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New York Times, Saturday, March 21, 2020

Author:
Damon Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3911/8/20043/21/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
15608811
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65330
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 39 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
Five puzzle fun facts: SO I WAS LIKE was the seed of this grid, and it's my favorite entry, but I found it very difficult to ... read more

Five puzzle fun facts:

  • SO I WAS LIKE was the seed of this grid, and it's my favorite entry, but I found it very difficult to clue. My submission was "Quote before a self-quote."
  • Whenever I hear the word CHARLATANS, I imagine it's a demonym of people from Charlotte, as if the inhabitants of North Carolina's largest city are legendary phonies.
  • MEDGAR EVERS' older brother Charles is still alive (97 years old). He's a former mayor of Fayette, Mississippi, and a Republican who endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 (seriously).
  • My original clue for PALINDROME was "Damon's nomad, e.g." Yes, I just wanted to put my name in a clue, because I'm vain, but also I thought it might be an interesting misdirection. Did Matt Damon ever play somebody who wandered around a lot?
  • I reluctantly used SCAR TISSUE at 12-Down. It's a good entry, but for the fact it gives me a Red Hot Chili Peppers earworm every time I think of it. You probably have one now too — sorry.
Jeff Chen notes:
Kicking things off with a great 1-Across can set the tone for the entire puzzle. SO, I WAS LIKE … YEAH! I love these casual ... read more

Kicking things off with a great 1-Across can set the tone for the entire puzzle. SO, I WAS LIKE … YEAH! I love these casual phrases, especially when they have punctuation you have to fill in on your own. Delightful.

I also enjoy when a clue/entry gets you thinking about one direction, only to craftily mislead you for another one. PURPLE HAZE is a great song, and "Classic rock hit …" got me thinking about music. Crossing it is 48-Down, [Pop label]. ARISTA? EMI? SUBPOP? D'oh! That's "pop," as in soda = PEPSI. That's an A+ a-ha moment.

The puzzle did have a bit of an old-timey feel to it. I can't remember the last time I used a CD ROM DRIVE, and it's not exactly a cherished relic on my shelves. My brother shamefully used to watch "Designing Women" at every opportunity, so I vaguely knew DELTA BURKE. Not sure if she's still worthy of being featured in a crossword.

FINE, I HAD A HUGE CRUSH ON DIXIE CARTER. NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! JUST LOOK AT THAT HAIR!

OKAY, OKAY, IT WAS ANNIE POTTS! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

MEDGAR EVERS is another story. There's no doubt that this important figure in the civil rights movement has earned his place in wherever he should want to appear. Hard to imagine how much fortitude and bravery he needed to do what he did.

One clue I should explain: ESSAY as "attempt." The dictionary defines it as: "formal: an attempt or effort, as in a misjudged essay." I doubt I'll be attempting this usage anytime soon, as I'd get some of those withering Annie Potts looks in return.

I've said too much.

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© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0321 ( 25,701 )
Across
1
Slangy part of a conversation recap : SOIWASLIKE
11
"We deliver for you" sloganeer, for short : USPS
15
They come with strings attached : PARACHUTES
16
Sports org. headquartered in Indianapolis : NCAA
17
Fakes : CHARLATANS
18
It's the truth : FACT
19
Woman with a 32-Down : AUNT
20
Two-time Emmy nominee for playing Suzanne Sugarbaker : DELTABURKE
22
Peach or plum : HUE
24
Mobile dwelling on a steppe : YURT
25
Commanding the situation : INCONTROL
31
Move clandestinely : SLINK
34
Civil rights activist buried in Arlington National Cemetery : MEDGAREVERS
36
Wrong : SIN
37
Something to shoot for : PAR
38
Special : ELITE
39
Go with : SEE
40
Inits. in 1970s-'80s rock : ELO
41
Satay dip : PEANUTSAUCE
44
Little theorem within a bigger theorem : LEMMA
46
"You betcha!" : YESINDEED
47
Arrange, in a way, as hair : DOUP
49
Common address ender : COM
50
Classic rock hit that asks "Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?" : PURPLEHAZE
55
Big Apple? : IMAC
59
Doing the job : ONIT
60
Race car, e.g. : PALINDROME
62
Way to watch shows beginning in 1999 : TIVO
63
Tricky swap : SWITCHEROO
64
Algorithm part : STEP
65
Ones trying to cover all the bases : INFIELDERS
Down
1
Pound sign? : SPCA
2
Hanauma Bay locale : OAHU
3
Where the biblical Esther and Daniel are purported to be buried : IRAN
4
Tusked savanna dweller : WARTHOG
5
___ tear : ACL
6
Ash, e.g. : SHADETREE
7
Instrument with a bent neck : LUTE
8
Proofreader's abbr. : ITAL
9
R. J. Reynolds brand : KENT
10
Attempt : ESSAY
11
Roll out : UNFURL
12
Sign of healing : SCARTISSUE
13
Get ready, in a way : PACK
14
Not just meet the needs of : SATE
21
Bit of osculation : BUSS
23
"Por ___ Cabeza" (tango classic) : UNA
25
Encourage : IMPEL
26
Zora ___ Hurston, writer of the Harlem Renaissance : NEALE
27
Much-used technology in the 1990s that's largely outmoded today : CDROMDRIVE
28
Event that's not for singles : RELAY
29
Like a lamb : OVINE
30
"___ remember ..." : LETUS
32
Girl with a 19-Across : NIECE
33
Dealt a low blow : KNEED
35
Reserve : RETICENCE
41
Cathedral eponym : PAUL
42
Cone head? : SNO
43
Like idols : ADMIRED
45
Beatlesque hairstyle : MOPTOP
48
Pop label : PEPSI
50
Some ironware : POTS
51
Something that's often named after a scientist : UNIT
52
"Death Becomes Her" co-star, 1992 : HAWN
53
Arabic leader : ALIF
54
Big tubes : ZITI
56
Seconds : MORE
57
Spanish sweetheart : AMOR
58
Biz bigs : CEOS
61
"We move the world" sloganeer : DHL

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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