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New York Times, Saturday, April 21, 2018

Author:
Daniel Nierenberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
24/21/20182/22/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000011
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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