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New York Times, Friday, December 15, 2017

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2912/25/201310/8/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3448640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59790
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 71, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JWZ} This is puzzle # 25 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Triplet of long entries anchoring this one, SEX AND VIOLENCE solid (if a bit gritty), ENTREPRENEURS nice for this entrepreneur, and METABOLIC ... read more

Triplet of long entries anchoring this one, SEX AND VIOLENCE solid (if a bit gritty), ENTREPRENEURS nice for this entrepreneur, and METABOLIC RATE doing its job. None of them resonated super strongly for me though, even ENTREPRENEURS a bit on the boring side since it's a word I hear every day. METABOLIC RATE also felt like a dictionary term, rather than the more fun "metabolism" that might lend itself to more clever cluing.

Jacob expanded to a 16-wide, which often presents challenges in a themeless — biggest issue is staying under the 72-word maximum. Note how he had to leave himself pretty big corners to work with.

Those NW/SE corners are especially daunting. Typically, constructors would make a region like this smaller, placing a black square somewhere in the ISAACS region. Given how big a swath the NW is, it's no surprise to get some A STAR, weird plural NAPAS, and neutral AT AN ANGLE.

Different set of problems in the opposite corner. MAL and ILE are much more ignorable than ASTAR, but that ARECA PALM / CORA cross might be a killer. I'd say unfair, especially given that the CORA clue, referring to The Last of the Mohicans, makes it feel like COTA, COHA, COGA, etc. could be possible.

Jacob continued to make his life hard in the other two corners. Often, constructors might place a black square at the Q of BANQUET, making it so much easier to turn the corner without trouble. BLUING isn't something I've heard of, but it does appear to be a real thing. REROOT, on the other hand, felt more egregious.

What I enjoyed most about the puzzle was a handful of great clues:

  • A good plot is ARABLE when it's a plot of land, not a book plot!
  • Keeping with the literary misdirection, a RECIPE can sure be stirring.
  • A DEALER can give you a hand, all right — a blackjack hand!

A couple of strong entries like GLACIAL DRIFT and CURED HAM helped keep me entertained, but it didn't have the same Stulbergian literary / high culture feel that I've come to love.

1
A
2
T
3
A
4
N
5
A
6
N
7
G
8
L
9
E
10
A
11
S
12
S
13
E
14
R
15
T
16
T
A
C
O
S
A
L
A
D
17
D
E
A
L
E
R
18
L
E
T
I
T
P
A
S
S
19
O
E
U
V
R
E
20
I
S
A
A
C
S
21
M
G
M
L
I
O
N
22
R
23
E
V
E
R
S
I
24
R
I
S
E
25
R
O
D
26
A
K
A
27
A
28
L
E
R
T
29
R
A
T
S
30
M
E
T
31
A
32
B
33
O
L
I
C
R
A
34
T
E
35
S
E
X
A
N
D
V
I
O
L
E
N
36
C
37
E
38
E
N
T
R
E
P
R
E
N
E
U
R
39
S
40
K
41
A
42
R
L
43
H
I
R
E
S
44
R
I
O
45
E
R
A
46
D
E
F
Y
47
H
48
E
49
A
50
V
E
N
S
51
B
A
N
52
Q
U
E
T
53
C
A
L
L
E
D
54
A
B
O
U
N
D
55
M
O
D
E
L
S
H
56
I
57
P
58
B
L
U
I
N
G
59
A
R
E
C
A
P
A
L
M
60
S
E
T
T
E
E
61
L
A
S
T
N
A
M
E
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1215 ( 24,874 )
Across
1. Not true : ATANANGLE
10. Put forward : ASSERT
16. Meal in an edible bowl : TACOSALAD
17. One giving you a hand? : DEALER
18. Advice for touchy types : LETITPASS
19. Work : OEUVRE
20. Jason of the Harry Potter films : ISAACS
21. Corporate trademark that was inspired by an Ivy League mascot : MGMLION
22. Game played on an 8x8 board : REVERSI
24. Tailor's concern : RISE
25. Dowel, e.g. : ROD
26. Wanted poster inits. : AKA
27. Having ears cocked : ALERT
29. "Aw, man!" : RATS
30. Burning figure : METABOLICRATE
35. Family-unfriendly fare : SEXANDVIOLENCE
38. Ones starting up start-ups, say : ENTREPRENEURS
40. Designer Lagerfeld : KARL
43. Contracts : HIRES
44. "___ Conchos," 1964 western : RIO
45. Big time : ERA
46. Fail to follow : DEFY
47. "Great Scott!" : HEAVENS
51. Occasion for a toast : BANQUET
53. Like hotlines and poker bets : CALLED
54. Teem : ABOUND
55. It has a little bow at one end : MODELSHIP
58. Laundry whitener, oddly enough : BLUING
59. Betel nut source : ARECAPALM
60. Parlor piece : SETTEE
61. What pets usually lack : LASTNAMES
Down
1. N.L. East team: Abbr. : ATL
2. ___ Bo : TAE
3. Start : ACTIVATE
4. Symptom for a mechanic : NOISE
5. "Everybody Is ___" (1970 Sly & the Family Stone hit) : ASTAR
6. Certain California wines : NAPAS
7. Rock moved by ice : GLACIALDRIFT
8. Colleen : LASS
9. Blue-pencilers, for short : EDS
10. Mark Twain story that begins "My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian" : ADOGSTALE
11. F note? : SEEME
12. Anointed one in the Book of Samuel : SAUL
13. "Blithe Spirit" role : ELVIRA
14. Take hold again, as a plant : REROOT
15. Fashion magazine fodder : TRENDS
21. Reflective pair : MIRRORSHADES
22. ___ home : RAM
23. Gets (by) : EKES
24. Something with a stirring message? : RECIPE
28. Establishment offering horses for hire : LIVERY
29. Author François-___ de Chateaubriand : RENE
31. One's turn at the Olympics? : AXEL
32. Block : BAN
33. Teetering : ONTHEEDGE
34. Perfect ___ : TEN
36. What may be salted away for a special occasion? : CUREDHAM
37. Home to an 8-Down : ERIN
39. Plea at sea : SOS
40. Sticky food? : KEBABS
41. Like a good plot : ARABLE
42. Expired : RANOUT
46. Old-time actress Irene : DUNNE
48. Word whose meaning remains unchanged when an "s" is added to the front : ELECT
49. Part of E.A.P. : ALLAN
50. Big name in scooters : VESPA
52. Call it a day : QUIT
53. "The Last of the Mohicans" daughter : CORA
55. Start to practice? : MAL
56. Tahiti, par exemple : ILE
57. May and others, for short : PMS

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?