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New York Times, Thursday, October 24, 2019

Author:
Matt Ginsberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
501/17/200810/24/20197
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1703016464
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57330
Matt Ginsberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQX} This is puzzle # 50 for Mr. Ginsberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matt Ginsberg notes:
Let's see. I don't have a lot to say here; a video of Dr.Fill solving the puzzle can be found here. Needless to say, DF has no ... read more

Let's see. I don't have a lot to say here; a video of Dr.Fill solving the puzzle can be found here.

Needless to say, DF has no trouble here — all the entries are actual words, relatively uncommon for a Thursday! DF was glad to get the break. :) [Not to mention the fact that the words were obviously all in my dictionary as well. I do try not to reuse clues from my clue database, available for free.]

As usual, Will Shortz changed a decent number of the clues. In general, he improved things (as always!). Still, I was sorry to see [Lady Macbeth's concern] disappear for 1-Down and was pleased with my original clues for the 5-Down/6-Down pair, which were [Medically dangerous fibrous material] and [Medically useful fibrous material]. I also had [Muffin type?] for 37-Down; is that allowed in the current political climate?

One final tidbit: I have never put a fill-in-the-blank clue in any puzzle I've submitted to the Times. I figure if Will wants a FITB clue, it's always easy to put one in. So any time you see an FITB clue in a puzzle of mine, it's something that the editorial staff provided.

I hope everyone enjoyed the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
About ten years ago, I struggled mightily with a puzzle that ended up blowing my mind. No matter how hard I struggled with that one, I ... read more

About ten years ago, I struggled mightily with a puzzle that ended up blowing my mind. No matter how hard I struggled with that one, I couldn't fill in its lower-left corner. But when it all clicked, it clicked in a big way. It's now fixed in my memory as one of the ground-breakers I tell non-crossword people about (as they roll their eyes and pretend they have somewhere else to be).

Today's plays in a similar vein, with NOTHING appended instead of SECRET — let's call it "secret lite." It works, literally NOTHING there, with NOTHING prefixing BUT THE BEST, TO SNEEZE AT, etc. (NOTHING) UP MY SLEEVE was the best themer; such a snazzy phrase, and perfect for this theme.

I wanted much more out of the puzzle, though. Once I figured out the first themer, the rest of the solve was like listening to my daughter tell the same knock-knock joke over and over. (Dishes who? Dishes the police, open up!) The theme would have had more punch if it had been limited to just the four long entries, instead of a full ten dishes-the-police repeats.

There is something to be said about (NOTHING) BUT NET, though, as one of Matt Ginsberg's companies (funded by Mark Cuban!) is investigating a camera / software system that might be able to predict if a basketball shot is likely to go in. I always look forward to chatting with Matt; he's always got several somethings up his sleeve.

Overall, too easy for a Thursday puzzle. Will Shortz doesn't like it when solvers have to leave squares blank, but I wonder if a central 7 that had to be filled with literally nothing (the down answers would skip those seven letters, similar to the SECRET puzzle) would have been more memorable.

1
S
2
N
3
U
4
B
5
A
6
G
7
R
8
A
9
M
10
E
11
L
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B
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A
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P
E
R
U
15
S
A
I
L
16
A
L
I
A
S
17
O
M
I
T
18
B
U
T
T
19
H
E
B
E
S
T
20
T
O
S
N
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E
E
Z
E
A
T
22
O
G
R
E
23
E
L
S
E
24
T
25
O
W
E
A
R
26
H
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I
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N
T
A
T
29
H
30
I
P
P
O
31
A
M
I
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L
O
33
V
E
S
34
T
U
35
R
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N
37
S
38
M
U
C
39
H
40
S
A
L
A
41
D
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T
O
I
T
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S
P
E
A
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R
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S
P
Y
O
46
N
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F
L
U
48
N
O
49
T
E
S
50
R
O
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I
L
E
D
52
B
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U
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R
G
E
R
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L
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E
S
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A
S
I
S
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U
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P
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M
Y
S
L
E
60
E
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V
62
E
63
L
E
F
T
64
B
E
H
I
N
D
65
A
M
I
D
66
M
I
L
E
R
67
A
N
N
A
68
S
M
O
G
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S
T
E
N
O
70
T
H
E
Y
71
Y
A
L
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1024 ( 25,552 )
Across
1
Fail to invite, maybe : SNUB
5
The Taj City : AGRA
9
___ toast : MELBA
14
Home to a majority of the world's alpacas : PERU
15
Spinnaker or spanker : SAIL
16
Smith, sometimes : ALIAS
17
Drop : OMIT
18
When prefixed with 72-Across, what a friend wishes for you : NOTHINGBUTTHEBEST
20
... A matter worth considering : NOTHINGTOSNEEZEAT
22
Mythical meanie : OGRE
23
"What ___?" : ELSE
24
... Plaint upon going through one's closet : NOTHINGTOWEAR
26
Suggest gently : HINTAT
29
Whale's closest living land relative : HIPPO
31
Words repeated in "___ right, or ___ right?" : AMI
32
Delights in : LOVES
34
They're taken in chess : TURNS
38
... A small amount : NOTHINGMUCH
40
Introductory course? : SALAD
42
... "Piece of cake!" : NOTHINGTOIT
43
Gladiatorial accessory : SPEAR
45
Watch surreptitiously : SPYON
47
___ shot : FLU
48
A, B and C, but not X, Y and Z : NOTES
50
Bubbled, as a cauldron : ROILED
52
... Dud : NOTHINGBURGER
55
Calumnies : LIES
56
Unaltered : ASIS
57
... Magician's claim : NOTHINGUPMYSLEEVE
63
... Surgeon's goal : NOTHINGLEFTBEHIND
65
In the thick of : AMID
66
One in it for the long run? : MILER
67
Palindromic woman : ANNA
68
Result of atmospheric inversion : SMOG
69
Old kind of pool : STENO
70
Bridge scorecard heading : THEY
71
Where Bill and Hillary Clinton met : YALE
Down
1
Difficult situation : SPOT
2
"Little ___ in Slumberland" (early comic) : NEMO
3
"QB VII" author, 1970 : URIS
4
... "Swish" : NOTHINGBUTNET
5
Widely banned building material : ASBESTOS
6
Part of a medical kit : GAUZE
7
It's a tradition : RITE
8
Ski area in the Wasatch Mountains : ALTA
9
Wild West? : MAE
10
Displace by force : ELBOWOUT
11
Feudal superior : LIEGE
12
City whose name, appropriately, is an anagram of ARABS : BASRA
13
Purple perennial : ASTER
19
Address starter : HTTP
21
Carrier that operates only six days a week : ELAL
25
Go (for) : OPT
26
Overly theatrical sorts : HAMS
27
Repeated cry after "Stop shaking me!" : IMUP
28
Deserving, to Santa : NICE
29
Chips in : HELPS
30
Opiner's opener : ISAY
33
Waterford offering : VASE
35
😂 😂 😂 : ROFL
36
Shade of green : NILE
37
Drywall support : STUD
39
Does a surfing trick : HANGSTEN
41
Singer who played the title role in "Calamity Jane" : DORISDAY
44
___ deer : ROE
46
Holiday song : NOEL
49
Level : TRUE
51
... "Keep at it!" : NOTHINGISEASY
52
Comforts : BALMS
53
Opening of a fitness motto : USEIT
54
M-1, for one : RIFLE
55
Jeff of the Electric Light Orchestra : LYNNE
58
Totally dope, in dated slang : PHAT
59
Ho Chi ___ City : MINH
60
Heiress of Hartfield, in an 1816 novel : EMMA
61
Popular Renaissance instrument : VIOL
62
Sharp part : EDGE
64
Stereotypical frat member : BRO

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle.

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