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New York Times, Saturday, December 16, 2017

Author:
Sam Ezersky
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
297/28/201211/8/20189
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
211334105
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.71200
Sam Ezersky

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 31 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Ezersky. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Ezersky notes:
'THE VOICE' is my all-time favorite song, but alas, a clue referencing a #15 Billboard hit from the early '80s will never fly when ... read more

"THE VOICE" is my all-time favorite song, but alas, a clue referencing a #15 Billboard hit from the early '80s will never fly when there's a modern hit show with an identical name. To my fellow Moody Blues fans: I apologize wholeheartedly and feel your pain, but I knew what I had to do. At least there's still Frank ZAPPA's "Sheik Yerbouti" and George Harrison's "I ME MINE."

Can I just say that I've come a lo-o-ong way with cluing in the last few months? Will and Joel absolutely went to town marking up this puzzle's manuscript; I think a graffitied city wall would look barer in comparison. REAL TALK, I'm pretty sure that yesterday's puzzle, which I helped edit, had more of my own clues than today's!

Hope you enjoyed.

Jeff Chen notes:
Recent college grad and newest member of the NYT crossword team, Sam peppered his grid with all sorts of fun entries. FOOD PORN, ha! ... read more

Recent college grad and newest member of the NYT crossword team, Sam peppered his grid with all sorts of fun entries. FOOD PORN, ha! It's so odd how often I see people photograph their food when they go out to eat. Just eat the dang food already! Love THE VOICE as well, and we get some FACT IS … kind of colloquialisms that I've come to associate with Sam.

Not all of them resonated with me, though. I'm sure REAL TALK is something the kids say these days. WHERE ARE YA isn't something I'd say, but that could easily be because I old-fashionedly stick to my guns on YOU, not YA. (And WHERE ARE YOU isn't super exciting as an entry to me. More an everyday utilitarian phrase.)

I much more prefer timeless entries like RAW FOOTAGE, a beautifully colorful phrase.

I wish I could say MATHLETE is timeless … it should be! (Says this former MATHLETE.)

I did stumble on a couple of entries, IT TEAM feeling not quite right (IT GUY or IT GURU or even IT PRO better), and B TYPE … I've donated blood around 125 times and never heard anyone say that. Lots of TYPE O, A POSITIVE, O NEG, etc., but B TYPE feels off.

Not a huge soccer fan, but REAL MADRID is such a snazzy entry. Love it!

And love that clue for Frank ZAPPA — "Sheik Yerbouti" indeed!

So many snappy, fresh-feeling entries — many of which I even knew! And that FOOD PORN / MUSTARD GAS / RAW FOOTAGE mash-up, what a vivid image that brings up. If only a few more entries had resonated, this could have been POW! material.

1
O
2
C
3
T
4
U
5
P
6
L
7
E
8
T
9
Z
10
A
11
P
12
P
13
A
14
T
H
E
V
O
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C
E
15
F
E
L
L
I
N
16
R
E
A
L
T
A
L
K
17
O
R
I
E
N
T
18
A
N
K
A
19
R
A
W
20
F
O
O
T
A
G
E
21
M
22
U
S
T
A
R
D
G
A
S
23
S
24
H
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O
P
S
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R
A
P
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L
E
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T
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S
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H
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N
31
E
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A
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R
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N
O
35
W
I
S
E
E
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I
M
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M
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C
R
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A
T
E
D
39
R
A
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A
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A
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S
N
L
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A
U
G
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K
N
O
T
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G
I
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T
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B
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T
Y
P
E
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W
H
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E
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R
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R
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E
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M
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O
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J
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O
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M
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M
A
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N
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F
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1216 ( 24,875 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Extra-special delivery? : OCTUPLET
9. Rocker whose best-selling album was the punnily titled "Sheik Yerbouti" : ZAPPA
14. Hit reality show starting in 2011 : THEVOICE
15. Formed ranks : FELLIN
16. "If I'm being honest," in modern slang : REALTALK
17. Position : ORIENT
18. Singer/songwriter on Canada's Walk of Fame : ANKA
19. Feed for news headquarters : RAWFOOTAGE
21. W.W. I horror : MUSTARDGAS
23. Bazaar parts : SHOPS
26. Least bit, in a phrase : RAP
27. "Sounds like a plan!" : LETS
30. "The ___ and the Fox" (Aesop fable) : HEN
31. Something a mantis has only one of, surprisingly : EAR
34. "Ah, makes sense" : NOWISEE
36. One of two Harrison compositions on the Beatles' "Let It Be" : IMEMINE
38. Not natural : CREATED
39. Drumming sound : RATATAT
40. Goal for aspiring comedians, for short : SNL
41. When the P.G.A. Championship is held annually: Abbr. : AUG
42. Hard-to-solve problem : KNOT
43. "Skedaddle!" : GIT
45. Uncommon blood classification : BTYPE
47. Informal question to someone who's late : WHEREAREYA
51. Spanish football powerhouse : REALMADRID
53. Magic charm : MOJO
57. Group of PC gurus : ITTEAM
58. Onetime RCA rival : MAGNAVOX
60. "In actuality ..." : FACTIS
61. Absolutely clobbered : ATEALIVE
62. One of the Kennedys : ETHEL
63. Redeemed : CASHEDIN
Down
1. De ___ manera (elsewise: Sp.) : OTRA
2. TV host Julie : CHEN
3. Material for outdoor furniture : TEAK
4. Tanning salon fixture : UVLAMP
5. Bad thing to go to : POT
6. They're beyond belief : LIARS
7. Brilliance : ECLAT
8. William Shatner sci-fi novel : TEKWAR
9. Astronaut's experience : ZEROG
10. One way to Rome : ALITALIA
11. Courteous host's request : PLEASESTAY
12. Notification sound : PING
13. Penny, maybe : ANTE
15. Enticing pics of things to eat : FOODPORN
20. Some West African money : FRANCS
22. Start of a fitness motto : USEIT
23. Duck : SHIRK
24. Rambo, for one : HEMAN
25. Up-and-comer : ONETOWATCH
28. Do some course prep? : TEEUP
29. Papyrus, e.g. : SEDGE
32. Goes from Tokyo to Kyoto, say : ANAGRAMS
33. Fixed, as a bow : RETIED
35. TV M.D. : WELBY
37. Certain high school whiz kid : MATHLETE
44. Locale for touchdowns : TARMAC
46. Taqueria offering : TAMALE
48. Modern torrent : EMAIL
49. Wild West show prop : RIATA
50. Nips : EDGES
51. Replete : RIFE
52. French government : ETAT
54. He wrote "The sharp thorn often produces delicate roses" : OVID
55. Bon ___ : JOVI
56. Creatures captured in Hercules' 10th labor : OXEN
59. Informal turndown : NAH

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later.

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