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New York Times, Thursday, February 22, 2018

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
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5511/13/20126/26/201819
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519165442
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1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 37 Missing: {JQW} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 53 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: Will and the team helped me with the current theme set. I originally had SOUP OR SALAD (later on CAESAR SALAD/CHICKEN SOUP), they gently let me know that those were dishes rather than courses.
Jeff Chen notes: I like theme type mashups – so interesting to cram together two tried-and-true ideas to form something new. 1.) ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I like theme type mashups – so interesting to cram together two tried-and-true ideas to form something new.

1.) Reversals. Many puzzles over the years have featured backwards entries. BACK, UP, REVERSE, FLIP are usually hints or revealers.

2.) Different definitions of a key word. Take a word that has many disparate meanings, find phrases that define said meanings. (Many moons ago, I wanted to use LOG as my key word, and Jill suggested something scatological as we were brainstorming. I knew then she was a keeper.)

Mash these two up, and you get a three COURSE meal – reversed! AUGUSTA NATIONAL is a golf COURSE, PREALGEBRA is a school COURSE, and APPETIZERS are a meal COURSE. I like the innovation.

Great bonuses in the fill has become C.C.'s trademark. No surprise to get awesome AU NATUREL, PICANTE, DON'T PANIC, GONDOLA.

Sometimes I've critiqued C.C.'s work with an eye on her craftsmanship, her slight overreliance on crossword glue. I think she's come a long way, and today I didn't notice much at all. A bit of ELEC URI, that's it? Excellent work.

I score each new entry as they get introduced into our Xword Info word list, and I waffled on ADD ME. Is this a thing? Granted, I'm not a huge fan of the Facebook ("the" added for humor, of course, I knew that, I REALLY DID!), but do people say ADD ME? Huh.

ANALOG got such a great clue. I can just imagine the kids though, saying "wot the heck are watch hands?"

More likely, "wot the hell is a watch?"

Overall, I liked the innovation. If "reversing A course" had been a real phrase, I might have given this some POW! love. But as is, the anal grammaratician in me hitched on the awkwardness of REVERSING COURSE as a revealer, without that "A." I know, I'm so darn annoying!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0222 ( 24,943 )
Across Down
1. Request to be connected on social media : ADDME
6. A long, long time : AGES
10. Becomes obscure, in a way, with "up" : FOGS
14. Wilt : DROOP
15. Writer/filmmaker Ephron : NORA
16. Like instructions you have to hold in your mind : ORAL
17. Home of the Masters : AUGUSTANATIONAL
20. Doc who might treat sleep apnea : ENT
21. They're often caught and passed around : COLDS
22. Fallback strategy : PLANB
23. Mountaineer's need : ROPE
25. Word before little and late : TOO
26. Stomping ground : HAUNT
27. Something unknowns are introduced in : PREALGEBRA
30. Needle, say : ANNOY
32. Producer of inflation : AIR
33. Minnesota senator Klobuchar : AMY
36. Divide into 120° sections, say : TRISECT
39. It's not working : LEISURE
42. Bub : MAC
43. One who might be second-guessed by instant replays : UMP
45. Easy-to-park cars : MINIS
46. Starters : APPETIZERS
50. Didn't feel like moving, maybe : ACHED
52. Orioles legend Ripken : CAL
53. Shot in the dark : STAB
56. Plant life : FLORA
57. Ventured : DARED
59. "___ caution" : USE
60. Backtracking ... or what 17-, 27- and 46-Across are doing? : REVERSINGCOURSE
63. Pink-slipped : AXED
64. Couple of chips, maybe : ANTE
65. Despicable sort : CREEP
66. Whups : TANS
67. Cross : MEET
68. What bagpipes are often played in : KILTS
1. Alfred who coined the term "inferiority complex" : ADLER
2. Max Build-Up Remover brand : DRANO
3. "Easy! Everything will be O.K." : DONTPANIC
4. Sound on Old MacDonald's farm : MOO
5. Way impressive : EPIC
6. Having hands, in a way : ANALOG
7. Ski resort transport : GONDOLA
8. Low ones are best, in brief : ERAS
9. Didn't get bought : SAT
10. Muff : FOULUP
11. Nonmonetary donation : ORGAN
12. Haggard : GAUNT
13. More than a sliver : SLAB
18. Schlep : TOTE
19. Bicker (with) : SPAR
24. Match maker? : EROS
26. "Take one" : HERE
28. "Later!" : BYE
29. Feel under par : AIL
30. Convenience store convenience : ATM
31. Publisher of American Hunter magazine, for short : NRA
33. Nude : AUNATUREL
34. X-ray alternative : MRI
35. "Absolutely!" : YES
37. Like forgetful actors : CUED
38. Celebrity gossip site : TMZ
40. Frequent visitor to a principal's office : IMP
41. Nurses : SIPS
44. Hot : PICANTE
46. Reduces to bits : SHREDS
47. Back end : REAR
48. Firing range sight : TARGET
49. Standard util. : ELEC
50. Amazon's voice-controlled assistant : ALEXA
51. Group of 13 : COVEN
54. ___ management : ASSET
55. Traffic signals : BEEPS
56. Brotherhood, for short : FRAT
57. Banquet : DINE
58. Come to port : DOCK
61. Toucan ___, Froot Loops mascot : SAM
62. New England state sch. : URI

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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