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New York Times, Friday, January 18, 2019

Author:
Andrew J. Ries
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
268/13/20072/29/20200
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31111775
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57020
Andrew Ries

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQY} This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Ries. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Ries notes:
This grid started with the northwest corner; I had to edit it out of another themeless I was working on, but repurposed it as a block ... read more

This grid started with the northwest corner; I had to edit it out of another themeless I was working on, but repurposed it as a block of seed entries here. I wanted to make sure to include some nice 10s going down in the northeast and southwest. I especially liked UBER DRIVER and ESCAPE ROOM when I wrote the puzzle back in July of 2017 because neither had been used in the Times to that point. Both have been used in the Times since — this is now the fourth appearance for ESCAPE ROOM in fact, so it's arguably more overused than fresh at this point. Them's the breaks sometimes.

A tip of the hat to the editing team on the cluing, as always; I especially liked their clues at 30- and 52-Down. I love it when clues appear to hint at a plural entry, but the answer is singular (and vice-versa). Among my original clues, I probably like 17-Down the best. I hope solvers enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
Such pretty curves in the middle of the puzzle! It's not often that a themeless's black square pattern tickles my aesthetic sense so ... read more

Such pretty curves in the middle of the puzzle! It's not often that a themeless's black square pattern tickles my aesthetic sense so strongly. Reminded me of another graceful one.

Solid triplet to anchor the middle:

  • LEAD BALLOON is a hilarious term. I'm curious who first came up with the metaphor. Or perhaps it was a spectacular failure of a real test … even funnier!
  • BLOOD VESSEL is a great phrase, although I didn't understand the clue at first. [Needle point?] gets to the fact that it's where blood is drawn from a needle? I suppose this works. Sort of. But it seems like it ought to have four or five question marks at the end of the clue to show what a stretch it is.
  • SUNSET STRIP was a relief to uncover. After reading the [… of a ‘50s-‘60s TV series] clue, I thought we'd be in for some sort of esoteric Patty Duke or Dobie Gillis reference. Thankfully, SUNSET STRIP feels like it cuts across generations, making for a larger number of solvers who could appreciate it.

Not a ton of long slots, so it was important for Andrew to make use of all of them. I thought TETRAHEDRA and ESCAPE ROOM were standouts, although I wonder if these play too much to a niche audience. TETRAHEDRA is a great word, but when you clue it to D&D (a d4 means a four-sided die), it might turn off some solvers.

PAPER TOSS was the only long entry I didn't care for. It does make sense — you're trying to toss a paper ball into a trash can. But who says "let's play some paper toss!"?

Andrew's a pro, doing a great job of balancing snazziness and smoothness. Today, there was just a bit of EDO in terms of crossword glue, with not much wastage. As I'd expect from Andrew, a strong result on the whole.

1
P
2
A
3
P
4
A
5
W
6
S
7
A
8
C
9
T
10
U
11
A
12
L
13
I
C
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B
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W
14
L
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D
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A
B
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E
16
L
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A
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E
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B
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S
P
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E
D
O
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F
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P
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U
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T
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E
D
T
26
S
27
T
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E
A
D
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B
O
N
E
30
T
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31
D
32
W
E
S
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M
A
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N
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C
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S
O
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37
V
A
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E
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A
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M
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P
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D
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H
E
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H
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H
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Z
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N
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M
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S
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L
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B
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G
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P
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59
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0118 ( 25,273 )
Across
1
Relatives of custard apples : PAPAWS
7
Real-life : ACTUAL
13
Nickname of the subzero 1967 N.F.L. Championship Game : ICEBOWL
15
Within reason : DOABLE
16
Singer of the 1994 #1 hit "Stay" : LISALOEB
18
Many fast pitches : SPIELS
19
Old Asian capital : EDO
20
Young mules and zebras : FOALS
22
Mast extension : SPRIT
23
Post, e.g. : SENDOUT
25
D.C. setting, in part of the year : EDT
26
Farm extension? : STEAD
29
Overspent? : BONETIRED
32
___ Point : WEST
33
Virginia who was nominated for an Oscar for "Sideways" : MADSEN
34
1040 abbr. : IRA
35
Abbr. for a compiler : ETC
36
Able to get out of the hole : SOLVENT
37
Price add-on in Eur. : VAT
38
Consideration for a costume designer : ERA
39
Norton Sound and such : INLETS
40
Portion : METE
41
Time-killing office game involving a trash can : PAPERTOSS
43
Did crew work : OARED
44
Cause of some bad luck : HEX
45
Web service : HOSTING
47
First person to broadcast radio waves : HERTZ
49
Binges on Sporcle quizzes, say, with "out" : NERDS
50
"Code Black" figures, for short : MDS
53
Digs loads : ADORES
55
Loaf : LIEABOUT
57
Music to a punster's ears : GROANS
58
Big ape : PALOOKA
59
One strengthened by locks? : SAMSON
60
The main cast of "Friends," e.g. : SEXTET
Down
1
Laundry room accumulation : PILE
2
Biting : ACID
3
Cuban bread : PESO
4
What briefs are delivered in, in brief : ABA
5
Bolted (down) : WOLFED
6
Fall for an idol : SWOON
7
Google ___ : ADS
8
Blue group : COPS
9
Foreign capital whose name sounds like a blood grouping : TAIPEI
10
Hack's modern-day rival : UBERDRIVER
11
Say "Hip, hip, hooray!," say : ALLITERATE
12
In case : LEST
14
Complete failure : LEADBALLOON
17
Needle point? : BLOODVESSEL
21
California title locale of a 1950s-'60s TV series : SUNSETSTRIP
23
Gathered dust : SAT
24
Time of one's life : TEENS
26
Gather dust? : SWEEP
27
"D4" dice in role-playing games, e.g. : TETRAHEDRA
28
Modern team-building activity : ESCAPEROOM
30
Boomsticks? : TNT
31
Behind the times : DATED
33
Rental unit, often : MONTH
36
Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr : SIR
40
Parenting, e.g., for short : MAG
42
Theater crowd? : EXTRAS
43
Likely to move faster : ONSALE
46
"Don't get any ___" : IDEAS
47
Storied pot stirrers : HAGS
48
Figure in Plato's "Parmenides" : ZENO
50
___ point : MOOT
51
College hoops powerhouse : DUKE
52
Attempts, e.g. : STAT
54
1040 abbr. : SSN
56
Work on hooks, say : BOX

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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