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New York Times, Friday, May 8, 2015

Author: Ian Livengood
Editor: Will Shortz
Ian Livengood
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554/12/20109/15/20164
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617667112
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1.64371
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: {BJQX} This is puzzle # 47 for Mr. Livengood. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes: A few random thoughts: 1A was the seed answer and got scooped in other puzzles before publication. Eh, that'll happen. ... more
Ian Livengood notes:

A few random thoughts:

  • 1A was the seed answer and got scooped in other puzzles before publication. Eh, that'll happen.
  • With the pattern $c$v$c$vN $cOWELL (where "$c" stands for a consonant and "$v" stands for a vowel), 12D could have been Colin Powell. Love when grid flexibility pops up like that.
  • I've used this basic shell for other themeless puzzles, and I highly recommend it for new themeless constructors. No themeless construction is "easy," but this 72/29 is pretty doable.

Hope solvers like this one!

Jeff Chen notes: Another clinic from Ian today. At 72 words (the max for a themeless), the grid is nothing fancy or envelope-pushing, but Ian makes ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Another clinic from Ian today. At 72 words (the max for a themeless), the grid is nothing fancy or envelope-pushing, but Ian makes such great use of his long entries. A puzzle's sizzle often comes from its 8+ letter entries, and with only 14 of those slots available today, it's so critical to convert nearly all of them into snappy entries.

That's a tough task, but look at all the great material Ian strews about the grid. Starting with a SNAPCHAT / KETEL ONE / ICE RINKS and ending with IRON CHEF / NEWSHOLE (vaguely and amusingly lewd-sounding) / GREEK GOD — what a way to bookend the puzzle. Spreading NOISEMAKERS and ANKLE MONITOR and STONEMASONS around made the solve so pleasing all over, from top to bottom and left to right.

Fox hunt leader of old

A note on ROGER FEDERER and SIMON COWELL. Both gridworthy, no doubt, but I value SIMON COWELL so much more than ROGER FEDERER in a crossword. It's really fun to get your favorite sports (or movie, or whatever) figure into a grid, but celebs can be awfully polarizing. You elate the people that are also fans, but alienate those that don't know (or don't wish to know) the person. So unless there's great cluing potential, I find reliance on names a bit unsatisfying.

ROGER FEDERER probably has clever cluing potential, but [Five-in-a-row U.S. Open winner] sounds like a Wikipedia entry, while [Fox hunt leader of old] is a gold-medal play on SIMON COWELL's former role on the Fox talent search show, "American Idol."

Finally, Ian's short fill. Because a 72-word puzzle is relatively easy to fill compared to a 68 or or a 66, it's important to distinguish it by keeping the glue to a minimum. Ian's always good about this, and today is no different. I have to be pretty nit-picky to point out ANON, which has a bit of a fusty feel to it, but is also common in poetry. And NEC will draw some complaints as three randomish letters stuck together, but I find it hard to argue that a company with a market cap of roughly $10B isn't gridworthy. It's not something I'd strive to use, but I personally find it to be a minor blip.

Very entertaining, smooth solve.

JimH notes: This puzzle by Ian Livengood was published on his 32nd birthday.
1
S
2
N
3
A
4
P
5
C
6
H
7
A
8
T
9
C
10
L
11
A
12
S
13
S
14
Y
15
K
E
T
E
L
O
N
E
16
H
A
L
I
T
E
17
I
C
E
R
I
N
K
S
18
A
N
I
M
A
L
19
S
M
E
L
T
20
R
O
E
21
O
I
L
22
C
23
A
24
N
O
E
25
E
R
O
S
26
E
N
D
S
27
A
N
O
N
28
S
M
U
G
29
M
A
C
30
C
G
I
31
S
T
O
N
E
32
M
A
S
O
33
N
34
S
35
H
E
S
36
S
I
A
N
37
R
E
N
E
W
A
L
38
E
L
E
C
T
R
I
39
C
F
A
N
40
E
V
E
41
M
A
Z
42
T
H
E
N
43
C
L
A
W
44
H
45
E
A
T
46
V
O
I
D
47
R
O
L
L
S
48
E
L
K
49
C
O
R
D
E
50
L
I
A
51
L
I
E
52
L
O
W
53
I
R
O
N
C
54
H
55
E
56
F
57
E
T
R
A
D
E
58
N
E
W
S
H
O
L
E
59
N
E
S
T
E
D
60
G
R
E
E
K
G
O
D
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0508 ( 23,922 )
Across Down
1. Instagram alternative : SNAPCHAT
9. Smart : CLASSY
15. "Gentlemen, this is vodka" sloganeer : KETELONE
16. Melter on winter sidewalks : HALITE
17. Checking locales : ICERINKS
18. See 48-Across : ANIMAL
19. Masago, at a sushi bar : SMELTROE
21. Something well-kept? : OIL
22. Camp vehicle : CANOE
25. Winged figure of myth : EROS
26. Bounds : ENDS
27. Any day now : ANON
28. Thinking one is pretty hot stuff, say : SMUG
29. Guy : MAC
30. Tech field, briefly : CGI
31. Blockheads? : STONEMASONS
35. Participant in the Battle of Saratoga, 1777 : HESSIAN
37. Subscription prescription : RENEWAL
38. Hummer in the summer : ELECTRICFAN
40. All Saints' Day vis-à-vis All Souls' Day : EVE
41. 1960 Pirates World Series hero, familiarly : MAZ
42. "That was ___ ..." : THEN
43. Hammer part : CLAW
44. Pressure, informally : HEAT
46. Whole lot of nothing : VOID
47. Takes turns in a casino : ROLLS
48. Official 18-Across of Utah : ELK
49. Shakespearean sister : CORDELIA
51. Keep off the grid, say : LIELOW
53. Japanese import set in a kitchen : IRONCHEF
57. Charles Schwab alternative : ETRADE
58. Space in a paper available for journalism instead of ads : NEWSHOLE
59. Stored (within) : NESTED
60. 25-Across, for one : GREEKGOD
1. "___ Utah!" (state license plate slogan) : SKI
2. Big inits. in computing : NEC
3. Had dinner : ATE
4. Individual : PERSON
5. Iceland has a cold one : CLIME
6. Get an edge on : HONE
7. Flight preventer : ANKLEMONITOR
8. Tryout : TESTRUN
9. Total zoo : CHAOS
10. Driving range? : LANE
11. "The Greatest: My Own Story" author : ALI
12. Fox hunt leader of old : SIMONCOWELL
13. Conservative : STAID
14. RESPONDS LIKE THIS! : YELLS
20. Five-in-a-row U.S. Open winner : ROGERFEDERER
22. Private stock : CACHE
23. Sweetie : ANGEL
24. Detritus on New Year's morning : NOISEMAKERS
26. Maneuver carefully : EASE
28. Headline : STAR
29. "Buddenbrooks" novelist : MANN
31. ___ bath : SITZ
32. Statistics class figure : MEAN
33. Like the historic Battle of Lepanto, 1571 : NAVAL
34. Mountains : SLEWS
36. "Beat it!" : SCAT
39. Dressing down : CHIDING
43. Leader of five N.C.A.A. basketball championships for Duke, informally : COACHK
44. Hunt for a film? : HELEN
45. 1%, say : ELITE
46. Gave one's parole : VOWED
47. Final step in cleaning : RINSE
49. Up to ___ : CODE
50. Lucius S. ___, hardware chain store eponym : LOWE
52. Muscle used in pull-ups, briefly : LAT
54. Chopper : HOG
55. "A New World Record" grp., 1976 : ELO
56. Had dinner : FED

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?