NYT Crossword for Friday, November 11, 2022 by Brooke Husic and Erik Agard
ERIK: I had originally come up with 25/50-Across as a clue/answer pairing, and felt pretty self-satisfied about it, so imagine my surprise when Brooke was like "I wonder if there could be a third one?" and then proceeded to actually find one??? Her mind!
BROOKE: Erik is a god-tier clue writer. My favorites of his in this puzzle are 1A, 35A, 9D, and 35D.Jeff Chen notes:
Erik has given me a lot of great book recs over the years, so seeing FANTASY SERIES made me a smile. That clue was equally fantastic, "invented language" making me think of Klingon dictionaries. Qapla'!
The symmetrical entry jumped off the page, too, DREAM SEQUENCE is so evocative. I wish it didn't get such a dictionary definition, though. Specialized or freshly coined terms need this treatment, but for such a common term, I'd have loved to see what these two wordplay superstars could have come up with. Qagh Sopbe'!
I'm not sure why it's rare to have a 16x15 themeless — I'd love to see more variety in layouts. One extra column may seem trifling, but it carries so much potential. Any small variance can help distinguish a themeless from the sea of same-old, same-old layout patterns.
Here, it opens up the possibility for an even number of letters for the middle entry. WISH LIST is pretty good, and that "present perfect indicative" cluing makes for a gleeful unwrapping.
(I hadn't noticed the mini-theme of FANTASY, WISH, DREAM, but that's fun.)
I would have loved a greater quantity of long (8+ letters) entries — that extra column could allow for maybe two extra feature entries. I like that Brooke and Erik took full advantage of their 13 long slots, but pushing that to 15 would have added extra sizzle.
I wasn't familiar with SMOKEY EYE, but it's easy enough to infer. Not as easy to figure out why it's not "smoky eye."
Although this one didn't stand out as much as I hoped, given these two powerhouse constructors teaming up, I loved so many of the clues. I'll never say NO THANK YOU to brilliant reinterpretations. Passwords to "pass words?" … such wonderful wordplay makes me never pass up my Friday themeless solve.
* This article was originally published here