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New York Times, Friday, March 23, 2018

Author:
Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4111/6/20127/6/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
94565381
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62150
Erik Agard

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QW} Scrabble average: 1.86 This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Erik Agard notes:

My thanks to whoever wrote the clues at 16-Across and 57-Across, two of my favorites in the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
Learn something new every day! JANET MOCK was unfamiliar to me, but Erik did such a nice job making all the crossings friendly and ... read more

Learn something new every day! JANET MOCK was unfamiliar to me, but Erik did such a nice job making all the crossings friendly and easy, such that I could learn about MOCK and still conquer my crossword. Some solvers might grouse that ENID is an esoteric name, but realistically, what else could that square be? I bet if 100 people were asked to fill in the blank for a woman's name, JA_ET, 100 would put in an N.

I feel privileged to be friends with a good number of constructors. You'd be surprised at how often knowing the author comes in handy during my solves! Erik is one of my favorite folks in the crossworld, and I remember from a while back that he's into AFROPUNK. Saved my bacon when it came to that NW corner. I was so badly stuck, not able to see the odd CHIPPY and not knowing Edwin STARR.

My daughter (age 3) is fascinated with her mom's MAKEUP. Am I going to have to figure out what a MAKEUP TUTORIAL is?

(Sigh, yes.)

Guess it's a good thing I learned that term today.

A couple of other toughies in PNIN and NADJA. I don't mind learning a thing or two from a crossword, as long as that doesn't hinder me in achieving my complete and correct solve. And some solvers seem to dislike having too many proper names in a puzzle, but that doesn't bother me, as long as they're well-known. It's when a constructor delves too far into PNIN / NADJA territory that starts to make me feel like the puzzle is more a trivia contest than a crossword. Just on the verge today.

Loved GOLD MINER and its brilliant clue, repurposing the term "flash in the pan." A perfect example of GOLD medal wordplay.

ZAMBONIS also had a great clue, although if you didn't know that the "crease" is a term in ice hockey, the cleverness would be lost on you.

Overall, no DARK DAY whatsoever, Erik constructing a fine, fair puzzle. It's tough to get a feeling of excitement when encountering so many foreign-seeming entries, though.

1
M
2
A
3
L
4
T
5
A
6
E
7
P
8
S
9
F
10
T
11
L
12
B
13
A
T
E
O
F
14
M
O
O
15
R
16
R
O
O
M
17
S
T
A
R
R
18
P
O
L
I
19
C
E
B
O
X
20
K
I
S
S
O
21
N
T
H
E
C
H
E
E
K
22
C
H
I
P
P
Y
23
H
A
Z
E
S
24
O
U
R
25
S
26
C
E
N
E
X
I
27
V
28
D
29
J
30
I
N
N
31
O
A
R
S
32
R
A
N
I
33
I
A
N
34
K
35
I
B
B
U
T
36
Z
37
C
O
D
38
E
N
I
39
D
40
N
I
L
E
41
A
42
E
T
N
A
43
S
E
T
A
44
D
A
T
E
45
H
M
M
46
T
I
R
E
S
47
F
I
B
B
48
E
49
R
50
M
A
K
E
U
51
P
52
T
U
T
O
R
I
A
53
L
54
G
O
L
D
M
I
N
E
R
55
N
A
D
J
A
56
U
C
L
A
57
T
I
L
L
58
I
C
E
I
N
59
S
K
Y
Y
60
N
E
S
61
S
E
R
V
E
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0323 ( 24,972 )
Across
1
Island nation with a cross on its flag : MALTA
6
Series installments, for short : EPS
9
Unit of energy: Abbr. : FTLB
13
Had, as food : ATEOF
14
Secure : MOOR
16
ssorcA-41? : ROOM
17
Edwin of 1960s-'70s R&B : STARR
18
Cop's station in England : POLICEBOX
20
Sweet farewell : KISSONTHECHEEK
22
Given to picking fights : CHIPPY
23
States of confusion : HAZES
24
Part of the English translation of "Notre Dame" : OUR
25
Part of Act 4 of "Antony and Cleopatra" in which Antony attempts suicide : SCENEXIV
28
Islamic spirit : DJINN
31
Things rested on, metaphorically : OARS
32
Bollywood actress Mukerji : RANI
33
Scottish John : IAN
34
Agricultural commune : KIBBUTZ
37
How a package may arrive : COD
38
Lady in Arthurian legend : ENID
40
One with a big mouth in Africa? : NILE
41
Corporate giant named for a mountain : AETNA
43
Make some definite plans : SETADATE
45
"Interesting ..." : HMM
46
Spares, maybe : TIRES
47
Dishonest sort : FIBBER
50
Beauty lesson : MAKEUPTUTORIAL
54
One for whom a flash in the pan is a good thing : GOLDMINER
55
Title woman of a classic 1928 André Breton novel : NADJA
56
Ronald Reagan ___ Medical Center : UCLA
57
Where bills pile up : TILL
58
Trap until it gets warmer, say : ICEIN
59
Grey Goose competitor : SKYY
60
8-bit game console released in 1985 : NES
61
Wait on : SERVE
Down
1
Hide : MASK
2
Web developer? : ATTIC
3
Something a shepherd may have on : LEASH
4
Twisting effect : TORSION
5
Alternative music subgenre : AFROPUNK
6
Like some tanks and promises : EMPTY
7
"Oh, baloney!" : POOH
8
One and only : SOLE
9
Ice cream holder : FREEZER
10
Precisely : TOBEEXACT
11
Monitors : LOOKSINON
12
___ bike : BMX
15
Superlative for a cake : RICHEST
19
Jackie of "Rush Hour" : CHAN
21
Letters associated with WNYC and KQED : NPR
25
Shade of black : SABLE
26
Mötley ___ : CRUE
27
"Livin' La ___ Loca" : VIDA
28
Is mortified, so to speak : DIES
29
Transgender rights activist and best-selling author of "Redefining Realness" : JANETMOCK
30
At the outset : INITIALLY
31
End piece? : OBIT
35
Dressed up, maybe : INASUIT
36
Crease smoothers? : ZAMBONIS
39
Trying time : DARKDAY
42
Warmly welcome : EMBRACE
44
Judge : DEEM
45
Search engine result : HIT
47
Rolls up : FURLS
48
Where to get down from? : EIDER
49
One of the Gandhis : RAJIV
51
Titular professor in a Nabokov novel : PNIN
52
Rhyming prefix with novela : TELE
53
"Stay in your ___" : LANE
54
Gloomy one : GUS

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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