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New York Times, Friday, November 8, 2019

Author:
Peter Wentz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
359/27/200711/8/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
200121416
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.80005
Peter Wentz

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 35 for Mr. Wentz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter Wentz notes:
When I reopened my original manuscript in preparation for this write-up, I immediately regretted not being in the know enough at the ... read more

When I reopened my original manuscript in preparation for this write-up, I immediately regretted not being in the know enough at the time to clue 27-Across as the slang term. Fortunately, the editing team and I are apparently on the same wavelength, as they updated my tired STAN Lee clue for something a little more this decade.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this one. There's a good number of interesting compound phrases, ranging from a 19th-century botanist to an over-the-top NBA arcade game. Hope everyone enjoys!

Jeff Chen notes:
Another meticulous construction from Peter Wentz, a master at the 68-worder. It's so difficult to put one of these together without ... read more

Another meticulous construction from Peter Wentz, a master at the 68-worder. It's so difficult to put one of these together without any crossword glue, but I couldn't find a single dab. Such unyielding craftsmanship is rare. There's only one other person who comes to mind — the great Patrick Berry.

A couple of excellent feature entries, too. CLAYMATION always brings me back to the first time I saw the "Wallace and Gromit" series. So delightful! Crossing that with NBA JAM – I still say "Boom shakala!" much to the chagrin of my friends, who then pretend they don't know me – makes for a fun middle.

And BANJO PICK crossing BIONICS! Think of what a great musician Steve Austin could have been if he'd only applied himself.

Not as much color as I'm used to out of a Wentz grid, though. PEA JACKET and ASA GRAY sounded vaguely familiar. PLASMA TV got pulled down by the "obsolescent" tag in its clue (really, these are outdated already?). ON ITS END took up a valuable long slot, and I tilted my head and gave it the side-eye.

A CLAW HAMMER isn't just called a hammer?

I struggled mightily with SVEDKA, too. I'm not much of a drinker, but SKYY, Absolut, Finlandia, Grey Goose, Ketel One — I see those in bars frequently enough. Maybe Svedka's marketing team has been hitting the bottle a bit too much.

I loved the clue for DEBT. A matter of great interest, indeed – get it, interest? As in, interest you have to pay when you take out loans? Huh. I worry that this one won't interest as many people as it should.

Sometimes I worry that my critiques, always pushing for cleaner grids, have made some constructors go too far the other way. I'm all for a bit of imperfection here or there if it means more color and pizzazz in a solving experience.

1
M
2
S
3
G
4
J
5
I
6
H
7
A
8
D
9
D
10
E
11
B
12
T
13
A
I
L
14
O
R
A
T
E
15
D
16
O
U
I
S
17
C
L
A
18
W
H
A
M
M
E
R
19
G
R
O
K
20
R
E
C
E
N
T
21
R
E
22
M
N
A
N
T
23
O
N
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T
S
E
24
N
25
D
26
O
A
S
I
S
27
S
T
A
N
28
B
A
29
N
30
J
O
P
I
C
K
31
C
L
A
32
Y
33
M
A
T
I
O
N
34
A
S
S
35
P
E
A
J
A
C
K
E
36
T
37
A
38
H
39
A
40
S
L
A
C
K
E
D
O
41
F
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F
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S
A
L
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L
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M
A
E
45
A
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A
46
S
47
A
V
O
I
D
48
P
L
49
A
50
S
M
A
T
V
51
G
E
E
K
O
52
U
53
T
54
S
W
A
T
H
E
55
R
A
G
E
56
P
I
57
N
58
P
O
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D
59
A
G
E
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60
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O
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S
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64
P
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A
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1108 ( 25,567 )
Across
1
Savory additive : MSG
4
Literally, "struggle" : JIHAD
9
Matter of great interest for the United States : DEBT
13
Have something : AIL
14
Provided an address : ORATED
16
Législateurs' votes : OUIS
17
Basic part of a tool kit : CLAWHAMMER
19
Comprehend : GROK
20
Still fresh : RECENT
21
Leftover : REMNANT
23
How a sofa might be turned for moving : ONITSEND
26
Green spot : OASIS
27
Extreme devotee, in modern lingo : STAN
28
Hoedown musician's aid : BANJOPICK
31
Film models are used in it : CLAYMATION
34
Wearer of a lion's skin in an Aesop fable : ASS
35
Old sailor's wear : PEAJACKET
37
___ moment : AHA
40
Was lazy : SLACKEDOFF
43
Student loan provider : SALLIEMAE
45
Piteous sigh : ALAS
47
Duck : AVOID
48
Obsolescent living room fixture : PLASMATV
51
Engage in unabashed nerdiness : GEEKOUT
54
Wrap up : SWATHE
55
Word repeated in the Dylan Thomas line "___ against the dying of the light" : RAGE
56
Precisely found : PINPOINTED
59
Possible response to "How long's it been?" : AGES
60
Symbol of rebirth : SPRING
61
Flooring selection : OAK
62
Devil-may-care motto, in brief : YOLO
63
Learned types : SAGES
64
Evidence of a couple's honeymoon phase, for short : PDA
Down
1
Shortcuts in computer coding : MACROS
2
Miscellaneous part? : SILENTC
3
Painfully slow : GLACIAL
4
Going places? : JOHNS
5
More than cross : IRATE
6
One playing things for laughs : HAM
7
___ card : ATM
8
Start of a letter in the form of a rebus : DEER
9
Take a pointer? : DOGNAP
10
Superstate in "1984" : EURASIA
11
Technology that mimics nature : BIONICS
12
Shakes a finger at : TSKTSKS
15
Producer of Eminem's "The Eminem Show," informally : DRE
18
After-dinner amenity : WETNAP
22
Rear-ended? : MOONED
24
Classic arcade game with an announcer who shouts "Boomshakalaka!" : NBAJAM
25
Restriction on mobile phone use : DATACAP
29
Stainless steel element : NICKEL
30
Ha-ha : JOKE
32
Personal affirmation : YESIDO
33
Like drone bees : MALE
36
With no exceptions : TOAMAN
37
Charles Darwin contemporary : ASAGRAY
38
Take one's turn : HAVEAGO
39
Soothing application : ALOEGEL
41
Hairstyle that's cut short on the sides : FLATTOP
42
Half-wit : FATHEAD
44
"Just watch ..." : LIKESO
46
Absolut competitor : SVEDKA
49
Jointly : ASONE
50
Downs with gusto : SWIGS
52
High times : UPS
53
Money left on the table : TIPS
57
Org. targeted by Moms Demand Action : NRA
58
2019 Chinese zodiac sign : PIG

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?