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New York Times, Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Author:
Jon Olsen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
24/25/20198/6/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0010100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.76100
Jon Olsen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 32 Missing: {FZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Olsen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jon Olsen notes:
The idea for this puzzle came after I saw mention of Britain's Royal Navy, and found it interesting that both ROYAL and NAVY were ... read more

The idea for this puzzle came after I saw mention of Britain's Royal Navy, and found it interesting that both ROYAL and NAVY were shades of blue. Just for fun, I started thinking about other shades in my head to see if I could find other pairs with the same property. As soon as BABY POWDER came together in my head as the best anchor entry, I knew I needed to try to finish the theme set for a puzzle.

Hundreds of blue shades exist here and there. I wanted to make sure the ones I chose came up pretty consistently on color palettes, so as not to reach into obscurity. ARCTIC and OCEAN appear on short lists of common shades for online palettes, so I felt comfortable with that choice, and ditto for COBALT and STEEL. I had a few options to tie together these four pairs with a fifth entry, like SHADES OF BLUE, but with the symmetry necessitating a ten-letter entry. BLUE ON BLUE worked and felt like a good fit.

The clue for 55 Down is my favorite, having a soft spot for word origins - I'm glad Will left it in.

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
Oof, second day in a row that a constructor has been scooped. Different revealer, but essentially the same idea. This instance is ... read more

Oof, second day in a row that a constructor has been scooped. Different revealer, but essentially the same idea. This instance is tougher to swallow than yesterday's since the WSJ has a big solvership — more people will be scratching their heads today, wondering why this theme sounds so familiar.

Will has said that he doesn't care about other venues – the NYT is an ocean liner, ignoring what sailboats and yachts do. There may be only a small minority of solvers who do multiple puzzles a day, too. (I'm in that boat, but as you all know by now, I'm weird.)

I liked Jon's themer choices. In the other puzzle, I wondered if ROYAL BABY was a real thing. Yes, I know that kings and queens have babies just like the rest of us. (Although if I were king, I'd order my scientists to create a way to spawn or bud new royals. Needless to say, I'd be a terrible king.)

All of Jon's themers were well-chosen --four phrases I wouldn't bat an eye at in real life. This mechanical engineer says COBALT STEEL is a great one but understands that normal people may cock their heads. Infidels. The curse of normality!

The gridwork could have used some polishing. ROYAL NAVY splits things in half, an arrangement that often causes problems, due to those four biggish corners. (See: AJA / ANAT, IEST, OONA.) The middle can also be problematic; so many down answers have to work through multiple themers. (See: SYD / AEC / ECTO.)

The long bonuses made the gloopy bits easier to swallow, thankfully, CHEER UP / TOWN CAR, KLEENEX helping to ELEVATE the solving experience. It's not a trade-off I'd make, especially for an early-week puzzle where solvers might take one look at AEC and walk away. I understand the thought process though – if you have zero strong bonuses in your grid, that's no bueno either.

The revealer confused me — I was expecting a blue on top of another blue — but it does work. Ish. I'd have preferred simply BLUE as a revealer, assuming rejiggering theme choices for symmetry was possible.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0806 ( 25,473 )

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Across
1
Means of surveillance, for short : CCTV
5
Co-conspirator with Brutus and Cassius : CASCA
10
Banter jokingly : JOSH
14
"I got it! I got it!" : OHOH
15
What's standard, with "the" : USUAL
16
___ breve : ALLA
17
Litter noises : MEWS
18
Bottom coat? : BABYPOWDER
20
Slammer : PEN
21
Word before and after "à" : VIS
22
Had people over for dinner, say : HOSTED
23
Habitat for a walrus : ARCTICOCEAN
27
"___ seen worse" : IVE
28
Actor Dennis or Randy : QUAID
29
Sports org. that plays in the winter : NHL
30
Co-workers of TV's Don Draper : ADMEN
32
Spending jags : SPREES
34
Locale of the anvil and stirrup : EAR
36
Cincinnati sluggers : REDS
37
Its motto, translated from Latin, is "If you wish for peace, prepare for war" : ROYALNAVY
40
Fill with cargo : LADE
43
A.M.A. members : DRS
44
Messed with, with "around" : JERKED
48
Avoid the clutches of : EVADE
50
Early nuclear org. : AEC
52
Esther of "Good Times" : ROLLE
53
TV show set in Westeros, for short : GOT
54
Drill bit alloy : COBALTSTEEL
57
Untouched, as an artifact : INSITU
59
Slack-jawed emotion : AWE
60
Good name for a girl born on December 24? : EVE
61
1963 Bobby Vinton hit ... or a hint to both halves of 18-, 23-, 37- and 54-Across : BLUEONBLUE
64
Surgeons' subj. : ANAT
65
Focusing aid : LENS
66
Something to believe in : CAUSE
67
Ballet leap : JETE
68
Whence the Three Wise Men, with "the" : EAST
69
Defeated by a hair : EDGED
70
Fired : AXED
Down
1
Pioneering personal computers : COMPAQS
2
"Come on, things aren't so bad" : CHEERUP
3
Limousine : TOWNCAR
4
Bygone kind of tape : VHS
5
Like the numbers 8, 27 and 64 : CUBIC
6
How one's much-loved nephew might be treated : ASASON
7
Periscope site : SUB
8
Low island : CAY
9
Leader of Athens? : ALPHA
10
Thriller set around Amity Island : JAWS
11
Quaint : OLDTIME
12
Like LPs and some dresses : SLEEVED
13
Coagulates : HARDENS
19
Actress Chaplin of 53-Across : OONA
21
YouTube upload : VIDEO
24
Like wedding cakes, typically : TIERED
25
Posh neighborhood of London or New York : CHELSEA
26
Spirit : ELAN
31
Problem in an old wooden building : DRYROT
33
Guitarist Barrett : SYD
35
British rule over India, once : RAJ
38
Spirited steed : ARAB
39
Part of a biblical citation : VERSE
40
Unlike most physicians' handwriting, stereotypically : LEGIBLE
41
Home of Anne of Green Gables : AVONLEA
42
Old Nissan autos : DATSUNS
45
Something that may be used before a blessing : KLEENEX
46
Put on a pedestal : ELEVATE
47
Struck out : DELETED
49
Outside: Prefix : ECTO
51
A dependent one might start with "that" : CLAUSE
55
Unit of measure with the same Latin origin as "inch" : OUNCE
56
Jacket material : TWEED
58
Superlative ending with grass or glass : IEST
62
Reprimand to a dog : BAD
63
Big galoot : LUG
64
Best-selling Steely Dan album : AJA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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