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New York Times, Friday, March 20, 2020

Author:
Wyna Liu and Paolo Pasco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
22/15/20193/20/20201
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000020
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62000
Wyna Liu
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
167/17/20153/20/20205
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1300066
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61011
Paolo Pasco

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: {FQX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 2 for Ms. Liu. This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Pasco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
PAOLO: This grid was the result of our first collaboration; I sent her the NW corner, with the three 10s crossing WHO WORE IT BETTER, ... read more

PAOLO: This grid was the result of our first collaboration; I sent her the NW corner, with the three 10s crossing WHO WORE IT BETTER, to see what she could do with the opposite corner. Hours later, she sent me a fully-filled grid, filled more smoothly than I could ever make it. It's a serious privilege working with Wyna—her work ethic/commitment to quality/singular voice is enviable. Hope you enjoy the puzzle—this isn't the last collab you've seen from us!

WYNA: I had a great time working with Paolo on this one! He was the master architect of this grid. The process was unusually smooth, and we ended up with this grid on the first pass (I think it took one day).

We clued the puzzle together via Google Sheets. Paolo's clues are so good; some of my favorites here are 1A, 23A, 39A, and 14D. Thanks to the editors–I love 21A and 5D, and cluing 25A and 27A together was a great move.

It was a joy to work on this puzzle. Paolo is such a pro. Thanks to Erik Agard--for many things--but in this case, for connecting us. This was my first collaboration with Paolo, and happily, not the last. Hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
This puzzle makes me remember how much I enjoy themelesses featuring marquee grid-spanning entries. WHO WORE IT BETTER and CARE TO ... read more

This puzzle makes me remember how much I enjoy themelesses featuring marquee grid-spanning entries. WHO WORE IT BETTER and CARE TO ELABORATE are such evocative phrases! They're almost related — I can imagine RuPaul or Anna Wintour using both in the same breath.

(Yes, I Googled "famous fashion journalists" to find another name to go with RuPaul. Joan Rivers died a long time ago. Huh.)

Grid-spanners often take up so much real estate that there's not much room for other material. With just six other long slots (8+ letters), each one has to be squeezed for every last drop of juice. I loved ZAGAT-RATED and enjoyed learning about ANN LANDERS. Neat trivia, that two people wrote as her.

Last time ATHLEISURE appeared, I was plus-minus on it. It's hard to figure out which portmanteaus are awesome and which are awful. I like TWITTERATI, although I had an uneasy feeling that the kids these days are rolling their eyes at the old man enjoying a term that may have gone by the wayside.

(Apparently the kids these days have moved away from Twitter, to Insta. And they'll be off that as soon as I create an account.)

Thankfully, the mid-length material sang. OH GREAT, indeed!

Huh? No, I didn't mean that sarcastically. Seriously, I'm just an old dude who tries too hard.

Often, 7-letter material is filler, simply taking up space to connect the good stuff. Not today. EGG WASH, OTTOMAN, SARA LEE, TSHIRTS out of a cannon, DEMETER — wow!

Along with little crossword glue, it's a work of excellent craftsmanship. The bar for 72-word themelesses (the maximum allowed) is extremely high these days, but if a few of the long entries had hit my ear more strongly, this would have gained some POW! attention.

1
P
2
O
3
W
4
E
5
R
6
C
7
O
8
R
9
D
10
S
11
S
12
C
13
O
14
T
15
A
T
H
L
E
I
S
U
R
E
16
H
A
H
S
17
S
T
O
L
E
A
K
I
S
S
18
A
R
G
H
19
T
O
W
20
L
O
A
N
21
H
22
U
M
E
R
I
23
E
M
O
24
J
I
25
R
O
26
B
27
P
E
T
E
R
28
S
A
R
O
N
29
G
30
U
R
31
L
S
32
O
A
T
33
N
E
A
34
O
35
N
S
A
L
E
36
E
T
S
37
I
N
38
T
R
O
39
T
O
T
40
A
L
41
E
42
S
T
43
O
D
D
44
I
T
Y
45
B
A
46
D
47
G
A
B
48
D
O
U
R
49
D
50
A
U
B
E
51
D
52
G
R
E
53
C
O
54
H
E
55
M
56
S
T
O
M
A
57
W
A
T
U
S
58
I
59
S
E
60
A
T
61
R
E
V
62
A
L
T
O
63
T
64
W
I
T
T
E
65
R
A
T
I
66
S
E
E
M
67
Z
A
G
A
T
R
A
T
E
D
68
H
E
R
O
69
A
N
N
L
A
N
D
E
R
S
© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0320 ( 25,700 )
Across
1
Needs to recharge, maybe : POWERCORDS
11
One whose coat of arms displays a unicorn : SCOT
15
Sporty/casual fashion trend : ATHLEISURE
16
Derisive interjections : HAHS
17
Acted cheekily (in two senses?) : STOLEAKISS
18
Cry of frustration : ARGH
19
Drag : TOW
20
Advance : LOAN
21
They touch people's funny bones : HUMERI
23
Icon of the small screen? : EMOJI
25
With 27-Across, what you might do "to pay Paul" : ROB
27
See 25-Across : PETER
28
Required wear in some Hindu temples : SARONG
30
Google search results : URLS
32
___ flour : OAT
33
Sponsor of the Poetry Out Loud program, for short : NEA
34
Discounted : ONSALE
36
They're kept at Area 51, supposedly : ETS
37
Host's responsibility : INTRO
39
Complete ... or completely destroy : TOTAL
41
"Errare humanum ___" : EST
43
Marvel : ODDITY
45
Scolding word : BAD
47
Go on and on : GAB
48
Visibly forbidding : DOUR
49
Hastily applied, as makeup : DAUBED
52
El ___ : GRECO
54
Surround, with "in" : HEM
56
Botanical opening : STOMA
57
Dance craze mentioned in the Beatles' "Revolution 9" : WATUSI
59
Pants part : SEAT
61
Go "Vroom vroom!" : REV
62
Kind of horn pitched in E♭ : ALTO
63
Online commentariat : TWITTERATI
66
Appear : SEEM
67
Sticker in a restaurant window : ZAGATRATED
68
Beau ideal : HERO
69
Pen name of Ruth Crowley and Eppie Lederer : ANNLANDERS
Down
1
Wallops : PASTES
2
Place for dogs to rest : OTTOMAN
3
Tabloid question next to two people in the same outfit : WHOWOREITBETTER
4
Wing : ELL
5
Land, at sea : REELIN
6
"Gotta run!" : CIAO
7
"The Tin Drum" narrator : OSKAR
8
Cataclysmic : RUINOUS
9
Shrinks, e.g., briefly : DRS
10
Group hangout time, slangily : SESH
11
"Tsk, tsk!" : SHAME
12
"Can you say more about that?" : CARETOELABORATE
13
"Just what I needed," sarcastically : OHGREAT
14
They might be shot from a basketball court : TSHIRTS
22
Shaken : UPSET
24
___ Watson, role for Lucy Liu on "Elementary" : JOAN
26
Actor Benjamin of "Law & Order" : BRATT
29
Fat: Sp. : GORDO
31
Man's name that's an anagram of DOLLY : LLOYD
35
"Uh, yeah!" : NODUH
38
Chores : TODOS
40
Be up against : ABUT
41
It lends a golden color to baked goods : EGGWASH
42
Big name in baked goods : SARALEE
44
Chess concession : IRESIGN
46
Mother of Persephone : DEMETER
50
Toward the rear : ASTERN
51
___ Bridal, wedding dress chain : DAVIDS
53
Family name in New York politics : CUOMO
55
Lead, e.g. : METAL
58
Chichén ___ (Mayan city) : ITZA
60
Start of an encouragement : ATTA
64
Colorless : WAN
65
"Sweet!" : RAD

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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