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New York Times, Friday, September 6, 2013

 Author: Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
502/19/20054/19/201724
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
001201433
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60001
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
402/20/200610/11/201621
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
2263111132
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62200

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 33 for Mr. Wilber. This is puzzle # 33 for Mr. Peterson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes: This is another lovely, clean construction from Brad and Doug. Most of the clues are theirs, too.
Constructor notes: BRAD: Doug and I usually achieve something close to a 50/50 split on the fill in our themeless puzzles. The kind of balance we're ... more
Constructor notes: BRAD: Doug and I usually achieve something close to a 50/50 split on the fill in our themeless puzzles. The kind of balance we're looking for is helped along by grid patterns that are fairly modest in their demands — whatever progress I make somewhere should leave Doug lots of flexibility. What I like about grids that Doug picks (like this one) is that they are manageable but they usually present some extra degree of difficulty, like a pair of 10s feeding into the center or reaching into the corners, when we could have bailed out with cheater squares instead. Doug plunked down a nifty new 1A here and worked to 32A. We took turns on the other corners until we were done. We've got movie trivia, history, gastronomy, and baseball here — all elements we both like. I humbly submit a fresh clue for 16A. Doug has concocted some crafty ones for a couple of the 9-letter entries.

DOUG: 1A is an example of my favorite type of themeless seed entry. It may not be familiar to most solvers, but the entry is quite figure-out-able. And most importantly, it's an interesting phrase to learn. You can use it to impress your easily impressed friends at your next cocktail party. I try not to use unfamiliar names as seeds, because they're quickly forgotten once the puzzle is solved. And let me add that I always learn something new (a cool word, some fun trivia, etc.) when constructing a puzzle with Brad.

Jeff Chen notes: A sustained professional duo, working together to produce exponentially more than the sum of its parts, is a rare and beautiful ... more
Jeff Chen notes: A sustained professional duo, working together to produce exponentially more than the sum of its parts, is a rare and beautiful thing. Kerry Walsh and Misty May-Treanor's non-verbal communication on the sand volleyball court. Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell trading killer leads at the bridge table. Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan working a heist-of-the-century angle. All of them are on notice, because Wilberson is on the rise.

It's infrequent that two experts can work so well together, producing quality of this level over an extended stretch of time (this is their fifth NYT collaboration and they have more together in the LAT) without a clash of egos. The grid is well-constructed, with little dreck, and contains so many of the types of phrases that either shine or teach a solver something new. I had to wrestle with the unfamiliar TREEGUARDS but enjoyed reading up on something I walk past all the time (the iron fencing around a tree planted on a city sidewalk).

The SW corner was a little difficult for me due to TREEGUARDS and CARO, but ultimately fair. It's amazing that this is the only hiccup considering the difficulty of this particular construction. Often times the marquee answers are pushed to the perimeter, which helps to isolate them and make construction easier (generally more segmented = easier construction). Doug and Brad extend WARSAW PACT, SAGE GREEN, STEADICAM, RETIREMENT, WEEDEATER, and WORRISOME into the center of the grid, raising the degree of interconnect and thus the level of difficulty. Not all those answers are sparkly, but brilliant clues like "Avocado relative" (not the fruit but the color) add to the solving experience.

 1P 2O 3V 4E 5R 6T 7Y 8R 9O 10W 11G 12A 13R 14R 15U R A N I U M O R E 16E P E E 17C A R R O T C A K E 18L P G A 19E N Y A 20U A R 21D 22I A L U P 23G 24A S 25P E N T E L 26E 27S 28T E R 29S 30T E A D I C A 31M 32W A R S A 33W P A C T 34N I T E 35O N E 36B O L S T E 37R 38D I A 39K T E 40L 41R E T I R E 42M E N T 43S A G E 44G R E E N 45B E R G S 46C U T S I N 47F A N 48B L A S T S 49O 50N O 51D 52I 53S 54K 55C A R O 56O 57T H E R 58W O M A N 59U R D U 60M S M A G A Z I N E 61P A S T 62E A S T O R A N G E
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0906 ( 23,313 )
 Across Down 1. Old Hollywood low-budget studios, collectively : POVERTYROW11. "Oh, God!" actress : GARR15. Wine bottle contents in Hitchcock's "Notorious" : URANIUMORE16. Only event in which Venezuela medaled at the 2012 Olympics : EPEE17. Dessert often with cream cheese icing : CARROTCAKE18. Ironwoman org.? : LPGA19. Singer born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin : ENYA20. Map inits. created in the wake of the Suez Crisis : UAR21. Now-rare connection method : DIALUP23. Blather : GAS25. Big name in markers : PENTEL26. Nitroglycerin, for one : ESTER29. Director's alternative to a dolly : STEADICAM32. It was dissolved in 1991 : WARSAWPACT34. Time in TV ads : NITE35. Fused : ONE36. Fortify : BOLSTER38. Domingo, e.g. : DIA39. Onetime TV music vendor : KTEL41. Kind of community : RETIREMENT43. Avocado relative : SAGEGREEN45. Ross Sea sights : BERGS46. Interrupts : CUTSIN47. Strike out : FAN48. Excoriates : BLASTS49. "Revolution 9" collaborator : ONO51. It may slip in the back : DISK55. L.B.J. biographer Robert ___ : CARO56. One-third of a triangle, maybe : OTHERWOMAN59. Hindi relative : URDU60. The goddess Kali appeared on its first cover : MSMAGAZINE61. Bygone : PAST62. New Jersey childhood home of Whitney Houston and Queen Latifah : EASTORANGE 1. Brownish purple : PUCE2. Port where Camus set "The Plague" : ORAN3. Fluctuate : VARY4. Brings to a boil : ENRAGES5. Rock in ___ (major music festival) : RIO6. "Coppélia" attire : TUTUS7. Hit from the 1978 disco album "Cruisin'" : YMCA8. More than chuckle : ROAR9. Planet first mentioned on "Happy Days" : ORK10. It's used to define a border : WEEDEATER11. Colorful dessert : GELATIN12. Press production : APPLECIDER13. Doing a government agency's job : REGULATING14. Garner : REAP22. Not the party type?: Abbr. : IND24. Part of 20-Across : ARAB25. Substance that citrus peels are rich in : PECTIN26. Endor natives : EWOKS27. Site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution : SANTACLARA28. Barriers used in urban renewal projects : TREEGUARDS29. Ire : SPLEEN30. Get a hint of : TASTE31. Party tray array : MEATS33. Vexing : WORRISOME37. Country name : REBA40. Releases : LETSOUT42. Baseball's ___ Line (.200 batting average) : MENDOZA44. Prime meridian std. : GST47. Skip : FORGO48. Smallish lingerie spec : BCUP49. Electrical units : OHMS50. Ordered : NEAT52. "You can count on me" : IMIN53. Provided backup, in a way : SANG54. Deep or high lead-in : KNEE57. Org. with inspectors : TSA58. "A defeat for humanity," per Pope John Paul II : WAR

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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