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New York Times, Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Author:
Damon Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3811/8/20047/1/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
15608810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65330
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 37 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
I came up with THE MEANING OF LIFE and JACKIE ROBINSON straight-away, but I needed to think a bit for one more iconic 42. Initially, I had ... read more

I came up with THE MEANING OF LIFE and JACKIE ROBINSON straight-away, but I needed to think a bit for one more iconic 42. Initially, I had DAMON J. GULCZYNSKI as my last theme answer ("Crossword legend born in 1977"), but I thought he might be too niche. Once I noticed PRESIDENT CLINTON is also 16 letters, I figured he was the more mainstream option.

Jeff Chen notes:
I can just see all the 'Hitchhiker' pagans out there scratching their collective heads. WTF does THE MEANING OF LIFE have to do with the number ... read more

I can just see all the "Hitchhiker" pagans out there scratching their collective heads. WTF does THE MEANING OF LIFE have to do with the number 42? Basically, this supercomputer chugs along for decades to figure out the meaning of life, and it finally calculates the answer as "42." It's an amusing gag. Not as life-changingly funny as some make it out to be, though.

(ducking the onslaught of hate mail)

JACKIE ROBINSON's number 42 has been retired by all MLB teams. Great inclusion for this puzzle.

PRESIDENT CLINTON was POTUS 42. I liked how 42 was indirectly referenced in the clue. Made you have to think for half a second.

I wonder how many people will write me today with confused emails asking what the theme was. Check out 42-Across: THEME. Get it? Three themers that all reference the number 42?

"But why is the meaning of life 42, Jeff?"

GAH I JUST EXPLAINED IT WEREN'T YOU LISTENING oh never mind.

This is a rare case where the concept might have been better as a Sunday grid. I say this so infrequently that I can't remember the last time it happened. But it'd be easy to make some sort of grid art, forming a 4 2 out of black squares. It wouldn't have had perfect symmetry, but that'd have been fine.

That would have opened up the possibility for other 42-related things. The 42nd element? The 42nd US state? Some neat mathematical property of the number 42? I'm sure there are dozens of cleverly indirect relations to 42, too.

Fantastic clue for DANTE. Maybe I should start writing about the underworld so that people would call me one hell of a writer too.

The clue for ITHACA confused me. It's ... Gorges? Apparently it has a lot of gorges. Maybe it's a snooty New York thing.

Fun idea to riff on the number 42. I wish there had been at least one other themer, and that the clues had more explicitly referenced 42 (so people would STOP ASKING ME WHAT THE THEME IS PLEASE STOP), but an entertaining idea.

ADDED NOTE: Constructor extraordinare Matt Gaffney astutely observed that it would have been perfect to run this puzzle exactly six weeks ago. I'll let you figure that one out.

Jim Horne notes:
I am amused and charmed by this original theme. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started as a BBC radio play, and that's still the best ... read more

I am amused and charmed by this original theme.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started as a BBC radio play, and that's still the best way to experience it. You can download the audio files or listen to the whole series here. It's free.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0514 ( 25,389 )
Across
1
Rosters : LISTS
6
Red ink : DEBT
10
Showing the overall view : MACRO
15
Enjoyed no end : ATEUP
16
Two-dimensional measure : AREA
17
"Tattered Tom" author Horatio : ALGER
18
What the computer Deep Thought was programmed to figure out in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" : THEMEANINGOFLIFE
21
Michael's wife in "The Godfather" : KAY
22
Give as an example : CITE
23
Life lines? : BIO
24
Environmental destruction : ECOCIDE
26
Spreading out : SPLAYING
31
Mystiques : AURAS
32
Common bar mixer : COLA
33
Wine glass part : STEM
34
"u r 2 funny" : LOL
35
In good shape : TONED
36
Pigeon sound : COO
37
Hall-of-Fame player whose number has been retired by every team in Major League Baseball : JACKIEROBINSON
41
Young 'un : TOT
42
<- What this is for this puzzle : THEME
43
Mer contents : EAU
44
Sharpen : WHET
46
Michael of "Superbad" : CERA
47
Safe place : VAULT
49
Surges : ONRUSHES
51
Setter or retriever : BIRDDOG
53
TV's "Murder, ___ Wrote" : SHE
54
Line of clothing? : SEAM
55
___ Valley, neighborhood in San Francisco : NOE
56
He served between Bush 41 and Bush 43 : PRESIDENTCLINTON
62
Supermarket section : AISLE
63
Bill : BEAK
64
Cousin of a weasel : SABLE
65
Uses performance-enhancing drugs : DOPES
66
Quite gaunt : BONY
67
Sloughs off : SHEDS
Down
1
Part of a Hanukkah meal : LATKE
2
"___ is Gorges" (T-shirt slogan) : ITHACA
3
"Peace out" : SEEYOULATER
4
Belly, in babyspeak : TUM
5
Cereal brand with a weight-loss challenge : SPECIALK
6
One hell of a writer? : DANTE
7
Pennsylvania city : ERIE
8
Economist Bernanke : BEN
9
Playground game : TAG
10
Michael's family in "The Godfather" : MAFIA
11
Sterling silver and such : ALLOYS
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Some movie f/x : CGI
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Yellow card issuer : REF
14
Rock band? : ORE
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Buttresses : AIDS
20
First half of a Beatles title : OBLADI
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Swamp snapper : CROC
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California wine region : SONOMA
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Military academy freshman : PLEBE
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"That's impossible!" : ITCOULDNTBE
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Bright night light : NEON
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Non-___ (label on many organic foods) : GMO
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Kitchen gadgets : CORERS
35
Snicker sound : TEHEE
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Place to solve a crossword, maybe : JOHN
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Had a hankering : ITCHED
39
Close one : NEARMISS
40
Mideast royal name : SAUD
41
Value of snake eyes : TWO
45
Skirmish : TUSSLE
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Serum container : VIAL
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Like a 14-year-old vis-à-vis the Little League World Series : TOOOLD
50
Acts skittish : SHIES
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Tom's love in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" : BECKY
52
Family inheritance : GENES
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Obsessive fan, in modern slang : STAN
56
Something to jot notes on : PAD
57
Kia model : RIO
58
Skill tested by Zener cards, for short : ESP
59
Draw back : EBB
60
Prefix with natal : NEO
61
"I don't think so" : NAH

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?