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New York Times, Saturday, June 21, 2014

Author:
Brad Wilber and Byron Walden
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
512/19/200510/21/201725
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
001201434
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60001
Brad Wilber
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
9211/23/200111/18/201814
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1101192617
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59321
Byron Walden

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 27 Missing: {JQW} This is puzzle # 39 for Mr. Wilber. This is puzzle # 71 for Mr. Walden. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
Brad: My original intention was to do the entire top half and tag Byron, but I ended up giving him just a corner. I had to laugh ... read more

Brad:

My original intention was to do the entire top half and tag Byron, but I ended up giving him just a corner. I had to laugh that he engineered a nifty section with TAD LINCOLN, as I had tried that over and over again with no clean fill. I hadn't mentioned it to him in advance; we won't call it mind-reading exactly, since the –LN ending was one of the better choices. I recall that we had more back-and-forth choosing the fill for the bottom than we did for the whole of our puzzle of Nov. 30. 36D was a new word to me, and having Byron slot that in really tidied up that immediate area. I particular liked the Walden clues for 40A and 59A — I think the upper left might have been too hard with his original clue for 16A, but I'm keeping it mum so he has a chance to use it again.

Byron:

My memory of the construction was Brad started with the lovely NE corner, I got the TAD area working with a helpful assist from the egregi..., um, I mean innovative partial at 2D. Brad zipped off at least a couple of excellent SE corners. Then I slogged through with something OK in the SW but Brad noticed a bit of a dupe and buffed up that area to fix it. Beyond his greatness as a constructor, Brad really just shines as a co-constructor. I'm not even sure the 16A clue I wrote is harder than what's in the puzzle, just hard in a different way. Several clues are like that, especially 52A, which was clued in one option as the recentish Jake Gyllenhaal movie. I imagine that would be easier for some and harder for others. Hopefully the headaches are spread evenly and pass quickly.

Jeff Chen notes:
Another nice themeless from the BOY WONDER duo, Brad Wilber and Byron Walden. An interesting grid layout I haven't seen before — ... read more

Another nice themeless from the BOY WONDER duo, Brad Wilber and Byron Walden. An interesting grid layout I haven't seen before — always neat to see a new skeleton. It features a lot more seven-letter entries than normal, while leaving less room for entries of eight or more letters. This can make it tricky to fill a grid with snazzy stuff, as most of the time pizzazz comes from those 8+ letter entries. But fill like SKI TEAM and PINE NUT help to take advantage of those spaces.

Some beautiful entries today, NADERITE is not a term I knew but it's highly inferable. And TAD LINCOLN, what a nice entry. That crossing OUTLANDERS was awfully nice. And E LEARNING is a great example of an in-the-language term adding some recency to the NYT puzzle.

There are so many interconnects today. On one hand, this helps a puzzle flow for a solver, making it so easy to move into different parts of the grid via multiple entries. That NW corner is so wide open, with so many different ways to break in. However, it does make grid-filling a real challenge. With the long OUTLANDERS and TAD LINCOLN running through it, it causes all sorts of constraints. I have such a high standard for both of these guys' work that it was a bit of a surprise to see ASK AN, even with a neat clue.

And look at the SW corner, SUCH a great triple stack of STALIN ERA / HOVER OVER / E LEARNING. Beautiful, top-notch stuff. However, check out the huge spaces that allow a solver to get in there. What with OUTLANDERS already being fixed in place, it becomes super hard to find clean crossings. AVERYS is a bit inelegant, in that it's difficult for me to think of one famous AVERY, much less two. And exiting that SW corner is a bit of a rough patch, with DIONE / ROODS / ISERE. All fair entries for a Saturday NYT solver, but not ideal to have them all lumped together.

I was wowed by the SE though. With all the aforementioned constraints, that corner by all rights should contain at least a bit of junk or glue. Framed by SOURCE CODE and ANTHRACITE, they do wonderful things in that space. Even DOZER is fine by me, although I would have much preferred a clue related to "The Matrix." Dozer and Tank, two of my favorite characters in the flick. All that, plus a Z and an X? Masterful.

Some great, Saturday-ish clues today. [Handy talent?] was so confusing, until it finally dawned on me that the clue was talking about the composer Handy. And [Spots likely to smear] for ATTACK ADS, that's just brilliant. My favorite though, will not be everyone's cup of tea. The clue for SERF took me back to all those times I've watched that movie — I can't help but laugh every time I think about those two mud-flinging serfs discussing systems of government. To each their own, eh?

So perhaps a little bit more glue than I typically see from either of these guys, but that's relative to an ultra-high bar. Great Saturday workout.

1
C
2
A
3
B
4
O
5
O
6
S
7
E
8
S
9
H
10
A
11
S
12
T
13
A
14
A
S
S
U
R
E
D
15
C
H
E
R
O
O
T
16
S
K
I
T
E
A
M
17
P
I
N
E
N
U
T
18
T
A
D
L
I
N
C
19
O
L
N
20
A
G
R
A
21
S
N
E
A
D
22
B
L
U
E
23
S
24
C
D
C
25
N
A
26
I
A
D
S
27
K
28
A
Y
A
K
29
S
30
H
31
E
D
32
R
I
S
33
S
A
N
C
T
A
34
T
O
L
E
35
D
A
N
36
N
E
T
T
L
E
D
37
A
V
E
R
Y
S
38
M
A
R
39
H
E
S
S
40
L
E
A
S
E
41
R
E
D
F
42
I
R
43
I
R
R
44
D
45
I
O
N
E
46
C
A
47
D
48
I
49
Z
50
N
O
N
51
I
52
S
O
U
R
53
C
E
C
O
D
E
54
E
V
I
N
55
C
E
D
56
I
O
D
I
Z
E
S
57
R
E
N
D
E
R
S
58
T
A
U
T
E
S
T
59
A
R
G
Y
L
E
60
E
X
P
E
R
T
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0621 ( 23,601 )
Across
1. Keister : CABOOSE
8. Soft drink company based in California : SHASTA
14. Comfortable way to rest : ASSURED
15. Cigar with clipped ends : CHEROOT
16. Winter Olympics group : SKITEAM
17. Edible in a cone : PINENUT
18. Onetime White House resident with a cleft palate : TADLINCOLN
20. Onetime capital of the Mughal Empire : AGRA
21. Only man ever to win an L.P.G.A. Tour tournament (1962) : SNEAD
22. Handy talent? : BLUES
24. Govt. medical agency : CDC
25. Fountain spirits : NAIADS
27. Travelocity competitor : KAYAK
29. Saw home? : SHED
32. ___ d'agneau (lamb dish) : RIS
33. Harbors : SANCTA
34. El Greco, after age 36 : TOLEDAN
36. Ate at : NETTLED
37. "Kramer vs. Kramer" novelist Corman and others : AVERYS
38. Crack, say : MAR
39. Energy company in the Fortune 100 : HESS
40. Home pages? : LEASE
41. Sierra Nevada evergreen : REDFIR
43. Like some verbs: Abbr. : IRR
44. Moon of Saturn : DIONE
46. Strategic port raided by Sir Francis Drake in 1587 : CADIZ
50. Anika ___ Rose, 2014 Tony nominee for "A Raisin in the Sun" : NONI
52. Java file, e.g. : SOURCECODE
54. Showed : EVINCED
56. Treats to prevent goiter, say : IODIZES
57. Delivers in court : RENDERS
58. Furthest stretched : TAUTEST
59. Legs' diamonds? : ARGYLE
60. Panel composition, often : EXPERTS
Down
1. They rotate on Broadway : CASTS
2. ___ Engineer (M.I.T. online reference service) : ASKAN
3. Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," originally : BSIDE
4. Xenophobe's bane : OUTLANDERS
5. Frozen foods giant : OREIDA
6. ___ Parker, founding president of Facebook : SEAN
7. Author of the 87th Precinct series : EDMCBAIN
8. Buff : SHINE
9. One given to brooding : HEN
10. Bailiwick : AREA
11. Berlioz's "Les Nuits d'Été," e.g. : SONGCYCLE
12. Printing on many concert souvenir T-shirts : TOURDATES
13. Spots likely to smear : ATTACKADS
15. 79, say : CPLUS
19. Onetime Toronado, e.g., informally : OLDS
23. Game in which top trumps are called matadors : SKAT
26. Certain tax shelters, for short : IRAS
28. Stone coal : ANTHRACITE
29. Setting for "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" : STALINERA
30. Helicopter-parent, say : HOVEROVER
31. University of Phoenix specialty : ELEARNING
33. Dennis in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," e.g. : SERF
35. Like roots, periodically? : DYED
36. Voter with a Green button, once : NADERITE
38. Array of options : MENU
41. Chancel arch icons : ROODS
42. Slick, in a way : ICEDUP
45. River bordering the Olympic host cities Grenoble and Albertville : ISERE
47. Sleepy sort : DOZER
48. Namely : IDEST
49. Some garnishes : ZESTS
51. Annual race, colloquially : INDY
53. Soft-soap : COAX
55. Animation fan's collectible : CEL

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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