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New York Times, Saturday, March 3, 2018

Author:
Damon Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3511/8/20048/10/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
14507810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65320
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQV} This is puzzle # 32 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
I made this one many years ago. It sat in the queue even longer than usual. It looks pretty good to me now, with one major exception. ... read more

I made this one many years ago. It sat in the queue even longer than usual. It looks pretty good to me now, with one major exception. 1-Across was a seed answer, and the original clue was something like "Humiliate on the hardwood." As basketball fans know, to POSTERIZE somebody is to dunk on them in such an impressive fashion that the image is worthy of being put on a poster. It's a fun, lively term evoking basketball awesomeness. Why, why, why then would you change the clue to reference a mundane, technical printing process? Maybe it helps the non-sports fan, but at the expense of watering-down the puzzle for everybody – it doesn't seem like a good trade-off to me.

But there is a good chance I'm way off on all of this and solvers won't care much about it, and instead, the main objection will be something else that never even crossed my mind. That seems to be how it goes.

Jeff Chen notes:
POSTERIZE! I've done that a few times in my day, my defender's face all crinkled up in agony. (Okay fine, on an 8-foot hoop.) ... read more

POSTERIZE! I've done that a few times in my day, my defender's face all crinkled up in agony. (Okay fine, on an 8-foot hoop.)

Oh … it means [Display, as an image, using only a small number of different tones] too?

Huh. Fully agreed with Damon. I suppose it's a niche term that will get lost on non-bball fans, but still, I think it's an awesome piece of slang to learn. Hopefully, it will expand to other spheres of life. That annoying driver, not moving when the light turns green because he's staring at his cell phone, and the cops nab him for breaking Washington's distracted driving law?

POSTERIZEd!

Okay, maybe not.

Choosing to ignore that cluing decision, I loved how the puzzle kicked off. Combining POSTERIZE with ESCAPE POD and WHATS MORE made for a great triple.

TATTOOIST running through it, though … it's a "tattoo artist," isn't it? I have a tat, but I'm not sure I'd ever say I went to a TATTOOIST to get it.

Aside from TATTOOIST, I liked Damon's usage of his long slots. EXCUSE YOU is colorful. ARMY BRAT clued as a kid with a "moving" life story, IT'S A WRAP, the awesome brand name CHEEZ WHIZ, ARISTOTLE, etc. = more than enough to keep up my interest.

I don't mind an esoteric name/thing here and there, especially in a Saturday puzzle. Ron SANTO ... I'm expected to know non-Hall-of-Fame baseball players? Thankfully, Damon made all the crossings fair and easy, so SANTO didn't hinder my correct solve. But staring at SANTO, wondering if that could truly be right, wasn't a good feeling.

ADDED NOTE: apparently many of my readers are baseball fans! Ron SANTO was elected to the HOF in 2012 so that one is on me. Not the first or last time I'll be wrong! Thanks all for letting me know.

And the NE corner … huh. I learned what an ARHAT was through crosswords, but I do think it's fair game. Just because it's from a culture not yours doesn't mean it's bad!

TARAS Bulba I also learned from crosswords. That consonant-vowel alternation is so useful to constructors.

STETS, too. I'm not sure my editor at HarperCollins would know what STETS means. (His line editor definitely does, though.)

Each of ARHAT / TARAS / STETS is pretty minor to me. Altogether though, and I might have asked for a redo of that corner.

It's too bad – a sore spot on an otherwise pretty darn good puzzle.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0303 ( 24,952 )
Across
1
Display, as an image, using only a small number of different tones : POSTERIZE
10
Goes on : LASTS
15
Way out in space : ESCAPEPOD
16
Enlightened sort : ARHAT
17
"Further ..." : WHATSMORE
18
Site of a 1974 fight won by 40-Across : ZAIRE
19
Ron ___, nine-time All-Star from the 1960s-'70s Cubs : SANTO
20
Kid with a moving life story? : ARMYBRAT
22
"The Wire" stickup man : OMAR
25
Become completely absorbed : OBSESS
26
G.I. garb, for short : CAMO
29
Strike out on one's own : GOSOLO
32
Staples competitor starting in 1988 : OFFICEMAX
34
Swell : NEATO
39
Put away : STASH
40
See 18-Across : ALI
41
Many a private investigator : EXCOP
42
Try : TASTE
43
Hot take? : NUDESCENE
45
Like many shorelines : ERODED
47
Car lot designation : USED
48
Philosopher who said "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step" : LAOTZU
52
Puzzle (out) : SUSS
54
"We're done here" : ITSAWRAP
57
"Enough!" : CEASE
61
Restraint : LEASH
62
1983 #1 hit with the lyric "Take, take, take what you need" : SAYSAYSAY
65
Co-star with Shatner and Nimoy : TAKEI
66
So-called "Father of Zoology" : ARISTOTLE
67
Cinemax competitor : STARZ
68
Common business attire : PANTSUITS
Down
1
Bible supporters, often : PEWS
2
Org. with inspectors : OSHA
3
Good look : SCAN
4
One who might needle you? : TATTOOIST
5
With 59-Down, spa supply : EPSOM
6
Band with the monster album "Monster" : REM
7
Market event, briefly : IPO
8
Novelist ___ Neale Hurston : ZORA
9
Linda of Broadway's "Jekyll & Hyde" : EDER
10
Slugabed : LAZYBONES
11
Ishmael's people : ARABS
12
Ending with Oxford or Cambridge : SHIRE
13
Gogol's "___ Bulba" : TARAS
14
Correction corrections : STETS
21
Chem. unit : MOL
23
Questionnaire info : AGE
24
Parmesan alternative : ROMANO
26
___ analysis : COST
27
Men's grooming brand : AFTA
28
Dramatists' degs. : MFAS
30
"Gesundheit!" : SALUD
31
Lime and others : OXIDES
33
Popular cracker topper : CHEEZWHIZ
35
"How rude!" : EXCUSEYOU
36
Crackerjack : ACES
37
Shade : TONE
38
Piece of punditry : OPED
44
Email address ending : EDU
46
1921 play for which the word "robot" was invented : RUR
48
Airs : LILTS
49
Plagued : ATEAT
50
City at the mouth of the Yodo River : OSAKA
51
Real stunner : TASER
53
Improvises, in a way : SCATS
55
[Can't wait!] : ASAP
56
Brief researcher, briefly : PARA
58
Riesling alternative, familiarly : ASTI
59
See 5-Down : SALT
60
Intel satellites, metaphorically : EYES
63
Dark side : YIN
64
High-speed inits. : SST

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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