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New York Times, Saturday, July 7, 2018

Author: Ryan McCarty
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
66/17/20178/11/20181
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0000114
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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

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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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 Down
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
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, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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