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New York Times, Thursday, January 5, 2017

Author: Ed Sessa
Editor: Will Shortz
Edward Sessa
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
349/10/20071/5/20170
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3857452
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1.64251

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {GJQX} This is puzzle # 34 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Some black squares interpreted as JACK added to themers, i.e. what looks like YOU DON'T KNOW is actually YOU DON'T KNOW (JACK). Nice ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Some black squares interpreted as JACK added to themers, i.e. what looks like YOU DON'T KNOW is actually YOU DON'T KNOW (JACK). Nice to pull it all together with both (JACK) BLACK the actor and BLACK (JACK) the card game hinting at those hidden JACKs — both of them in a single entry, BLACK!

We saw a "BLACK hidden in black squares" puzzles recently, so it would have been nice to get more separation between them. But this one did go an extra step, not just a BLACK addition, but a (black) JACK addition.

Nice pairing of YOU DON'T KNOW (JACK) and (JACK) OF ALL TRADES. Fortuitous that their lengths match.

Glad that the themers were starred — I would have glossed over PINE, which is actually (JACK) PINE. Although it's interesting to learn of another type of tree, I would have preferred something more snazzy, like (JACK)POTS. Maybe the (JACK)POT in the upper right could have been (JACK)ALS?

Speaking of the upper right, to have AMOI and MMI in one tiny region is not ideal. I wouldn't mind them as the price for ORTIZ, but with crossword glue already necessary to hold the rest of the puzzle together — O SOLE, WILE E, IN ICE, A CUT — it'd have been great to smooth all the tiny corners out as much as possible.

It's a shame to have four partials, making them all stick out for me. But those four partials are understandable, given all the extras Ed worked in: EMPTY SUIT, TITLE ROLE, TOY STORES. Bound to get some strain when so much good stuff is worked in. And I loved THE CROW. Brandon Lee got cut down in the prime of his life, just like his father, Bruce Lee. It's sad — that dude could have been the leading man that broke the Asian glass ceiling in Hollywood.

As with most of these types of puzzles, I wanted some rationale as to why certain black squares operated as black JACKs and others didn't. Still, an enjoyable solve with some strong theme phrases and bonuses.

1
S
2
A
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C
4
H
5
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6
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8
L
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15
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16
M
M
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Y
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N
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P
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A
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A
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V
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M
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B
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B
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A
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40
P
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F
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T
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L
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M
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H
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M
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F
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 24,530
Across Down
1. Half of a Wall Street firm since 1882 : SACHS
6. One working on hands and knees : TILER
11. Eye-level sensor : EAR
14. She played Annie Lee in "Selma" : OPRAH
15. How fish is shipped, often : INICE
16. Copyright year for "Shrek" and "Monsters, Inc." : MMI
17. *Put-down to an ignorant person : YOUDONTKNOWJACK
19. *"Bingo!" : JACKPOT
20. Irish red ___ : ALE
21. ___ Coyote (toon) : WILEE
22. Bosox slugger a.k.a. Big Papi : ORTIZ
24. *Headless Horseman's prop : JACKOLANTERN
26. Part of a Yiddish phrase of dismay : VEY
27. Prompter? : CUER
28. Brewing agents : YEASTS
31. Throw a hissy fit : ACTUP
34. Financial guru Suze : ORMAN
37. It may be pulled on a road : UIE
38. *Tool for removing heavy footwear : BOOTJACK
39. *Comic actor / *Card game ... or a hint to the answers to the starred clues : JACKBLACKJACK
40. *Slender tree of northern North America : JACKPINE
41. Ice cream maker Joseph : EDY
42. Enthusiast : FIEND
43. Wyoming's ___ Range : TETON
44. Musical set in France, informally : LESMIZ
46. Govt. org. that gets tips from whistleblowers : OSHA
48. Gob : TAR
49. *Quesadilla cheese : MONTEREYJACK
53. Former Maine senator Olympia : SNOWE
55. Mizrahi of fashion : ISAAC
56. Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : NIA
58. *Trunk item : CARJACK
59. *Versatile worker : JACKOFALLTRADES
62. N.Y.C.'s Third or Fifth : AVE
63. Roasted, in a way : FETED
64. "___ Mio" : OSOLE
65. Ending with fly and drive : BYS
66. Bases of nightmares : FEARS
67. Stand-up comic Sykes : WANDA
1. Bean used to make tempeh : SOYA
2. Speed skater Ohno : APOLO
3. Like Vlad the Impaler : CRUEL
4. Tricked : HAD
5. Robbed of the spotlight : SHOWNUP
6. Nixon in 1995 or Lincoln in 2012 : TITLEROLE
7. Comics artist : INKER
8. Tablecloths and napkins : LINEN
9. Prefix with conscious : ECO
10. Mended, as rugs : REWOVEN
11. Ineffectual exec : EMPTYSUIT
12. Mine, to Mimi : AMOI
13. Scallop-edged cracker : RITZ
18. Nick at ___ : NITE
23. Stephen of "V for Vendetta" : REA
25. ___ above : ACUT
28. Gibble-gabble : YAK
29. Nickname for Tony : TINO
30. In public : SEEN
31. ___ Tesfaye a.k.a. R&B's the Weeknd : ABEL
32. "Longtime companion" for "same-sex partner," once : CODE
33. They're good at drawing kids : TOYSTORES
35. Directed : RAN
36. Company for which about one in eight U.S. workers has worked : MCDONALDS
39. Small enterprise? : BIZ
40. Fruit that's sometimes poached : PEAR
42. Write and send quickly, as a letter : FIREOFF
43. 1994 Brandon Lee action film : THECROW
45. Gaping mouth : MAW
47. TKOs, e.g. : STAT
49. Sporty two-seater : MIATA
50. William ___, physician who championed bedside training : OSLER
51. Stop at : ENDON
52. Stock figure : YIELD
53. Cut covering : SCAB
54. Shade of blue : NAVY
57. No longer at anchor : ASEA
60. Figure on a rate sheet : FEE
61. Fat ___ pig : ASA

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

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