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New York Times, Friday, November 2, 2018

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
876/16/201111/2/201816
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
66681129192
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645163
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 33 Missing: {FJQ} This is puzzle # 87 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
I built this themeless in a different style than I usually do. Rather than balancing a traditional number of long 'seed entries' with ... read more

I built this themeless in a different style than I usually do. Rather than balancing a traditional number of long "seed entries" with the smoothest short fill I can come up with, I focused on maximizing the number of seed entries. This meant allowing in a little extra "crossword glue" (AGT, ELHI, SHIM, etc.), but the trade-off seemed worth it to me. My favorite clue/answer pair is [Wasted vacation days?] for BOOZE CRUISE. Now to do something about my SLEEP DEBT....

Jeff Chen notes:
My favorite aspect of this puzzle was the clever clues – a ton of them! My top three: AD BLOCKER is already a great ... read more

My favorite aspect of this puzzle was the clever clues – a ton of them! My top three:

  1. AD BLOCKER is already a great entry, but appropriating "spot remover" and using it obliquely was fantastic.
  2. I had GASC?? filled in and was baffled. So innocent, that [Tank top] clue, without a telltale question mark. That's a (gas) tank top, ha!
  3. Game in which I is I? What the … ah, I misread that. Game in which I (letter) is 1 (number). Love it!

I struggled to complete the puzzle, the last letter of RATED M taking me the longest time. That's M for … money? Murky? Mature? Right, I knew that!

That M was an appropriate way to end the puzzle, given the presence of BOOZE CRUISE, SEX TOY, WINE STORE, THRASH METAL. COME AT ME BRO; I'd say it's RATED M for sure!

A couple of other entries that didn't resonate with me in VEEDUB and THE ZAX. People call the VW a "veedub"? And I've read a ton of Dr. Seuss to my toddlers, but I couldn't dredge up THE ZAX, much less tell you that it's not just one creature, but two.

Dr. Seuss is seriously trippy.

A well-constructed puzzle filled with liveliness and color. It wasn't my favorite of David's creations though, as it felt a bit too frat bro-ey to me, what with all the booze and sex references. Nothing wrong with that, but not quite the type of escape that resonates best with me these days.

1
M
2
S
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G
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G
5
A
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S
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C
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A
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P
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H
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B
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O
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O
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V
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G
A
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D
E
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N
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E
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R
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C
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M
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A
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M
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B
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O
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A
A
S
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H
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M
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B
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L
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M
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A
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Z
O
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A
P
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D
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C
A
P
O
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U
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S
O
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R
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B
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E
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L
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O
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W
B
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W
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K
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M
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B
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1102 ( 25,196 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. It might give you a headache : MSG
4. Tank top : GASCAP
10. "Westworld" network : HBO
13. Restaurant chain with a "never-ending pasta bowl" : OLIVEGARDEN
16. Slip : ERR
17. "You wanna fight?!" : COMEATMEBRO
18. Remote inserts : AAS
19. Doughnut-loving toon : HOMER
20. ___ Air : BEL
21. Kind of ball that's edible : MATZO
23. Did a pantomime of : APED
24. Ukulele accessory : CAPO
25. Like many textbook publishers : ELHI
26. Show letters : USO
28. Game in which I is 1 : SCRABBLE
31. Belt under the waist? : LOWBLOW
35. Some Tornado Alley residents : KANSANS
36. Explosion cause : IRE
37. Country music's ___ Young Band : ELI
38. Figures in some "Twilight Zone" episodes, for short : ETS
39. 9-to-5, maybe : RUT
40. [Knock, knock] : LETMEIN
42. Has as a tenant : RENTSTO
44. Composer of symphonic "verse" : TONEPOET
46. "Heck, yeah!" : DOI
47. Didn't keep quiet : TOLD
48. Level : SHIM
50. Talk smack to : SASS
54. Stopped debating : CHOSE
55. Bear in a hit 2012 film : TED
56. Invite, as to one's penthouse : ASKUP
57. ___ package : AID
58. Wasted vacation days? : BOOZECRUISE
61. Show with a musical guest, for short : SNL
62. Genre for Anthrax and Megadeth : THRASHMETAL
63. An end to jargon? : ESE
64. Classic gag gift : SEXTOY
65. See 56-Down : ANT
Down
1. Hot chocolaty drink : MOCHA
2. Simple craft : SLOOP
3. Confidence booster on a test : GIMME
4. Its teeth are pointy : GEAR
5. Hollywood title: Abbr. : AGT
6. Latin rhythm : SAMBA
7. Unsavory fellows : CREEPS
8. Spot remover? : ADBLOCKER
9. Bits ___ second : PER
10. Hershey toffee treats : HEATHBARS
11. Its shell has three sides : BRAZILNUT
12. Guesstimate words : ORSO
14. German wheels : VEEDUB
15. Emphatic rejection : NOMEANSNO
22. Fathers' clothes : ALBS
24. "Sweet" : COOLIO
27. What insomnia causes to build up over time : SLEEPDEBT
29. Like Call of Duty: Black Ops : RATEDM
30. This, to Tomás : ESTO
31. Breezy air : LILT
32. Spinoff Nabisco cookies : OREOTHINS
33. Wimp : WETNOODLE
34. Establishment to which customers have come for years? : WINESTORE
41. Classic TV diner : MELS
43. Tears don't rip it : TISSUE
45. Stubborn Dr. Seuss pair : THEZAX
49. Clarifier in texts : IDEST
51. Very furry, muscular dog : AKITA
52. Elder of the sisters who visited Narnia in "The Chronicles of Narnia" : SUSAN
53. Said "O-D-O-U-R," e.g. : SPELT
54. Ukulele accessory : CASE
56. With 65-Across, fierce marcher : ARMY
59. Post cereal made with honey : OHS
60. ___ Chang (ex-girlfriend of Harry Potter) : CHO

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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