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New York Times, Saturday, February 2, 2019

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
936/16/20113/23/201917
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
66681131232
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645163
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: {FJQVY} Grid has super symmetry. This is puzzle # 91 for Mr. Steinberg. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
This themeless dates back to March 2016. I started in the upper left with the Scrabbly NOXZEMA/CINEMAX crossing, though my favorite ... read more

This themeless dates back to March 2016. I started in the upper left with the Scrabbly NOXZEMA/CINEMAX crossing, though my favorite corner is the lower right. Even though the short crossings aren't as smooth, I like the trio of animal entries (ROAD HOG, BEAR HUG, and CAT POSE). SCHMUCK is a bit edgy for my current taste, but I'll always have a soft spot for Yiddish and other words that relate to Jewish culture. I debuted HAMANTASCHEN in a Newsday Saturday Stumper a few years ago, and lately, I've been trying to work RUGELACH into a themeless grid.

In other news, I was recently named editor of the Universal Crossword and Universal Sunday Crossword! The former appears daily in the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and numerous other domestic and international newspapers. If you're looking for a cooldown after solving my Saturday puzzle, you won't want to miss today's offering from the amazing Zhouqin Burnikel (available after midnight Central Time).

Jeff Chen notes:
David is so good at so many areas in crossword construction. Today, he flexes his mid-length muscles, showing how densely he can pack ... read more

David is so good at so many areas in crossword construction. Today, he flexes his mid-length muscles, showing how densely he can pack the goodies in. Check out this list of great 7s:

  • AC MILAN
  • APPLE ID
  • BEAR HUG
  • CAT POSE
  • CHIMERA
  • CINEMAX
  • COLD ONE
  • DATA SET
  • DR HOUSE
  • KIBBLES
  • NOXZEMA
  • OH, ITS ON!
  • PINE NUT
  • ROAD HOG
  • THE ABCS
  • USB PORT

Sixteen excellent 7s, all in one themeless? Unheard of! Along with very little crossword glue, it's a masterful creation. It is so tricky to balance color and cleanliness in this style of grid, and David didn't have to make hardly any trade-offs. (OERSTED is pretty tricky, even for this physics nerd.)

POW!

As a side note, I personally love SCHMUCK, which would bring my tally to 17. But Rich Norris at the LAT long ago warned me that he'd never allow this in a puzzle, as it's vulgar, like using PENIS or SCHLONG as fill. I did have hesitations, but it looks like the NYT has used it a couple of times now in regular stories. I'd be curious to hear if it does offend people.

Jim Horne notes:

Congratulations to David Steinberg, the new editor of Universal Crosswords.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0202 ( 25,288 )

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Across
1
Football franchise since 1899 : ACMILAN
8
Dummy : SCHMUCK
15
Where the term "jazz" as applied to jazz music originated : CHICAGO
16
Them's fightin' words : OHITSON
17
Part of WarnerMedia : CINEMAX
18
"The Good Samaritan," e.g. : PARABLE
19
Company that once owned Capitol and Virgin Records : EMI
20
Outré : BIZARRE
22
Evoker of dirty looks, maybe, in brief : PDA
23
Spoon : NECK
25
Not versed in : NEWAT
26
Kind of music : MOOD
27
Place for markers : TRAIL
29
"___ make history and not the other way around": Harry Truman : MEN
30
Lifted : BORNE
31
Anise-flavored liqueur : SAMBUCA
33
Magnetic intensity unit named after a Danish physicist : OERSTED
35
Shot of minors? : BBS
36
Informal slip-on : MOC
37
Requirement for some downloads : APPLEID
41
In the direction of : TOWARDS
45
Digs too deep : PRIES
46
Natural blanket : ASH
48
Outing spoiler : STORM
49
Some hotel freebies : PENS
50
___ Larsson, author of the "Millennium" novels : STIEG
52
Island formed by two shield volcanoes : OAHU
53
Great ___ : APE
54
Natural seasoning : SEASALT
56
Pentagon letters : DOD
57
Stock spreads : RANCHES
59
Enthusiastic greeting : BEARHUG
61
Professorial, e.g. : ERUDITE
62
It's done on hands and knees : CATPOSE
63
Polite turndown of a proposal : LETSNOT
64
Caught : SNAGGED
Down
1
Some work at hair salons : ACCENTS
2
Mythical hybrid : CHIMERA
3
Spy's shooter, say : MINICAM
4
Raiding grp. : ICE
5
Main ingredient in the dish lechazo : LAMB
6
"Not ___!" : AGAIN
7
Classic product in a cobalt blue jar : NOXZEMA
8
One never ends on a low note : SOPRANO
9
Hit list? : CHART
10
Find a position for : HIRE
11
Overseer of trains, for short : MTA
12
Place to get wired : USBPORT
13
Bud to chill with? : COLDONE
14
Like tired muscles at a massage parlor : KNEADED
21
Transfix : AWE
24
Dog and cat food : KIBBLES
26
Italian white wine : MOSCATO
28
Garage requests : LUBES
30
They may be raised (hmm ...) : BROWS
32
Most-watched TV drama in the world for a record six years : CSI
34
Music genre : EMO
37
Word after gay or American : APPAREL
38
Ready : PREPARE
39
Flavorful seed : PINENUT
40
Group of values : DATASET
41
Things to learn in kindergarten : THEABCS
42
Passing concern? : ROADHOG
43
Longtime TV curmudgeon : DRHOUSE
44
Dirty, in a way : SMUDGED
47
Auntie, to one's parent : SIS
50
Deal with : SEETO
51
Gather : GLEAN
54
One guarded in football : SHIN
55
"Ciao" : TATA
58
Tower stack : CDS
60
Final Fantasy or Dark Souls, for short : RPG

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle.

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