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New York Times, Monday, August 13, 2018

Author: Lynn Lempel
Editor: Will Shortz
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8412/9/19798/13/20182
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659132130
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1.610812
Lynn Lempel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 84 for Ms. Lempel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Lynn Lempel notes: This had to be the fastest acceptance of all time. I snail-mailed the puzzle on a Friday and got an email back on Monday!! I ... more
Lynn Lempel notes:

This had to be the fastest acceptance of all time. I snail-mailed the puzzle on a Friday and got an email back on Monday!! I couldn't believe it had even gotten there already. Will said he wanted to use it for a Monday, but I'd written Tuesdayish clues. So he asked me to suggest easier clues for some of the answers. He also said he was concerned that my clue for MAKE PASSES was awfully harsh, and he asked me to soften it. So the clue was changed to what you see today, from my original [… invite a sexual harassment charge].

As is very often the case, this idea simmered for many moons before I could come up with a final themer to balance DRAW A BLANK. I wasn't really thrilled with MAKE PASSES, but at some point you have to just throw in the towel and go with something.

Will did ease up slightly more than I did on the clues, but overall they're not far different from my revised version. A clue he didn't change was the one for AKA. I hadn't expected that to survive!

Jeff Chen notes: I loved this concept, phrases that can represent GOOD NEWS or BAD NEWS, depending on how you look at them. To GO DOWN IN HISTORY is ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I loved this concept, phrases that can represent GOOD NEWS or BAD NEWS, depending on how you look at them. To GO DOWN IN HISTORY is fantastic, in terms of creating a lasting legacy. Going down in history class, not so much.

DRAW A BLANK is so clever — great thing to do, in Scrabble! Not so good when you DRAW A BLANK, as in when you're unable to come up with something (as I often do in Scrabble!).

GET A RUN is another good one, GOOD in baseball, BAD in hosiery.

MAKE PASSES is okay, as it's good to complete passes in football, not so good in a bar. But MAKE PASSES is stilted-sounding in the realm of football.

I'll explain PRO to those that might have been as confused as I was. How does a PROfessional give you the "aye"? When it's a professional pirate? Nope, I red-facedly admit it took a long time to think about a PRO vote = giving the "aye".

I wish we had some pirates in the Senate.

Solid Lempelian gridwork. All you need is a pair of great bonuses – SIDEKICKS and PRIVATEER, yes! – and the doggedness to keep your grid to a minor smattering of INST ABED. Often, it's "just" a matter of tireless and grueling iteration. The best constructors like Lynn make it seem easy.

This is a Wish I'd Thought of That concept. It's a shame that MAKE PASSES fell flat for me, as this would have been an easy POW! choice otherwise. I can see where Lynn was coming from though — you have to stop and submit at some point.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0813 ( 25,115 )
Across Down
1. Pear variety : BOSC
5. Fiction's opposite : FACT
9. Peruvian animal : LLAMA
14. Toledo's home : OHIO
15. Carpet layer's measurement : AREA
16. Common golf shirts : POLOS
17. Leave a lasting legacy ... or do worse at school : GODOWNINHISTORY
20. Drug giant ___ Lilly : ELI
21. English school on the Thames : ETON
22. The Gershwins' "Of ___ I Sing" : THEE
23. Succeed on the gridiron ... or invite a slap in the face : MAKEPASSES
26. Word after Near, Middle or Far : EAST
27. Waders with curved bills : IBISES
28. Gunky roofing stuff : TAR
30. Diplomat's forte : TACT
31. Cannabis variety used for rope : HEMP
35. Times Sq. squad : NYPD
38. Sound of annoyance : TSK
39. Score in baseball ... or ruin some hose : GETARUN
41. Part of Adam from which Eve was fashioned : RIB
43. "SportsNation" station : ESPN
45. Shoe with holes : CROC
46. Helper : AIDE
47. Curling surface : ICE
49. One of the Baltic States : LATVIA
51. Femme fatale : VAMP
54. Be lucky in Scrabble ... or come up short memorywise : DRAWABLANK
58. Gel-producing succulent : ALOE
59. Starting point for a horse race : GATE
60. Have dinner : EAT
61. Start of a mixed message, as illustrated by 17-, 23-, 39- and 54-Across : GOODNEWSBADNEWS
66. Excessive : UNDUE
67. Vichyssoise vegetable : LEEK
68. Drop that might run down the face : TEAR
69. Land with pyramids : EGYPT
70. "Roseanne" actress Gilbert : SARA
71. Jason's fleece-seeking ship : ARGO
1. Spongy ground : BOG
2. "Well, whaddya know!" : OHO
3. Trusty companions : SIDEKICKS
4. Most hip : COOLEST
5. Devoted follower : FAN
6. Zodiac ram : ARIES
7. ¢ : CENTS
8. Chevy model named for a Western lake : TAHOE
9. Carole King's "Tapestry" and "Music" : LPS
10. Small chance to win big bucks : LOTTERY
11. Hawaiian hello : ALOHA
12. Group's basic customs : MORES
13. Up to now : ASYET
18. Clean (off) : WIPE
19. The "I" of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST
23. Barack's opponent in 2012 : MITT
24. Demean : ABASE
25. Arthur with a namesake stadium : ASHE
29. TV journalist Curry : ANN
32. List shortener: Abbr. : ETC
33. Damage somewhat : MAR
34. One giving you the aye? : PRO
36. Nongovernmentally owned ship decked out for war : PRIVATEER
37. Brought to ruin : DIDIN
39. Health products chain : GNC
40. Sch. near Hollywood : UCLA
42. A pelican has a big one : BEAK
44. Chimed in on the conversation : PIPEDUP
46. U.S. city with the world's busiest airport : ATLANTA
48. Margin : EDGE
50. Under the covers : ABED
51. Unclear : VAGUE
52. Sing-___ (hootenanny feature) : ALONG
53. Temperamental : MOODY
55. Lou with more than 70 albums : RAWLS
56. Out on a naval deployment : ATSEA
57. Big name in grills : WEBER
62. Bit of fishery equipment : NET
63. Stephanie Clifford ___ Stormy Daniels : AKA
64. Jokester : WAG
65. Letters suggesting a sellout : SRO

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

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