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New York Times, Saturday, April 25, 2015

Author:
James Mulhern
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2411/16/20096/23/20176
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1.60000
James Mulhern

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 27 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
James Mulhern notes:
Ah, SKRILLEX. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of his music, but his name is too fun to ignore, and he's a pretty 'important' pop ... read more

Ah, SKRILLEX. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of his music, but his name is too fun to ignore, and he's a pretty "important" pop musician. Definitely grid-worthy, IMO. Still, I was glad to get LIGETI in there to class up the musical selection a bit.

Cool logo!

If I could take back one decision I made during construction of this puzz, I would opt not to cram REDDIT into the NW. It was a mistake to fetishize "freshness" at the expense of smoothness there — particularly since the answer has been scooped twice since I submitted this grid!

I'm quite proud of the NE. It's silky-smooth, with three fun down answers plus FOR NOW, FOODIE, SAME-SEX, and STRATEGO. That's basically what I'm striving for in every corner. Results may vary.

One aspect I find interesting about this puzzle is the unique vibe of each corner. The NW is a classic high word-count first corner, with a bold 1-A and a cool stack. The NE is all about smooth. The SE is the funky corner, with E-TILES and RSTLNE stacked. And the SW is the tricky vocabulary corner, with SCAPULAR and the challenging-to-parse OH YES I DO crossing LIGETI and AD UNIT. Hopefully that provides variety, and gives something for everyone.

Hope everyone has a great Friday night and Saturday. Enjoy!

Jill Denny notes:
Jeff and I often catch up over dinner by comparing notes about the daily crossword (note to self: is this why people keep refusing our ... read more

Jeff and I often catch up over dinner by comparing notes about the daily crossword (note to self: is this why people keep refusing our dinner party invitations?). More often than not, we settle out at roughly the same difficulty level, but a few clues can quickly tip the scales in one person's favor. Baseball, engineering, sci-fi, comedy, jazz ... Denny out, Chen in. Fashion, hip-hop, movies, politics, or French, and I'm all over it.

No surprise that this puzzle resonated more in my brain folds than in Jeff's, what with SKRILLEX, CHOCOLAT, PENA, and LOEWE. And if you're going to include a baseball player, PETE ROSE is one of the few names I recognize. While not easy-peasy, this was a pleasingly smooth grid for me. My only stumble was in the SW corner, with the unfamiliar LIGETI stacked on top of ADUNIT (a hillbilly's answer to "Whodunit?").

Vonnegut's oft-echoed line from Slaughterhouse-Five

Jeff, Jim, and I have had several conversations about differences in crossword opinion, most recently after I confessed my ignorance of comedians of the black-and-white movie era. After reading my post, Jim sent me an email professing a very gentle Canadian outrage that I had lumped together the Marx Brothers with the Three Stooges. He went on to write:

"This kind of cultural disconnect is what makes crossword commentary so interesting to me. It uncovers the hidden assumptions we don't know we have about what is aesthetically pleasing or not, and what is surely common knowledge or not. It also puts crossword editors into an impossible situation. You can't please everyone (so I've heard) but I wonder how possible it is to delight a significant percentage of your crossword audience."

It's those moments of delight that keep me coming back to crosswords, and I believe that Jeff and Jim would say the same thing. Two moments of delight from this puzzle:

  • I loved learning LUTRINE. My goal is to use it in an email at work by the end of the month.
  • A very special nod to VONNEGUT, a proud Hoosier. This is only his third appearance in the Shortz era. Happy to see his name, sad that he is gone. One of the greats.
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0425 ( 23,909 )
Across
1
Leader in electronic music with multiple Grammys : SKRILLEX
9
Elks and others : ORDERS
15
1960s-'70s band that took its name from an Aldous Huxley title : THEDOORS
16
Temporarily : FORNOW
17
Golden age for voice acting : RADIOERA
18
Gourmet : FOODIE
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Green-lit : OKD
20
Sound of an arrow being shot : TWANG
22
Henry ___ : FONDA
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Henry ___ : VIII
25
Wound up : ENDED
27
Computer part : PORT
28
Bar : ESTOP
30
One who may give you his heart? : DONOR
32
Brand name with 2/3 capital letters in its logo : TAB
33
Org. with many magazines : NRA
35
Capture-the-flag game : STRATEGO
37
Space racers : SOVIETS
41
Like some unions : SAMESEX
42
2000 film set in France that was nominated for five Academy Awards : CHOCOLAT
44
Literary inits. : GBS
45
First name in Objectivism : AYN
46
___ Games : PANAM
48
Leonine : lion :: lutrine : ___ : OTTER
52
Secretary of energy under Clinton : PENA
54
Leaves on the side? : SALAD
56
They're often blitzed : SOTS
57
Internet statistic : USERS
59
Parcel : ALLOT
61
Alma mater for Benjamin Netanyahu : MIT
62
Composer György whose music was featured in Kubrick films : LIGETI
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"It's not my place to decide" : YOURCALL
66
Marketing space : ADUNIT
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Never topped : UNBEATEN
68
Group with the motto "Service Above Self" : ROTARY
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17-time All-Star of the 1960s-'80s : PETEROSE
Down
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Put in effort : STROVE
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Some business casual attire : KHAKIS
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Website with "Ask Me Anything" interviews : REDDIT
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First name in infamy : IDI
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Boodle : LOOT
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High-end fashion brand : LOEWE
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Mailing a letter, perhaps : ERRAND
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Chalk talk symbols : XSANDOS
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Cockeyed : OFF
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Place for a dish : ROOF
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Wilt : DROOP
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Notable features of David Foster Wallace books : ENDNOTES
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Possible effect of doping : ROIDRAGE
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Uncomfortably tight spot, informally : SWEATBOX
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Sign on a saloon door : GENTS
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Kind of bond : IONIC
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Headgear for Eminem : DORAG
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Awaiting a sex change, say : PREOP
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Reckless tough guy : RAMBO
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Global superpower? : ATLAS
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Checks : TESTS
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Religious garment suspended from the shoulders : SCAPULAR
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Emphatic rebuttal : OHYESIDO
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Author who created the fatalistic optometrist Billy Pilgrim : VONNEGUT
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Unesco World Heritage Site on the Arabian Peninsula : SANAA
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Count : TALLYUP
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Danson's role on "Cheers" : MALONE
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Shade of red : TOMATO
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Most plentiful pieces in a certain board game : ETILES
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Bonus round freebies on "Wheel of Fortune" : RSTLNE
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"In the ___" (Nixon memoir) : ARENA
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"The beacon of the wise," per Shakespeare : DOUBT
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Get moving : STIR
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Ring bearer : TREE
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Plural suffix : ITY
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Mini, e.g. : CAR

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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