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New York Times, Monday, September 23, 2019

Author:
Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
666/12/20009/23/201937
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74692200
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1.63217
Andrea Carla Michaels

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 66 for Ms. Michaels. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrea Carla Michaels notes:
I love playing with the onomatopoeia-ness of words like BLABBERMOUTH, TATTLETALE, etc. As a matter of fact, TATTLETALE was in the ... read more

I love playing with the onomatopoeia-ness of words like BLABBERMOUTH, TATTLETALE, etc. As a matter of fact, TATTLETALE was in the first version, Will and Company loved the idea of the puzzle theme but felt it didn't have the same ring as the other three. The dictionary lists it as a synonym, but who am I to argue?!

SO, all I had to do was come up with another ten-letter word that was fun and an exact match to the others and rewrite the whole puzzle from scratch!

LOQUACIOUS is indeed ten letters, but, alas, an adjective not a noun like the others. Complete credit to Sam Ezersky for suggesting not-on-my-radar TALKAHOLIC!!!

And for those who don't know BLATHERSKITE, well, neither did I. Learn something new every day ... even on a Monday!

They also pushed back on the word CALOR for a Monday. Spanish 1, everybody! Reminds me of course of the old joke: What do you call someone who speaks three languages? TRILINGUAL. What do you call someone who speaks two languages? BILINGUAL. What do you call someone who only speaks one language? AMERICAN.

Jeff Chen notes:
Yak yak yak … yak! Four colorful words describing a person (or in this case, a crossword) who runs his/her/its mouth makes for ... read more

Yak yak yak … yak! Four colorful words describing a person (or in this case, a crossword) who runs his/her/its mouth makes for an interesting Monday puzzle. BLATHERSKITE stood out, such a curious word, something a cranky old man might say.

Okay, I admit it, I'm that cranky old man.

Masterful gridwork today, ACME peppering the puzzle with strong bonuses. Just two long entries in CREVICES and LECTURES – both fine, albeit not outstanding – but check out the sizzle she injected into her mid-length fill. MALAWI, SAHARA, THWART with its delightful THW start, TRASHY! Cap it off with NAME IT and SEZ WHO. The mid-length fill stands head and shoulders above the average Monday puzzle.

ACME used a clever constructors' trick in her grid layout. Look at the SE corner — it's fairly well connected to the rest of the puzzle, three different points allowing for entrance / egress, which allows for passable solving flow. But when you drop in the last three themers, you can construct the SE corner in near isolation!

It's a great balance – enough solving flow, while also making for easy construction. You can try out pairs of words where LECTURES and CREVICES sit, and once you settle on two that you like (and that test out well), you can work on the grid in three separate pieces. Divide and conquer!

With just a bit of SHLEP (I'm used to "schlep") and ATIE, it's such a clean overall product; so accessible for newbs.

Tying the theme clues aptly together amused me enough to give some POW! consideration. If there had been a turnabout punchline to the joke – some funny entry like ENOUGH ALREADY at the end – that would have been as satisfying as storming up to that one annoying person who's loudly talking on his phone, so no one in the coffee shop can work and DOING A HULK SMASH!

You know you want to. Said the cranky old man.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0923 ( 25,521 )
Across
1
Lion's hair : MANE
5
Film reel : SPOOL
10
"The King and I" setting : SIAM
14
One who might be caught off base : AWOL
15
Squabble : ARGUE
16
Sharp side of a blade : EDGE
17
One who yaks, yaks, yaks ... : TALKAHOLIC
19
Passion : ZEAL
20
Big Band ___ : ERA
21
Finish line ribbon : TAPE
22
Prevent from happening : THWART
24
12th grader : SENIOR
26
Supreme Court justice ___ Bader Ginsburg : RUTH
27
... yaks, yaks, yaks ... : BLABBERMOUTH
33
Product Pittsburgh is famous for : STEEL
36
One fighting the status quo : REBEL
37
The "G" of L.G.B.T.Q.+ : GAY
38
Old-time N.B.A. great Chamberlain : WILT
39
Hellos and goodbyes, in Italy : CIAOS
40
Lose one's footing : SLIP
41
Sheryl Crow's "___ I Wanna Do" : ALL
42
Museo in Madrid : PRADO
43
Fashion : STYLE
44
... yaks, yaks, yaks ... : BLATHERSKITE
47
Guns, as an engine : REVS
48
"Whatever you want!" : NAMEIT
52
African nation whose name consists of three U.S. state postal abbreviations : MALAWI
55
Wine holder : CASK
57
Museum curator's deg. : MFA
58
Makes the most of : USES
59
... yaks, yaks, yaks : CHATTERBOX
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[Ah, me!] : SIGH
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Otherworldly : EERIE
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Place to order bagels and lox : DELI
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"No problemo" : EASY
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Long, tedious trip : SHLEP
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Puts two and two together : ADDS
Down
1
Aussie pals : MATES
2
On the ball : AWARE
3
Christopher who directed the "Dark Knight" trilogy : NOLAN
4
Member of a benevolent order : ELK
5
Vegas casino named for an African locale : SAHARA
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Comedian's visual : PROP
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Eye amorously : OGLE
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Sí: Spanish :: ___ : French : OUI
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Professors' addresses : LECTURES
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"Oh yeah? You and what army?" : SEZWHO
11
What a light bulb represents in the comics : IDEA
12
Culture medium in a lab : AGAR
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Disappear, as snow : MELT
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Island with a reef : ATOLL
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Web programming inits. : HTML
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"Yeah, sure!" : IBET
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Make again, as hotel plans : REBOOK
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Brambles : BRIARS
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Some hippie neckwear : BEADS
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Like a fairy tale duckling : UGLY
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Horse's "fly swatter" : TAIL
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Bumped-up publicity : HYPE
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Q-tip tip : SWAB
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Cash register drawer : TILL
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Jazzy Fitzgerald : ELLA
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Small fissures : CREVICES
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Cherry throwaway : STEM
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Expression of relief : PHEW
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Something stuck through a vampire's heart : STAKE
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Extremely lowbrow : TRASHY
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Marching synchronously : INSTEP
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Plant deeply : EMBED
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"Too rich for my blood" : IFOLD
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Cabs : TAXIS
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Creative inspiration : MUSE
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Home to more than 4.5 billion : ASIA
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Turkey drumsticks : LEGS
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Baseball Hall-of-Famer Yastrzemski : CARL
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End in ___ (be deadlocked) : ATIE
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Little chuckle : HEH
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Abbr. on a food label : RDA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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