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New York Times, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Author: Joel Fagliano
Editor: Will Shortz
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14811710325
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1.65351
Joel Fagliano

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JKQWZ} This is puzzle # 57 for Mr. Fagliano. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: HIGH DEFINITION gets clued as if a dictionary entry for HIGH. OVEREXPLAINED as an entry for OVER. And MEANING OF LIFE as an entry for ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

HIGH DEFINITION gets clued as if a dictionary entry for HIGH. OVEREXPLAINED as an entry for OVER. And MEANING OF LIFE as an entry for life? Brilliant! A winner of a theme. A true WITT (Wish I had Thought of That).

I did hitch at LEXICOGRAPHERS though, wondering why this was needed. It all made sense without this "revealer," yeah? Felt like LEXICOGRAPHERS took away from the impact of the puzzle, like someone overexplaining a joke, thus not making it funny anymore.

But I chose to ignore that and appreciate the three great finds. What an amusing concept.

I like that Joel pushes the boundaries in his grids, stretching to work a ton of long bonuses into the fill. Today, he goes all the way down to 72 words, no mean feat in a themed puzzle. It allowed entries like BLUDGEON, BARTENDS, PLATINUM, EDNA FERBER, HUFF POST – excellent stuff.

It did come at price, though. That tiny SE corner best demonstrates it. A BOY / ERGS in a Tuesday puzzle isn't great, and it isn't up to Joel's high standard of gridsmanship. I would have preferred placing a black square at the E of FACE, to break up EDNA FERBER and clean up that SE corner (sorry, Ferber fans!). A little too much stretching today.

If only LEXICOGRAPHERS had been replaced with something like JOB DESCRIPTION or DREAM INTERPRETATION, this would have been a no-brainer POW! pick. But even with the hitch, I had on LEXICOGRAPHERS puzzlesplaining to me, I still enjoyed it.

1
B
2
O
3
L
4
T
5
B
6
L
7
O
8
C
9
A
10
B
11
A
12
S
13
E
14
I
T
O
O
15
L
A
L
A
16
C
A
M
U
S
17
D
O
U
G
18
U
T
A
H
19
T
R
O
M
P
20
H
I
G
21
H
D
E
F
I
22
N
I
T
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O
N
23
S
L
O
G
24
L
I
V
E
25
O
V
E
R
E
26
X
27
P
L
A
I
N
28
E
29
D
30
A
N
I
31
N
O
V
A
32
A
D
D
O
33
N
34
H
E
L
35
P
36
N
I
N
37
T
38
H
39
S
N
U
B
40
H
A
L
L
41
S
42
D
A
U
43
B
44
A
S
A
45
M
E
A
N
46
I
47
N
G
O
F
L
48
I
F
E
49
T
O
D
O
50
F
A
C
E
51
L
52
E
53
X
I
C
O
G
54
R
55
A
P
H
E
R
56
S
57
A
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E
N
A
58
G
O
G
O
59
A
B
O
60
Y
61
G
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P
62
I
D
E
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63
G
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64
S
C
A
M
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65
N
E
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T
66
E
R
G
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0220 ( 24,941 )
Across Down
1. Something sticking out of Frankenstein's neck : BOLT
5. Voting coalition : BLOC
9. Belittle : ABASE
14. Classic Langston Hughes poem : ITOO
15. "___ Land" (2016 Best Picture nominee) : LALA
16. French author who said "An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself" : CAMUS
17. Alabama senator Jones : DOUG
18. Home to Zion National Park : UTAH
19. Walk with heavy steps : TROMP
20. adj. under the influence of a drug : HIGHDEFINITION
23. Long, boring task : SLOG
24. ___-blogging : LIVE
25. adv. across a barrier or intervening space : OVEREXPLAINED
30. Singer DiFranco : ANI
31. Smoked salmon : NOVA
32. Bonus : ADDON
34. "Can I get a hand here?!" : HELP
36. Like William Henry Harrison, among U.S. presidents : NINTH
39. Crowd favorite not getting nominated for an Oscar, e.g. : SNUB
40. Cough drop brand : HALLS
42. Apply carelessly, as paint : DAUB
44. Fresh ___ daisy : ASA
45. n. spirit, animation : MEANINGOFLIFE
49. Heading with check boxes below it : TODO
50. Main part of a selfie : FACE
51. Ones who produced the clues for 20-, 25- and 45-Across : LEXICOGRAPHERS
57. Sports center : ARENA
58. Big name in in-flight internet : GOGO
59. "About ___" (2002 movie) : ABOY
61. Enliven : GINUP
62. Midmonth date : IDES
63. Target of splicing : GENE
64. Emails that tell you you've won the lottery, e.g. : SCAMS
65. Fit one inside the other : NEST
66. Energy units : ERGS
1. Creation of an Olympic city hopeful : BID
2. "Then again ...," in texts : OTOH
3. Birthplace of Muhammad Ali : LOUISVILLE
4. Switch between windows, e.g. : TOGGLE
5. Beat badly : BLUDGEON
6. Behind schedule : LATE
7. "Frozen" snowman : OLAF
8. U.S. marshal role for John Wayne : CAHILL
9. Brand of probiotic yogurt : ACTIVIA
10. Makes the rounds? : BARTENDS
11. Mine: Fr. : AMOI
12. Battle of the bulges? : SUMO
13. FS1 competitor : ESPN
21. Sound that signifies the end of a basketball game : HORN
22. Actress Vardalos : NIA
25. When "S.N.L." ends on the East Coast : ONEAM
26. Louis ___, French king who was guillotined : XVI
27. Consumer giant that makes Bounty, for short : PANDG
28. "Cimarron" novelist : EDNAFERBER
29. Extinguish : DOUSE
30. "That hits the spot!" : AHH
33. LeBron James's org. : NBA
35. Credit card designation : PLATINUM
37. Confucian path : TAO
38. Popular left-leaning news site : HUFFPOST
41. Nestlé candy popular at movie houses : SNOCAPS
43. Humdrum : BLAH
46. Veiled oath? : IDO
47. Bean : NOGGIN
48. Mammoth time period : ICEAGE
51. Delays : LAGS
52. Viking explorer : ERIC
53. "Hercules" spinoff : XENA
54. Went by motorcycle, say : RODE
55. Census data : AGES
56. iTunes download : SONG
60. "Suh-weet!" : YES

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?