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New York Times, Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Show interest romantically ... or a hint to the ends of the answers to 20- and 44-Across, phonetically

Author:
Alex Eaton-Salners
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
502/2/20179/19/20213
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
348717218
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.553110
Alex Eaton-Salners

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 38 for Mr. Eaton-Salners.
Alex Eaton-Salners notes:
This puzzle had a long and winding path from submission to final acceptance. My original theme set was ROBB STARK, LYFT DRIVER, STEEL CAGE, ... read more
Jeff Chen notes:
My recent Google search history: "What does LIFTNICK mean in Tinder slang?" "When young kids say LYFTKNICK what does that mean?" "LIPHNIK ... read more
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© 2020, The New York Times2/19/20 ( No. 25,670 )
Across
1
Drop a line? : FISH
5
Verb conjugated suis, es, est, etc. : ETRE
9
Third-place finisher in 1992 : PEROT
14
Language group of southern Africa : BANTU
15
Neighbor of Cambodia : LAOS
16
Jelly option : GRAPE
17
Reduces to bits : RICES
18
One competing with Uber : LYFTDRIVER
20
Iron alloy that includes a bit of tungsten and chromium : BLUESTEEL
22
People in go-karts : RACERS
23
Mast : SPAR
24
Picture from a parlor, informally : TAT
25
When repeated, a hip-hop dance : NAE
26
Add (up) : TOT
28
Volunteer for another tour : REUP
31
Not yet out of the running : INIT
33
Physics 101 subject : ATOM
35
Tchotchkes : KNICKKNACKS
40
Fountain choices : SODAS
42
Verbal tussle : SPAT
43
Response to a computer crash : GROAN
44
Incompetent figure of old slapstick : KEYSTONEKOP
47
___ pony : POLO
48
Tennis champ Mandlikova : HANA
49
Just gets (by) : EKES
51
Pony ___ : KEG
52
T.S.A. requests : IDS
55
Grammy category : RAP
56
Something of little interest, a homeowner hopes : REFI
58
Himalayan language : NEPALI
60
Reject romantically ... or a hint to the starts of the answers to 18- and 35-Across, phonetically : SWIPELEFT
65
Show interest romantically ... or a hint to the ends of the answers to 20- and 44-Across, phonetically : SWIPERIGHT
67
Lollipop-sucking TV detective : KOJAK
68
Wyatt and Warren of the Old West : EARPS
69
Suffix with senior : ITIS
70
Muse of love poetry : ERATO
71
Something done up in an updo : TRESS
72
Popular game that needs no equipment : ISPY
73
Few and far between : RARE
Down
1
Not get above 60, say : FAIL
2
Behind bars : INCUSTODY
3
Like a double black diamond trail : STEEP
4
Hungarian horseman : HUSSAR
5
Fashion magazine with more than 40 international editions : ELLE
6
Actor Diggs : TAYE
7
Not just "ha ha" : ROFL
8
Winter zone in D.C. : EST
9
What a curse might lead to : PGRATING
10
Former attorney general Holder : ERIC
11
Baltimore N.F.L.'er : RAVEN
12
"Don Giovanni," e.g. : OPERA
13
Lacking in detail : TERSE
14
"Just a sec!," in a text : BRB
19
Chugged or sipped : DRANK
21
Go the distance? : TREK
24
Popular video-sharing service : TIKTOK
26
Project manager's assignment : TASK
27
Onetime buffalo-hunting tribe : OTOE
29
Open, as a purse : UNSNAP
30
Part of a church organ : PIPE
32
Camper's cover : TARP
34
Pulp : MASH
36
Wedding reception staple : CAKE
37
Embarrassing thing to have one's hand caught in : COOKIEJAR
38
Member of the cabbage family : KALE
39
Kiss amorously : SNOG
41
Like an overcast night : STARLESS
45
Studio sign : ONAIR
46
___ walk : PERP
50
Harry Potter's Quidditch position : SEEKER
52
Alaska or Hawaii, often : INSET
53
___ flask (thermos) : DEWAR
54
Steeple topper : SPIRE
57
Herbivore's diet : FLORA
59
24-Down and others : APPS
60
Capt.'s inferiors : SGTS
61
Legislature V.I.P. : WHIP
62
Tiny, informally : ITSY
63
It's unavoidable : FATE
64
Ring result, for short : TKO
66
:15 number : III

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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