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New York Times, Friday, November 30, 2018

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
193/28/201111/30/20180
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02320111
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JKQX} This is puzzle # 19 for Ms. Weintraub. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Robyn Weintraub notes:
As a mom, I know I'm not supposed to have a favorite child, but I'm quite fond of this puzzle. I think all ten 10-, 11- and 12 letter ... read more

As a mom, I know I'm not supposed to have a favorite child, but I'm quite fond of this puzzle. I think all ten 10-, 11- and 12 letter entries are solid, and nine of them make their New York Times crossword debut today. I especially like HOLD MY BEER and SAVE THE DATE. Admittedly SYNS and ARY are terrible, but even the happiest of families have a few black sheep, right?

Jeff Chen notes:
More and more, I'm noticing that a single entry/clue pair in a themeless can make the entire puzzle stand out in my eyes. I hit ... read more

More and more, I'm noticing that a single entry/clue pair in a themeless can make the entire puzzle stand out in my eyes. I hit [Employer of some shepherds] and was thinking farms, fields, or maybe watchdogs, as in government orgs watching over the safety of the public. Great a-ha to figure out it meant German shepherds, in a CANINE UNIT! That's beautiful.

Looking back upon Robyn's puzzles, I remembered that I had similar reactions to CLOWN CARS, RON WEASLEY, TRACTOR BEAM, MIRACLE MAX, SMARTY PANTS. Robyn sure does know how to pick ‘em!

I didn't get the same sheer joy today as I've gotten from some of Robyn's other ones, though. Not nearly as playful today, with NANNY STATE and HOLD MY BEER (which appears to be a meme going around ... something said before a fight?). Seems like Robyn TONEd IT DOWN a bit.

Some of the other long answers didn't resonate with me, either. I love the Beatles, but I didn't know "Something" was on ABBEY ROAD. Seemed like there were more fun or playful ways of cluing this great album, one of the Beatles' last.

I've been able to overlook some crossword glue in previous puzzles, but my lack of elation made it harder today to turn a blind eye to ARY. It is a short bit, taking up only three squares. But yikes, is it ugly. A suffix for secret, making secret-ARY? Oof, that's terrible.

In some ways, it's unfair for me to voice these gripes, which likely would have seemed minor if it had been some other constructor. It was still a fun solving experience, but I've come to expect tremendous things from a Weintraub themeless. Not entirely sure if that's a fair way to look at things, but it is what it is.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1130 ( 25,224 )
Across
1. "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" singer, 1972 : CROCE
6. Resort in Salt Lake County : ALTA
10. Hill worker : ANT
13. Modern phrase said before doing something foolish : HOLDMYBEER
15. Coping mechanisms? : SAWS
17. Homer's specialty : EPICPOETRY
18. Website for tech whizzes : CNET
19. Eastern state : ZEN
20. One might tell you to do the math : TUTOR
21. Kind of dog found in New York City : CONEY
22. Warm and toasty, e.g.: Abbr. : SYNS
23. Follower : ACOLYTE
25. Render harmless, in a way : DEFANG
28. Little suckers : APHIDS
29. In play : ALIVE
30. Put off : ALIENATED
33. Lets go : FIRES
34. "___ anniversaire!" : BON
35. County in a Pulitzer-winning play title : OSAGE
36. Holders of solutions : TESTTUBES
38. Mountaineer's tool : PITON
39. Often-misspelled contraction : THERES
40. Court suspension : RECESS
41. Neat : ORDERLY
43. Ran fast : TORE
44. Runs : HEADS
45. ___ Smetanina, first woman to win 10 Winter Olympic medals : RAISA
47. 'Vette alternative : GTO
50. Flier from Asia : MYNA
51. "Take a chill pill!" : TONEITDOWN
53. Shakers, e.g. : SECT
54. Employer of some shepherds : CANINEUNIT
55. Call, in poker : SEE
56. Japanese bowlful : UDON
57. Title character of a "Dora the Explorer" spinoff : DIEGO
Down
1. Fancy restaurant name starter : CHEZ
2. Skip it! : ROPE
3. "This Is Us" producer Ken : OLIN
4. Org. behind the surveillance report FluView : CDC
5. They may have rooms to spare : EMPTYNESTERS
6. Acts as a decoy for, possibly : ABETS
7. Mother of Artemis : LETO
8. University of Maryland athletes : TERRAPINS
9. Secret ending? : ARY
10. Not just chilly : ASCOLDASICE
11. Overprotective government, so to speak : NANNYSTATE
12. Message that might be sent in a storm? : TWEET
14. Fawns, e.g. : YOUNG
16. Possible reason to forgo mascara : STYE
21. Like many laundromat appliances : COINOPERATED
22. Advance notice for an event : SAVETHEDATE
24. Jost's "Weekend Update" co-anchor : CHE
25. Bonkers : DAFT
26. Fashion designer ___ Saab : ELIE
27. Activity for newlyweds at a wedding reception : FIRSTDANCE
28. Some succulents : ALOES
30. "Something" can be heard on it : ABBEYROAD
31. Bigwigs may have big ones : EGOS
32. Cubs' places : DENS
37. Address that's not often written down : URL
40. Fiddler's aid : ROSIN
41. Units equivalent to volts per ampere : OHMS
42. California's Point ___ Peninsula : REYES
43. Synergistic promo : TIEIN
46. "Felice ___ nuovo!" : ANNO
47. Plastered : GONE
48. Bit of kindling : TWIG
49. Not falling for : ONTO
51. Big 12 sch. : TCU
52. Determination from a Breathalyzer test, for short : DUI

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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