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New York Times, Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Author:
Nancy Stark and Will Nediger
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
23/14/20196/12/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.75000
Nancy Stark
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
305/27/20068/4/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
13025118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.78032
Will Nediger

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 2 for Ms. Stark. This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. Nediger. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
NANCY: Remember me? I'm the co-constructor of the March 14, 2019, NYT 'Black Hat' puzzle, created with the very talented, versatile ... read more

NANCY: Remember me? I'm the co-constructor of the March 14, 2019, NYT "Black Hat" puzzle, created with the very talented, versatile and delightful-to-work-with Will Nediger — cruciverbalist extraordinaire. We're back together again for this latest collaboration — with him once again entirely in charge of the always-challenging and difficult grid-making and with me happy to have been able to come up a theme that inspired him to want to do so.

Last time I, tennis player that I am, compared myself to Peter Fleming playing doubles with the great John McEnroe ("The best doubles team in the world? McEnroe and anyone," said Fleming.) Since that went over the heads of many readers unfamiliar with tennis, I'm choosing a different analogy: Creating a puzzle with Will Nediger is like dancing with the great Fred Astaire. Never mind Ginger and Cyd; Fred could make the broom look good.

As for me: I'm a former editor of the Literary Guild; the author of "Upward Nobility", a corporate satire published in 1979 under the pseudonym "Addison Steele"; an alum of the Advanced BMI Composers and Lyricists Workshop, and a lyricist whose songs have been performed in NYC cabarets but not, alas, on a Broadway stage near you. Some of my theater songs are online on the composer David Delaney's website. Put in him + me + DOWAGER HEIGHTS, and you just might find it. :)

This is my second puzzle to be published in the NYT. Will has many, many more.

WILL: Last time, I was one of the people who didn't know enough about tennis to appreciate Nancy's McEnroe/Fleming analogy. I'm glad she chose a Fred Astaire analogy this time, because it's much more in my wheelhouse, but also because it gives me an opportunity to remind her that Ginger Rogers did everything Astaire did, but backward and in high heels.

Jeff Chen notes:
I spent some time thinking about what other movies might fit a LACK OF CHARACTER theme – nothing came to mind. Tight theme. ... read more

I spent some time thinking about what other movies might fit a LACK OF CHARACTER theme – nothing came to mind. Tight theme.

(Now I'm bracing for the slew of obscure movies readers throw at me.)

Speaking of obscure, I wasn't aware of THE LADY VANISHES. I've seen a lot of Hitchcock films. Considering how high THE LADY VANISHES appears on many Hitchcock ranking lists, it looks like I need to shore up my knowledge base.

Editors often prize multi-word fill, as it tends to be more colorful than single-worders. VERMEER is awfully colorful, though. PRURIENT is an interesting word, CREVICES as well.

Most constructors stay away from six-letter widths at the edges of puzzles because they tend to be much harder to fill cleanly than five or four-letter widths. Take a gander at the top of the grid: IN DEBT is a strong headliner, but NAIVER hit my ear wrong. The south further confounded me when I was sure that John NAVIER of the Navier-Stokes equations was correct.

Apparently, that was Claude-Louis Navier and John NAPIER.

Excuse me while I go turn in my mechanical engineering card with shame.

Along with EX-ALLY making me tilt my head, and MALE NAME not sounding quite right (although after some thought, it felt fine ... ish), it wasn't the best grid product I've seen, especially given how strong Will is at construction.

The theme worked well enough, although it provided more of a head-nodding moment than a delightful a-ha.

1
W
2
A
3
R
4
M
5
I
6
N
7
D
8
E
9
B
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T
11
O
12
L
13
D
14
A
S
E
A
15
N
A
I
V
E
R
16
C
E
O
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T
H
E
L
18
A
D
Y
V
A
N
I
19
S
H
E
S
20
T
E
L
E
V
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S
E
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P
A
R
K
A
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N
O
R
A
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P
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R
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F
E
S
S
25
R
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U
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N
A
W
A
Y
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B
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E
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A
T
O
M
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L
O
G
S
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P
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D
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A
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G
A
T
E
35
J
36
E
E
P
S
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C
L
A
M
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S
H
E
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A
I
M
S
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C
R
U
D
E
41
I
N
V
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I
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B
L
E
M
A
N
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V
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E
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R
M
E
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R
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S
L
A
V
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A
X
I
O
M
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P
R
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I
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E
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N
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T
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L
A
C
K
O
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F
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C
H
A
R
A
C
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E
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I
C
E
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N
A
P
I
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E
C
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U
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D
T
S
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E
X
A
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61
S
H
O
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0612 ( 25,418 )

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Across
1
Getting close : WARM
5
Having obligations : INDEBT
11
Antiquated : OLD
14
Making a crossing, maybe : ASEA
15
Not so savvy about the ways of the world : NAIVER
16
Top of an outfit, for short? : CEO
17
1938 Alfred Hitchcock mystery : THELADYVANISHES
20
Air : TELEVISE
21
Well-padded coat : PARKA
22
Fictional Charles : NORA
23
Assert openly : PROFESS
25
1999 Garry Marshall comedy : RUNAWAYBRIDE
29
They can be dangerous when split : ATOMS
30
Cabin-building items : LOGS
31
Bussing on a bus, e.g., for short : PDA
34
Scandalous suffix : GATE
35
Conveyances on and off base : JEEPS
37
Silent type : CLAM
38
"___ sells seashells ..." : SHE
39
List for the forward-thinking : AIMS
40
Like some oil and remarks : CRUDE
41
1933 James Whale sci-fi horror film, with "The" : INVISIBLEMAN
44
Dutch master who painted "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" : VERMEER
47
Czech or Pole : SLAV
48
Self-evident truth : AXIOM
49
Appealing to lascivious desires : PRURIENT
53
Amorality ... as suggested by 17-, 25- and 41-Across? : LACKOFCHARACTER
56
"Rocks" : ICE
57
Mathematician John who discovered logarithms : NAPIER
58
Stationery shade : ECRU
59
The shakes, for short : DTS
60
Former friend : EXALLY
61
Clog or pump : SHOE
Down
1
Light amount? : WATT
2
Eponym of the world's largest tennis stadium : ASHE
3
Part of a film archive : REEL
4
August, e.g., but not May or June : MALENAME
5
One of the Gandhis : INDIRA
6
Contradict : NAYSAY
7
Cruddy joint : DIVE
8
Adán's mate in la Biblia : EVA
9
Jerry's partner in the frozen food aisle : BEN
10
Camera stabilizers : TRIPODS
11
Shade in a desert landscape : OCHRE
12
Relatives of shallots : LEEKS
13
Crepes in Indian cuisine : DOSAS
18
Asserts openly : AVOWS
19
On base : SAFE
23
Top hat, to a magician : PROP
24
Fixes wrongly? : RIGS
25
Uses for worn-out T-shirts : RAGS
26
Geographical entity with six straight sides : UTAH
27
Reminder to oneself, perhaps : NOTE
28
Grace word : BLESS
31
Coveted, as a position : PLUM
32
"Anti-art" art movement : DADA
33
"Preach!" : AMEN
35
Don't you believe it! : JIVE
36
Title meaning "commander" : EMIR
37
Cracks : CREVICES
39
Sea creature resembling a flower : ANEMONE
40
Santa ___, Calif. : CLARA
41
"Don't worry, everything's fine" : IMOK
42
Country that, according to its tourist bureau, has the highest number of museums per capita : ISRAEL
43
Not sharp : BLURRY
44
Not yet expired, say : VALID
45
Spot-on : EXACT
46
Chops finely : RICES
49
Dr. ___ : PHIL
50
Make a lasting impression : ETCH
51
Builder of the Domus Aurea : NERO
52
Faithful : TRUE
54
Copier option : FAX
55
Help in filing, maybe : CPA

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

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