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New York Times, Friday, March 29, 2019

Author:
Martin Ashwood-Smith
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
866/5/19913/29/201910
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
000246416
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.520017
Martin Ashwood-Smith

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 38 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 86 for Mr. Ashwood-Smith. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Martin Ashwood-Smith notes:
I've always liked stacked-style crosswords. Most of my New York Times puzzles have featured stacked 15s. However today's puzzle ... read more

I've always liked stacked-style crosswords. Most of my New York Times puzzles have featured stacked 15s. However today's puzzle features three 13-letter entries (DIXIELAND JAZZ, MOBILE ALABAMA, DOUBLE DEALERS) stair-stacked in the center of the grid.

My starting point was DIXIELAND JAZZ, a nifty seed entry with its high-value Scrabble letters. Luckily, BARRY GIBB and JARED LETO worked nicely going down through the 13s.

Fave clues:

53-A JETES "Barre hops?",

and 53-D JAW "Something that maybe dropped in shock".

Jeff Chen notes:
MAS is back, after a nearly 1-year absence! And what's this? His puzzle ISN'T A TRIPLE STACK? *sound of Jeff toppling over like ... read more

MAS is back, after a nearly 1-year absence! And what's this? His puzzle ISN'T A TRIPLE STACK?

*sound of Jeff toppling over like Fred Sanford*

All kidding aside, I appreciate MAS's effort to do something different. What a great seed entry in DIXIELAND JAZZ – not only colorful in its own right (says this huge jazz fan) but FOUR rare letters. Hot stuff!

And what's that? Another J worked cleanly in through a joyful JUBILEE? And yet another one, also cleanly integrated as part of JETES / JAW? Love it.

LAE as the only price to hold that snazzy middle stair stack together? That's a fine trade-off.

Editors usually prize colorful, multi-word entries in themelesses. But MALADROIT and GLISSANDI were big assets in my book. Such interesting words.

I was all set to toss this one into POW! consideration, when I got jammed. Stuck. Cramped. HULK SMASH the SW CORNER! DAH and ALB are reasonable entries, if not ideal. HDTV is great.

VISED is not. As a mechanical engineer who's used many vises over the years, I've never heard any colleagues say VISED. It's reasonable if you need it to hold a great region together, but at least make the clue more straightforward. [Tightly gripped, in mechanical jaws] or something.

Along with a wide-open clue for DAH, a tough one for ALB (at least for us US geography idiots), and an obfuscating one for HDTV, yikes. It's not a grid problem as much as a cluing issue, feeling like the puzzle was more interested in being tricky than setting up solvers to succeed.

Along with some wasted potential in the ILL AT EASE and TORE APART slot, I couldn't consider it for a POW! nom. It's a shame – that middle section was such a JUBILEE of pleasure.

1
M
2
A
3
M
4
B
5
A
6
S
7
A
8
T
9
S
10
C
11
O
12
R
13
E
14
I
D
E
A
L
15
D
O
T
M
A
T
R
I
X
16
G
L
A
R
E
17
I
L
L
A
T
E
A
S
E
18
H
E
R
R
19
J
L
O
20
N
E
A
L
21
T
R
A
Y
22
F
U
L
S
23
M
E
24
L
25
D
26
G
O
B
S
27
M
28
O
29
E
30
X
I
I
31
D
I
X
I
E
32
L
A
N
D
33
J
A
Z
Z
34
M
O
B
I
L
E
A
L
A
B
A
M
A
35
D
O
U
B
L
E
D
E
A
L
E
R
S
36
A
L
B
37
Y
E
S
38
D
E
R
E
39
H
D
T
40
V
41
D
R
A
G
D
42
O
43
W
44
N
45
F
I
46
A
47
T
48
R
O
D
49
L
A
R
A
50
G
51
L
I
S
S
A
52
N
D
I
53
J
E
T
E
S
54
T
O
R
E
A
P
A
R
T
55
A
T
E
A
T
56
O
P
E
D
P
A
G
E
57
W
O
N
K
Y
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0329 ( 25,343 )
Across
1
Sub-Saharan predator : MAMBA
6
Important figure in a student's education : SATSCORE
14
Apotheosis : IDEAL
15
Laser alternative : DOTMATRIX
16
Oppressive public attention : GLARE
17
Uncomfortable : ILLATEASE
18
Man in Mannheim : HERR
19
Pop nickname that was the title of a 2001 4x platinum album : JLO
20
Comic Brennan : NEAL
21
Cafeteria loads : TRAYFULS
23
Combination in the card game bezique : MELD
26
A ton : GOBS
27
End of a counting-out rhyme : MOE
30
Number on a sundial : XII
31
New Orleans entertainment : DIXIELANDJAZZ
34
City that was the first capital of French Louisiana : MOBILEALABAMA
35
Cheats : DOUBLEDEALERS
36
B.C. neighbor : ALB
37
"By all means" : YES
38
In dat place : DERE
39
Provider of a good picture : HDTV
41
Severely burden : DRAGDOWN
45
Order : FIAT
48
Selfie stick, e.g. : ROD
49
Journalist Logan : LARA
50
Dramatic musical effects : GLISSANDI
53
Barre hops? : JETES
54
Criticized severely : TOREAPART
55
Weighed on : ATEAT
56
It offers a variety of views : OPEDPAGE
57
Preoccupied with arcane details : WONKY
Down
1
Strength : MIGHT
2
Reformer Felix : ADLER
3
Funny Anne : MEARA
4
Only songwriter in history to write four consecutive #1 hits (1978) : BARRYGIBB
5
Schooner filler : ALE
6
Goes it alone : SOLOS
7
N.L. East city : ATL
8
Speakeasy investigator, informally : TMAN
9
Fill : SATE
10
Third-stringers : CTEAM
11
Things doctors need to take : ORALEXAMS
12
___ de veau (veal dish) : RIS
13
PC file suffix : EXE
15
Pickle flavorers : DILLSEEDS
19
Golden time : JUBILEE
22
In a sly way : FOXILY
24
Gershwin title girl : LIZA
25
Baseball's Dean, to fans : DIZ
27
Bungling : MALADROIT
28
Leashed : ONALEAD
29
Winner of six Grand Slam men's singles titles from 1985 to 1992 : EDBERG
31
Mrs. of film : DOUBTFIRE
32
Ka ___ (southernmost Hawaiian point) : LAE
33
Onetime teen idol who went on to win the 2013 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor : JAREDLETO
34
Shape : MOLD
35
Bit of code : DAH
40
Tightly gripped : VISED
41
Rapper with the multiplatinum albums "The Chronic" and "2001" : DRDRE
42
Like some straw : OATEN
43
Unleash : WREAK
44
Repugnant : NASTY
46
Job order : ASAP
47
Spanish appetizer : TAPA
50
1964 Pontiac debut : GTO
51
Cut (off) : LOP
52
Badger : NAG
53
Something that may be dropped in shock : JAW

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?