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New York Times, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Author:
Ian Livengood and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
554/12/20109/15/20164
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
617667112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64371
Ian Livengood

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQWXZ} This is puzzle # 48 for Mr. Livengood. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes:
Natan Last and Finn Vigeland have taken over the J.A.S.A. crossword class reins, but I had a blast making this one back in the Spring ... read more

Natan Last and Finn Vigeland have taken over the J.A.S.A. crossword class reins, but I had a blast making this one back in the Spring of 2014. The theme answers originally had five asterisks (or stars) in the clues, so I'm not sure why that didn't make the final version. But otherwise pleased how this one turned out. Favorite answers include TRUE THAT and the apt SRS. Hope solvers like it!

Class member Dan Chall adds: "Ian did a great job in leading the construction of the puzzle. It was great fun to participate as we went through all aspects of the puzzle, from agreeing on the theme, to the development of theme answers, filling the grid, and completing all the clues."

Jeff Chen notes:
I really like puzzles that force you to think. Even after uncovering all the themers, and even after uncovering FIVES???S, I couldn't ... read more

I really like puzzles that force you to think. Even after uncovering all the themers, and even after uncovering FIVES???S, I couldn't figure out what tied everything together. Neat revelation: the themers all have FIVE STARS. Nice; I like working to earn my a-ha moment.

There are FIVE stars. Get with the program, New Zealand!

I appreciated the diversity of answers, too. Not knowing that THE PIERRE was a five-star hotel or that OMAR BRADLEY was a five-star general made it even more fun for me. And it was interesting to look up the symbolism behind the Chinese flag — the gigantic star represents the Communist party, and the four smaller ones represent the four social classes. Some stars are more equal than others, apparently.

HA HA HA JUST KIDDING! Please don't hack me.

I did wonder about the SOUTHERN CROSS, though. It does seem to have five main stars, but there are countries who use it on their flag — New Zealand, for example — where only the four main stars are shown. So that seemed a little off.

What an impressive construction. With five themers in a 72-word grid, I'd always expect to see some gluey bits — except if any one of a small handful of constructors are involved, including Ian. Some people might wonder if FADERS and PARER in the grid isn't great, but I have zero problem with this. A FADER is a real piece of recording equipment, we have a PARER in our kitchen.

Check out the top left corner. That arrangement of parallel downs is almost always going to require some gluey bits. I'm sure Ian and the J.A.S.A. class tried many different entries before settling on INHIBITS and SCENARIO. They're not wildly awesome answers — I doubt they'd earn a plus in Will's assets column — but check out how squeaky clean all the crossings are.

Interesting that Ian pointed out TRUE THAT as one of his favorite entries. I love TRUE DAT. TRUE THAT … not so much. Personal preference.

All in all, a strong theme with a slight hiccup in my eyes, and an impeccably clean grid.

1
K
2
I
3
S
4
S
5
C
6
A
7
P
8
O
9
A
10
S
11
S
12
A
13
M
14
I
N
C
A
15
R
O
A
D
16
N
I
T
R
O
17
T
H
E
P
18
I
E
R
R
E
19
T
R
A
M
S
20
I
N
S
T
A
T
E
21
F
E
E
B
L
E
22
T
B
A
23
O
M
A
R
24
B
R
A
D
L
E
Y
25
V
I
R
26
G
O
S
27
O
A
T
28
E
T
S
29
S
T
I
R
30
G
31
A
R
N
E
32
T
33
S
O
U
34
T
35
H
E
R
N
C
R
O
36
S
37
S
38
B
R
O
N
T
E
39
O
K
A
40
Y
41
S
42
T
43
D
44
U
R
I
45
F
46
U
T
I
L
E
47
C
H
I
48
N
E
S
E
49
F
50
L
A
G
51
T
E
N
52
R
E
V
O
T
E
53
R
O
D
G
54
E
R
S
55
A
M
I
S
H
56
F
I
V
E
S
T
A
R
57
S
58
P
O
D
I
A
59
D
E
E
R
60
T
I
E
R
61
E
B
E
R
T
62
A
D
D
S
63
A
L
P
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0624 ( 23,969 )

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Across
1
"Rock and Roll All Nite" band : KISS
5
Crime chief : CAPO
9
Region known for its black tea : ASSAM
14
Quechua speaker : INCA
15
Pike, e.g. : ROAD
16
Big bang material, informally : NITRO
17
Luxury hotel overlooking Central Park : THEPIERRE
19
Some airport transports : TRAMS
20
Like some cheaper tuition : INSTATE
21
Weak : FEEBLE
22
Not yet available at press time, for short : TBA
23
First chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1949 : OMARBRADLEY
25
Labor Day deliveries : VIRGOS
27
___ bran muffin : OAT
28
Exam-administering org. : ETS
29
Hubbub : STIR
30
Red stone : GARNET
33
Constellation visible in Melbourne and Sydney : SOUTHERNCROSS
38
Any of three author sisters : BRONTE
39
"Fine by me" : OKAY
41
___ deviation: Abbr. : STD
44
Swiss canton : URI
45
To no purpose : FUTILE
47
Flier over Tiananmen Square : CHINESEFLAG
51
Bo Derek, in a 1979 film : TEN
52
Election do-over : REVOTE
53
Richard who won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer : RODGERS
55
Pennsylvania Dutch speakers : AMISH
56
What 17-, 23-, 33- and 47-Across each have : FIVESTARS
58
Places to stand and deliver? : PODIA
59
Bambi and others : DEER
60
Feature of a big cake : TIER
61
"I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie" author : EBERT
62
Tosses in : ADDS
63
Mönch and Eiger, for two : ALPS
Down
1
Baby fox : KIT
2
Puts the brakes on : INHIBITS
3
Plot outline : SCENARIO
4
Drains, as energy : SAPS
5
Wipes the floor with : CREAMS
6
Vessel with many branches : AORTA
7
Kitchen doohickey : PARER
8
Keats's "To Autumn," e.g. : ODE
9
"B.C." animal that goes ZOT! : ANTEATER
10
Fathered : SIRED
11
35-Down quarters : STABLE
12
Small sea projection : ARMLET
13
Shuffles (along) : MOSEYS
18
Classic Langston Hughes poem : ITOO
21
Swiss money : FRANC
22
Common waiting area distractions : TVS
24
Shouldered : BORNE
26
Chow : GRUB
30
Robin Williams voiced one in "Aladdin" : GENIE
31
___ studio : ART
32
Horn sound : TOOT
34
"I agree" : TRUETHAT
35
Derby hopeful : HORSE
36
Slippery slope? : SKITRAIL
37
Worker on commission : SALESREP
40
Nikkei 225 unit : YEN
41
Predicament : SCRAPE
42
What a 5-Across is a boss in : THEMOB
43
What "/" means in math class : DIVIDE
45
Sound control knobs : FADERS
46
Popular sheepskin boots : UGGS
48
Subordinate's refusal : NOSIR
49
Mentally pooped : FRIED
50
Gave a glowing review, say : LOVED
54
"At Last" singer James : ETTA
56
"Protecting and promoting your health" org. : FDA
57
Many honorees at M.L.B.'s Old-Timers' Day : SRS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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