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New York Times, Saturday, April 21, 2018

Author:
Daniel Nierenberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
14/21/20180
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0000001
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54000
Daniel Nierenberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 29 Missing: {JQZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Nierenberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Daniel Nierenberg notes:
Hello, fellow Cruciverbalists! When I'm not puzzling away, I'm working on my Ph.D. in molecular biology with a focus on breast ... read more

Hello, fellow Cruciverbalists!

When I'm not puzzling away, I'm working on my Ph.D. in molecular biology with a focus on breast cancer treatment via nanotechnology. I got started in puzzles because of my grandfather, who always did the Sunday NYT crossword ever since I could remember. For some reason when I was a youngster, it always seemed to me that grinding away at a crossword was such a grown-up thing to do. So I took the challenge and gave the Friday through Sunday puzzles a shot with much computer assistance, since my family had the Fri-Sun package deal for the Times.

After a while, I weaned myself off the computer and can now do most of weekend puzzles solo. I still need my grandfather to help out when I get stuck, which is not too often ;) , since he's way better than me in filling out proper nouns.

But what got me into construction was having a lot of time to kill in the lab. Back in undergrad, I used to work with bacteria, and for several weeks each day, I had to wait 3-4 hours for the bacteria to grow enough to do my experiments. So eventually it dawned on me to attempt making crosswords during this time at the campus library. My first submission was a mother goose theme that I made on graph paper.

Themeless puzzles were especially difficult at the start when I was trying to determine, for instance, the kinds of long phrases that Rich (at the LA Times) and Will liked and the appropriate single to multi-word answer ratio in triple stacks.

Anyway, to make a long story short, on my eighth attempt I got accepted in the LA Times and my tenth or more (I think) the NY Times. So to all you aspiring constructors out there, keep at it, and don't give up!

Jeff Chen notes:
I've enjoyed corresponding with Daniel. He keeps on calling me 'Mr. Chen,' which I find infinitely amusing. Sort of like Marcy calling ... read more

I've enjoyed corresponding with Daniel. He keeps on calling me "Mr. Chen," which I find infinitely amusing. Sort of like Marcy calling Peppermint Patty "sir." I've appreciated how polite he is with his inquiries, taking care to never infringe too much on my time, so it's a pleasure to see him make his debut.

That SE triple-stack is a beaut. GREAT DIVIDE is a great entry in its own right. GAY MARRIAGE, love it! And the common SEE ATTACHED rounds it out. I'm not a fan of DR T, who doesn't feel crossworthy, or BRAE, which is a bit of an odd word, but those were well worth the price of admission into that corner.

The opposite corner was pretty strong too. I wasn't sure if EROTIC NOVEL was truly a genre, like GOTHIC NOVEL, but some Googling proved me very wrong. Sometimes I forget that romance / erotic novels are WAY more popular than stuff worth reading. I mean, other stuff. Ahem.

I would have liked some of these marquee entries to get clever clues, though. Referencing "Fifty Shades of Grey" for EROTIC NOVEL felt like a let-down, when there could be so many plays on the word "blue."

Some entries must get a definitional or otherwise easy clue – GREAT DIVIDE would be tough to riff on, since it may not be immediately known to some solvers, for example. But entries like EROTIC NOVEL or GENE THERAPY left a lot of great cluing potential on the table; plays on "strands" or "bases" for the latter.

DEMO TAPE was a perfect example of clever cluing hitting the mark. The question mark in [Rock sample?] gave away part of the game, but I still enjoyed the repurposing of a common phrase into a completely different meaning.

There are a couple of shorties I debated internally. LYSIS is common enough in biology, something I heard all the time in my second career (in pharma). Clued as a suffix, it's definitely gluey. But as a scientific word? Hmm. Still probably esoteric for most. EGEST is similar.

Overall, very nice debut! Mr. Chen approves.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0421 ( 25,001 )
Across
1. "Fifty Shades of Grey," e.g. : EROTICNOVEL
12. Wite-Out manufacturer : BIC
15. Procedure that targets mutations : GENETHERAPY
16. Card game cry : UNO
17. Events of interest to antiquers : ESTATESALES
18. Bud drinker? : BEE
19. Child's request : STORY
20. What people rarely do with shoes on : LIEINBED
22. Qtys. for chefs : TSPS
23. Spinoff of TV's "JAG" : NCIS
25. Convinced : SOLD
26. Aid for achieving a flat stomach? : CORSET
28. ___ Corporation, predecessor of RC Cola's Royal Crown Company : NEHI
30. "You flatter me" : OHSTOPIT
34. Like some blankets and arguments : HEATED
36. Familiar work force add-ons, maybe : REHIRES
37. "Zoolander" co-star, 2001 : FERRELL
38. Purplish-red hue : CLARET
39. Rock sample? : DEMOTAPE
40. Second hand : AIDE
41. Revolving barriers : STILES
43. Have-nots, with "the" : POOR
45. No-no for an offensive lineman : HOLD
46. Attire that's often checkered : KILT
50. Like many easy-to-digest foods : LOWFIBER
52. Juvenile put-down : LOSER
53. Baseball or basketball : ORB
54. Passage between life and death : GREATDIVIDE
57. Motor Trend's 1968 Car of the Year : GTO
58. Subject of the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges : GAYMARRIAGE
59. Windows alternative : OSX
60. Common two-word email : SEEATTACHED
Down
1. Purge : EGEST
2. Pauses : RESTS
3. #1 in the standings : ONTOP
4. Show of emotion : TEARS
5. Minute, in baby talk : ITTY
6. Marxist from Argentina : CHE
7. Super Mario Bros. platform : NES
8. Teacher of lip-reading to the deaf : ORALIST
9. Bag : VALISE
10. Competition whose opponents try to touch each other : EPEE
11. Ending with electro- : LYSIS
12. Fruity Asian drink : BUBBLETEA
13. Words accompanying a raised hand, maybe : INEEDHELP
14. Mixed, in a way : COED
21. Dada, to its critics : NONART
23. Hotel room restriction : NOPETS
24. N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer Carter : CRIS
26. Heart : CORE
27. Topical : THEMED
29. Not doing too much : IDLE
30. Predator of penguins : ORCA
31. Sites for some touchdowns : HELIPORTS
32. Punch the air : SHADOWBOX
33. Get bored with : TIREOF
35. Fourth god to exist, in Greek myth : EROS
37. Dropped : FELL
39. Science fair display : DIORAMA
42. A dirty look : THEEYE
44. One of the detectives in "Lethal Weapon" : RIGGS
46. Ron who wrote "Born on the Fourth of July" : KOVIC
47. Pistons great Thomas : ISIAH
48. Starting point for rappelling : LEDGE
49. Stuck, in a way : TREED
50. Expense for a business start-up : LOGO
51. Landform near a loch : BRAE
52. Currency unit equal to 100 kurus : LIRA
55. Body image, for short : TAT
56. Gynecologist of cinema : DRT

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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