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New York Times, Friday, April 29, 2016

Author:
Andrew Kingsley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
164/29/20169/15/20193
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1213054
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55020
Andrew Kingsley

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {QXZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Kingsley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Kingsley notes:
Since this feels like my weepy Oscar acceptance speech, I want to first and foremost thank David Quarfoot for introducing me to ... read more

Since this feels like my weepy Oscar acceptance speech, I want to first and foremost thank David Quarfoot for introducing me to crosswords. David was my calculus teacher at the Roxbury Latin School (where fellow constructors Sam Trabucco and John Lieb also hail from, and where I will begin teaching next fall!). Seeing that I was interested in other word games at school, he showed me the ropes of cruciverbalism. My first crack at constructing was for our school newspaper. I made the grid by hand, tore through the paper after too many erasings, and ultimately misspelled a word in the finalized grid. In spite of that initial trauma, I've been addicted ever since.

This was my first puzzle accepted by the Times, back in April 2015. The seed entry for this puzzle, POPCORN BRAIN, ironically got the puzzle rejected when I first submitted it. So I substituted PASSION FRUIT and redid the bottom half of the grid, and voila! I got THE RAVEN and EASY READ out of it, so the English major in me was pleased. Shout out to Will and Joel for improving many of the clues.

As for myself, I hail from Dedham, Massachusetts and am finishing up my senior year at Dartmouth College. I study English and film history, and am working on a thesis focusing on the cross-pollination of cinema and literature at the end of the nineteenth-century. When I'm not reading or building crosswords, I enjoy improv comedy, film criticism, and table tennis. Will, I'm coming for you!

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! Always nice to see another voice in the NYT crossworld, and especially nice to get a nerd culture-flavor that this hardcore ... read more

Debut! Always nice to see another voice in the NYT crossworld, and especially nice to get a nerd culture-flavor that this hardcore dork loves. SORT DATA, yes please! VIRUS SCAN (with its misleading clue about catching infections) = please sir, might I have some more? If only GOTO had been clued as [Line frequently written in Pascal by poor coders depending on it to get them out of jams].

Go, little fella!

I like it when a debut constructor breaks out a newish pattern, not just resorting to the standard "four sets of triple-stacks, one in each corner." It's tough to feature 12-14 letter entries in themelesses — they force placement of black squares right off the bat, reducing flexibility — so I loved seeing HAMSTER WHEEL and PASSIONFRUIT so prominently displayed. Interlocking SLAM POETRY and LATIN LOVER formed a nice skeleton for the grid.

I also like how Andrew chose to stick with a 70-word puzzle for his debut. Many themeless constructors would choose to take out the black square between GOTO and TKO, and try for a 68-worder. But I'd much rather take two great answers (VIRUS SCAN and ENGINEERS — okay, so this mechanical engineer is biased) along with pretty smooth surrounding fill, than three so-so answers with a bunch of glue to hold it together.

Speaking of glue, there is a little more than I'd like. Part of that stems from featuring 12-letter answers, as they make filling the middle hard (ETERNE). Melding that middle with the NE triple-stack then becomes hard as well (SNERD). Other merge points give OREL and SNO. None of these are that bad, but the themeless bar is so high these days. So many people can create snazzy themelesses with very little to no glue; that's become my expectation.

Super fun to see LMAO. Will and I talked two years ago about using the word "ass" — he said the NYT's policy = it's fine as long as it's not referring to a person's rear. Neat to see the NYT loosen up, already. (Laughing my ass off)

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0429 ( 24,279 )

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Across
1
Graveyard hour : FIVEAM
7
Dark as dark can be : JETBLACK
15
Nova Scotia, once : ACADIA
16
Not excessively : INREASON
17
A ghostwriter isn't given one : BYLINE
18
Ball : GOODTIME
19
Haggis ingredient : SUET
20
"What's hangin'?" : SUP
21
It comes to a head : IDEA
22
Ursule, e.g.: Abbr. : STE
23
Means of tracking wildlife : IDTAG
26
Old radio dummy : SNERD
27
Squeaker in a cage : HAMSTERWHEEL
30
City on the Oka River : OREL
31
Arles article : LES
32
Lucky strike : TROVE
35
Result of holding or hooking : PENALTY
37
Shot-putter's activity : HEAVING
39
Latin word on a diploma : SUMMA
40
Dedicated to : FOR
41
Conclusion lead-in : ERGO
42
Tropical smoothie flavor : PASSIONFRUIT
45
Double-dipping, e.g. : TABOO
48
Answering to : UNDER
49
___ Balls : SNO
50
Healing helper : ALOE
51
Show that's earned more than 40 Emmys, in brief : SNL
52
Lack of anxiety : EASE
54
Spreadsheet function : SORTDATA
56
Sonnet-ending unit : TERCET
58
72 of its 108 lines end in "-ore" sounds : THERAVEN
59
"The Evangelist" of Christianity : STMARK
60
Book that doesn't require much time or thought : EASYREAD
61
"But still ..." : EVENSO
Down
1
Dynamite : FAB
2
Hostile looks : ICYSTARES
3
A 99¢ burger may be on it : VALUEMENU
4
"Desperate Housewives" housewife : EDIE
5
Slangy "True, no?" : AINTIT
6
Questel who voiced Olive Oyl : MAE
7
Fitting gifts for puzzle enthusiasts? : JIGSAWS
8
"Uncle!" : ENOUGH
9
Too much, to Marcel : TROP
10
See 38-Down : BED
11
Valentino type : LATINLOVER
12
Fourth-wall breaker : ASIDE
13
Star on the horizon? : COMER
14
Work digitally? : KNEAD
22
Fill time at an airport, say : SHOP
24
Symbols of change, in math : DELTAS
25
Shot from behind the arc, informally : TREY
26
Shot putter's supply? : SERA
28
Grist for a war of words? : SLAMPOETRY
29
Ageless, ages ago : ETERNE
33
It often catches an infection : VIRUSSCAN
34
Rail heads : ENGINEERS
36
"OMG, I'm cracking up!" : LMAO
37
Place for a stove light : HOOD
38
With 10-Down, turn in : GOTO
40
First country in the world with universal suffrage (1906) : FINLAND
43
Product of natural outdoor steeping : SUNTEA
44
Onetime motel come-on : FREETV
45
Refinement : TASTE
46
Warm welcome? : ALOHA
47
Snoozers : BORES
51
Relief pitcher's success : SAVE
53
Pistolet ou canon : ARME
55
"God, home and country" org. : DAR
56
Literary monogram : TSE
57
Fight call, for short : TKO

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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