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New York Times, Thursday, April 5, 2018

Author:
David J. Kahn
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1813/15/199412/12/20185
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4451224571326
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1.5514211
David J. Kahn

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQVZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 177 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David J. Kahn notes:
I've written two books of baseball-themed puzzles and love the idea of cluing baseball jargon in a nonbaseball way. This puzzle actually ... read more

I've written two books of baseball-themed puzzles and love the idea of cluing baseball jargon in a nonbaseball way. This puzzle actually relates five answers to a situation you might hear described by a baseball announcer, with the appropriate payoff at the end. The puzzle needed to be a little wider to accommodate the longest answers and I tried to make the answers sound unforced. Looking forward to the 2018 season!

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I do enjoy the lingo. Some of David's takes on common baseball phrases amused me. And I liked his effort to ... read more

I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I do enjoy the lingo. Some of David's takes on common baseball phrases amused me. And I liked his effort to tie them together into a story. What better way to end the puzzle than a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN?

I did wonder about TWO MEN OUT and DOWN BY THREE. The former — don't most announcers say "two away" or "two out"? It's been a while since I've been to a game, but TWO MEN OUT sounds suspiciously like an answer bulked up for crossword symmetry.

The latter — I get that it's a necessary part of the setup for the dramatic conclusion. It just felt arbitrary(ish). Yes, it's a common deficit, common enough that it's probably a fine themer. But I would be happy to see BOTTOM OF THE NINTH in any other crossword as fill; not so much for DOWN BY THREE.

Why not ALL TIED UP, leading to a WALK OFF HOME RUN? Both of those are fine phrases I'd use as fill in other crosswords. Much preferable for me. I know the lengths don't match – BOTTOM OF THE NINTH is 16 and WALK OFF HOME RUN is 14 – but perhaps a mirror symmetry arrangement could have worked.

Interesting grid design, slipping in two long horizontal pieces of fill. Love, love, love SAN ANDREAS and its clue. Something so fun about the puzzle saying IT'S CALIFORNIA'S FAULT! Not so hot on the symmetrical entry, AUDIO TAPES, as CASSETTE TAPES feels much more strongly in the language. But overall, I like that David didn't need to pay much of a price to bring these long bad boys into the grid. Good stuff.

I enjoyed the effort to do something a little different with a baseball theme. A couple of iffy themers, but since the grid was well executed, I found the experience mostly entertaining. Who doesn't like a good story capped by a dramatic finish?

Jim Horne notes:
I hate to disagree with Jeff (actually, it's fun to disagree with Jeff) but each theme answer here is both perfect and necessary. The most ... read more

I hate to disagree with Jeff (actually, it's fun to disagree with Jeff) but each theme answer here is both perfect and necessary. The most dramatic possible walk-off hit requires each of these elements exactly as written. Watering down the scenario just so you could employ re-usable phrases would kill the tension. For this baseball fan (and my oh my, it's tough to be a baseball fan in Seattle) Mr. Kahn's puzzle is outstanding.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0405 ( 24,985 )
Across
1
He wrote "In the fight between you and the world, back the world" : KAFKA
6
Spanish hand : MANO
10
Making a crossing, e.g. : ASEA
14
"Do we have to keep doing this?!" : AGAIN
15
It's California's fault : SANANDREAS
17
*Bass part in Beethoven's "Choral" Symphony? : BOTTOMOFTHENINTH
19
Strike with a pickax? : ORE
20
1982 Loretta Lynn song with the lyric "It's not easy to deceive you" : ILIE
21
Sleazo : CAD
22
*Result of a lot of drinking in the army? : BASESLOADED
27
Yarn that stretches? : SAGA
30
Classic Jaguar : XKE
31
"___ has no use for free speech": Julius Caesar : WAR
33
Brock in Cooperstown : LOU
34
Fastening pin : COTTER
37
*A couple of prisoners after an escape from Leavenworth? : TWOMENOUT
40
On the move : AFOOT
41
Request : SEEK
42
Neighbor of Burundi : CONGO
43
*Dracula, after stuffing himself? : FULLCOUNT
45
Looies' subordinates : SARGES
46
Subj. for some bilinguals : ESL
47
Clothes line : HEM
48
Caste member : ANT
49
Muralist José María ___ : SERT
51
*Plan for a midafternoon nap? : DOWNBYTHREE
58
Parlement assent : OUI
60
All-time career record-holder for strikeouts : RYAN
61
Western tribe : UTE
62
What will cause a walk-off win in the situation described by the answers to the starred clues : GRANDSLAMHOMERUN
68
Obsolescent recordings : AUDIOTAPES
69
"Mercy me!" : EGADS
70
Not as : LESS
71
Fell (to) : LOST
72
Moth-eaten, e.g. : HOLEY
Down
1
Food cart offering : KABOB
2
Plaza for Plato : AGORA
3
Trio in Plato's "Republic" : FATES
4
Press ___ : KIT
5
Need for making soap from sap? : ANO
6
Family group : MAFIA
7
Paid (up) : ANTED
8
"Ain't gonna happen" : NAH
9
Single : ONE
10
Met demands? : ARIAS
11
Forward : SENDALONG
12
"Let's ___!" : EAT
13
E-cigarette's lack : ASH
15
Number for 9-Down : SOLO
16
Party org. once chaired by Tim Kaine : DNC
18
Track team member : MILER
23
Hail : EXTOL
24
Court artist's output : SKETCH
25
Worshiper of C-3PO in "Return of the Jedi" : EWOK
26
Arizona's Glen Canyon, for one : DAM
28
Fleece : GOUGE
29
Accords, e.g. : AUTOS
32
Disavow : RECANT
34
Places that may have blackboards : CAFES
35
Worth having : OFUSE
36
Bypass arteries? : TOLLROADS
37
Number of World Series rings for Yogi Berra as a player : TEN
38
Newly painted : WET
39
0° : NORTH
41
Sport in a ring : SUMO
44
Big ref. work : OED
45
Refuse : SAYNO
50
African capital, lake or gulf : TUNIS
52
Alternatives to paninis : WRAPS
53
N.L. East player : NYMET
54
Scroogeisms : BAHS
55
In the boonies : RURAL
56
Chopin piece : ETUDE
57
Very, very small : EENSY
59
Bridal line? : IDO
62
Hoedown date : GAL
63
The French way? : RUE
64
Winner of 11 World Series, for short : STL
65
Dweller on the Mekong : LAO
66
"Not so great" : MEH
67
Vainglory : EGO

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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