1 Ethane or methane4 Move like a supermodel9 Little League gloves14 Play a part, or part of a play15 Give an address16 Allergy season sound17 Vote in favor18 French city known for its mustard19 Commit to memory20 Leftover bit22 Part of an Instagram feed24 One may be sprayed on25 Easy-___ Oven26 French wine valley28 Like an uncleaned barbecue29 Standing upon30 Grp. that monitors pollution31 Diva’s chance to shine33 Weightiness34 Lion’s lair35 ’60s Supreme Court justice Abe38 Dreamed big40 Flips one’s lid41 Type that’s not upstanding?42 Texas Longhorn’s sound43 Clear on a snowy day?44 Vampire’s target45 Use a plus sign46 ___ known as47 Secretly emails49 Be part of reality51 Toonie, e.g.52 Crossword solver’s cry53 Organization that seeks pledges?54 Not subtle56 Cyclist58 “Jerry Maguire” director Cameron60 ___ sum62 Alternative to Advil63 Doctrine64 Peron who was Argentina’s first lady65 Change back to zero66 They stink67 Roulette color1 Like Alvin Ailey or Lil Nas X2 Gets 100% on an exam3 IHOP offering4 Word after “club” or “cream"5 Sandwich that shares a name with an apartment building style6 “The Big Bang Theory” astrophysicist7 Like a perfect world8 George Michael, vocally9 Ingredient in the candy Whoppers10 Champagne bucket filler11 “Not sure it’s possible,” or an observation about 3-, 5- or 23-Down12 Bat mitzvah text13 Young fella21 Cold-blooded critters23 One may contain crab legs25 Faith founded in Persia27 Column with a view28 Where planes can fly32 Expensive eggs36 Second most common blood type37 Affix, as a patch39 The Cars’ Ocasek40 Jupiter and Saturn42 Headwaiter47 Literary king of the elephants48 Santiago’s country50 Crafter’s knife brand53 Lose sleep (over)55 Docs for dachshunds57 Day before the big day59 Anti-war activist Yoko61 Longtime satirical magazine
29D: It occurs to me that solvers might have liked “browed” here, although being “highbrow” has a less snobby connotation than getting high-HATTED. I have a film reference here, too — it’s one of the many great slang terms used in “Miller’s Crossing,” whose plot involves hats.
It’s an honor to have a puzzle running this week, with my work featured alongside the grids of constructors whose work I so admire (and look forward to seeing much more of in the future). Thank you to Yacob for approaching the NYT team with the idea and to the NYT team for making it happen so quickly.
Around the time that I first got into constructing, the NYT ran a week’s worth of puzzles, all written by students from Brown University’s puzzle club. (A couple of those lovely dweebs are now my colleagues over at The New Yorker puzzle and games department.) I try to imagine a week’s worth of crosswords from Black constructors running in the NYT at around that time and the idea seems fantastical. So I’m moved by this. Here’s to a future — hopefully a near future — in which The Times can repeat this week’s efforts, but with so many Black constructors on its radar that no one who appeared this time would be allowed to appear next time. That’s the kind of NYT rejection I can get behind. (For more pointed thoughts on this subject, please see my note over at XWordInfo.)
Now to the puzzle. I’m gonna make this quick. I made a pie today (apple; kind of you to ask), and I think I finally nailed the crust, which so far as I can tell is flaky and not tough and will therefore deserve my full and undivided attention in a few. Please understand that this is a major event in my life. My Oscar. No, my MacArthur, only better, because you can’t eat a “Genius” grant. And gluten, a truly fickle god, couldn’t care less how smart you are, or whether EFTS is actually crosswordese or just an unappealing-looking (but legit) combination of letters.
“Not tough”: What I meant for this puzzle to be! When I set out to make a Friday, it gets slated for Saturday. Then I make what I think is a Saturday and get into hot water for it appearing on a Friday, as if it were up to me. None of this — not gluten’s troublesome meddling with my crusts, nor The Times’s schedule — is within my control. Thankfully, the grid is. A few notes:
— I’m a visually-minded constructor; my “seed” is usually a visual idea I want to explore, rather than a particular entry. When I like the grid, I scan through my list of dream entries for something with advantageous letter combinations that seem likely to give me the most options elsewhere. If the first choice doesn’t seem to be giving me the goods, I abandon it; I’m very “kill your darlings” about all of this. It’s a fluid, intuitive process, a mix of the instincts I HONEd in my early days of constructing by hand with the capabilities (and whims) of my crossword program.
— I’ve revisited this particular grid concept (I call it a “dog bone”) a few times, because it features one of my favorite things: big, chunky, shameless swaths of white space that look impossible until you find the hooks that lure you through it, Siren-style. I like a solve with a flowy, cascading feel to it.
— Thanks to all of that white space, if you’re armed with a strong word list, you pretty much know within a few minutes whether it’s going to work out or not. That’s another reason I love this grid concept: on average, it takes me about 30 minutes to make. (Whereas clueing, my least favorite thing, feels like it takes 5 years.)
— BORSCHT BELT was the first thing in the grid; if it hadn’t worked here, I’d have opened a new puzzle file and immediately used it elsewhere. Love, love, love that phrase and find the history (and current decay) fascinating, not least for the connection to the late Jerry Lewis — a troubled man, and also one of my favorite filmmakers and comedians.
— That E.R.A. clue wasn’t mine, but I absolutely love the reference; kudos, NYT team, for changing up the approach to a common entry. Pairs nicely with HERSTORIES.
— The content of my puzzles runs the gamut on purpose and is, accordingly, hardly restricted to my own taste or personality. Cases in point: HERBAL TEA: too mild for me. THE WEST WING: not my thing (whereas HOT WIRING…). I love NONSENSE, thanks. I will never BE PATIENT — unless I’m waiting for a pie crust to rest. Speaking of …
Dog owner discovers who’s been secretly moving his garden chairs at night
Cheeky Oscar the dog was filmed leaving the house to cause some mischief under the cover of darkness
A very crafty dog has been caught in the strange act of spoiling some neatly arranged garden chairs.
Oscar, a beautiful Samoyed pup, seems to get a kick out of causing mischief when his owner is not looking.
The playful two-year-old was meant to be on guard duty but has been found guilty of shirking his responsibilities on numerous occasions.
Owner Losif Karaioannoglou is baffled by his behaviour.
He said: ‘I don’t have any clue why he does this. He doesn’t even sit on the chairs.
‘He just likes to throw them around. He keeps doing it.’
Losif, 41, from Thessaloniki in Greece, wanted to crack the mystery of his upturned chairs and had a hunch that Oscar was behind it.
When he installed cameras in the yard, his suspicions were confirmed.
He said: ‘I originally got the CCTV so I could watch Oscar while I was away.
‘One night, my sister and I watched him on the internet and saw he was the one ruining the chairs.
‘We love him though, and all we could do was laugh.’
Software engineer Losif said Oscar is typically well-behaved whenever family are around, but when left to his own devices, he turns into a bit of a troublemaker.
He added: ‘He’s been doing this for about half a year. He’s always messing with stuff.
‘He behaves correctly if we tell him what to do, but if we left him alone he’d probably eat our shoes and socks.
‘He likes to play with everything he sees.’
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