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New York Times, Thursday, February 8, 2018

Author: Erik Agard
Editor: Will Shortz
Erik Agard
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1811/6/20125/24/20186
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4212423
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61130

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 39 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: The HOLLYWOOD / SHUFFLE! (sneaking over to Wikipedia as I pretend to know what that is … my first guess was embarrassingly ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

The HOLLYWOOD / SHUFFLE! (sneaking over to Wikipedia as I pretend to know what that is … my first guess was embarrassingly related to the Icky Shuffle.) I'm a huge Keenen Ivory Wayans fan. I'll have to check out the flick.

Some nice anagram finds. MEG RYAN into GERMANY I had seen before, But TAYE DIGGS into STEADY GIG is great. ["It's-a me, Mario!"] seemed a bit ickily stereotypical, until I realized it's an actual quote from Nintendo's Mario. Whew!

The first one I uncovered was ANSEL ELGORT, which gets confusing when you don't know who that is. (Or who Ernest Gallo is, sadly.) But I think educated solvers should at least be able to recognize the name(s), as El Gort had a lead role in "The Fault in Our Stars."

Er, Elgort.

You have to admit; El Gort sounds pretty cool.

As always, Erik does well in executing his grid. Considering my pop culture idiocy, I especially appreciated some BOTSWANA, SILENT O, SIDE EYE (related to the stink eye?), which all helped keep up my interest.

The HANKS clue … [Hair pieces?]. Question mark indeed! Maybe it had to do with the musical "Hair"? Or a catty remark about the rumors that Tom Hanks is covering up top? No … it seems that one definition of HANKS is "coils of hair."

Huh.

There have been many anagramming themes over the years, and the best ones pull all the themers together in a great way. I liked how Erik used HOLLYWOOD / SHUFFLE to restrict to just big(gish?)-name actors, certainly tightening things up. It took me a while to realize that all the anagrams were also all real names or phrases, not just kooky ones (MATT DAMON = madman tot, for example), but that also helped make the execution stand out.

Madman tot, tee hee!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0208 ( 24,929 )
Across Down
1. From Clwyd or Gwynedd counties : WELSH
6. Month before Shawwal : RAMADAN
13. Favoring the fortunate few : ELITIST
16. Cheyenne ally : ARAPAHO
17. Feature in "People"? : SILENTO
18. Germany : MEGRYAN
19. Steady gig : TAYEDIGGS
21. Actress Elisabeth who's been on the cover of Rolling Stone, ironically : MOSS
22. Company behind the 2017 film "Coco" : PIXAR
23. More than a moratorium : BAN
24. Biblical king who sought the counsel of the Witch of Endor : SAUL
27. U.R.I. URL ending : EDU
29. Starship's second #1 hit, after "We Built This City" : SARA
33. Ernest Gallo : ANSELELGORT
38. With 66-Across, Bond specification : NOT
39. Way, way back : AGESAGO
40. Sprint competitor : TMOBILE
42. ___-ray : BLU
43. "It's-a me, Mario!" : MARISATOMEI
45. Second-year student, for short : SOPH
47. ___ Jam records : DEF
48. "___ me" (modern parting words) : TEXT
49. Goddess often pictured in a chariot : EOS
51. Cons : SCAMS
55. Young stray : WAIF
57. With 61-Across, 1987 Robert Townsend satire ... or a hint to deciphering four clues in this puzzle : HOLLYWOOD
61. See 57-Across : SHUFFLE
63. Band not known for music? : AMRADIO
64. Contemptuous countenance : SIDEEYE
65. Triangular road sign's signification : WARNING
66. See 38-Across : STIRRED
67. Hair pieces? : HANKS
1. This side of the puzzle : WEST
2. ___ Martell, "Game of Thrones" princess : ELIA
3. Good name for a florist? : LILY
4. Bell locales : STEEPLES
5. Language in Lucknow : HINDI
6. Head-butts : RAMS
7. Total arithmetically : ARE
8. Molten rock : MAGMA
9. Things to wipe your hands on : APRONS
10. Standard work shifts : DAYS
11. "Eureka"-esque exclamations : AHAS
12. Prefix with denial : NON
14. Pixy ___ (candy) : STIX
15. When repeated, "Animal House" chant : TOGA
20. Maddux who won four Cy Young Awards : GREG
23. ___-Shave : BURMA
24. Onetime Volvo rivals : SAABS
25. WASP part : ANGLO
26. Exhaust : USEUP
28. Ellipses, e.g. : DOTS
30. Cartoon genre : ANIME
31. Brand with a crown logo : ROLEX
32. Face-planted : ATEIT
34. Escape : LAM
35. "Holy cow!" : EGADS
36. Folk stories : LORE
37. Young 'un : TOT
41. Its capital is Gaborone : BOTSWANA
44. "In that case ..." : IFSO
46. Young cow : HEIFER
50. Word that becomes its own synonym if you add "pr" to the front : OFFER
52. Nail : CLAW
53. ___ mater : ALMA
54. Gift of Balthazar to the baby Jesus : MYRRH
55. Tiny amount : WHIT
56. Mercedes competitor : AUDI
57. Attention : HEED
58. Chief figure in the Eddas : ODIN
59. Sound on Old MacDonald's farm : OINK
60. Barking lot? : DOGS
61. Serpentine sound : SSS
62. Burn cause : LYE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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