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New York Times, Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Author:
Seth A. Abel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1312/28/20036/9/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6113110
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55000
Seth A. Abel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQWX} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Abel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
We've seen a lot of ANAGRAM puzzles in the NYT, including ones where the anagram describes the entry, but these particular ones were ... read more

We've seen a lot of ANAGRAM puzzles in the NYT, including ones where the anagram describes the entry, but these particular ones were fresh and new to me. "Bag manager" is apt for a GARBAGEMAN. And a SYCOPHANT sure can be described by "Acts phony." It's too bad that the "a" is necessary for "A trails nut" being a NATURALIST, but that's minor.

I did hitch on THE HILTON. "Hint: hotel" is apt, yes. But how does it fit with the other three? I'd have much preferred a fourth "profession," or at least a word that describes a person's behavior, like SYCOPHANT. THE HILTON gave me a jarring feeling of "this one is not like the others."

Some great clues helped elevate the solving experience:

What could possibly measure miles in meters (besides people demanding that we switch to the metric system)? Ah, CABS have meters for this. Great misdirect.

[Mother that might have a beard] is definitely a GOAT. I couldn't have possibly first thought of the mothers that I know. Ahem.

Why can't I have a place where people yell "JEFF!" when I enter, a la NORM from "Cheers"? Funny to think about NORM being the "norm" of average guys.

Some nice bonuses to offset crossword glue – GOGO BAR with OENO, SPREAD EM with IT AT and TAI. I prefer slightly cleaner gridding work, but I can see Seth's perspective. IT AT and TAI are at least easily gettable for solvers; why not pay those prices for the colorful SPREAD EM?

Solid idea to use anagrams to describe their entry. It would have stood out much more for me – especially considering how many of these there are (calling Anagrammatron!) — if the four themers had been more tightly linked.

1
S
2
L
3
U
4
G
5
S
6
P
7
L
8
I
9
T
10
S
11
N
12
B
13
A
14
O
E
N
O
15
A
L
E
T
A
P
16
A
R
C
17
T
V
P
G
18
S
E
A
A
I
R
19
T
A
N
20
S
Y
C
O
21
P
H
A
N
T
22
E
23
T
U
D
E
24
B
E
A
D
S
25
H
A
I
R
26
S
27
A
28
G
A
N
29
P
O
D
C
A
30
S
31
T
32
C
Z
A
R
33
I
34
C
35
E
A
G
E
36
L
E
O
37
O
U
R
38
A
N
A
G
R
A
M
39
I
M
P
40
O
R
B
41
R
E
B
O
R
N
42
A
S
I
S
43
B
E
A
44
T
E
R
S
45
A
N
T
S
Y
46
G
O
A
T
47
S
48
P
49
O
R
K
50
T
51
H
E
O
C
52
T
H
E
H
I
L
53
T
54
O
55
N
56
A
I
M
57
O
58
L
E
A
R
Y
59
E
R
G
O
60
F
D
A
61
D
E
A
R
I
E
62
T
E
R
R
63
T
E
N
64
E
A
S
E
L
S
65
S
E
E
M
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1219 ( 25,243 )
Across
1
Hit hard : SLUG
5
Beats it : SPLITS
11
Org. with the Wizards and Warriors : NBA
14
Prefix meaning "wine" : OENO
15
Pub spigot : ALETAP
16
Path of a blooper : ARC
17
Rating for many a sitcom : TVPG
18
Ahab's inspiration? : SEAAIR
19
Give a whuppin' : TAN
20
*Acts phony : SYCOPHANT
22
Chopin piece : ETUDE
24
Sweat units : BEADS
25
Beehive contents : HAIR
26
Carl who wrote "Contact" : SAGAN
29
"WTF With Marc Maron," for one : PODCAST
32
Industry kingpin : CZAR
33
2002 animated film with a woolly mammoth : ICEAGE
36
Warm, action-oriented sort, they say : LEO
37
Part of S O S, in popular usage : OUR
38
Each asterisked clue vis-à-vis its answer : ANAGRAM
39
Little trickster : IMP
40
Scepter's go-with : ORB
41
Like an evangelical Christian : REBORN
42
Phrase on a yard sale tag : ASIS
43
Kitchen gadgets for mixing : BEATERS
45
Unable to sit still : ANTSY
46
Mother that might have a beard : GOAT
47
Fast-food utensil : SPORK
50
2000s teen drama set in California : THEOC
52
*Hint: hotel : THEHILTON
56
Sharpshooter's asset : AIM
57
Kevin ___, investor on TV's "Shark Tank" : OLEARY
59
As a result : ERGO
60
Rx watchdog : FDA
61
Sweetums : DEARIE
62
Alaska, before 1959: Abbr. : TERR
63
Start of many CB radio codes : TEN
64
Stands in a studio : EASELS
65
"So it may ___" : SEEM
Down
1
Ones always tossing things back? : SOTS
2
Impose, as a tax : LEVY
3
Potentially offensive, in brief : UNPC
4
Relative of a discotheque : GOGOBAR
5
One of the Obama daughters : SASHA
6
Implore : PLEAD
7
Slants : LEANS
8
"Let's leave ___ that" : ITAT
9
Mai ___ : TAI
10
Order from a police officer : SPREADEM
11
*A trails nut : NATURALIST
12
Thin fastener : BRAD
13
Target of an astringent : ACNE
21
"The tongue of the mind," per Cervantes : PEN
23
Little jerk : TIC
25
Paul of "Crocodile Dundee" : HOGAN
26
Cartoon uncle of Scrappy-Doo, informally : SCOOB
27
Bright blue : AZURE
28
*Bag manager : GARBAGEMAN
29
Catherine who married Henry VIII : PARR
30
Big rigs : SEMIS
31
Young slave girl in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" : TOPSY
33
Like gases in the rightmost column of the periodic table : INERT
34
They measure miles in meters : CABS
35
"I" strain? : EGO
38
One of seven for New York City : AREACODE
42
Common wear for female tennis players : ANKLETS
44
Besides : TOO
45
Shapiro of NPR : ARI
47
Social media button : SHARE
48
Danger : PERIL
49
"Absolutely!" : OHYES
50
President who later served as chief justice : TAFT
51
Cry to guests at a surprise party : HIDE
52
Twinings products : TEAS
53
One leaving in the spring? : TREE
54
Brutish sort : OGRE
55
Average guy? : NORM
58
Pasture : LEA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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