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New York Times, Saturday, August 27, 2016

Author: Jim Page
Editor: Will Shortz
Jim Page
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1546/14/19728/27/20160
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3151017243730
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1.5012084

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, ... more
Jim Page notes:

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 ... more
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 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.

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K
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B
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0827 ( 24,399 )
Across Down
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
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: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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