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New York Times, Saturday, July 7, 2018

Author:
Ryan McCarty
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
96/17/20172/9/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000117
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Ryan McCarty

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 27 Missing: {QVXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. McCarty. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ryan McCarty notes:
Today is my wedding day! I am marrying the man of my dreams, Quinton Beck, at the Princeton University Chapel this afternoon. We both ... read more

Today is my wedding day! I am marrying the man of my dreams, Quinton Beck, at the Princeton University Chapel this afternoon. We both met at Princeton as undergraduates through various singing groups, and are currently living in Arlington, VA. Look out for a #TellUsTigers feature of us on the Princeton University Instagram account later this month if you want to hear more!

Our main wedding favor is a 40-page booklet of puzzles themed around our lives, all written by me with some contributions from groomsman Alan Southworth. The puzzles are mostly crosswords or crossword variations in a range of difficulties, with some variety puzzles mixed in. It was a lot of fun to make, and I hope the guests enjoy!

So on to the puzzle today — I started with WACKY TOBACKY crossing DANK MEMES, and then added THAT'S SO NOT OK, which I found highly amusing. This puzzle was a bit of an experiment in that I tried to mix "trendy" fill like the above with fill that has (as the editing team aptly called it) an "intellectual vibe" — more obscure, yet valid entries that my nerdy self found interesting (like APHERESIS, IDIOLECT, and BENJAMITE.) I don't recall seeing many themeless puzzles try this combination of fill, but the result is likely a bit of a tougher challenge than usual. Guaranteed this style won't appeal to everyone, but hopefully, it'll be an interesting and not-too-frustrating change of pace! Maybe we'll even see some DANK MEMOS...

I'm very thankful that the editing team could run one of my puzzles on this special day!

Jeff Chen notes:
I think Ryan has the potential to become one of the greats in the category of low-word-count themelesses. I loved his last one, a ... read more

I think Ryan has the potential to become one of the greats in the category of low-word-count themelesses. I loved his last one, a wide-open masterwork. This one didn't strike me quite as well in terms of the solving experience, but oh, the craftsmanship! Few constructors tackle 66-word grids, and fewer still tackle ones that are this wide-open. With so many ways in and out of each subregion, it's so tough to construct.

Even tougher is to work with grid-spanners inside a grid like this! Two of them, both beauts – LITTLE KNOWN FACT made me smile, thinking about Cliff Clavin and KEEPS IT TOGETHER. So colorful. Interlock WACKY TOBACKY and THAT'S SO NOT OK, and you have such a snazzy grid skeleton!

But an incredibly inflexible one, too. Thus, I was amazed to get TALK TO ME. CHEAP SEAT. ARM LOCKS. JAMES WATT. Wow! I was heavily expecting more neutral stuff of the NETSURF PHENOLS ilk. But so much TWINKLE!

A couple of things held me back from POW! consideration, though. ABLARE is a dictionary-supported word, but it felt a bit odd. BENJAMITE crossing ITT Tech – I incorrectly guessed BENJAMINE / INT. Felt borderline unfair. (Sour grapes, probably.) ALY Raisman crossing Bud SELIG felt fairer to me, but I could see how non-sports fans might grumble.

I wasn't familiar with APHERESIS, but what an interesting term. I always wondered what that sound dropping was called. So bizarre that the opossum is called a possum. There's a crossword theme in there somewhere …

Neither Jim nor I had heard of DANK MEME. It was gettable, but it still didn't mean much to me after looking it up. Perhaps I didn't care for it because it made me feel out of the loop? (Read: old.)

Overall, a super-solid 66-worder. A lot more snazz than I expected, given the incredibly tough construction.

And CONGRATS! Here's to many happy years ahead for you and Quinton.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0707 ( 25,078 )
Across
1
Loud, as a radio : ABLARE
7
What stars do : TWINKLE
14
Repeatedly hit : BEATON
15
Some petroleum : SHALEOIL
16
Play out, as events : UNFOLD
17
"I wanna hear everything" : TALKTOME
18
Pioneer in steam engines : JAMESWATT
20
Complete coverage? : SKIN
21
Early people who used a base-20 numerical system : MAYAS
22
Sorrowful cries : AYS
23
Rapper ___ Rhymes : BUSTA
24
What closes on Sundays? : AMEN
25
Cut : SCISSOR
27
Fun bit of trivia : LITTLEKNOWNFACT
32
___ Tech (former for-profit school) : ITT
33
Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Raisman : ALY
34
"Children of the Albatross" author : NIN
35
Vietnamese soup : PHO
36
Doesn't snap : KEEPSITTOGETHER
40
Billies : HEGOATS
41
Packing ___ : HEAT
42
They may have stained-glass windows : APSES
45
Playbill bit : BIO
46
Police line? : PERPS
47
Cut : SAWN
48
Internet in-jokes that have gone viral, in modern lingo : DANKMEMES
50
Individual's unique use of language : IDIOLECT
52
How dishes are usually sold : ASASET
54
Martial arts holds that are hard to escape : ARMLOCKS
55
President Bartlet on "The West Wing" : JOSIAH
56
One waiting for the captain? : MESSBOY
57
Invites out for : ASKSTO
Down
1
___-Bakr, longtime adviser to Muhammad : ABU
2
Any member of Saul's tribe, in the Bible : BENJAMITE
3
Close friend of Hamilton, in "Hamilton" : LAFAYETTE
4
Fighter of Ferocious Flea in 1960s cartoons : ATOMANT
5
Hamilton and 3-Down, in "Hamilton" : ROLES
6
Quashes : ENDS
7
"Absolutely unacceptable!" : THATSSONOTOK
8
Cartoonist Kelly : WALT
9
Breed : ILK
10
Travel from site to site? : NETSURF
11
Screwballs : KOOKS
12
Calculus calculation : LIMIT
13
Multi-time W.N.B.A. All-Star ___ Delle Donne : ELENA
15
Be a homebody : STAYIN
19
Mary Jane : WACKYTOBACKY
21
Zayn formerly of One Direction : MALIK
23
"___ chance!" : BONNE
25
Bud inducted into Cooperstown in 2017 : SELIG
26
Belts : SWIGS
28
Performs some light surgery? : LASES
29
Loss of a sound at the start of a word, as "opossum" to "possum" : APHERESIS
30
Spot in the third balcony, say : CHEAPSEAT
31
Trespassing and defamation : TORTS
37
Chemical compounds in so-called hospital smell : PHENOLS
38
Poisons : TAINTS
39
1994 Jim Carrey comedy : THEMASK
42
2007 #1 Alicia Keys album : ASIAM
43
Man of the cloth : PADRE
44
Moves at a crawl? : SWIMS
46
Mexican bread : PESOS
48
Art ___ : DECO
49
Goya subject : MAJA
51
Alley-oop starter : LOB
53
Tennyson's "You Ask Me, Why, ___ Ill at Ease" : THO

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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