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New York Times, Saturday, February 23, 2019

Author:
Sam Ezersky
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
357/28/20128/24/20199
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
311335127
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.71210
Sam Ezersky

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 33 Missing: {FJQ} This is puzzle # 31 for Mr. Ezersky. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Ezersky notes:
I hid a Horcrux in the NW corner of this puzzle. Can't you tell? Yes, my name's there at 37-Down by coincidence, but I built the ... read more

I hid a Horcrux in the NW corner of this puzzle. Can't you tell?

Yes, my name's there at 37-Down by coincidence, but I built the whole grid around the NW; with those eye-popping letter combos, it should offer a glimpse into my twisted cruciverbal soul.

MWAHAHAHA

Jeff Chen notes:
I can just see Sam tweeting about his puzzle today – MWA HA HA HA! indeed. (What's with the extra HA on MWA HA HA HA? ... read more

I can just see Sam tweeting about his puzzle today – MWA HA HA HA! indeed.

(What's with the extra HA on MWA HA HA HA? Have I been doing it wrong all these years; my arch-enemies still waiting for me to finish my diabolical laugh? Darn it.)

Some fun new entries, AARP CARD and NISSAN ROGUE my favorites. I wasn't a fan of the straightforward AARP CARD clue, but it's still such a source of entertainment when friends post their mixed feelings about receiving their AARP CARD in the mail. It's an alert that you're old, but hey, the deals!

Longtime readers might be surprised that I dug NISSAN ROGUE so much. Isn't it one of those things that if you don't know it, it's not going to do much for you? Yes, but I imagine marketers sitting around a table, brainstorming car names. "What's gonna sound cool and awesome and edgy?" they ask. "Ooh, let's call it the ROGUE!"

Ah, marketing.

ORPHAN BLACK was one that fell into that "it's fine but didn't do anything for me" category. Thankfully it is two recognizable words, as is NISSAN ROGUE, but I've never seen the show, so it's tough to get excited about. And when you have to clue an entry in a long, dictionary-like way ...

(Doug Peterson and Sam Donaldson are going to kill me because we had breakfast a few years ago and they gushed about ORPHAN BLACK, but I still haven't gotten around to trying it out. Next on my list, I swear!)

I'm sure some will say that TMZ LIVE is an awesome and edgy show, but I could barely recall what TMZ was. Again, a bit too niche for my taste. I realize that I might be (probably am) in the minority here, considering the number of Google hits TMZ LIVE gets.

ZIKA VIRUS isn't something I want to be reminded of in my daily diversion, but I can see how it's a worthwhile crossword entry.

Overall, a lot of nice stuff worked in, the mid-length material helping to spice things up: MEERKAT, RIOT ACT, SEX TAPE, IRON MAN, MIRANDA all great.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0223 ( 25,309 )

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Across
1
Web and TV broadcast about celebrities : TMZLIVE
8
String of churches? : ROSARY
14
Many an American Legion member of the '50s-'60s : WWIIVET
15
"I wouldn't do that" : BADIDEA
16
Hometown of Kamala Harris : OAKLAND
17
Mob rule? : RIOTACT
18
"Yes, that's it!" : AHA
19
Best-selling compact S.U.V. introduced in 2007 : NISSANROGUE
21
N.B.A. Western Conference team, familiarly : MAVS
23
Blocked from view : HID
24
Captures : NETS
25
Rushes : HIES
27
DSL device : MODEM
29
Evidence of eligibility for senior discounts : AARPCARD
31
Milk-derived : LACTIC
36
Dweller in the Eastern Himalayas : BHUTANI
37
Sticking out : SALIENT
38
Fruit with a yellow rind : CASABA
39
Evergreens whose leaves are used culinarily : BAYTREES
40
Tightly packed, disorderly crowd : SCRUM
42
What ancient Egyptians treated with honey : ACNE
43
Important word in both physics and religion : MASS
47
Conjunction in a rebus puzzle : OAR
48
New contacts, informally : ADDS
50
Hit 2010s sci-fi series in which a single actress plays multiple clones : ORPHANBLACK
55
Shout of support : RAH
56
___ rights : MIRANDA
57
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band named after its leader : SANTANA
59
Prey for a jackal : MEERKAT
60
Exceptional athlete : IRONMAN
61
Hebrew leaders : ALEPHS
62
Celebrity embarrassment, maybe : SEXTAPE
Down
1
Wee hour : TWOAM
2
Villain's cackle : MWAHAHAHA
3
Mosquito-borne danger in 2016 news : ZIKAVIRUS
4
Wee wee? : LIL
5
Man's name that spells a fictional people backward : IVAN
6
Start of an old boast : VENI
7
Strong winds may push them back, in brief : ETDS
8
Disappointing news at an outdoor sports event : RAINDELAY
9
Stink : ODOR
10
Not publicize for now : SITON
11
Words to live by : ADAGE
12
Did a film editing job on : RECUT
13
Sally of the Obama administration : YATES
15
Rope, essentially : BRAID
20
Did a farrier's job on : SHOD
22
Anatomical dividers : SEPTA
26
Hard covers : SCABS
27
Dr.'s order : MRI
28
First-time Winter Olympics participant of 2014 : MALTA
29
Multiple choice choices : ABC
30
Predators of the Amazon : ANACONDAS
32
Around : CIRCA
33
"Riverdale" or "The O.C." : TEENDRAMA
34
Words yawned in the afternoon : INEEDANAP
35
Price abbr. : CTS
37
Uncle's name : SAM
39
Bump on a log : BURL
41
Capital NNE of Marrakesh : RABAT
43
Parental nickname : MOMMA
44
Red-haired film princess : ARIEL
45
Bender : SPREE
46
Spiffy : SHARP
49
Western on A.F.I.'s "100 Years ... 100 Movies" list : SHANE
51
Symbol of life : ANKH
52
Unchanged : ASIS
53
Customer ___ : CARE
54
Name attached to a Southeastern "-ville" : KNOX
58
Supply during a boom? : TNT

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle.

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