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New York Times, Saturday, December 23, 2017

Author: Matthew Sewell
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
98/24/20163/11/20181
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2104011
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1.65121
Matthew Sewell

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQY} Spans: 4 This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Sewell. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matthew Sewell notes: About two years ago, my friend and colleague Diana Joseph improved my life by sending me a link to 'Sunday Candy' — and ... more
Matthew Sewell notes:

About two years ago, my friend and colleague Diana Joseph improved my life by sending me a link to "Sunday Candy" — and 34-Across is my way of repaying that debt. (I suppose the clue for 56-Across balances the sublime with the... well, sublime in another way.) I aimed for a good range of reference points in the clues, and I'm grateful to Will, Joel, and Sam (and everybody else on the NYT games team) for their improvements to the puzzle. I hope solvers enjoy the result.

Jeff Chen notes: Seriously, how could anyone make Pierce Brosnan a SEXIEST MAN ALIVE when Daniel Craig doesn't get the nod? Wrong, I say, WRONG! ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Seriously, how could anyone make Pierce Brosnan a SEXIEST MAN ALIVE when Daniel Craig doesn't get the nod? Wrong, I say, WRONG!

Great feature entry (and clue!), along with STUDIO EXECUTIVE and the delightful MUSTACHE WAX running through them both.

Oh right, CHANCE THE RAPPER and ITALIAN AMERICAN (and INDUCTEES) were also featured. At least CHANCE and THE and RAPPER are all words for those of us who aren't up on our musicians. I wasn't enamored with ITALIAN AMERICAN either — not that I didn't like it, but it wasn't as colorful as SEXIEST MAN ALIVE.

Pretty sure People Magazine is just waiting until I get into my Sean Connery years to give me my due ...

Themelesses featuring so many long entries — four grid-spanning ones — are so tough to pack with other great material, while keeping the fill smooth. Matt does well to work in MT EVEREST; what a great nickname in "goddess mother of the world"! But what else? BUTTERNUT is okay. TREE SAP gets an interesting clue, who knew that it's a big part of a marmoset's diet?

If the long feature entries are sizzling, they can make a puzzle no matter what. Only two of four being awesome to me, though (plus MUSTACHE WAX), I wanted more from the grid.

And when you fix a skeleton of long entries through the grid, it's tough to avoid a slew of REL ESS ATEST RST DAR to hold everything together. Didn't feel as smooth as I like.

Those are pretty minor, maybe even passable. But there's a clump of esoterica in AINU, STADT, ARNO, SATRAPS … it's unfortunate that they all felt like they were bunched together in the "tough foreign words" category, making them all stand out.

Some great feature entries, but too many prices to pay for all those grid-spanners locked together.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1223 ( 24,882 )
Across Down
1. Bygone can opener : RINGTAB
8. Provincial despots : SATRAPS
15. He wrote "In wildness is the preservation of the world" : THOREAU
16. Much of a marmoset's diet : TREESAP
17. Honor for Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, but not Roger Moore or Daniel Craig : SEXIESTMANALIVE
19. Drug sought by Roy Cohn in "Angels in America" : AZT
20. York successor : TUDOR
21. Alternative to Tide : ALL
22. G.I. food packs : MRES
23. Daring deed : GEST
24. ___ Riddle of the Harry Potter books : TOM
25. Lip : RIM
26. Spreadsheet command : SORT
27. Certain swab sample : SALIVA
30. Rudy Giuliani or Fiorello La Guardia : ITALIANAMERICAN
33. They're called up : INDUCTEES
34. Hip-hop performer who was 2016's Best New Artist Grammy winner : CHANCETHERAPPER
40. Accumulated, with "up" : RACKED
41. Times of fitful sleep, maybe : EVES
42. CVS offerings : RXS
43. Magazine for entrepreneurs : INC
44. Stupefied : AWED
45. <--, for example : COLT
46. I : EGO
47. Certain aisle terminus : ALTAR
49. Dish that's out of this world? : UFO
50. Hollywood V.I.P. : STUDIOEXECUTIVE
55. Flat figures : TENANTS
56. "She's Like the Wind" and others : SIMILES
57. Without proof : ONTRUST
58. Sample group? : TASTERS
1. Some football linemen: Abbr. : RTS
2. "Shh, something's coming!" : IHEARIT
3. Product once known as "The Miracle Cream of Baltimore" : NOXZEMA
4. Boiled breakfast dish : GRITS
5. Kickoff aid : TEE
6. Some batteries : AAS
7. Shade of light brownish-gray : BUTTERNUT
8. Köln or Nürnberg : STADT
9. It flows near the Piazzale Michelangelo : ARNO
10. Hightail it : TEAR
11. Th.D.'s field : REL
12. Like the Golden Horde : ASIATIC
13. Meringue-based dessert named for a ballerina : PAVLOVA
14. Prestigious women's college in Atlanta : SPELMAN
18. Male grooming aid : MUSTACHEWAX
22. Pre-op procedure : MRI
23. Said "I dare you" to, say : GOADED
26. To this day : SINCE
27. Come to a boil : SEERED
28. Purviews : AREAS
29. Discuss thickness with a doctor? : LISP
31. Association : LINK
32. Place known to natives as Chomolungma ("goddess mother of the world") : MTEVEREST
34. Dumps one's complaints on : CRIESTO
35. Maneuver on a surfboard : HANGTEN
36. Import : ACCOUNT
37. Quick biography : PROFILE
38. Dear departed? : EXLOVER
39. Alphabet trio : RST
44. Arms race event, for short : ATEST
45. Get the job done : CUTIT
47. Japanese native : AINU
48. A bunch : LOTS
51. Give: Sp. : DAR
52. George Tenet's "At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the ___" : CIA
53. Toastmasters' stumbles : UMS
54. Slalom maneuver : ESS

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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