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New York Times, Friday, April 6, 2018

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
936/16/20113/23/201917
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66681131232
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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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