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New York Times, Friday, April 27, 2018

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
966/16/20118/18/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
76681132242
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645173
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQUXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 79 for Mr. Steinberg. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
As you probably guessed, this puzzle started with SEETHING and SEE THINGS. Really looking forward to seeing how everyone reacts to ... read more

As you probably guessed, this puzzle started with SEETHING and SEE THINGS. Really looking forward to seeing how everyone reacts to such a long "dupe"—at 1-Across/1-Down, no less! Working with stacked 8s crossing stacked 9s was brutal, though, especially since two of the long entries were already locked in. Not thrilled with the resulting crosswordese, though I do really like BEER MONEY, EYE CANDY, LOSE SLEEP OVER, ETHICAL DILEMMAS, and especially I CAN TAKE A HINT. All in all, I appreciate that Will let me bring some variety to the Friday themeless slot, and I'm pleased with how this puzzle turned out given the constraints. Hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
I enjoy it when themeless constructors do something a little different – the creativity is much appreciated, helping to keep ... read more

I enjoy it when themeless constructors do something a little different – the creativity is much appreciated, helping to keep crosswords fresh and potentially even evolving. I'll admit I didn't see the SEETHING / SEE THINGS "dupe" David mentioned, but I enjoyed the Easter egg. I thought the puzzle was fun and well-crafted already, and that bonus elevated this one to my POW! pick.

It's so tough to create a themeless around ultra-long seed entries, and when you interlock four of them together, it's even tougher. The problem is that these long entries usually take up so much real estate that there's not much room left for other good entries. The puzzle then lives or dies on the quality of just those long entries. That's a lot of pressure on those few entries!

I enjoyed the long ones a lot today, and the puzzle could have *almost* stood on those alone. I CAN TAKE A HINT is fantastic, one worth seeding a themeless with. ETHICAL DILEMMAS is great too, and LOSE SLEEP OVER ain't too shabby.

CABLE TELEVISION isn't as good, as most people say "cable TV." But it does work.

Most constructors would put a black square at the T of TREPAN or the H of HECATE – as David mentioned, these types of huge corners with two triple-stacks intersecting each other are usually to be avoided at all costs. Way too hard to execute on with both snazziness and smoothness.

I enjoyed that NW corner a lot. ENTRANCE is more a workmanlike entry, but I appreciated how changing the stressed syllable morphs the meaning of the word completely. And riffing off the SEE THINGS / SEETHING "dupe," I liked the quasi-echo of ENTRECHAT and ENTRANCE. They look so similar but etymologically aren't. Cool!

And some great clues. My favorite: [One getting hit after hit?] made me laugh, as there's quite a bit of pot usage in Seattle these days. STONERs!

There's a bit too much short glue, NNW, ESTO, HAR, INE, etc. for my taste, but most themelesses featuring interlocked long seed entries have way more than this – as do themelesses with corners like the NW / SE! So very well done overall.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0427 ( 25,007 )
Across
1
Ready to explode : SEETHING
9
Mechanical calculator pioneer : PASCAL
15
Mesmerize : ENTRANCE
16
Do high-level banking? : AVIATE
17
Exquisitely delicate : ETHEREAL
18
Disorganized group : RABBLE
19
Set off : TRIP
20
Got room service, say : ATEIN
22
Stripling : LAD
23
Greek goddess of witchcraft and the underworld : HECATE
26
Smooth talker's quality : PATNESS
28
Possible reply to someone's tactful remark : ICANTAKEAHINT
31
Wild grp. : NHL
32
"Venus favors the bold" writer : OVID
33
Jack of "Dragnet" : WEBB
36
Travel aimlessly : GAD
37
Cat known as a Shirazi in the Mideast : PERSIAN
41
Stand's opposite ... or a bad thing to do on the stand : LIE
42
Ruckus : STIR
44
Humorist Bombeck : ERMA
45
Just make, with "out" : EKE
46
Be really bothered by : LOSESLEEPOVER
51
Dance music subgenre : ELECTRO
53
Opposite of kindness : SADISM
54
Ad ___ : REM
55
Up next : ONTAP
58
___ perpetuum (let it be everlasting: Lat.) : ESTO
59
Any of four punk rock bandmates : RAMONE
61
Ruble : Russian :: kuna : ___ : CROATIAN
64
Goes around : EVADES
65
Newspaper photo technique : HALFTONE
66
Antarctica, for one : DESERT
67
Image that's very pleasing to look at : EYECANDY
Down
1
Hallucinate : SEETHINGS
2
Showy ballet leap : ENTRECHAT
3
Philosophical issues that may be debated : ETHICALDILEMMAS
4
Mine shaft borer : TREPAN
5
Snarky laugh syllable : HAR
6
Suffix with brilliant : INE
7
Awarder of billions in sports scholarships, in brief : NCAA
8
Lucre : GELT
9
Outcast : PARIAH
10
Classic Studebaker : AVANTI
11
Twin, to the other twin : SIB
12
What 90% of American households had in 2010 - but fewer have today : CABLETELEVISION
13
Book of legends : ATLAS
14
English industrial city described by Dickens as "an odious place" : LEEDS
21
Ratings org. : EPA
24
Pontiac Trans Am option : TTOP
25
Water diverter : EAVE
27
L.A.-to-Fresno direction : NNW
29
Cassis cocktail : KIR
30
Car that's an anagram of 14-Down : EDSEL
34
Sight on school grounds : BIKESTAND
35
A little extra for personal spending : BEERMONEY
38
E.U. member: Abbr. : IRE
39
City in the Midwest's Story County : AMES
40
California tour locale : NAPA
43
Mythical bird : ROC
47
One getting hit after hit? : STONER
48
Polar explorer Shackleton : ERNEST
49
Swillbelly : SOT
50
One-named folk singer : ODETTA
51
Was off : ERRED
52
Be off : LEAVE
56
Great desire : ACHE
57
Request intervention : PRAY
60
Its first part is called a strophe : ODE
62
Estadio exclamation : OLE
63
Houston is in it, but Dallas isn't, briefly : AFC

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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