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New York Times, Thursday, April 19, 2018

Author: Todd Gross
Editor: Will Shortz
Todd Gross
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169/13/20094/19/20185
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Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JWX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Gross. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Todd Gross notes: The most difficult part of getting this puzzle published might have been working up the courage to send it to Will. I've had this ... more
Todd Gross notes:

The most difficult part of getting this puzzle published might have been working up the courage to send it to Will. I've had this theme for a long time, maybe before my first NYT puzzle was published. I remember Peter Gordon said no at some point. Finding theme answers isn't so hard...if you're OK with them being short. Certainly, numbers like TRE, FOUR, and CINCO will work, as will elements BORON and CARBON (based on their atomic number...or actually, the clue would mention how many protons the atom has). But all of these are 6 letters or less. Long entries are harder.

The only decent long entry I thought of is MARTIN BALSAM, which I can clue as [Actor who portrayed one of this many angry men] (he was Juror #1). Maybe one of y'all can come up with enough good ones to make a good puzzle. Add COUNT THE SQUARES as I did, and it should work. I give you my blessing.

So, having two 9-letter and two 8-letter thematic answers feels less than satisfying. But adding shorties didn't feel like it added much, and Will seems to agree. And it does make the grid look different, and the theme answers stand out less. So that's something. I hope solvers enjoyed the change of pace, as well as the unusual theme.

Jeff Chen notes: I appreciate a Thursday theme worth working to uncover. At first, I thought maybe BEETHOVEN had TEN symphonies – note TEN in ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I appreciate a Thursday theme worth working to uncover. At first, I thought maybe BEETHOVEN had TEN symphonies – note TEN in BEETHOVEN! – and someone forgot to circle those letters?

But what a great idea, the solver having to COUNT THE SQUARES of the entry to arrive at the number asked for in the clues. BEETHOVEN = nine letters = nine symphonies. I vaguely remember seeing something like this before, but it felt far enough in the recesses of my mind to not lessen my delight.

ARACHNID = eight letters = eight legs. MARK SPITZ = nine letters = nine gold medals. Very cool!

MISSOURI isn't as specific since you could pick any state and find some piece of numerical trivial to fit. But the number of other states a state borders is a common enough piece of info.

Strong gridwork, too, Todd coming a long way in the past few years. Some of his earlier puzzles were kind of rough and gluey, but not this one. I appreciated all the long bonuses, CROUPIER, ULULATES, SNEETCHES. AE HOUSMAN was only vaguely familiar, but looking him up jogged "A Shropshire Lad" quickly back into mind.

It's unusual to weave a couple of long downs in the center of the puzzle – much easier to break those up. So HAUGHTY and SUITORS were even more welcome in my eyes.

A theme with a twist, strong long bonuses, and just a bit of ALEE, LTCOL, UNIV? Easy POW! choice. Very well done, Todd!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0419 ( 24,999 )
Across Down
1. Slow sort, informally : POKE
5. Duke, e.g.: Abbr. : UNIV
9. Contents of a vault : CACHE
14. What a salesperson may be assigned : AREA
15. Observe : NOTE
16. Word before "Johnny" or "Lucy" : HERES
17. He wrote this many symphonies : BEETHOVEN
19. Now, in Bilbao : AHORA
20. First name on the Supreme Court : SONIA
21. It borders this many other states : MISSOURI
23. Exactly right : TOATURN
26. Riot : CUTUP
27. Tax ID : SSN
28. The Devil has one : GOATEE
30. Country that changed its name in 1939 : SIAM
33. "Zip your lip!" : SHUSH
34. Fish whose roe is used in sushi : SMELT
35. How to find out what "this many" is in 17-, 21-, 52- and 57-Across : COUNTTHESQUARES
40. Choreographer Alvin : AILEY
41. Oktoberfest order : STEIN
42. Like most of New York State's flag : BLUE
43. "Aha!" : ISEEIT
45. Consideration for avoiding burns, for short : SPF
48. Rank above maj. : LTCOL
50. First in a field : PIONEER
52. It has this many legs : ARACHNID
55. Soap brand mentioned in "Hair" : RINSO
56. Many an art print, informally : LITHO
57. He won this many Olympic gold medals : MARKSPITZ
60. Some slushy drinks : ICEES
61. "Man produces ___ as a bee produces honey": William Golding : EVIL
62. Sheltered at sea : ALEE
63. "Cabaret" director : FOSSE
64. Part of a baseball : SEAM
65. Polar bird : TERN
1. Classic Milwaukee brews : PABSTS
2. Chocolaty breakfast cereal : OREOOS
3. Actor Wynn of "Dr. Strangelove" : KEENAN
4. Wipe out, in slang : EATIT
5. It's only half due : UNO
6. National Adoption Mo. : NOV
7. Two in the news : ITEM
8. One stop on a grand tour : VENICE
9. The New Yorker cartoonist who wrote "What I Hate: From A to Z" : CHAST
10. "A Shropshire Lad" author : AEHOUSMAN
11. Casino employee : CROUPIER
12. Man in Mannheim : HERR
13. Actor Morales : ESAI
18. Stuck-up : HAUGHTY
22. Not take things lying down, say : SUE
24. 32-0, e.g. : ROUT
25. Poet who wrote "In the Vanities / No one wears panities" : NASH
29. ___ days (now) : THESE
31. Oktoberfest order : ALE
32. Washington and Adams: Abbr. : MTS
33. Seuss's star-bellied creatures : SNEETCHES
34. Ones carrying roses, maybe : SUITORS
35. One hailed on Broadway? : CAB
36. Alaskan export : OIL
37. Grieves loudly : ULULATES
38. Part of a how-to manual : STEP
39. Monarch who took the throne in '52 : QEII
43. Ca++ or Fe+++ : ION
44. Covers in goo : SLIMES
45. No longer all there : SENILE
46. Nag : PESTER
47. Disney movie set in Arendelle : FROZEN
49. Drew from a hat, say : CHOSE
51. Bite playfully : NIPAT
52. Arabic leader? : ALIF
53. Having mucho dinero : RICO
54. Singer/songwriter Matthews : DAVE
58. Narrow waterway : RIA
59. Airline with a crown in its logo : KLM

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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