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New York Times, Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Author:
Evan Mahnken
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
610/4/201712/4/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0014010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65000
Evan Mahnken

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQVZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Mahnken. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Evan Mahnken notes:
It's been a little while since my debut, but I'm thrilled to be back in the New York Times Crossword! Every year, I visit the Oregon ... read more

It's been a little while since my debut, but I'm thrilled to be back in the New York Times Crossword! Every year, I visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival with my family — I highly recommend it if you find yourself near Ashland, Oregon. While I was there last year, I was thinking of themes that hadn't yet been done involving Shakespeare, and this one seemed pretty promising.

My original theme set was the same, but with THRONE OF BLOOD (a Kurosawa film based on Macbeth) included instead of the SHAKESPEARE PLAY revealer. Will and the team thought it was too obscure. I'm inclined to agree with them.

I'm very glad they kept in my favorite clue at 4-Down. My only regret is that TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU is a little too long to fit in this puzzle.

Happy solving!

Jeff Chen notes:
Jim and I had a long debate over this one. I love the idea here – it can be surprising to see just how many films were ... read more

Jim and I had a long debate over this one. I love the idea here – it can be surprising to see just how many films were adaptations or loosely based on Shakespeare. WEST SIDE STORY provided a great click, as it reminded me of the parallels between the plots. Capulets : Montagues :: Sharks : Jets, that sort of thing.

But something was missing. Took me a while to figure out that there were two factors:

1.) Some of the movies were unfamiliar. That's partly due to my knowledge gap in movie trivia, but SHES THE MAN hardly seems like cinematic gold. For this theme, it's less than ideal to use a movie where the plot isn't immediately apparent.

I found two lists right off the bat of movies inspired by Shakespeare. THE LION KING and STRANGE BREW both based on Hamlet? Now that's a cool point of trivia!

Ooh ooh! I would have loved a theme where all the films (you could open it up to musicals, plays, etc.) were based on Hamlet. Now that would have been a stand-up-and-clap a-ha!

2.) It would have been great to more strongly hint at the parallels between plots. Crossword clues generally can't be as long as [Movie in which the Jets and Sharks go to battle, kind of like the Capulets and Montagues, and then people get stabbed or otherwise maimed. And the main woman and man still try to pursue their forbidden love, but end up dying tragically].

But why not [Movie in which two star-crossed lovers defy their household blood feud, to tragic end]? And then you could clue SHAKESPEARE PLAYS directly to the ones referenced: [The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and The Taming of the Shrew]. That would have provided a better click.

Great clue for ARCADE. I used to bring a stack of quarters down to the local ARCADE (Donkey Kong was my jam), and my MBA self was tickled by the "computed quarterly" terminology.

Bold attempt to spice up the gridwork, Evan leaving himself large corners in the NW / SE. It didn't completely fly for me, as the price of ESS + ALII wasn't worth the longer material in the NW. But STAMPEDE / ARCADE / MY SIDES were decent bonuses in the SE ... so, a reasonable decision, albeit not one I'd have made.

Overall, a strong idea whose execution didn't generate an equally strong a-ha moment. Some structural changes and it might have been POW! material.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0424 ( 25,369 )
Across
1
Make known to customs officials : DECLARE
8
Makes a decision on Tinder : SWIPES
14
Sending out a memo, say : EMAILING
16
Mother ___ : TERESA
17
*1956 sci-fi movie with Robby the Robot : FORBIDDENPLANET
19
Big name in classic video games : ATARI
20
Undergo a chemical change : REACT
21
Self-referential : META
22
*2006 rom-com starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum : SHESTHEMAN
27
Curvy letter : ESS
28
"Bien sûr!" : OUI
29
Obama ___ : ERA
30
Put 10,000 hours into, it's said : MASTER
33
Forgets to include : OMITS
35
*1961 musical for which Rita Moreno won an Oscar : WESTSIDESTORY
38
"Wouldn't that be nice!" : IWISH
39
Word often repeated with a different pronunciation : TOMATO
40
___-Manuel Miranda, creator of "Hamilton" : LIN
41
Texter's qualifier : IMO
42
British P.M. beginning in 2016 : MAY
45
*1953 musical with songs by Cole Porter : KISSMEKATE
51
Tucker out : TIRE
52
Fabulous writer? : AESOP
53
Parts of the spine : DISCS
54
What the film answering each starred clue was inspired by : SHAKESPEAREPLAY
59
Gay of the New Journalism movement : TALESE
60
Rush of Black Friday shoppers, e.g. : STAMPEDE
61
Wearable by anyone : UNISEX
62
"I'm laughing so much it hurts!" : MYSIDES
Down
1
Slander : DEFAME
2
Hams it up on stage : EMOTES
3
Ring figures : CARATS
4
Large scale of the universe? : LIBRA
5
Et ___ (citation words) : ALII
6
Relieved (of) : RID
7
Finish : END
8
Legendary snake exterminator, for short : STPAT
9
Actress Raquel : WELCH
10
Mad as hell : IRATE
11
Write down : PEN
12
Linguistic suffix : ESE
13
Took a load off : SAT
15
Actor Richard : GERE
18
Classic game console, for short : NES
22
Figure (out) : SUSS
23
"Play that beat!" : HITIT
24
Only female Israeli prime minister : MEIR
25
Like many modern black-and-white films : ARTY
26
Lil ___ X, rapper with the 2019 #1 hit "Old Town Road" : NAS
28
Bit of salty language : OATH
30
Some advanced degs. : MSS
31
Tokyo's former name : EDO
32
Cancel, as a fine : REMIT
33
"Beetle Bailey" dog : OTTO
34
Herd noise : MOO
35
Conflict with the European Theater of Operations, for short : WWII
36
German one : EINS
37
"Me too!" : SAME
38
Category : ILK
42
Gave the wrong message : MISLED
43
Business whose income is computed quarterly? : ARCADE
44
"But of course!" : YESYES
46
"For goodness' ___!" : SAKES
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Reagan attorney general : MEESE
48
County name in England and five U.S. states : ESSEX
49
Keystone character : KOP
50
"Great" creatures : APES
51
Actress Hedren : TIPPI
53
Pelosi and Schumer, informally : DEMS
54
Fox News commentator Varney, familiarly : STU
55
China's ___ dynasty : HAN
56
Ring figure : ALI
57
You can bank on it : ATM
58
Unit of sunshine : RAY

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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