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New York Times, Friday, September 14, 2018

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2310/9/20129/24/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1332473
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62110
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 26 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes:
I mailed this puzzle late 2016, back when I was using this type of grid layout for themeless submissions. It's a good way to get nice ... read more

I mailed this puzzle late 2016, back when I was using this type of grid layout for themeless submissions. It's a good way to get nice 3x10 and 3x11 spaces, but these days I start elsewhere, especially to avoid the triple stack of three-letter answers.

THAT'S GENIUS was the only seed. I tried it in every 11-letter slot until it finally seemed at home all the way at the bottom. Hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
Sometimes I feel like I have to HUNT AND PECK when a grid is filled with tough names. I'm personally familiar with NEMEA and Boba ... read more

Sometimes I feel like I have to HUNT AND PECK when a grid is filled with tough names. I'm personally familiar with NEMEA and Boba FETT, being a big fan of Greek myth and Star Wars lore. But pop music? Shudder! Names like DANGER MOUSE are dangerous to my ability to successfully complete a puzzle, when I barely know what "Gnarls Barkley" is. IT'S A MIRACLE that I finished with no errors, given so many DELIA, DEIRDRE, SHTETL, KOENIG entries in the grid!

I did love some entries, especially THAT'S GENIUS, which people say to me much less frequentsomely than I would not unlike. PASS THE BAR and IMAGINE THAT were also strongly on my WAVELENGTH(s).

Sometimes my constructor background stabs at my ability to enjoy puzzles. I see two elements that shouldn't coexist: 1.) a 70-word puzzle (just two under the maximum for themelesses), and 2.) more crossword glue than I want to see in any themeless. About five of AMAS DECI ESS FETT SEP THU XKES feels like an unpolished finish.

It's a shame. Other people have different (but perhaps equally valid) philosophies on themeless construction, some more liberal on how much crossword glue is okay – or even what qualifies as crossword glue!

Thankfully a couple clues helped elevate my solve. The clue for HAS BEENS was delightful – riffing on the astronomy term "distant stars" was brilliant. Similarly, riffing on the football "offensive line" for BARB = brilliant!

Jim Horne notes:
In 2010, I wrote an article for the Science section of the New York Times called The Rush of the ‘Crossword Puzzle Moment.' I ... read more

In 2010, I wrote an article for the Science section of the New York Times called The Rush of the ‘Crossword Puzzle Moment.' I contended that we all have all keep information at the edge of our consciousness, things we don't know that we know. Part of the joy of crosswords is that tiny clues, sometimes just one or two letters from crossing words, can unlock these facts, and unlocking them can be very satisfying. That happened to me today with DANGER MOUSE. I have no idea what their music is like, but somehow, even though I'm not tuned in to it, I know that Danger Mouse is a thing and that it had to fit the clue. Endorphins are a great drug.

Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, how could you not have fallen in love with Sarah KOENIG? Like everyone in America except, apparently, Jeff, I followed the weekly podcast drops of Serial with great anticipation. Season 3 begins September 20th. I'll be there.

And SHTETL? Have you never seen Fiddler on the Roof? Talking crosswords with Jeff is a constant reminder that different life experiences lead to different crossword experiences. How audacious of this rectangular art form to take as its ambit of allowable topics, everything worth knowing! Personally, I haven't known everything since I was in my mid-teens.

I liked the science clue for WAVELENGTHS but it didn't feel quite right, implying subtraction was somehow involved. "Color determinants" would have made me feel better.

Jeff is right about the clues for HAS BEENS and BARBS. Outstanding.

1
W
2
A
3
V
4
E
5
L
6
E
7
N
8
G
9
T
10
H
11
S
12
A
13
R
14
P
15
I
M
A
G
I
N
E
T
H
A
T
16
B
O
A
17
D
A
N
G
E
R
M
O
U
S
E
18
O
T
S
19
E
S
S
20
W
O
E
S
21
B
E
22
A
V
I
S
23
F
I
L
A
24
T
E
R
S
E
S
T
25
S
26
H
27
T
E
T
L
28
S
H
E
E
P
I
S
H
29
W
O
R
T
H
30
F
O
U
N
D
31
T
E
E
32
I
N
I
T
33
B
E
A
D
S
34
B
A
R
B
35
S
E
P
36
L
A
M
P
S
37
D
E
L
I
A
38
S
Y
L
39
L
A
B
U
S
40
K
E
L
L
E
R
41
C
H
E
A
T
E
R
42
B
O
I
L
43
H
O
T
T
E
R
44
S
E
E
R
45
D
46
A
47
X
48
A
N
I
49
H
U
50
N
T
A
N
D
51
P
E
C
K
52
R
E
M
53
I
T
S
A
M
I
R
A
C
L
E
54
D
Y
E
55
T
H
A
T
S
G
E
N
I
U
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0914 ( 25,147 )
Across
1
Differences between colors : WAVELENGTHS
12
Duchamp contemporary : ARP
15
"Well, what do you know?!" : IMAGINETHAT
16
Accessory for Miss Piggy : BOA
17
Six-time Grammy winner who is half of the group Gnarls Barkley : DANGERMOUSE
18
Some buzzer followers, for short : OTS
19
End of a count? : ESS
20
Toil and trouble : WOES
21
MTV toon teen : BEAVIS
23
Reebok rival : FILA
24
Most clipped : TERSEST
25
"Fiddler on the Roof" setting : SHTETL
28
Embarrassed : SHEEPISH
29
Net ___ : WORTH
30
Establish : FOUND
31
Shorts go-with : TEE
32
Still vying : INIT
33
Bits of sweat : BEADS
34
Offensive line : BARB
35
Natl. Library Card Sign-Up Month : SEP
36
Desktop accessories : LAMPS
37
Novelist Ephron : DELIA
38
Course outline : SYLLABUS
40
Helen who helped establish the 46-Down : KELLER
41
School copier, maybe : CHEATER
42
Minute Rice instruction : BOIL
43
Like Mercury vis-à-vis Mars : HOTTER
44
Future reporter : SEER
45
Shepard of "Parenthood" : DAX
48
Darth Vader's boyhood nickname : ANI
49
Type unprofessionally : HUNTANDPECK
52
Sleep study acronym : REM
53
"Hallelujah!" : ITSAMIRACLE
54
Change the locks? : DYE
55
"Brilliant!" : THATSGENIUS
Down
1
Extensive : WIDE
2
Reddit Q&A sessions, briefly : AMAS
3
Circlers at airports : VANS
4
Oocyte, e.g. : EGG
5
Rest on, as chances : LIEWITH
6
Register : ENROLL
7
Where Hercules slew the lion : NEMEA
8
Some Pontiacs : GTOS
9
Night that "Friends" aired: Abbr. : THU
10
Distant stars? : HASBEENS
11
Led : STEERED
12
Supercilious : ABOVEITALL
13
Spit spot : ROTISSERIE
14
Become legally certified : PASSTHEBAR
22
"My baby at my breast," to Shakespeare's Cleopatra : ASP
23
Boba ___, "Star Wars" bounty hunter : FETT
24
Sounds of failure : THUDS
25
Leafy vegetable related to a beet : SWISSCHARD
26
1974 Abba hit : HONEYHONEY
27
Mazurka meter : TRIPLETIME
28
Individually wrapped hotel amenities : SOAPS
30
Pelvis-patella connector : FEMUR
33
Member of the 1920s Murderers' Row : BABERUTH
34
Bout ender : BELL
36
Grounds for a 15-yard penalty : LATEHIT
37
Tragic heroine of Irish legend : DEIRDRE
39
Muscle used in pull-ups, briefly : LAT
40
Sarah who hosted the podcast "Serial" : KOENIG
42
Support pieces : BEAMS
44
Saves or assists : STAT
45
Liter lead-in : DECI
46
See 40-Across : ACLU
47
Classic Jaguars : XKES
50
D.O.D. division : NSA
51
It might receive zero stars : PAN

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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