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New York Times, Friday, November 3, 2017

Author: Kameron Austin Collins and Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor: Will Shortz
Kameron Austin Collins
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
86/6/201411/3/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000125
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56000
Brendan Emmett Quigley
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1768/7/199611/3/201716
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
344152017462614
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.635213

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 29 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Collins. This is puzzle # 176 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: GOOGLE HANGOUTS! Funny, I just looked this up yesterday when trying to figure out what replaced GChat. Still, dunno what it is, or if ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

GOOGLE HANGOUTS! Funny, I just looked this up yesterday when trying to figure out what replaced GChat. Still, dunno what it is, or if it'll stick around — for all the successes Google has had, there have been plenty of failures like Google Reader, Google Video Player, Google Buzz, GChat, etc. Curious to see if this one will have staying power or not.

(Apparently, it's a way to … make free video calls?)

BEAT A DEAD HORSE is a great phrase, one I use all the time. A friend did point out that it's morbid though, in the same vein as "screwed the pooch." I still use both of these, but I do hesitate (for a nanosecond) before I do.

Grid mostly features seven-letter entries, and Kameron and BEQ convert some slots well. NUTMEAT always makes me laugh. PLUS ONE, ART DECO, GO GREEN (as in "change to eco-conscious ways"), ALADDIN. METEORS gets a clue to elevate it. Things seen in showers? Oh, you naughty Gray Lady!

UGLY CRY … huh. I'm sure by the time I get around to understanding and using this meme, all the kids will have moved away from it like the plague. When you have to spell out a clue in so much detail, for it to be understood ...

A shame that there's a good amount of wastage in the sevens, but that's the norm with seven-letter-heavy themelesses. ENNEADS, CATER TO, TESTATE, AMASSED, ALLOW IN, ENTEBBE, etc. = all fine, but these didn't add anything to the quality of my solve. Nice try on the TESTATE clue, [Willful?]. But TESTATE wasn't familiar enough to me to provide a great a-ha moment after I realized the wordplay.

Enough strong entries to keep me entertained, though — BANK VAULT and ROB REINER (huge "Spinal Tap" fan here!) — and good craftsmanship. Some SIE, ROM, RIAA, DSO to hold everything together, but nothing there is egregious.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1103 ( 24,832 )
Across Down
1. "Save your excuses" : SPAREME
8. Part of the Constitution : ARTICLE
15. Grant access : ALLOWIN
16. Half of the digits have this : TOENAIL
17. Edible kernel : NUTMEAT
18. Built up : AMASSED
19. Cross-shaped mil. award : DSO
20. Not so lenient : STERNER
22. You, overseas : SIE
23. Death or destruction : DOOM
25. "___ the Agent" (old comic strip) : ABIE
26. Naval Academy students, informally : MIDS
27. Auntie ___ (pretzel chain) : ANNES
29. Target of a heist : BANKVAULT
32. Not let go of something : BEATADEADHORSE
34. In advance of : ERE
35. A to Z : ALL
36. Platform for chatting : GOOGLEHANGOUTS
44. Filmmaker whose directorial debut was "This Is Spinal Tap" : ROBREINER
45. "You're making me blush!" : AWGEE
46. Forever and a day : AGES
47. Suffragist Carrie Chapman ___ : CATT
49. Word after who, what, where, when, why or how : ELSE
50. Utterance made while shaking : BRR
51. Hit 2014 musical based on a 1992 film : ALADDIN
54. Abbr. in a financial report : YTD
55. White whales : BELUGAS
57. English headwear with a short visor : ETONCAP
59. Time off : LEISURE
60. Target, as an audience : CATERTO
61. The Muses and others : ENNEADS
62. Like many of the Minions in "Despicable Me" : ONEEYED
1. Pacific flatfish : SANDDAB
2. With a guest, on a guest list : PLUSONE
3. Penn State campus site : ALTOONA
4. DVD attachment? : ROM
5. Much of a flock : EWES
6. Car whose name means "reward" : MIATA
7. Ugandan city on Lake Victoria : ENTEBBE
8. Finished : ATANEND
9. Setting for Broadway's "The Light in the Piazza" : ROME
10. Common sports injury : TEAR
11. They can help you get jobs : INS
12. Senator who was one of the assassins of Julius Caesar : CASSIUS
13. Go unused : LIEIDLE
14. Destined to inherit the throne : ELDEST
21. Gold-certifying org. : RIAA
24. Things seen in a shower : METEORS
26. "Hero and Leander" poet : MARLOWE
28. Platoon V.I.P. : SARGE
30. Sadiq ___, London mayor elected in 2016 : KHAN
31. Gorky Reservoir river : VOLGA
33. Grocery section : DELI
36. Stop wasting energy, say : GOGREEN
37. Ohio school : OBERLIN
38. Boxes : ENCASES
39. Source of a river : HEAD
40. Style symbolizing luxury and glamour : ARTDECO
41. Intense sobbing with a contorted face, in modern lingo : UGLYCRY
42. Willful? : TESTATE
43. Green bean, e.g. : SEEDPOD
44. Hoi polloi sorts : RABBLE
48. God father? : TITAN
51. Tequila chaser : AGUA
52. It's used in preparing tamales : LARD
53. "See here ..." : NOTE
56. "It's no ___" : USE
58. Previously : NEE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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