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New York Times, Friday, November 2, 2018

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
966/16/20118/18/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
76681132242
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645173
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
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S
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G
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G
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A
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C
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P
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H
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B
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O
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V
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N
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B
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M
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K
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1102 ( 25,196 )

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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: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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