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New York Times, Saturday, March 3, 2018

Author: Damon Gulczynski
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3511/8/20048/10/20180
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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

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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 ... more
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. 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.) ... more
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.)

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 Down
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
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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