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New York Times, Thursday, August 27, 2015

Author:
Joon Pahk
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
248/5/200812/22/20185
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41224281
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1.63000
joon pahk

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. pahk. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: Seven Across answers in this puzzle have a highly unusual property for which we can't think of a single other common example. What is the property? (For answer, see 8/28 Notepad)
joon pahk notes:
it's been a while since my last puzzle in the times—so long, in fact, that i don't remember doing constructor notes for it. ... read more

it's been a while since my last puzzle in the times—so long, in fact, that i don't remember doing constructor notes for it. anyway, this puzzle is a bit of a curio, but i'm glad it's found a home. i actually thought at first it might be an early-week puzzle, but i showed the theme to a few friends and they quickly disabused me of that notion. with no "reveal" answer for the theme, it slots in nicely here in the middle of the week, i think.

in constructing this puzzle, i actually came up with two more theme answers of matching lengths that didn't make the cut. perhaps sports fans will know them: one was a former boston celtics coach of the '90s (not their heyday, I must say), and one is a very successful korean golfer. i've seen both names before in crossword puzzles, but i didn't think either was quite famous enough to be a theme answer.

i'm trying to get back into constructing more standard crosswords, so hopefully you'll be seeing my byline a little more often in the near future. and if you were a fan of the variety puzzles i made for the now-defunct will shortz's wordplay magazine, i may have good news for you quite soon.

(note from jeff: down with capital letters; such a waste of buttons and ink!)

Jeff Chen notes:
I know I'll get alternate names today, so let me see if I can head you off at the pass: K.J. McDaniels of the NBA's Rockets, ... read more

I know I'll get alternate names today, so let me see if I can head you off at the pass:

  • K.J. McDaniels of the NBA's Rockets, although he's not a star.
  • K.J. Choi, who won the 2011 Players Championship.
  • M.L. Carr of the Boston Celtics, who won two titles with them.
  • K.J. Wright, outside linebacker on the SUPER BOWL XLVIII CHAMPION SEATTLE SEAHAWKS' "LEGION OF BOOM"!

I can just see all the non-sports fans rolling their eyes. Okay, K.J. McDaniels isn't gridworthy, but a MEMBER OF THE CHAMPION SEAHAWKS' LEGION OF BOOM FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

(Please, no wisecracks about last year's Super Bowl. Still too soon.)

I pity the fool who leaves out KJ McDaniels

Although there's no "trick" per se, I enjoyed this change of pace Thursday puzzle. Joon gives us a nice "what do these things have in common" theme, one I haven't seen before. I've highlighted the themers below; all phrases that start with two consecutive letters of the alphabet, reversed. Very cool that Joon was able to find a symmetrical set!

With a fairly wide-open grid, it put up a Thursday fight for me. I felt victorious when I finally figured out that a [Bug detector?] had nothing to do with computer bugs. Nice misdirect, masking the fact that bugs have ANTENNAe. Generally nice usage of those seven-letter slots, with NEW DEAL, BAWL OUT, and RAIMENT standing out. I could have done without the oddball INKLESS and THEREAT, but they do help make for a smooth grid.

And BA BARACUS FINALLY MADE THE BIG TIME! I've been waiting for a long time for my childhood hero to get his crossword props. I pity the fools that kept him out so long.

Sometimes I feel like I'm too demanding out of what I want in a Thursday puzzle. It's unrealistic to expect a weekly new trick or gimmick that's never been imagined before. So I like this compromise, a puzzle with an interesting set of themers along with some meat to its fill. Good stuff.

Off to go clean out my inbox. So many spam messages advertising E.D. PILLS …

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0827 ( 24,033 )
Across
1
Ruling party? : ARBITER
8
Box with handles? : CBRADIO
15
Mariner's measure : SEAMILE
16
Attire : RAIMENT
17
"The Invisible Man" author : HGWELLS
18
Settles in, say : UNPACKS
19
First in line, in a way : ELDEST
20
And others: Abbr. : ETAL
21
Game with Wild Draw 4 cards : UNO
22
Washington M.L.S. team : DCUNITED
26
Set location : STUDIO
30
Vast stretches of time : EONS
31
G.I.-entertaining grp. : USO
32
To the rear : ASTERN
33
"___: Cyber" : CSI
34
Lead-in to while : ERST
35
"The A-Team" character played by Mr. T : BABARACUS
38
"Fancy ___!" : THAT
41
Possible answer to "What's brewing?" : ALE
42
Land bordering Francia : ESPANA
46
Dad on "Malcolm in the Middle" : HAL
47
Page, e.g. : AIDE
48
Aromatic seasoning : FENNEL
49
Educational institution near Plano, informally : UTDALLAS
51
"Straight Outta Compton" rappers : NWA
52
Birthplace of Paddington Bear : PERU
53
Let up : ABATED
57
Least : MINIMAL
60
Some return addresses : POBOXES
62
Bug detector? : ANTENNA
63
Legalese adverb : THEREAT
64
"Four Quartets" poet : TSELIOT
65
By a wide margin : SOLIDLY
Down
1
Blond shade : ASH
2
New York State's ___ Examinations : REGENTS
3
Give a tongue-lashing : BAWLOUT
4
Contacted via Google Talk, say : IMED
5
Outdoor fountain piece : TILE
6
Duckbill's tail? : ELLS
7
Note's counterpart : REST
8
Grand ___ (wine designation) : CRU
9
Permanently exclude : BAN
10
Gets juicier, say : RIPENS
11
Fine fiddle : AMATI
12
Stephen ___, War of 1812 naval hero : DECATUR
13
Empty, as a fountain pen : INKLESS
14
Extra N.B.A. periods : OTS
21
2015 Women's World Cup champs : USA
22
Lays down the law : DECREES
23
___ Nostra : COSA
24
International humanitarian grp. : UNICEF
25
Period : DOT
27
College student's accumulation : DEBT
28
Lyricist Gershwin : IRA
29
Out of jail, conditionally : ONBAIL
34
National Spelling Bee airer : ESPN
36
Pierce portrayer : ALDA
37
Avail oneself of : USE
38
Election Day in the U.K. : THU
39
Milliners' accessories : HATPINS
40
Somewhat firm : ALDENTE
43
Appropriated : ANNEXED
44
Noted recovery program : NEWDEAL
45
"Selma" setting: Abbr. : ALA
47
Donors, often : ALUMNI
50
Prince Eric's love : ARIEL
53
Flats: Abbr. : APTS
54
___-chic (fashion style) : BOHO
55
Genesis son : ABEL
56
Singer Amos : TORI
57
One may be laid at your doorstep : MAT
58
"I'll take that as ___" : ANO
59
GPS fig. : LAT
61
Swineherd's workplace : STY

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?