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New York Times, Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Author:
Ed Sessa
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
379/10/200710/16/20180
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4967452
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1.64251
Edward Sessa

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVWXY} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 37 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Edward Sessa notes:
I got the idea for this puzzle after seeing my young grandson sprawled out on the floor playing Life with his dad, my son. That ... read more

I got the idea for this puzzle after seeing my young grandson sprawled out on the floor playing Life with his dad, my son. That brought back memories. Needless to say their kitchen cabinet was stocked with Life cereal. The magazine (1936-2000), cereal (1961-), and game (1960-) have (had) been around for a very long time. In my submission I had used a reference to Sinatra in the "revealer" in keeping with the nostalgic aspect of the puzzle.

Looking back at this one I do wish I had put a little more "sparkle" in my fill, but did make an effort to make it consistent with an easy monday-tuesday effort. I suppose the puzzle might appeal more to an older solver, one who remembers playing board games with his kids or leafing through the glossy crisp pages of the oversized magazine with its inky smell, but then there are a lot of us "older" solvers still out there. C'est la vie.

Jeff Chen notes:
Whoda thunk that LIFE could produce three solid definitions, none of them sounding ripped out of a dictionary? I've played LIFE, the ... read more

Whoda thunk that LIFE could produce three solid definitions, none of them sounding ripped out of a dictionary? I've played LIFE, the BOARD GAME, many a time. Eaten LIFE, the BREAKFAST CEREAL, yum! And read LIFE, the PICTURE MAGAZINE.

Okay, I wasn't familiar with that last phrase, but PICTURE MAGAZINE did appear to be in usage way back when.

Great revealer in THAT'S LIFE, too! Spot on.

With slightly less than average theme material, I like that Ed made good use of this leftover real estate. Calling the BATPHONE! CRAB CAKE, FRAGRANT, ZEALOT – that's all ELECTRIC! Jazzed up the quality of my solve.

Such craftsmanship, too, a nice early-week product. I'd gladly give this one to a newer solver. I might drop hints for REO (the old car) and ERAT (the E of QED), but I think those ought to be in an educated solver's knowledge base. Or at least floating around in the corners of one's memory.

I wish PICTURE MAGAZINE had been as great a phrase as the others. The punchline of THAT'S LIFE was so fun that I'd have given this one POW! consideration if all three themers had been awesome. But even with only two of three LIFE definitions standing out, it's still a very nice early-week offering.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1016 ( 25,179 )

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Across
1
One or two tablets, say : DOSE
5
Lead-in to punk or Cuban, in music : AFRO
9
Adjust, as an alarm clock : RESET
14
"___, Brute?" : ETTU
15
Sand wedge, for one : IRON
16
Justice Kagan : ELENA
17
Classic activity for family night : BOARDGAME
19
Card groupings in canasta : MELDS
20
Barbershop quartet voice : TENOR
21
Tent, backpack, hiking shoes, etc. : GEAR
23
Money execs : CFOS
24
Carson's predecessor on "The Tonight Show" : PAAR
26
Bad thing to go flat : CARTIRE
28
Serving in a bowl with milk : BREAKFASTCEREAL
32
Resistance unit : OHM
33
Sicilian volcano : ETNA
34
Colorful pond fish : KOI
35
Imbecile : BOOB
37
Girl group that's also the name of a cable channel : TLC
39
"___ Mia" (1965 #4 hit for Jay & the Americans) : CARA
43
One of two parts of a shirt : ARM
46
"He was," in Latin : ERAT
49
___ and cheese : MAC
50
Periodical format not much seen nowadays : PICTUREMAGAZINE
55
Like a pet dog from a pound : ADOPTED
56
Radius, for one : BONE
57
Meyers of "Late Night" : SETH
58
Frisbee, e.g. : DISC
60
"On the Waterfront" director Elia : KAZAN
64
Suppressed : SATON
66
Comment of resignation applicable to 17-, 28- and 50-Across? : THATSLIFE
68
Agreeing (with) : ATONE
69
Acorn producers : OAKS
70
Actor and bridge expert Sharif : OMAR
71
Something to believe in : TENET
72
Perlman of "Cheers" : RHEA
73
Luau tuber : TARO
Down
1
What many college students accrue : DEBT
2
Siouan people : OTOE
3
Lee of Marvel Comics : STAN
4
Moon of Jupiter : EUROPA
5
Insurance giant bailed out in the Great Recession : AIG
6
Like potpourri : FRAGRANT
7
Home of the Circus Maximus : ROME
8
Without intermission, as a play : ONEACT
9
Period of sleep with dreaming : REM
10
Crowd-wowing : ELECTRIC
11
Pic from a stick : SELFIE
12
"Bewitched" witch, in 1960s TV : ENDORA
13
Mortarboard trim : TASSEL
18
Male duck : DRAKE
22
Deer hunter's trophy : RACK
25
Rear, at sea : AFT
27
Competitor of the Essex or Hupmobile : REO
28
Weave's partner : BOB
29
Greek "P" : RHO
30
Expressive rock style : EMO
31
Westernmost state capital in the contiguous United States : SALEM
36
Gotham City hotline : BATPHONE
38
Seafood item often served with a lemon wedge : CRABCAKE
40
"Who ___?" (amnesiac's query) : AMI
41
Did a 5K, say : RAN
42
Quickest tennis point : ACE
44
Dirt road feature : RUT
45
Talking horse of '60s TV : MRED
47
"It's ___" ("O.K. for liftoff") : AGO
48
Scuba necessities : TANKS
50
Volkswagen sedan : PASSAT
51
Dream up : IDEATE
52
T-shirt material : COTTON
53
Letter to the ___ : EDITOR
54
Fanatical supporter : ZEALOT
59
Political figure granted asylum by Anwar Sadat : SHAH
61
Product of the Coors Brewing Company : ZIMA
62
A ways away : AFAR
63
Leader whose death sparked the Year of the Four Emperors : NERO
65
Shrimper's accessory : NET
67
Baggage checker at the airport, for short : TSA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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