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New York Times, Saturday, August 27, 2016

Author:
Jim Page
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1546/14/19728/27/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3151017243730
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5012084
Jim Page

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: {FJY} This is puzzle # 154 for Mr. Page. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jim Page notes:
My First NYT puzzle was in 1972. Puzzle constructors back in the 70's needed access to dictionaries, song books, atlases, ... read more

My First NYT puzzle was in 1972. Puzzle constructors back in the 70's needed access to dictionaries, song books, atlases, encyclopedias, etc. Today, a few keystrokes to the Internet and Google eliminate library visits and getting off your butt to look up information. Back then, no PC access to crossword compilers or word lists. Back then, a ream of graph paper, a fistful of hard-lead pencils and rubber erasures by the truckload were a puzzle constructor's tools. I still have tear-, blood- and sweat-stained manuscript grids from those days. Lead-pencil smudges and erasure holes nearly obliterate the penciled-in grid words.

When Will Shortz introduced the themeless, low-word-count Friday and Saturday puzzles, I began assembling a word list of my own. Words I picked up in my newspaper, magazine and book reading. Words I figured would be fresh grid entries for themeless construction. Fresh vocabulary in evidence, I believe, in my puzzle today.

(Jeff: the first puzzle of Jim's that we have in our database is from 1974, but he is sure he made a puzzle for Will Weng that was published on 6/14/72 — we're trying to figure out the discrepancy.)

Jeff Chen notes:
Constructors have such different styles, such varying leanings when it comes to the trade-off of clean vs. colorful. Patrick Berry is ... read more

Constructors have such different styles, such varying leanings when it comes to the trade-off of clean vs. colorful. Patrick Berry is far to one end of the spectrum, always producing squeaky clean themeless grids with nary a dab of glue in sight. However, sometimes his puzzles can feel a bit workmanlike; not the snazziest of feature entries.

Today, Jim gives us one on the other end, with a ton of dazzling entries held together by a good amount of crossword glue. Just look at that beautiful triple of SINE QUA NON / CREAMSICLE / SEX PISTOLS! So snazzy, so evocative. Unfortunately, it requires the pluralized ESCS and PONES, along with IHS (which my darn computer keeps auto-correcting, but it's supposedly "Iesus Hominum Salvator") and SQ MI.

LET IT SNOW / OZONE HOLE / MARS ROVER are also great answers — and how cool is it that OZONE HOLE and MARS ROVER are both space(ish) related? (If only SPACE CADET had been in that region …) So much fun when themeless constructors manage to get related answers intersecting or adjacent to each other. But we get ATOR, so awkward either as a suffix or a partial (AT OR).

KARAOKE BAR / I BELIEVE SO / DRUMSTICKS so nice — REUNE is awkward though, and OIS is another weird little suffix. And BECLOUD … hmm. It does appear to be in the dictionary.

It's a style that relies too heavily on crossword glue for my taste, but I can see how some solvers would really dig it, the overwhelming amount of great material making the liberal use of crossword glue acceptable.

Finally, a beautiful clue in PIANO WIRE. It might get lost on non-musicians, but inside a piano there are 88 tiny hammers that strike the different tuned wires to produce notes. [Something hammers hit] seemed so innocent, and it produced a neat a-ha moment when I finally figured it out.

1
K
2
A
3
R
4
A
5
O
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K
7
E
8
B
9
A
10
R
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G
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L
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O
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M
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I
B
E
L
I
E
V
E
S
O
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R
E
Z
A
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D
R
U
M
S
T
I
C
K
S
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A
T
O
R
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D
A
N
A
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T
A
L
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S
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I
T
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N
S
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O
M
E
N
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S
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N
O
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G
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D
E
T
E
R
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A
H
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I
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U
R
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S
A
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S
H
O
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S
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P
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A
C
E
C
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A
D
E
T
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N
O
V
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W
I
N
S
B
I
G
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B
A
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T
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P
O
L
E
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E
A
N
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E
I
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S
E
N
H
O
W
E
R
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E
N
O
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A
R
N
O
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S
U
R
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T
O
T
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E
S
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G
M
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C
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S
T
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R
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A
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P
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S
W
A
T
H
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E
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I
H
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S
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R
O
T
O
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P
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T
H
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S
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I
N
E
Q
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U
A
N
O
N
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O
R
E
O
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C
R
E
A
M
S
I
C
L
E
67
T
E
S
S
68
S
E
X
P
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T
O
L
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0827 ( 24,399 )

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Across
1
Where to belt one down and belt one out : KARAOKEBAR
11
Latch (onto) : GLOM
15
Not-so-firm affirmative : IBELIEVESO
16
Yasmina ___, two-time Tony-winning playwright : REZA
17
Ones hitting snares : DRUMSTICKS
18
Fabric finish? : ATOR
19
Political pundit Perino : DANA
20
"Qué ___?" ("How are you?": Sp.) : TAL
21
Demanding occupations? : SITINS
23
Means of forecasting : OMENS
25
It may be spiked in winter : NOG
27
Hamper : DETER
28
Sushi order : AHI
30
___ Minor : URSA
32
Owner of Flix, in brief : SHO
33
Airhead : SPACECADET
37
Mo. with All Saints' Day : NOV
38
Cleans up : WINSBIG
39
Way down in Wayne Manor : BATPOLE
42
Relative of -ish or -ory : EAN
43
Deliverer of the U.N. General Assembly speech "Atoms for Peace" : EISENHOWER
45
Musician with the 2016 album "The Ship" : ENO
46
View from the Ponte alla Carraia : ARNO
47
On, in Orléans : SUR
48
Lugs : TOTES
50
Terrain maker : GMC
52
Belt : STRAP
56
Bandage : SWATHE
58
Monogram for Christ : IHS
60
Postcard printing process, for short : ROTO
61
Essential element : PITH
62
Essential element : SINEQUANON
65
Treat since 1912 : OREO
66
Popular ice pop : CREAMSICLE
67
Danny Ocean's wife : TESS
68
Group that rejected its 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction : SEXPISTOLS
Down
1
Little buddy : KIDDO
2
Biblical name meaning "exalted father" : ABRAM
3
Get together after school? : REUNE
4
Often-replaced reference works : ALMANACS
5
Suffix with Québéc : OIS
6
Last name of a comic strip title teen : KETT
7
Alternative to Dasani or Deer Park : EVIAN
8
Obscure : BECLOUD
9
Put it to : ASK
10
___ Sea (Bay of Whales locale) : ROSS
11
Hibachi feature : GRATE
12
Song lyric following "But as long as you love me so" : LETITSNOW
13
Opening for an E.P.A. worker? : OZONEHOLE
14
Opportunity, e.g. : MARSROVER
22
Title princess of a comic opera : IDA
24
Wooley of "Rawhide" : SHEB
26
Helldiver, e.g. : GREBE
29
Like the Arctic Ocean vis-à-vis the Atlantic : ICIER
31
Set of seven countries, informally : STANS
33
Great point : SWEETSPOT
34
Something hammers hit : PIANOWIRE
35
Gives a gloss : ANNOTATES
36
Gerontologist's subject : AGING
40
Accordingly : THUS
41
Landscape alternative : PORTRAIT
44
Alternative to Nytol : SOMINEX
46
11-Down buildup : ASH
49
Community spirit : ETHOS
51
Like talk, it's said : CHEAP
53
Maker of the Pocket Fisherman and Electric Food Dehydrator : RONCO
54
Midway, e.g. : ATOLL
55
Dixie cakes : PONES
57
Some PC keys : ESCS
59
One of about 1,000 in Lux. : SQMI
63
Severe soreness : IRE
64
___ Midway : USS

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?