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New York Times, Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Author:
Adam G. Perl
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/28/19984/25/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
18108300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.50020
Adam G. Perl

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {GJXZ} Spans: 4 This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. Perl. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Adam G. Perl notes:
The inspiration for this puzzle came from the phrase TOO CLEVER BY HALF, which I discovered to my delight contained 15 letters and ... read more

The inspiration for this puzzle came from the phrase TOO CLEVER BY HALF, which I discovered to my delight contained 15 letters and would make a good basis for a fun, early part of the week puzzle. Then the search was on for three well-known numerical phrases that I could add 50% to and "Voila!" — a puzzle is born.

I like having a gimmick in a Tuesday puzzle with no hint in the clues as to what it may be or even that there is one! The fill contains a few nods to the modern era, namely IMHO and LOLCAT, EFILE and EBOOK and, new to the NY Times, RIOT POLICE.

I am very pleased to have had two crosswords in the Times in the same month!

Jeff Chen notes:
Nice plays on TOO CLEVER BY HALF, adding 50% to each theme answer. I felt smug when I figured out the gist after THIRTY QUESTIONS (20 ... read more

Nice plays on TOO CLEVER BY HALF, adding 50% to each theme answer. I felt smug when I figured out the gist after THIRTY QUESTIONS (20 + 10) and a FIFTEEN FOOT POLE (10 + 5).

Then I felt like a moron when I couldn't for the life of me remember the Beatles song title. Seven days a week? Six days a week (with a rest day)? And then when I landed on Eight Days a Week, somehow I tried to jam in something that would fit the mathematical series of 30, 15, 7.5.

Too stupid by half is what I am.

Enjoyed the bonuses, FALSEHOODS, RIOT POLICE, even LOLCAT (squee!), EEYORE. Given how clean Adam made the grid — just a bit of ESS, EMS, EAMES (that last one I think is tough but fair) — I would have favored some more bonuses at the price of a little more crossword glue.

Would have been interesting to see what happened by removing the black square between LEE and COMEDY to produce another set of 10-letter bonuses, or to shift the black squares below NANNY to the left, to produce another set of 7-letter slots.

Ultimately though, I think Adam's decision to go a little more conservative is fine, focusing on early-week smoothness. It's no walk in the park to work around four 15-letter themers, after all.

Clever theme, indeed. I enjoyed the concept enough that if there had been some sort of halving series in the progression — perhaps 60(40) to 30(20) to 15(10) — I would have given it POW! consideration.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0829 ( 24,766 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Staple of Chinese cuisine : RICE
5. Submit tax forms the modern way : EFILE
10. Jockey's accessory : CROP
14. Actor Epps : OMAR
15. Charles or Ray after whom a chair is named : EAMES
16. Onetime Ritz rival : HIHO
17. Classic game needing no equipment : THIRTYQUESTIONS
20. Event name suffix : CON
21. One of the friends on "Friends" : ROSS
22. Doing a pirouette, say : ONTOE
23. Start of the Lord's Prayer : OUR
24. Common baby ailment : CROUP
26. You might not want to touch something with this : FIFTEENFOOTPOLE
33. Diarist Nin : ANAIS
34. Edward James ___, star of "Stand and Deliver" : OLMOS
35. Word before coat or rat : LAB
36. Contents of Pandora's box : ILLS
37. High winds? : OBOES
38. El ___ (weather phenomenon) : NINO
39. "N.Y. State of Mind" rapper : NAS
40. Briefly, after "in" : AWORD
41. Brand of candy hearts : NECCO
42. 1965 Beatles hit : TWELVEDAYSAWEEK
45. Equine, in totspeak : HORSY
46. Letters on exploding boxes in Angry Birds : TNT
47. Cause for a food recall : ECOLI
49. Advance : LOAN
51. Yes, in Yokohama : HAI
54. Overly inventive ... or a hint to the answers to 17-, 26- and 42-Across : TOOCLEVERBYHALF
58. Alan of "Bridge of Spies" : ALDA
59. Music genre that's sometimes "heavy" : METAL
60. Maven : BUFF
61. Like omega, in the Greek alphabet : LAST
62. It's a wrap : STOLE
63. Big name in oil? : OLAY
Down
1. Drilling grp. : ROTC
2. Texter's qualifier : IMHO
3. Third person : CAIN
4. Muff one : ERR
5. Pessimist in Pooh books : EEYORE
6. Online help features, for short : FAQS
7. "___ in the Morning" : IMUS
8. Ang who directed "Brokeback Mountain" : LEE
9. Double curve : ESS
10. Words of encouragement : CHINUP
11. Anarchy queller : RIOTPOLICE
12. "This could be bad!" : OHNO
13. One may be struck : POSE
18. Aligns : TRUES
19. Sweetums : TOOTS
23. "Miss" with regrets : OTIS
24. "Saturday Night Live" specialty : COMEDY
25. Down Under critters : ROOS
26. Like the light from distant stars : FAINT
27. Acquired relative : INLAW
28. Lies : FALSEHOODS
29. Hardly a celebrity : NOBODY
30. Fauna's counterpart : FLORA
31. Renaissance Faire weapon : LANCE
32. Kindle download : EBOOK
37. Is beholden to : OWES
38. Pond denizen : NEWT
40. Singer Lavigne : AVRIL
41. One "hat" for an au pair : NANNY
43. Many a feline Facebook posting : LOLCAT
44. Kind of income a lending officer likes to see : STABLE
47. List shortcut : ETAL
48. RC, for one : COLA
49. Jared who won an Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club" : LETO
50. Kind of history : ORAL
51. Carry by semitrailer, say : HAUL
52. ___ Romeo (Italian car) : ALFA
53. Doubtful : IFFY
55. Ambulance letters : EMS
56. Farm doc : VET
57. Home for "Girls" : HBO

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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