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New York Times, Thursday, April 5, 2018

Author: David J. Kahn
Editor: Will Shortz
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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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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?

JimH 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 dramatic ... more
JimH 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 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 Down
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
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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