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New York Times, Saturday, December 28, 2019

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
243/28/201112/28/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02320134
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {QVXZ} This is puzzle # 24 for Ms. Weintraub. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Robyn is one of the few themeless constructors whose voice tickles me. As I've pointed out in the past, she has a knack for ... read more

Robyn is one of the few themeless constructors whose voice tickles me. As I've pointed out in the past, she has a knack for seeding grids with nerdy and/or playful terms that delight the Nerd Army (of which I'm a Ranger).

I thought HOLOGRAMS would be just that today, but the clue brought down the quality of the entry. Jim Horne and I had a philosophical discussion about whether HOLOGRAMS are actually there or not. If a HOLOGRAM appears in the forest, does anyone see it?

Jim and I received a nerd army promotion for that.

Second day in a row that SST is in a themeless. It speaks to how useful that little entry is. In the Shortz era, SST has had a long, (in)glorious run that's been decelerating. I'll be glad to see it grounded, like in real life.

There's a lot to love in this one — CASH FLOW, I CAN RELATE, PHONED IT IN, ON THE ROCKS, GUESS WHAT all HITting THE SPOT — but not the essential Robynian element that I've come to adore.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1228 ( 25,617 )
Across
1
Where hands go in the Time Warp dance : HIPS
5
Baker's units: Abbr. : TSPS
9
Bronze Age chronicle : ILIAD
14
Number of sides on a PARE road sign : OCHO
15
Springs for vacation trips : SPAS
16
Character in "Monsters, Inc." : COMMA
17
Myanmar neighbor : LAOS
18
Was completely satisfying : HITTHESPOT
20
Forewarned : ONNOTICE
22
Former Soviet naval base : ODESSA
23
Letters that often precede a Ph.D. : GRE
24
Like some humor : WRY
25
Tiny amounts : JOTS
26
More than just in : REDHOT
28
Finds a way : MAKESDO
31
Doe, perhaps : ALIAS
32
Went too : CAMEALONG
34
Some framing supplies : MATS
35
Like some fruits and ice sheets : CORED
36
Censure of a senator : ETTU
37
Old sports cars named for a fish : STINGRAYS
39
One of the five rivers of 56-Across : LETHE
40
Involves : ENTAILS
41
They can get you into the Taj Mahal : RUPEES
42
Form of relief : ALMS
43
Coach : BUS
44
Vets, e.g.: Abbr. : DRS
45
User of the "I Ching" : ORACLE
48
Liquidity concern : CASHFLOW
50
Less efficient washers : TOPLOADERS
52
Like triple fudge brownies : RICH
53
Outdo : ONEUP
54
Last word in the first verse of "Old Mother Hubbard" : NONE
55
"Put Your Head on My Shoulder" singer, 1959 : ANKA
56
See 39-Across : HADES
57
Help in a small way? : ASST
58
Try : TEST
Down
1
Things seen that aren't there : HOLOGRAMS
2
"You and me both" : ICANRELATE
3
Gave much less than 100% : PHONEDITIN
4
Nothing to write home about : SOSO
5
No-no at a fancy restaurant : TSHIRT
6
Menu caution : SPICY
7
Fancy spread : PATE
8
Historic barrier breaker, for short : SST
9
Ingredient in a John Daly cocktail : ICEDTEA
10
Worries around the clock, perhaps : LOSESSLEEP
11
Bratlings : IMPS
12
Baking entrepreneur Wally : AMOS
13
___ plan : DATA
19
Like a binge watcher, say : HOOKED
21
Uncommon notes : TWOS
25
Roald Dahl title character : JAMES
27
Is thick : HASNTACLUE
28
St. ___ College (school name in Indiana, Maryland and California) : MARYS
29
Incomplete part of a contract : DOTTEDLINE
30
Not neat : ONTHEROCKS
32
Fill for a grill : COALS
33
Juicy news alert : GUESSWHAT
35
Annexed land of 2014 : CRIMEA
38
Speeds through the Downs, say : GALLOPS
39
Verdant : LUSH
41
Autumn shade : RUSSET
43
They're raised on farms : BARNS
45
Texting alternative? : OTOH
46
Woman's name that becomes another woman's name if you switch the first and third letters : RONA
47
Mirrored : APED
48
Firm leaders, for short : CEOS
49
Rush home? : FRAT
51
Body builder? : DNA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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