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New York Times, Friday, June 28, 2019

Author:
Bruce Haight and David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
511/3/20137/29/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
315149460
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59043
Bruce Haight
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
966/16/20118/18/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
76681132242
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645173
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 Grid is asymmetric. This is puzzle # 49 for Mr. Haight. This is puzzle # 94 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
BRUCE: I submitted a BATS puzzle to Will back in about 2015. He liked the grid art, but I couldn't come up with two solid 15 letter ... read more

BRUCE: I submitted a BATS puzzle to Will back in about 2015. He liked the grid art, but I couldn't come up with two solid 15 letter theme entries. I threw about a dozen of them at him, including CHOKE UP ON THE BAT — that's how desperate I was. I eventually sent the idea to David, since he did an amazing job of coming up with a second theme entry for our HATS puzzle of 11/24/17. David suggested SPREAD ONE'S WINGS, and the project took off from there. It would have been nice to run it on Halloween, but the next Friday Halloween is 2025.

It's always a pleasure working with David - he recently graduated from Stanford (congrats David!) and part of their commencement ceremony is a "Wacky Walk" into the stadium in costume. Here is David making the CrossWorld proud!

DAVID: Always fun to co-construct with Bruce! Squeezing in enough zippy nonthematic fill for a Friday was a challenge, given the constraints of the grid art and theme entries, but fortunately, it didn't drive us batty. I'm especially fond of Bruce's LEFT JAB/I SURE DO stack in the northwest corner.

My post-graduation plan is to continue editing the Universal Crossword, which I'll be doing in-house at Andrews McMeel Universal as their Puzzles and Games Editor starting in September. "The kid" of crosswords is now officially grown up!

Jeff Chen notes:
We add to Bruce's tally of grid art – specifically his grid art involving rare, diagonal symmetry. Scan through his full ... read more

We add to Bruce's tally of grid art – specifically his grid art involving rare, diagonal symmetry. Scan through his full listing; see if you can pick out the birds, the goldfish, and the butterflies. Make sure to check out his first, my favorite of the bunch.

I appreciate how Bruce and David tried to make the most of the mini-theme, linking in their 15-letter marquees. BATS IN THE BELFRY works, although I did wonder if that can be an offensive term to people with mental health issues. For that reason, I liked SPREAD ONE'S WINGS better, but it would have been better to have a more bats-specific themer.

Hmm. Some ideas:

  • How about ECHOLOCATION, a phenomenon people closely associate with bats? (Of course, the grid would need an overhaul to accommodate a shorter marquee themer.)
  • Make it Halloween-themed, with VAMPIRE BAT and BRAM STOKER.
  • "Things with bats" could be a fun way to obliquely flesh out the theme. BASEBALL GAME and TRANSYLVANIA?

Brainstorming for a more clever mini-theme aside, I enjoyed so much of Bruce and David's grid. It's tough to squeeze juice out of seven-letter slots, too often needing things like CAMERAS and AT A TROT to hold a grid together. LEFT JAB is a great start. ALLOW ME, CAR LOAN, WENT PRO, MR GREEN, all high-quality assets.

Editors tend to favor multi-word entries since they're more colorful on the whole, but check out the beauty of LISSOME / ESPANOL / FURRIER. Not words you see every day, and so satisfying. ANODYNE is in the same mold.

My only nit was the DR DREW / ELROND crossing. I'm a big fan of both, but it's a tough ask, requiring all educated solvers to know one or the other. So many other letters could look reasonable: DR CREW, ELRONG, DR TREW, ELRONF.

Overall, a highly enjoyable solve. If the headline themers had elated me – they felt worthy of a bronze medal performance instead of a gold – it'd have been an easy POW! pick.

Jim Horne notes:
Is this grid asymmetric? We've had this exact controversy before in a previous Bruce Haight puzzle. The squares that make the bats ... read more

Is this grid asymmetric? We've had this exact controversy before in a previous Bruce Haight puzzle. The squares that make the bats have diagonal symmetry. The rest of the squares have standard rotational symmetry. Mushing them together makes, what? Something new, I guess.

1
L
2
E
3
F
4
T
5
J
6
A
7
B
8
A
9
L
10
L
11
O
12
W
13
M
14
E
15
I
S
U
R
E
D
O
16
P
E
E
P
E
R
S
17
S
P
R
E
A
D
O
18
N
E
S
W
I
N
G
S
19
S
A
R
A
N
20
K
I
X
21
E
T
R
E
22
O
N
I
T
23
D
I
N
A
24
R
25
P
E
N
26
M
O
E
27
A
R
E
A
M
A
28
P
29
R
E
C
30
E
L
R
31
O
N
D
32
S
N
O
33
C
O
N
E
34
P
E
R
35
M
36
L
E
O
37
M
38
E
39
N
S
W
E
A
40
R
41
A
T
T
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I
43
C
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A
45
A
M
A
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W
R
I
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S
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S
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S
A
N
49
R
A
M
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P
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I
C
E
E
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L
I
M
O
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S
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A
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D
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E
O
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M
I
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D
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B
A
T
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I
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N
T
H
E
59
B
E
L
F
R
Y
60
A
T
A
T
R
O
T
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C
A
R
L
O
A
N
62
R
E
G
A
T
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A
63
A
D
V
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S
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0628 ( 25,434 )
Across
1
The "one" in "the old one-two," maybe : LEFTJAB
8
Chivalrous offer : ALLOWME
15
"You bet!" : ISUREDO
16
Eyes, slangily : PEEPERS
17
Become independent ... as suggested visually by some of this grid's black squares : SPREADONESWINGS
19
It's a wrap : SARAN
20
Cereal with a Berry Berry variety : KIX
21
Being, to Sartre : ETRE
22
Taking action : ONIT
23
Gulf currency : DINAR
25
Joint : PEN
26
Comical Howard : MOE
27
Tourist center handout : AREAMAP
29
Fun and games, informally : REC
30
Lord of Rivendell in "The Lord of the Rings" : ELROND
32
Summer cooler : SNOCONE
34
Salon offering : PERM
36
Any of 13 popes : LEO
37
Suits, briefs, etc. : MENSWEAR
41
Home of Theseus : ATTICA
45
Q&A on Reddit : AMA
46
Body parts that become other body parts if you change the second letter to an A : WRISTS
48
___ Juan : SAN
49
Way off, say : RAMP
51
Summer cooler : ICEE
52
Wheels of fortune? : LIMO
53
Slammin' Sammy : SNEAD
55
Series of ages : EON
56
Like much data : MINED
57
Mental eccentricity ... as suggested visually by some of this grid's black squares : BATSINTHEBELFRY
60
Briskly, to equestrians : ATATROT
61
Something a short driver might need? : CARLOAN
62
Meet at the river, perhaps : REGATTA
63
Unfavorable : ADVERSE
Down
1
Like a ballet dancer : LISSOME
2
Language akin to portugués : ESPANOL
3
Hide seeker : FURRIER
4
Doctor : TREAT
5
___ jacket : JEAN
6
Opposite of drop : ADD
7
Line setter : BOOKIE
8
Things you can get credit for : APEXAMS
9
French article : LES
10
Wallace who wrote "Ben-Hur" : LEW
11
Relative of Aunt Bee : OPIE
12
Started making money as an athlete : WENTPRO
13
Suspect in Clue : MRGREEN
14
Soul : ESSENCE
18
Actress Dobrev of "The Vampire Diaries" : NINA
23
Physician on TV's "Celebrity Rehab" : DRDREW
24
Didn't end as scheduled : RANLATE
27
Over : ANEW
28
___ Corner, section of Westminster Abbey : POETS
31
Black ___ : OPS
33
Place for a retired soldier? : COT
35
Ohio town that was the first permanent settlement in the state (1788) : MARIETTA
37
Chocolaty nougat-and-caramel product : MARSBAR
38
Give off : EMANATE
39
Face-saving aid at a reunion : NAMETAG
40
Canon competitor : RICOH
42
Will have to face : ISINFOR
43
Features of smartphones : CAMERAS
44
Blandly agreeable : ANODYNE
47
___ Falls Convention (early women's rights gathering) : SENECA
50
Some bow ties : PASTA
52
French city near the Belgian border : LILLE
54
Skinny : DIRT
56
First name in game shows : MERV
58
With 59-Down, so-so : NOT
59
See 58-Down : BAD

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?