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New York Times, Friday, February 8, 2019

Author:
John Guzzetta and Michael Hawkins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2210/9/20128/9/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1322473
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62100
John Guzzetta
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
171/23/20148/17/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1215152
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
Michael Hawkins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 35 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Guzzetta. This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Hawkins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
FOR THE WIN was our seed for this crossword. The greatest difficulty with themeless puzzles is finding the balance between liveliness ... read more

FOR THE WIN was our seed for this crossword. The greatest difficulty with themeless puzzles is finding the balance between liveliness and cleanliness, and we believe we did well, with the only major dings being SSNS and perhaps SAWII. The editorial staff made many of our clues less tricky, but hopefully solvers will still get enough of the challenge they expect from a Friday.

We submitted this in August 2017 and it was accepted in November 2017, our fifth published collaboration.

Jeff Chen notes:
You think Mike likes portmanteaus? FUNEMPLOYED and MATHLETES today, with HACKTIVISM and STAYCATION in his last themeless? Hmm! ... read more

You think Mike likes portmanteaus? FUNEMPLOYED and MATHLETES today, with HACKTIVISM and STAYCATION in his last themeless? Hmm!

I'm partial to MATHLETE, myself, having been one (and wishing I were still good enough to be one). I mostly hear the others in a jokey way though, almost cringeworthy. I much prefer colorful multi-word phrases, such as CLAIM TO FAME, READY ROOM (Jean-Luc Picard fans unite!), FLAT BROKE, LOVE LETTER. Those feel much more timeless.

I remember the first time I SAW (II) WADIS in a crossword. My reaction was far from FOR THE WIN (something the kids say these days – or what they used to say, by now?). I've softened over time. It's kind of an interesting term, albeit specialized. Makes for a good party trick when you want to show off your trivia.

While I prize jazzy, multi-word phrases in themelesses, I also appreciate when a cool single-word entry dazzles, like IMPRIMATUR. I admit I wouldn't get this one right on a vocab test, but it made me feel good that I recognized the fancy-pants word.

All in all, not quite enough color in this one for my taste, along with a couple of (admittedly very) minor CES ESE HMS dings. It's tough — the bar for a standard 70-word themeless is so high these days.

1
B
2
F
3
F
4
S
5
A
6
B
7
E
8
M
9
I
10
R
11
T
12
H
13
S
O
U
L
S
14
R
E
A
15
D
Y
R
O
O
M
16
A
N
N
A
N
17
M
A
T
H
L
E
T
E
S
18
W
H
E
T
S
19
A
R
I
S
E
N
20
I
A
M
B
21
E
D
I
T
22
S
E
23
C
24
T
25
S
26
I
M
P
R
27
I
M
A
T
U
28
R
29
L
A
O
30
L
O
D
E
S
31
P
I
32
T
33
F
A
L
L
34
S
35
M
O
K
E
R
36
C
H
O
I
C
E
37
K
E
Y
E
D
I
38
N
39
T
H
E
R
M
40
E
S
E
41
L
O
42
V
E
L
E
T
T
43
E
44
R
45
W
A
D
46
I
47
S
48
T
I
N
Y
49
H
O
N
E
50
D
U
51
N
C
A
N
52
L
E
F
T
Y
53
C
54
H
55
A
I
R
Y
O
G
A
56
A
W
A
R
E
57
E
A
R
O
F
C
O
R
N
58
R
I
M
E
S
59
S
T
E
M
S
60
L
A
T
61
K
N
E
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0208 ( 25,294 )

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Across
1
Lifelong pals, slangily : BFFS
5
Japanese P.M. Shinzo ___ : ABE
8
Gaiety : MIRTH
13
Subjects for saving : SOULS
14
Military pilot's waiting area : READYROOM
16
1997-2006 U.N. chief : ANNAN
17
Calculating competitors : MATHLETES
18
Piques : WHETS
19
Cropped up : ARISEN
20
Metric unit : IAMB
21
Mark up, perhaps : EDIT
22
Shakers and Quakers : SECTS
26
Official approval : IMPRIMATUR
29
Largely monosyllabic language : LAO
30
Prospectors' prospects : LODES
31
Trap for the unwary : PITFALL
34
Camel purchaser, e.g. : SMOKER
36
First-rate : CHOICE
37
Recorded, as data : KEYEDIN
39
Unit on a utility bill : THERM
40
Liverpool-to-Nottingham dir. : ESE
41
One might be sent with a scent : LOVELETTER
45
Desert gullies : WADIS
48
Like poppy seeds : TINY
49
Perfect : HONE
50
Big name in yo-yos : DUNCAN
52
Southpaw : LEFTY
53
Way to get fit while you sit : CHAIRYOGA
56
Not out of it : AWARE
57
Something to shuck : EAROFCORN
58
Natural coats : RIMES
59
Originates (from) : STEMS
60
Muscle strengthened in rowing, briefly : LAT
61
___ pants : KNEE
Down
1
Drummer John of Led Zeppelin : BONHAM
2
Between jobs and loving it : FUNEMPLOYED
3
Busted : FLATBROKE
4
Joint acct. info : SSNS
5
Naval forces : ARMADAS
6
Endure, in an expression : BEARIT
7
Savor the flattery : EATITUP
8
Standish of Plymouth Colony : MYLES
9
1935 Nobelist Joliot-Curie : IRENE
10
Bushwa : ROT
11
One of four for an ostrich : TOE
12
Naval inits. : HMS
13
Horror film sequel of 2005 : SAWII
15
A.L. lineup fixtures : DHS
21
Former "Top Chef" judge : EMERIL
23
Defining accomplishment : CLAIMTOFAME
24
Mineral on the Mohs scale : TALC
25
Fish order : SOLE
27
Chose from the lineup, in brief : IDED
28
In full measure : RICHLY
32
Pronoun in both "America" and "America the Beautiful" : THEE
33
Modern cry of success : FORTHEWIN
34
Twist : SKEW
35
Canyonlands National Park feature : MESA
38
"That was totally out of line" : NOTCOOL
39
"Doctor Who" actor David : TENNANT
42
Pfizer product : VIAGRA
43
Primary course : ENTREE
44
California's Point ___ : REYES
46
In the wings or in full swing : IDIOM
47
Is on board? : SURFS
51
Home of 30 Rock : NYC
52
Bird symbolizing daybreak : LARK
53
These: Fr. : CES
54
Derby, e.g. : HAT
55
Consist of : ARE

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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