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New York Times, Saturday, November 4, 2017

Author:
Michael Shteyman
Editor:
Will Shortz
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552/13/200111/11/20176
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1.62524
Michael Shteyman

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {Z} Spans: 4 This is puzzle # 54 for Mr. Shteyman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Shteyman notes:
This is not a concept you haven't seen before, but I think it's a perfect way to illustrate the literal T-R-U-T-H stretching. Some ... read more

This is not a concept you haven't seen before, but I think it's a perfect way to illustrate the literal T-R-U-T-H stretching. Some theme entries that were left on the cutting room floor include AT RISK YOUTH, TRUSTWORTHY, MOTORMOUTH / MELT IN YOUR MOUTH, CULTURAL OUTREACH and MYSTERY AUTHOR, among others.

I got lucky to a). find a number of crossworthy fifteen-letter answers that fit the theme and b). discover that, after some trial and error, they neatly lent themselves to a nice crisscrossing pattern.

Hope this mid-week offering in Saturday's clothes provides both a formidable challenge and a welcome change of pace to start off your weekend.

Jeff Chen notes:
THROUGH THE YEARS, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, DON'T ARGUE WITH ME all share the fact that they STRETCH THE TRUTH, i.e., they contain the ... read more

THROUGH THE YEARS, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, DON'T ARGUE WITH ME all share the fact that they STRETCH THE TRUTH, i.e., they contain the letters T R U T H, (quasi) spread out.

Interesting choice to run a themed puzzle on a Saturday. The theme entries are all colorful phrases, so that was good. Toss in a BASS SOLO and a PASS RUSH, and you have the start of a delightful themeless. But it's tough to work in many other memorable feature entries when you seed a grid with four 15-letter ones — they take up so much real estate.

I often debate if I'm too focused on quantity over quality in themelesses. Sometimes a fantastic 15-letter entry is all it takes for an entire puzzle to stand out in my mind. Heck, even a shorter one like BABY GOT BACK can do it for me.

But it's so tough for me to lavish praise over a themeless with just six great entries. Yes, some MOJO, LIMBO, MOHAWK, the ORPHAN trope in young adult books, that's helpful. And I did like learning what LOUCHE means. I'm going to start using it! (Probably incorrectly. Or I'll misremember it and accidentally insult someone. At least that'll be my story.)

But then when you factor in some ANET, OPEL, PASO, POLA, RCPT, STN … hmm.

Overall, it's a good starting idea to stretch letters across phrases. I can see how it wouldn't work great as a themed puzzle though, as repetitively finding the letters T R U T H — with two letters always stuck together — didn't create a great a-ha moment for me.

Will has a tough job. Not sure what I would have done with this one. Wouldn't quite work as a themed puzzle, nor does it soar as a themeless.

1
M
2
O
3
J
4
O
5
C
6
A
7
D
8
R
9
E
10
C
11
A
12
R
13
P
14
A
R
E
S
15
A
M
O
U
R
16
R
H
E
A
17
O
P
E
L
18
R
A
N
T
S
19
E
M
T
S
20
T
H
R
O
21
U
G
H
T
H
E
22
Y
E
A
R
S
23
A
A
A
24
P
O
L
A
25
E
L
D
E
R
26
I
N
T
27
W
O
28
R
29
C
30
P
T
31
T
A
U
32
A
N
33
T
34
I
G
U
A
35
J
E
T
S
36
B
37
U
38
T
T
E
R
N
U
T
S
39
Q
U
A
S
H
40
A
N
E
T
41
E
K
E
S
O
U
T
42
S
T
N
43
S
X
S
W
44
I
S
45
L
46
A
47
M
48
S
I
E
49
V
E
50
I
51
S
52
L
E
53
O
N
O
54
S
T
R
E
T
55
C
56
H
T
H
E
T
57
R
U
T
H
58
O
L
I
N
59
A
A
H
E
D
60
U
C
L
A
61
L
E
F
T
62
L
I
M
B
O
63
P
H
E
W
64
O
D
E
S
65
C
L
E
A
N
66
P
E
R
K
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1104 ( 24,833 )
Across
1
Spelling aid? : MOJO
5
Band of warriors : CADRE
10
Cavil : CARP
14
One of the Twelve Olympians : ARES
15
Undercover lover : AMOUR
16
Grandmother of 14-Across : RHEA
17
Automaker with the slogan "Wir leben Autos" : OPEL
18
Goes on ... and goes off : RANTS
19
They may respond for the unresponsive, for short : EMTS
20
Over time : THROUGHTHEYEARS
23
Big tower letters : AAA
24
Actress Negri of the silents : POLA
25
Tribal V.I.P. : ELDER
26
Split down the middle : INTWO
28
Rebate requirement, at times: Abbr. : RCPT
31
Fraternity letter : TAU
32
Island on which Mount Obama is the highest point : ANTIGUA
35
Strong sprays : JETS
36
Garden fruit that tastes pumpkin-y : BUTTERNUTSQUASH
40
Working without ___ : ANET
41
Just manages : EKESOUT
42
RR stop : STN
43
Annual music and film festival founded in 1987, briefly : SXSW
44
"___ is about finding your own space": Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : ISLAM
48
One who can't keep a secret : SIEVE
50
Setting for many shipwreck movies : ISLE
53
Co-director and co-star of the 2011 film "Bed Peace" : ONO
54
Exaggerate ... or a hint to five nonconsecutive letters in 20-Across, 36-Across and 7-Down : STRETCHTHETRUTH
58
Engineering college in Needham, Mass. : OLIN
59
Was amazed by, with "at" : AAHED
60
Home to the Ronald Reagan Med. Ctr. : UCLA
61
It's just not right : LEFT
62
Bad state to be in : LIMBO
63
"That wasn't easy at all!" : PHEW
64
Dryden's "Alexander's Feast" and others : ODES
65
Like renewable energy : CLEAN
66
Brighten (up) : PERK
Down
1
Strong Chinese liquor : MAOTAI
2
Tom Sawyer or Oliver Twist : ORPHAN
3
Mock : JEERAT
4
Capital situated on the same latitude as St. Petersburg, Russia : OSLO
5
Hold things : CARGO
6
Menotti's "___ and the Night Visitors" : AMAHL
7
"Because I said so!" : DONTARGUEWITHME
8
Compassion for the misery of others : RUTH
9
Scot's tongue : ERSE
10
Bit of fishing gear : CREEL
11
Alternative to Twinings : AHMADTEA
12
Camp David and others : RETREATS
13
Defensive football tactic : PASSRUSH
21
Winning, but barely : UPONE
22
So far : YET
27
One joule per second : WATT
29
Salon jobs : CUTS
30
___ Robles, Calif. : PASO
33
Museum of natural history attraction, in brief : TREX
34
Signs : INKS
35
What a cape does : JUTS
36
Certain rock concert improvisation : BASSSOLO
37
No-name? : UNTITLED
38
Largest of the Canaries : TENERIFE
39
Need to sleep, maybe : QUIET
43
Fix : SET
45
Disreputable : LOUCHE
46
Improvised place to hang a hat, say : ANTLER
47
Hiawatha, for one : MOHAWK
49
Doesn't keep one's emotions pent up : VENTS
51
Biblical land on the Arabian Peninsula : SHEBA
52
Deceived, in a way : LEDON
55
Advanced H.S. class : CALC
56
Greet rapturously : HAIL
57
Kentucky's ___ Arena : RUPP

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

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