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New York Times, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2912/25/201310/8/20180
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3448640
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1.59790
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QWZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
When several letters will work in a given square, I'll often choose the one with the higher Scrabble value, which tends to make for a ... read more

When several letters will work in a given square, I'll often choose the one with the higher Scrabble value, which tends to make for a more interesting grid. In today's puzzle, though, I deliberately broke this rule at the intersection of 41A and 30D. PIER/COP would have worked, but solvers might have (rightly) wondered why a PIER was intersecting the "fishing line" halfway down the grid. (As for CAVIAR, consider it a bonus theme answer.)

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun visual, a fishing line represented by a string of Is, ending with a J, which looks like a fish hook. I grokked the idea quickly ... read more

Fun visual, a fishing line represented by a string of Is, ending with a J, which looks like a fish hook. I grokked the idea quickly since I had had the pleasure of working on another J = hook puzzle, but I still enjoyed that imagery. (Thanks goes to Will and Joel for spacing out these two puzzles, so the hook (ha ha) still felt fresh!)

DON'T TAKE THE BAIT helped flesh out the theme, along with several types of fish that can double as a non-fish related word. I've highlighted them below to help them stand out — short answers tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Jacob does such a nice job with grid execution, as always; hardly a short, gluey entry to be seen. TSO is about all I could pick out, and I like General TSO's chicken. (I know, some Asian I am.) DISCI felt strange, but some dictionaries do list it as plural for "discus." "Discuses" does seem better to me, but both feel awkward. Maybe everyone should insure that there's only one discus in any one place at a time. Problem solved!

I appreciated the few long extras in LABRADOR, LIBELED / EXTORT (got something planned, eh, Jacob?), and even GLIMPSE is fun. LEGALIST was unfamiliar to me, but it appears to be dictionary-legit.

I would have liked a few more long bonuses that would have helped the grid shine, but it is tough to work around all those short themers plus the two 15-letter ones. Perhaps just a touch more crossword glue in exchange for another pair of good entries? I'd be curious to test out whether you could remove the block between APEX and ROBE to get a pair of great long bonus entries.

All in all, an amusing, well-crafted puzzle. It was a little too much of a one-liner (pun intended) to get my POW!, but an enjoyable solve.

Jim Horne notes:

In 2008, Liz Gorski used a similar string of I's to hold up an arachnid.

1
F
2
A
3
D
4
C
5
A
6
R
7
P
8
S
9
I
10
A
11
M
12
I
P
O
13
S
14
L
I
E
U
15
T
H
I
N
E
16
V
E
N
T
17
O
M
A
R
18
H
E
I
G
L
19
E
X
T
O
20
R
T
21
L
E
22
G
A
L
I
S
T
23
T
O
E
24
S
M
E
L
T
25
I
T
S
26
T
27
R
A
L
A
28
L
A
29
D
I
S
30
C
I
31
A
O
K
32
P
I
K
33
E
34
M
O
O
I
35
N
36
G
37
I
B
E
38
T
39
B
E
B
40
O
P
41
T
I
E
R
42
L
E
T
S
43
B
E
44
B
A
S
45
S
46
I
R
A
47
H
O
Y
L
48
E
49
T
E
R
50
R
I
F
Y
51
A
52
P
E
53
P
E
R
54
C
H
55
T
O
I
56
L
A
B
57
R
A
D
O
R
58
C
A
V
I
59
A
60
R
61
T
R
A
I
T
62
D
E
63
M
O
64
E
I
R
E
65
A
M
I
S
H
66
E
D
E
N
67
D
I
L
L
68
R
A
T
E
69
S
O
L
E
70
J
O
Y
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0531 ( 24,676 )
Across
1. Ice Bucket Challenge, in 2014 : FAD
4. *Complain : CARP
8. "The King and I" setting : SIAM
12. Corp. milestones : IPOS
14. In ___ of : LIEU
15. What used to be yours? : THINE
16. Jacket feature : VENT
17. W.W. II general Bradley : OMAR
18. Katherine of "27 Dresses" : HEIGL
19. Take by force : EXTORT
21. One following statutes to the letter : LEGALIST
23. Hoof, essentially : TOE
24. *Extract with heat, in a way : SMELT
25. "___ All Over Now" (Rolling Stones hit) : ITS
26. Refrain from singing? : TRALALA
29. Things hurled at the Olympics : DISCI
31. Hunky-dory : AOK
32. *Weapon with a point : PIKE
34. Farmyard noise : MOOING
37. "A likely story!" : IBET
39. Swing successor : BEBOP
41. Level : TIER
42. Doesn't disturb : LETSBE
44. *The Mikado in "The Mikado," e.g. : BASS
46. Savings option, for short : IRA
47. Big name in games : HOYLE
49. Scare the bejeezus out of : TERRIFY
51. Mimic : APE
53. *Birdcage feature : PERCH
55. You, to Yvette : TOI
56. Neighbor of Quebec : LABRADOR
58. Fancy cracker topping : CAVIAR
61. Hazel eyes, e.g. : TRAIT
62. You might prepare one for potential investors : DEMO
64. Yeats's land : EIRE
65. Many rural Pennsylvanians : AMISH
66. Site of a famous eviction : EDEN
67. Pickle flavorer : DILL
68. "Per hour" or "per mile" figure : RATE
69. *Shoe part : SOLE
70. Rapture : JOY
Down
1. Solid orange ball : FIVE
2. Top : APEX
3. Warning for easily provoked types ... or for the answers to the six starred clues? : DONTTAKETHEBAIT
4. Cardiologist's concern : CLOT
5. Fire starter? : AIM
6. Area : REALM
7. Like baby food, often : PUREED
8. Poet Silverstein : SHEL
9. What might tempt the answers to the six starred clues? : IIIIIIIIIIIIIIJ
10. Unsettling feeling : ANGST
11. Softens : MELTS
13. Bar sight : STOOL
15. "Oh really?" : THATSO
20. Take in : REAP
22. Short notice? : GLIMPSE
24. "For heaven's ___!" : SAKE
26. Word before (or synonymous with) end : TAIL
27. Spa wear : ROBE
28. Cast aspersions on, in a way : LIBELED
30. Barracks sight : COT
33. Go down : EBB
35. ___ Blaster (toy gun) : NERF
36. Ash, e.g. : GRAY
38. Name on Chinese restaurant menus : TSO
40. It might be bleeped : OATH
43. Indirect route : BYPATH
45. Mex. miss : SRTA
48. Wears : ERODES
50. Wandered aimlessly : ROVED
51. Where vows may be taken : ALTAR
52. Italian city known for its prosciutto and cheese : PARMA
54. Words to live by : CREDO
57. "All ___" : RISE
58. Part of a rocket : CONE
59. Singer Guthrie : ARLO
60. Bank (on) : RELY
63. Former senator and R.N.C. head Martinez : MEL

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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