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New York Times, Friday, April 27, 2018

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
876/16/201111/2/201816
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66681129192
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1.645163
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 )

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Students & seniors
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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