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New York Times, Friday, April 6, 2018

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
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896/16/201112/8/201817
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66681129212
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1.645163
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 73, Blocks: 28 Missing: {JKQX} Spans: 6, (2 triple stacks) This is puzzle # 77 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
This is the second themeless I've constructed that features triple-stacked 16s (the first ran in May 2015). Since 15x16 and 16x15 grids have ... read more

This is the second themeless I've constructed that features triple-stacked 16s (the first ran in May 2015). Since 15x16 and 16x15 grids have only recently become kosher, I have many fewer 16s than 15s in my word list (~5,000, as opposed to ~17,000). Finding stacks of 16s is thus significantly harder . . . but also more fun, I'd say, since many of the 15s have been used SOO many times! I'm looking at you, A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE and A TEENAGER IN LOVE.

In this puzzle, I started with HELICOPTER PARENT on the top and THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID on the bottom. My criteria when making 16-stacks (or any themeless stacks for that matter) are 1) snappy 16s, 2) smooth short fill, and 3) room to work in bonus long downs. I'm especially happy with how I did on 3), since LUNAR ROVER, LEVIATHAN, REHYDRATE, and EZ-PASS LANE are all nice in my book! I also like the 16s—SONIC DEPTH FINDER is nothing to write home about, but I'm proud of my clue for it. And as for the short fill, only ENTR, PSF, and ETDS stand out as clunky to me. All in all, I like how this one turned out, and I hope it's a fun solve! In any case, I'll be back on Sunday with my first solo diagramless.

Jeff Chen notes:
I annoyed my Ultimate frisbee teammates so much back when 'The Office' was on. (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID was Michael Scott's catch phrase, ... read more

I annoyed my Ultimate frisbee teammates so much back when "The Office" was on. (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID was Michael Scott's catch phrase, something to say after "Looks like you're getting a big raise.") I grew out of that phase … well, I'm still in it. My wife and I say it to each other! Nice triple-stack anchor, although I can see why Will put on a "sophomoric" qualifier in the clue.

DO YOU WANT TO DANCE is a catchy song. It's too bad STAND IN GOOD STEAD is a little drier. Still, it's so tough to hit 3/3 snazzy long answers in a triple-stack.

Same goes for the top stack. HELICOPTER PARENT is evocative, as is A RUN FOR ONES MONEY. But don't most people call a DEPTH FINDER a DEPTH FINDER? Some research showed that SONIC DEPTH FINDER is indeed a real term, probably to distinguish it from other types of DEPTH FINDERs, I suppose?

Totally agreed with David, I appreciated LUNAR ROVER and EZ PASS LANE running through their stacks – those gave the puzzle more color. Triple-stack-focused puzzles often can be a bit dull outside the stacks, but these livened things up a lot.

WAR BABIES. "A child born in wartime, especially one fathered by a serviceman." Not sure why this makes me uncomfortable. No doubt a colorful term. Not sure I'd strive to use it in one of my own crosswords, though.

I thought I was going to be stumped in the west section. This mechanical engineer couldn't get his head around the idea that a SCREW was a [Thread holder]. I get that it was trying to misdirect toward some sort of spool. But I don't think the clue works without a question mark.

If only the question mark for the HELICOPTER PARENT had been moved to the SCREW clue. A HELICOPTER PARENT is pretty much exactly someone who cares too much, yeah? Why the qualifying "?"?

Screwy.

Not unusual to get a good glut of crossword glue holding triple-stacks together, TYRO ENDO PSF ENTR TOPE taping the top section alone. A few too many compromises for my taste overall, but still, enough color in the long entries to keep me satisfied.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0406 ( 24,986 )
Across
1. Someone who cares too much? : HELICOPTERPARENT
17. Serious competition : ARUNFORONESMONEY
18. It sends waves through waves : SONICDEPTHFINDER
19. College Board offering, for short : PSAT
20. Guarded : LEERY
21. Nincompoop : DODO
22. Age : RIPEN
24. Foggy condition : DAZE
27. They go to the dogs : SCRAPS
29. Unrelenting : MERCILESS
34. Stops streaming : CLOTS
35. Part of ISIL : LEVANT
36. Small slice of pizza? : ZEE
37. Party hearty : RAVE
38. X : DELETE
39. Help in a gym : SPOT
40. Poetic preposition : ERE
41. Draconian : SEVERE
42. Ex-Expo Rusty : STAUB
43. Deliveries in the early 1940s : WARBABIES
45. Hardly generous : MEASLY
46. Santa ___ : ROSA
47. They have strong teeth : GEARS
48. Salinger title girl : ESME
51. Prey for an eagle or bear : TROUT
54. Monster of TV : ELMO
57. Sophomoric rejoinder : THATSWHATSHESAID
61. 1958 Bobby Freeman hit covered by the Beach Boys and the Ramones : DOYOUWANTTODANCE
62. Be beneficial to : STANDINGOODSTEAD
Down
1. Part of a locker : HASP
2. Love symbol that names another love symbol if you move the first letter to the end : EROS
3. Moon buggy : LUNARROVER
4. Kick-start : INITIATE
5. Banned pollutant, for short : CFC
6. A large quantity : OODLES
7. Show vanity, in a way : PREEN
8. Have a large quantity of liquor : TOPE
9. ___'acte : ENTR
10. Drink after a race, say : REHYDRATE
11. Pressure meas. : PSF
12. French toast maker, maybe : AMI
13. 14-line poem with only two rhymes : RONDEL
14. Prefix with sperm : ENDO
15. "No ___" : NEED
16. Veteran's opposite : TYRO
23. Certain letter addendum, for short : PPS
25. Result of an oil surplus : ACNE
26. 25-Down unit : ZIT
27. Thread holder : SCREW
28. Santa ___ : CLARA
29. Word from the French for "mixed" : MELEE
30. Civil rights icon Medgar : EVERS
31. Quick way through a toll plaza : EZPASSLANE
32. Summer Olympics host before Barcelona : SEOUL
33. Save for later : SETBY
35. Giant : LEVIATHAN
38. Eugene in labor history : DEBS
39. Gives a blank look : STARESAT
41. ___ Jorge (one of the Azores) : SAO
42. "He who holds the ___ must be master of the empire": Cicero : SEA
44. Native of NW France : BRETON
45. Kind of acting : METHOD
47. Spirit : GUSTO
48. Some sked predictions : ETDS
49. Completely ruined : SHOT
50. Itzamna worshipers : MAYA
52. Requested service : RANG
53. Palindromic man's name : OTTO
55. It's flaky : MICA
56. Had too much, in brief : ODED
58. Dijon-to-Lyon direction : SUD
59. Teens fight, for short : WWI
60. Story assigners, in brief : EDS

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle.

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