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New York Times, Friday, September 23, 2016

Author:
Andrew Zhou
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1611/11/20109/23/20180
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3021532
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64241
Andrew Zhou

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {Q} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Zhou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Zhou notes:
I tend to think of crosswords as somehow arguing for an archive of collective experience. As a result, I don't tend to (that's not to ... read more

I tend to think of crosswords as somehow arguing for an archive of collective experience. As a result, I don't tend to (that's not to say never) seed my puzzles with proper names--I find those can end up resonating with some and falling flat with others. Rather, I go for what I consider to be unusually evocative phrases, or phrases that reflect this particular cultural moment; for me, 1A, 20A, 33A, 58A, 61A, 15D, and 35D fit at least one of those conditions.

Looking back, this is probably my favorite themeless puzzle out of the ones I've constructed. I'm quite satisfied with the mix of high and low, old and new, erudite and vulgar, sports and...not sports, and a good lot of Scrabbly letters sprinkled throughout.

The pairings of 1A/14A, 11D/12D, and even 61A/63A seem give each corner its own character. Happy to see the original clues for 1A and 63A, as well as for the perhaps unexpected echo of 19A/35D. GOPRO hasn't been seen in a Times crossword since 2013, and it's reemerged commercially. As a result, it's really been, as far as crossword entries go, been (re)freshened up.

Jeff Chen notes:
I generally dig Andrew's classical / fine arts-tinged voice, and there are some great entries along that line: WAX POETIC crossing ... read more

I generally dig Andrew's classical / fine arts-tinged voice, and there are some great entries along that line: WAX POETIC crossing ANCIENTS and BOETHIUS (I was supposed to read the Consolation in college, and got about 0.5 pages in), AUTOTUNE, even STREISAND with the great clue — Nixon sure was paranoid! Along with the fun INANIMATE OBJECT and YOU'VE BEEN SERVED, there was a lot I admired.

A couple of entries made the puzzle less enjoyable for me, though. I generally think some people take crossword puzzles way too seriously, but WOMANIZING sure left a bad aftertaste for me. I'm not sure why that is — perhaps because I have a daughter now? I think puzzles should first and foremost be fun, and it's hard for me to see WOMANIZING as fun in any way.

And as much as I love SHOCK JOCK as a vivid term, pairing it with WOMANIZING was unpleasant. Throw in OCTOPUSSY, which is a great entry on its own, and it felt like the puzzle was trying too hard to be provocative.

Construction-wise, I like Andrew's effort to do something different, concentrating his black squares in the middle of the grid, which really opens up the corners. Very difficult to fill a region cleanly when it has so much white space.

I really enjoyed the upper right from a technical perspective — once you run INANIMATE OBJECT and WAX POETIC through the region, it's tough to get colorful entries without using gluey bits. ANCIENTS is usually a neutral answer for me, but having BOETHIUS right next to it does wonders for it. And I don't mind ROTC, IBAR, or ROCHE at all, since they're all real and common words. (Granted, my last careers were in engineering and pharma.)

Great work in the lower right, too. SCREEN TIME is a snazzy answer along with USB PORTS, and it's all held together like magic, no sign of even minor crossword glue. Bravo there.

Not as much for the lower left. A little OPE, OYEZ, ZEES, ERNE would be about my personal limit for most themelesses. To have them concentrated accentuated their presence.

Overall, nice gridwork along with some great feature entries, but I personally came away with an icky feeling.

1
S
2
H
3
O
4
C
5
K
6
J
7
O
8
C
9
K
10
I
11
B
12
A
13
R
14
W
O
M
A
N
I
Z
I
N
15
G
16
N
O
N
O
17
I
N
A
N
I
M
A
T
E
O
18
B
J
E
C
T
19
N
O
H
I
T
20
W
A
X
P
O
E
T
I
C
21
G
R
A
S
22
N
A
B
23
R
O
C
H
E
24
S
E
N
T
25
T
O
26
L
27
O
O
28
T
I
N
29
T
30
E
L
I
31
D
E
S
32
U
T
E
33
A
34
F
35
A
R
C
R
Y
36
L
37
A
38
R
39
U
S
S
A
40
I
O
U
41
A
42
R
O
M
A
S
43
M
A
T
44
S
45
G
N
U
46
E
M
B
47
O
48
S
49
S
50
M
O
T
51
O
R
52
S
53
T
S
54
P
L
O
P
55
O
C
T
O
P
U
56
S
S
Y
57
V
O
I
L
A
58
Y
O
U
V
E
B
E
E
N
59
S
E
R
V
E
D
60
E
R
N
E
61
S
C
R
E
E
N
T
I
M
E
62
Z
E
E
S
63
S
T
R
E
I
S
A
N
D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0923 ( 24,426 )
Across
1. One making waves over the waves : SHOCKJOCK
10. Bridge support : IBAR
14. Lothario's activity : WOMANIZING
16. Wearing red to a Chinese funeral, e.g. : NONO
17. It has no life : INANIMATEOBJECT
19. Very well-pitched : NOHIT
20. Become flowery : WAXPOETIC
21. Fat: Fr. : GRAS
22. Cuff : NAB
23. Company that makes Tamiflu : ROCHE
24. Mailed or faxed : SENTTO
26. Head of Hogwarts : LOO
28. Salon job : TINT
30. Says "Top o' the morning," say : ELIDES
32. Shoshone language relative : UTE
33. Quite removed (from) : AFARCRY
36. Manager honored at Cooperstown in 2013 : LARUSSA
40. Marker : IOU
41. Kitchen drawers? : AROMAS
43. Pilates class sights : MATS
45. Southern African game : GNU
46. Give a raise? : EMBOSS
50. Zoom (along) : MOTOR
52. Many are named after M.L.K. : STS
54. Sit (down) heavily : PLOP
55. Bond femme fatale : OCTOPUSSY
57. Prestidigitator's word : VOILA
58. Summoning statement : YOUVEBEENSERVED
60. Cousin of a kite : ERNE
61. Modern parents may try to limit it : SCREENTIME
62. Jazz combo? : ZEES
63. Broadway star who was on Nixon's list of enemies : STREISAND
Down
1. Playground set : SWINGS
2. Painter Jean-___ Fragonard : HONORE
3. Certain Cornhusker : OMAHAN
4. Film setting? : CANISTER
5. Drawn together : KNIT
6. "Huckleberry Finn" character : JIM
7. Conductor who has a hall at Tanglewood named after him : OZAWA
8. Worthy of reference : CITABLE
9. Lego competitor : KNEX
10. Administer, as a shot : INJECT
11. "The Consolation of Philosophy" author : BOETHIUS
12. Aeschylus, Sophocles and Aristophanes : ANCIENTS
13. College recruitment org. : ROTC
15. Camera manufacturer whose slogan is "Be a Hero" : GOPRO
18. Shout of surprise : BOO
22. Genre that "The Long Goodbye" is based on : NOIR
25. "Cake Boss" network : TLC
27. World capital with 40 islands within its city limits : OSLO
29. Breakfast spot? : TEA
31. Cannon shot in Hollywood : DYAN
33. Word shouted before "Fire!" : AIM
34. Material for mounting photos : FOAMCORE
35. Get perfectly pitched, in a way : AUTOTUNE
37. Midwest college town : AMES
38. Farm butter : RAM
39. Openings in the computer field? : USBPORTS
42. Longtime "Meet the Press" moderator : RUSSERT
44. Places for pilots : STOVES
45. Digs around : GRUBS
47. Cesario's lover in literature : OLIVIA
48. Serious : SOLEMN
49. Worked the field, in a way : SPADED
51. "Yet that thy brazen gates of heaven may ___": Shak. : OPE
53. Pianist McCoy ___, member of the John Coltrane Quartet : TYNER
55. Hearing command : OYEZ
56. Brief moments : SECS
57. Start of a classic boast : VENI
59. c, in a text : SEE

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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