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New York Times, Friday, August 4, 2017

Author:
Damon Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3511/8/20048/10/20180
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14507810
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1.65320
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQWZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
I once heard (or possibly read) an interview with Will Shortz, in which he was asked about common grammatical errors, and he said the ... read more

I once heard (or possibly read) an interview with Will Shortz, in which he was asked about common grammatical errors, and he said the word "led" was misspelled as "lead" relatively frequently, even by well-educated people. This got me thinking about other "words even smart people mess up," and I think we can add "pharaoh" to the list.

At the Indie 500 crossword puzzle tournament a few years ago (2015, America Pharoah's big year, as it was), PHARAOH was an entry in a puzzle, but it wasn't clear from the crossings whether it should be A-O or O-A, and I surprised to find out that even a few of the top solvers had it the wrong way. So, I wonder how this played for most people. Did they try AMERICA PHARAOH first? Is the misspelling common knowledge? Or were they blissfully unaware that anything was strange at all?

Jeff Chen notes:
The wide-open grid provided me a nice wow factor. Giant center, giant NW and SE, along with two grid-spanning entries? Yes, please! ... read more

The wide-open grid provided me a nice wow factor. Giant center, giant NW and SE, along with two grid-spanning entries? Yes, please! Grid patterns in themed puzzles rarely make me sit up straight and take notice, so I enjoy when a themeless grid is eye-popping.

Some great entries, too. AMERICAN PHAROAH hasn't made many reappearances since his 2015 Triple Crown win. Surprising on one hand, as the odd spelling is notable. I wonder how many crossword constructors are horse racing fans, though.

I didn't know much (anything, really) about TSAR ALEXANDER II, but what a cool nickname.

I HAD NO IDEA was fun too, although I had no idea there was such a thing as the GIG ECONOMY. I read the WSJ regularly, but perhaps this term just hasn't trickled down to this old-school finance wonk. And it does make sense; an economy based around one-time gigs.

I also didn't understand LATE EDITION. The late edition of the newspaper, okay. What makes it quaint? I researched this for hours (okay, three minutes) to figure out what clever wordplay was eluding me, but I failed. Best guess is that "quaint" implies that these days, not many newspapers run a late edition?

A couple of compromises to make the wide-open sections work, i.e. IS SO / SLO / APPT in the big SE, and BIGA (Big A?) / BS'S in the big NW. No terrible trade-offs, but not amazingly elegant, either.

I appreciated how many interesting long feature entries Damon managed to work in, and from so many walks of life. It's too bad a few of them didn't have much of an impact--or had a confusing one--for me.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0804 ( 24,741 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Some undergrad degs. : BSS
4. Plans nefariously : PLOTS
9. Rout : DRUB
13. "That's a shocker" : IHADNOIDEA
16. ___ number : CELL
17. Labor market short on long-term work : GIGECONOMY
18. Gunn of "Breaking Bad" : ANNA
19. 3-year-old in 2015 sports news : AMERICANPHAROAH
21. "Sorta" : ISH
22. Ahead of, old-style : ERE
23. Like pawns and puppets : USED
26. Point guard, e.g. : PLAYMAKER
32. Historic "restructuring" : PERESTROIKA
35. Grp. with the 1976 platinum album "A New World Record" : ELO
36. Nova Scotia's Grand ___ National Historic Site : PRE
37. Who said "All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl" : CHAPLIN
38. Bass part : FIN
39. Ellipsis alternative, maybe : ETC
40. Quaint evening reading material : LATEEDITION
42. Low-level computer work : DATAENTRY
44. Like many indie films : ARTY
45. Chafe : IRK
46. It appears at the top of a page : URL
48. Autocrat known as "the Liberator" : TSARALEXANDERII
57. What fish or chicken can be, but not turkey : VERB
58. They're light-years away : EXOPLANETS
59. Nuisance : PAIN
60. Band featured in the mockumentary "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" : SEXPISTOLS
61. Seizure : GRAB
62. White Cloud competitor : SCOTT
63. ___-mo : SLO
Down
1. N.Y.C. racetrack, informally : BIGA
2. Level : SHIM
3. Learned : SAGE
4. Doggy : POOCH
5. Chinese tennis star who has won both the French and Australian Opens : LINA
6. Go crazy with, in a way : ODON
7. Many a sub : TEMP
8. Teammate of Hammerin' Hank in 22 All-Star Games, with "the" : SAYHEYKID
9. The N.I.H. is based in it : DCAREA
10. City near Pyramid Lake : RENO
11. Bone involved in pronation : ULNA
12. Eliciting a "meh" : BLAH
14. Pooh-pooh : DERIDE
15. Longtime TV procedural : NCIS
20. Fendi rival : ARMANI
23. Hiked : UPPED
24. Maker of the iComfort line : SERTA
25. At attention : ERECT
26. Brooklyn art institute : PRATT
27. Horse or gazelle, at times : LOPER
28. The ___ School (Manhattan dance institution) : AILEY
29. Sour, fermented milk drink : KEFIR
30. "Burnt Norton" poet : ELIOT
31. "The Daily Show" correspondent Chieng : RONNY
33. White of the eye : SCLERA
34. Like ingrates : THANKLESS
41. Object of a scout's search : TALENT
43. Modern travelers' marketplace : AIRBNB
46. Black : UNLIT
47. Food figs. : RDAS
48. "Modern Family" rating : TVPG
49. Brand : SEAR
50. Cantatrice's delivery : ARIA
51. C.F.O., e.g. : EXEC
52. Love letters : XOXO
53. Datum for a secy. : APPT
54. Some old fire trucks : REOS
55. "___ do" : ITLL
56. Playground rejoinder : ISSO

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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