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New York Times, Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Author:
Michael Hawkins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
171/23/20148/17/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1215152
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
Michael Hawkins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Hawkins. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Hawkins notes:
ZOMBIE BANKS and PATENT TROLL have been gathering dust together in my notebook for a long time now. I was ready to give up on ever ... read more

ZOMBIE BANKS and PATENT TROLL have been gathering dust together in my notebook for a long time now. I was ready to give up on ever finding an entry to join them when I decided to take one last pass through a financial glossary. When I spotted UNICORN STARTUP, I knew I had found it at last. A clickbait article gifted me the FINANCIAL MYTHS revealer soon after.

The layout is more closed off than I usually like, but theme entries 14 and 11 letters long proved constricting. Still, I was able to get the grid down to 76 words to open the corners a bit and kept everything relatively clean, aside from longest abbr. I've ever put in a puzzle: ATTY GEN.

Jeff Chen notes:
The finance wonk in me loved this one. It's paradoxical that an industry so boring – many friends have nodded off or run ... read more

The finance wonk in me loved this one. It's paradoxical that an industry so boring – many friends have nodded off or run screaming as I've spun delightful tales of arbitrage, efficient portfolio frontiers, and basis points – can introduce such colorful terms. PATENT TROLLs have been in the headlines a ton (at least in financial headlines), and I'd heard of ZOMBIE BANKS (think: banks biding their time, all but dead). Such descriptive phrases!

UNICORNs I knew too, but just as "unicorns." As in "those horribly prancy things my daughter begs me to get books about." Also, as in "private startups valued at over $1B." Never heard them called UNICORN STARTUPS, though. Kind of like calling a company a "business company." Still, I can let it slide in the service of a clever theme.

It'd have been good enough for me with just three themers. Toss in the brilliant revealer, FINANCIAL MYTHS (think: what Jim Cramer propagates, ba-dum *rimshot*), and you have yourself a winner.

Clean-as-a-whistle gridwork, only OBE as a tick in the liabilities column. Add in some assets — PATTY MELT and HOT TAKES — and it's a solid product.

Mike's a good enough constructor that I'd have liked to see him push himself. Take out the black square between ABET and HOW SO, for example. That'd likely have resulted in more bonuses, while still retaining smooth short fill.

Overall, a great theme tailored to us econ junkies. Even if you hadn't heard of any of these terms before, they're so colorful that I bet at least one will stick in your memory.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0327 ( 25,341 )

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Across
1
Walk in big boots, say : CLOMP
6
Practically : NIGH
10
Alternative to Venmo : CASH
14
A3s, A4s and A8s, in the automotive world : AUDIS
15
Black-and-white item you can consume whole : OREO
16
Adjoin : ABUT
17
Like galoshes weather : RAINY
18
Ground beef sandwich with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions : PATTYMELT
20
Success story like Uber or Airbnb : UNICORNSTARTUP
22
"True Detective" and "True Blood" airer : HBO
23
Poehler of "Parks and Recreation" : AMY
24
Institutions propped up with government support : ZOMBIEBANKS
30
When repeated, start of a cheer : HIP
33
Newton who lent his name to three laws of motion : ISAAC
34
"That's my ___!" : CUE
35
Da Vinci's "___ Lisa" : MONA
36
Catherine who married Henry VIII : PARR
37
Gives the cold shoulder : SHUNS
39
McGregor of the "Star Wars" prequels : EWAN
40
"Just joshin'!" : IKID
41
Verb whose past tense is formed by moving the first letter to the end : EAT
42
Matrimonial path : AISLE
43
Chinese path : TAO
44
One profiting through litigation, not innovation : PATENTTROLL
47
Granola ___ : BAR
48
Granola bit : OAT
49
Misconceptions about money ... or a loose hint to 20-, 24- and 44-Across? : FINANCIALMYTHS
57
Discuss one's toilet habits, for example : OVERSHARE
58
West African republic : GHANA
60
Something a complainer might raise : CAIN
61
Easter basketful : EGGS
62
404 Not Found, e.g. : ERROR
63
Lodgings : INNS
64
Aussies with deep pockets? : ROOS
65
Poke : NUDGE
Down
1
"Wheels" : CAR
2
Beach bash : LUAU
3
Ruler of Valhalla : ODIN
4
1" version of a 15-Across : MINI
5
Mind reader : PSYCHIC
6
"Didn't bother me at all" : NOPROB
7
1978-79 revolution site : IRAN
8
Trips up : GETS
9
Provocative comments on current events : HOTTAKES
10
Toyota debut of 1982 : CAMRY
11
Help the offense? : ABET
12
Classic George Takei role : SULU
13
Beginning of a link : HTTP
19
Orange dish : YAMS
21
Queen's honour, for short : OBE
24
"That's enough out of you!" : ZIPIT
25
Universal Studios Japan site : OSAKA
26
Brother of video games : MARIO
27
Balladeer : BARD
28
Less than right : ACUTE
29
Sister : NUN
30
"Why do you think that?" : HOWSO
31
Totally : INALL
32
Group of talking heads : PANEL
35
Israel's Golda : MEIR
37
Role in hide-and-seek : SEARCHER
38
It's over your head : HAT
42
Chief law officer: Abbr. : ATTYGEN
44
"Ugh" reviews : PANS
45
To boot : NOLESS
46
Scot's headwear : TAM
47
Homes for owls : BARNS
49
Hubs : FOCI
50
Turgenev who wrote "Fathers and Sons" : IVAN
51
Deutschland turndown : NEIN
52
"Othello" schemer : IAGO
53
Ship of myth : ARGO
54
Drive-___ window : THRU
55
Like walnut shells : HARD
56
Smooch, in Britspeak : SNOG
59
"___ we finished now?" : ARE

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

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