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New York Times, Monday, October 3, 2016

Author: Jacob Stulberg
Editor: Will Shortz
Jacob Stulberg
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1912/25/20133/17/20170
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1.61460
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {Q} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Stulberg. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jacob Stulberg notes: From the start, I was determined to keep SOCIALLUBRICANT as one of this puzzle's theme answers. Others that fell by the wayside ... more
Jacob Stulberg notes:

From the start, I was determined to keep SOCIALLUBRICANT as one of this puzzle's theme answers. Others that fell by the wayside included STANDONCEREMONY, COMMONKNOWLEDGE, and LONGLIVETHEKING, the latter from an ill-fated attempt to put FALLINGDOWN in the central column.

My original clue for 56-Across (STATE SEAL) was "Idaho's is the only one designed by a woman." As a recent transplant to Monterey, I'm happy to give the new clue a certain marine mammal of approval.

Jeff Chen notes: LONDON BRIDGE is FALLING DOWN today, with a neat visual and a great selection of themers. I've been dying to work SOCIAL LUBRICANT ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

LONDON BRIDGE is FALLING DOWN today, with a neat visual and a great selection of themers. I've been dying to work SOCIAL LUBRICANT into a puzzle, so it was really fun to see. STAND ON ONES HEAD, LONG STEMMED, and WENT OVER THE EGDE are all nice too.

I like when a puzzle lulls me into thinking I know what's happening, and then it throws me for a loop. Working quickly through LON to DON, I figured this had to be a word ladder. What a pleasure to get SOCIAL LUBRICANT as a sizzling entry, and even more so when I realized the next trigram wasn't DOT or DEN or something.

And what an entertaining visual, LON DON BRI DGE actually looking like the bridge broke up, Tacoma-Narrows-style, and sections plummeted in sequence from right to left. Love it.

Nice bonuses in RV PARK — excellent use of a six-letter slot — ACTING OUT, STATE SEAL, NY GIANTS, SHOWCASE, even ARABIC with its crazy clue (see Jim's note below). Great extras made the solve even more enjoyable.

There were a few questionable spots, ones that made me hesitate about giving this the POW! XKES is a toughie, basically random letters. Thankfully Jacob made all the crossings straightforward.

That SUZI / ZWEIG crossing … I guess it's fair, since what other letter could look more reasonable? I briefly considered SUKI / KWEIG, but that looked strange. I do like the Scrabbly Z, but oof, that caused me a moment of panic.

Were those two rough patches worth the price all the great extras? I did like all the bonuses, and given that Jacob had to work with five long themers, some signs of strain were to be expected. Going up to 76 words could have smoothed out those two crunchy spots — the end product is not as novice-friendly as I like to see in a Monday — but I'm okay with Jacob's decision.

I really enjoy getting something a little different on Mondays, and this fit the bill. Very entertaining.

JimH notes: In the print version of this puzzle, the clue for 24 Down is: Language in which "hello" is مرحبا
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1003 ( 24,436 )
Across Down
1. Makes eyes at : OGLES
6. Start of four TV drama titles of the 2000s : CSI
9. Twisted, as a wet towel : WRUNG
14. Entry in the Rose Parade : FLOAT
15. "Winnie-the-Pooh" baby : ROO
16. Course you hardly have to study for : EASYA
17. Brand of orange or grape soda : FANTA
18. Misbehaving : ACTINGOUT
20. Unit of work in physics : ERG
21. N.F.L. team that plays in Jersey, strangely enough : NYGIANTS
23. Marquis ___ (French writer) : DESADE
25. Regarding : ASTO
26. ___ News (Roger Ailes's former channel) : FOX
29. Tool for laying cement : TROWEL
31. Locale for mobile campers : RVPARK
33. ___ jacket (denim top) : JEAN
34. Pie ___ mode : ALA
36. "Miss" of TV's "Dallas" : ELLIE
37. Jazz group : COMBO
38. "Yo" : SUP
39. Caramel-filled candies : ROLOS
40. Server overseer, informally : ADMIN
41. Conan O'Brien's network : TBS
42. Romulus or Remus : TWIN
43. Put (together), as a jigsaw puzzle : PIECED
45. "Little" folk tale character with lazy friends : REDHEN
47. One of the Kennedys : TED
48. "Stumblin' In" singer Quatro : SUZI
50. Didn't give a definitive answer : HEDGED
53. Something bid on on "The Price Is Right" : SHOWCASE
55. Drunk motorist's infraction, for short : DWI
56. California's says "Eureka" : STATESEAL
59. Sag : DROOP
61. Speakers' platforms : PODIA
62. ___ and outs : INS
63. Stares (at) : GAWKS
64. Emmy or Espy : AWARD
65. Sporty Pontiac : GTO
66. Minuscule, informally : EENSY
1. Took care of, mob-style : OFFED
2. What a sun visor reduces : GLARE
3. Like some wineglasses and roses : LONGSTEMMED
4. Dine : EAT
5. Perform an inverted feat : STANDONONESHEAD
6. Rocky outcropping : CRAG
7. Alcohol, per its effect at a party : SOCIALLUBRICANT
8. Smidgens : IOTAS
9. Lost one's sanity : WENTOVERTHEEDGE
10. From ___ to riches : RAGS
11. Military entertainment grp. : USO
12. Sch. on Manhattan's Washington Square Park : NYU
13. Gun, in old mob slang : GAT
19. Like some verbs: Abbr. : INTR
22. Tree whose name sounds like a letter of the alphabet : YEW
24. Language of Yemen and Oman : ARABIC
26. Like the contents of this puzzle's circled squares, in a nursery rhyme : FALLINGDOWN
27. Hunter of myth : ORION
28. Sporty Jaguars : XKES
30. "It is the ___, and Juliet is the sun": Romeo : EAST
32. Prepared for planting, as a field : PLOWED
33. Actress Foster : JODIE
35. Cathedral recess : APSE
37. Lt.'s superior : CAPT
44. Twosomes : DUOS
46. Some A.L. sluggers : DHS
49. Stefan ___, influential Austrian writer of the 1920s-'30s : ZWEIG
51. Furry "Star Wars" creatures : EWOKS
52. ___ Doodles (snack brand) : DIPSY
53. Kerfuffle : STIR
54. In addition : ALSO
56. Health resort : SPA
57. Pull to a pound : TOW
58. Nabokov novel : ADA
60. Singer Carly ___ Jepsen : RAE

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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