from the French for "mole" will help me now. And [Kept a watch on?] is brilliant, getting at a (stop)watch. What a treat, that pair of clues.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0415 ( 24,265 )
Across
1
Artificial eyelashes, informally : FALSIES
8
Things with round numbers? : BARTABS
15
Reply to a pushy person : ISAIDNO
16
Far out? : EXURBAN
17
Not flirting with your friend's girlfriend, e.g. : GUYCODE
18
Gets crushed by, say : LOSESTO
19
"Cats" monogram : TSE
20
Peaceful protests : LOVEINS
22
Athletic great whose name and jersey number rhyme : ORR
23
I Samuel preceder : RUTH
25
Point ___, Calif. : REYES
26
Problem on a record : BLOT
27
Really get to : EATAT
29
Yankee opposer : REB
30
Color whose name is French for "mole" : TAUPE
31
It may represent November : ELEVEN
33
Quit : DESISTED
35
Seat of Oklahoma's Garfield County : ENID
37
They surround lenses : RIMS
38
Friend on "Friends" : CHANDLER
42
Zip, as a Ziploc, say : RESEAL
46
Angel hair toppers? : HALOS
47
Shout while shaking a pompom : RAH
49
Friend of Buckwheat : DARLA
50
Give out : EMIT
51
The band fun. and others : TRIOS
53
Look through? : XRAY
54
Ring letters : WBA
55
"Take it easy, bro!" : CHILLAX
57
"Odi et ___" (Catullus poem) : AMO
58
Beyond the requirement : TOSPARE
60
Electronic music genre : DUBSTEP
62
Bogey : ONEOVER
63
Pouring poison into a stream, e.g. : ECOCIDE
64
Answer to "Capisce?" : YESISEE
65
Spicy cuisine : MEXICAN
Down
1
Plant seen on the Sistine Chapel ceiling : FIGTREE
2
In an ordinary fashion : ASUSUAL
3
Shower clothes : LAYETTE
4
Quotation qualifier : SIC
5
Teenage dream? : IDOL
6
"Star Wars" moon : ENDOR
7
In any way : SOEVER
8
Certain pop music fan of the 2010s : BELIEBER
9
Cellular transmitters : AXONS
10
Bygone sportscaster Hodges : RUSS
11
___ Styles, lead character in "Boyz N the Hood" : TRE
12
Screwdriver selection : ABSOLUT
13
Gotham building-climbing tool : BATROPE
14
Expressed derision : SNORTED
21
Sized up : EYED
24
One low on dough : HAVENOT
26
Big wind : BASSSAX
28
Keeps a watch on : TENDS
30
Kept a watch on? : TIMED
32
Bagel : NIL
34
"Right honourable" sort : SIR
36
Behind : DERRIERE
38
Treat for a dog : CHEWTOY
39
Treat for a dog : HAMBONE
40
Things you can assume : ALIASES
41
Skate park fixture : RAIL
43
All over the place : ERRATIC
44
California's so-called "Island City" : ALAMEDA
45
Make public : LAYOPEN
48
Poker variant : HOLDEM
51
Low par : THREE
52
Angel hair topper : SAUCE
55
Quicken Loans Arena cagers : CAVS
56
___ One (2013 release) : XBOX
59
Pounded paste : POI
61
Zymurgy, e.g.: Abbr. : SCI

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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