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New York Times, Monday, June 10, 2019

Author:
Brad Wilber
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
522/19/20056/10/201925
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011201434
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1.60001
Brad Wilber

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {BJQZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 52 for Mr. Wilber. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brad Wilber notes:
When my employment status changed last year, another crossword venue generously invited me to take over a regular Monday slot ... read more

When my employment status changed last year, another crossword venue generously invited me to take over a regular Monday slot relinquished by someone scaling back on their constructing. Looking to me for the gentlest possible puzzles was a bit of a risk. I'm not exactly known for them, right? Mental rewiring was required.

Anyway, this puzzle theme had a covert element inappropriate for that Monday gig, but I liked the idea enough that I worked it up and sent it into the Times. I was thrilled to have a "yes" on it, with the assessment that it was "almost the ideal easy puzzle." So maybe I'm learning the right things?

Shout out to Doug Peterson for tinkering with the grid design and thinking of having the revealer cross the last theme entry instead of running parallel. (For those keeping track, this is not only my first Monday appearance but my first solo themed puzzle of any kind for the Times.)

Jeff Chen notes:
Brad is one of my favorite people in the crossworld, an erudite savant who edits the Chronicle of Higher Education crossword. (Don't ... read more

Brad is one of my favorite people in the crossworld, an erudite savant who edits the Chronicle of Higher Education crossword. (Don't worry, I had to look up "erudite" and "savant" too.) He goes by the clever moniker, "Bewilbered," so the clue for OTTER as a bewhiskered animal bemused me. My solving enjoyment always goes up when treated to these insider nods.

Strong work in disguising items that are commonly in a PURSE. I did catch on to the theme early, after just LICENSE and KEYS, but I stopped to admire how different the meanings are, in the crossword as opposed to the purse. That's some DRAMATIC LICENSE right there!

Most purses might as well be Hermione's charmed handbag for all I know, the varied and multitudinous contents bewildering. A driver's LICENSE, set of KEYS, sure. Spare CHANGE ... people still use cash? So 20th century!

The one that made me hitch was CHARGER. I do carry a phone CHARGER with me, but I'll have to ask around to determine if this is indeed an oft-bepursed item.

Loved the TONYS clue, too. How appropriate for Tony Shalhoub to win a TONY. I'd say I'd one day hope to win a Jeffy, but that stupid "Family Circus" kid ruined the name forever.

A ton of CHEERY mid-length fill, like SHOO-IN, ANYHOW, GO DEEP, OFF DAY, even EEYORE bepleasanting the experience.

I wasn't hot on a couple of blips though: ANON crossing AGOAT, some ATILT / ALIT, and SLUE potentially befuddling to newer solvers. Some glue is expected given the quantity of strong mid-length fill, but it's not a trade-off I would have made for a Monday grid. I much prefer erring toward the side of smoothness, not color, for an introductory solve.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked Brad's themer choices. What else is often found in PURSEs and easily disguisable? WIPES, perhaps, hidden in STAR WIPES? Maybe. A PHONE … as in PURSEPHONE!

Drat it, that's Persephone. So close, yet so far.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0610 ( 25,416 )
Across
1
Stitches : SEWS
5
Old workplace sitcom with Danny DeVito as a dispatcher : TAXI
9
Flashy effect : ECLAT
14
Honolulu's island : OAHU
15
"Terrible" Russian despot : IVAN
16
Many a New Year's resolution prescribes getting into it : SHAPE
17
Not strict adherence to what really happened, say : DRAMATICLICENSE
20
Convenience at a business that doesn't take credit cards : ATM
21
Confirmed the flavor of : TASTED
22
Biblical garden : EDEN
23
Surefire winner : SHOOIN
25
Bewhiskered river swimmer : OTTER
27
Touched down : ALIT
29
"Be that as it may ..." : ANYHOW
33
When a fresh factory crew arrives : SHIFTCHANGE
38
Singer Yoko : ONO
39
Elusive Tupperware components, often : LIDS
40
Air quality watchdog created by the Nixon admin. : EPA
41
Norway's capital : OSLO
42
Web address : URL
43
Archipelago forming the southernmost part of the continental U.S. : FLORIDAKEYS
47
Gloomy pal of Winnie-the-Pooh : EEYORE
49
Auditioner's goal : ROLE
50
Newborn horses : FOALS
53
Run for a long football pass : GODEEP
57
Singer Edith known as "The Little Sparrow" : PIAF
60
Disappear : VANISH
62
"Despicable Me" character voiced by Steve Carell : GRU
63
Member of an N.F.L. team transplanted to Los Angeles in 2017 : SANDIEGOCHARGER
66
"Could you, would you, with ___?" (Dr. Seuss line) : AGOAT
67
Black-and-white Nabisco cookie : OREO
68
Medics : DOCS
69
Annual awards ... like the one actor Shalhoub won in 2018 : TONYS
70
Fret (over) : STEW
71
Poker buy-in : ANTE
Down
1
Fizzy drinks : SODAS
2
Our planet : EARTH
3
Company that makes Frisbees : WHAMO
4
Redundant word in front of "total" : SUM
5
Passenger ship in a 1912 calamity : TITANIC
6
Hertz rival : AVIS
7
Hobbyist's knife brand : XACTO
8
Cove : INLET
9
PC panic button : ESC
10
Upbeat : CHEERY
11
Touch down : LAND
12
Church recess : APSE
13
Someone who is not yet 20 : TEEN
18
Leaning : ATILT
19
Canine collar dangler : IDTAG
24
Lummoxes : OAFS
26
WSW's opposite : ENE
28
Letter you don't pronounce in "jeopardy" and "leopard" : THEO
30
Garden waterer : HOSE
31
"It's ___ a matter of time" : ONLY
32
Pursues romantically : WOOS
33
Swivel around : SLUE
34
Add to the payroll : HIRE
35
Without really thinking : IDLY
36
Mo. for fools and showers : APR
37
Hair removal cream brand : NAIR
41
Approved : OKED
43
To and ___ : FRO
44
Order to party crashers : LEAVE
45
Annual Westminster event : DOGSHOW
46
Hawaiian greeting : ALOHA
48
Time of lackluster performance : OFFDAY
51
Largest city and former capital of Nigeria : LAGOS
52
Derisive laugh sound : SNORT
54
Prod : EGGON
55
Standing upright : ERECT
56
Where the endings of 17-, 33-, 43- and 63-Across are often found : PURSE
57
Exam for sophs. or jrs. : PSAT
58
"Othello" villain : IAGO
59
In a little while : ANON
61
Drink that can cause brain freeze : ICEE
64
"___ never too late to learn" : ITS
65
Abbr. on old vitamin bottles : RDA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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