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New York Times, Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
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3449640
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1.597100
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {KQ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Stulberg. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
When I first saw this puzzle's edited version, 57-Across (PIESPIESPIES) had me genuinely stumped until I figured out the twist Will ... read more

When I first saw this puzzle's edited version, 57-Across (PIESPIESPIES) had me genuinely stumped until I figured out the twist Will had added. (My clue: "Movie sequel in which a shipwrecked boy catches sight of baked goods?".)

Also new and welcome was the "Simpsons" reference in the clue for 33-Across (ABELABELABEL), originally the rather nonsensical "President Lincoln, put a nametag on Cain's brother!'?".

For the record, I briefly considered another sitcom-themed answer: IDERIDERIDER (Motto for one heckling "Boy Meets World" actor Strong?).

Jeff Chen notes:
Loved this; themers that look like three repeated words but can be parsed in kooky ways. VIS A VIS VISA was readily apparent, as was ... read more

Loved this; themers that look like three repeated words but can be parsed in kooky ways. VIS A VIS VISA was readily apparent, as was ABE LABEL ABEL. But it took me a while to figure out what RIDERIDERIDE should become. What a fun division in RIDER I DERIDE. Similar hijinks in PIESPIESPIES, which I originally thought was the odd and repetitive PIE SPIES PIES. Not so! PI ESPIES PIES is brilliant.

Some strong clues too:

Twain sure had a lot of depth

Now, I would have liked some more long fill in this puzzle. This is a tougher task than for a typical four-theme entry puzzle, because of the themers' 12-letter lengths. Normally, you'd be able to take out the black square between DOG and JIBE to make an eight-letter slot, but no dice today since that square is necessary to finish off VISAVISAVISA. Same goes with the black square between CLASSY and ADAM.

There's room to explore blowing up the black square between MARSHAL and DONS, but that does make for a bigger space to fill in the west and east. And shifting black squares around in the center is a real possibility, but that would likely mean redoing the entire puzzle.

Still, the grid does contain a little zip with PRAIRIE / DOG, MARSHAL, even a SPLAT and a SPUME. And it is nice and bereft of gluey bits (aside from IRAE, maybe PSA too) — what a 78-word puzzle ought to be.

A trait of a great puzzle is that it makes me want to think about it further. So much fun to wrestle with these themers; I'd love to find more.

Jim Horne notes:
In only his seventh NYT crossword, Jacob Stulberg has already established himself as an extraordinarily creative constructor. His ... read more

In only his seventh NYT crossword, Jacob Stulberg has already established himself as an extraordinarily creative constructor. His previous puzzles have included Five Golden Rings and the clever two pints make a quart. He gave us a cubist Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 and then cracked me up with a reference to the classic Who's on First. He even classed up the puzzle page with a lovely William Carlos Williams poem. Today's theme is yet another innovation. Bravo.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0520 ( 23,934 )
Across
1
Some bunts or flies, for short : SACS
5
Sound of thunder : PEAL
9
Cabinet member's title, maybe : MADAM
14
Throw a line to : HELP
15
Have merit : RATE
16
Came into being : AROSE
17
Like much tribal history : ORAL
18
Neck of the woods : AREA
19
"Of course!" : RIGHT
20
In relation to someone's travel document? : VISAVISAVISA
23
Holiday not widely observed by Quakers : EASTER
24
See-through material : MESH
25
Start of a one-two : JAB
28
Cunning : SLY
29
Drilling apparatus : RIG
31
Many a MundoFox watcher : LATINO
33
"Grampa Simpson, describe a Genesis figure"? : ABELABELABEL
36
Diamond defect : FLAW
39
Back when : AGO
40
Off-color, plus : LEWD
41
Jockey who's jeered by me? : RIDERIDERIDE
46
Paper Mate's Pink Pearl, e.g. : ERASER
47
Brian who produced U2 : ENO
48
Awareness-raising spot, for short : PSA
51
Cap named for a Robert Burns hero : TAM
52
Meadow cries : BAAS
55
Wordless harrumphs : SNORTS
57
Detective catches sight of bakery wares? : PIESPIESPIES
59
It might make a shadow disappear : RAZOR
62
Respond to a belly rub, say : PURR
63
Manner of speaking : TONE
64
Be : EXIST
65
Send off : EMIT
66
Mineral abundant in kale : IRON
67
"Mark twain" measure : DEPTH
68
Role for Costner or Stack : NESS
69
Dermatologist's concern : CYST
Down
1
Pushes hard : SHOVES
2
Like most Google Earth views : AERIAL
3
Elegant : CLASSY
4
Paintball impact sound : SPLAT
5
With 11-Down, barking rodent : PRAIRIE
6
What barbers "lower" : EARS
7
First-stringers : ATEAM
8
Fleet Week break : LEAVE
9
Parade V.I.P. : MARSHAL
10
Bocelli piece : ARIA
11
See 5-Down : DOG
12
Makeup of some bats : ASH
13
"Miracle" player of 1969 : MET
21
What "is" is : VERB
22
Any of the Canaries : ISLE
25
Agree (with) : JIBE
26
From the top : ANEW
27
Font option : BOLD
30
Feeling pleased : GLAD
32
Chaucer piece : TALE
33
Bowls over : AWES
34
Actuarial figure : AGE
35
Barrel diameter : BORE
36
Get in a stew : FRET
37
Turkish currency unit : LIRA
38
"Paradise Lost" character : ADAM
42
Renaissance : REBIRTH
43
"Dies ___" (hymn) : IRAE
44
They often fall out of magazines : INSERTS
45
Mob summit figures : DONS
48
Home to monks or nuns : PRIORY
49
Notepad holders of old : STENOS
50
Nod of the head, say : ASSENT
53
Wood used in matchmaking : ASPEN
54
Surf froth : SPUME
56
___ disc (blind spot) : OPTIC
57
Put on YouTube, e.g. : POST
58
"Bearded" bloom : IRIS
59
Power tie shade : RED
60
Send packing : AXE
61
Nada : ZIP

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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