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New York Times, Friday, March 8, 2019

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
966/16/20118/18/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
76681132242
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645173
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 92 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
This puzzle started with DISS TRACK, an entry that seemed especially promising for a stagger-stack of 9s, given its central run of ... read more

This puzzle started with DISS TRACK, an entry that seemed especially promising for a stagger-stack of 9s, given its central run of easy letters (SSTRA). As for the rest of the grid, I LUCKED OUT sums it up nicely. My favorite clue/answer pair is [What a whole lot of kisses might result in] for SUGAR RUSH. You can also thank Will and Joel for the extra help on the SUSHI RICE clue—my original was simply [Stuff in a roll]. I hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
Beautiful parallelogram in the middle, featuring five longish stair stacked answers. I loved WINE FLASK, SUGAR RUSH, SUSHI RICE, all ... read more

Beautiful parallelogram in the middle, featuring five longish stair stacked answers. I loved WINE FLASK, SUGAR RUSH, SUSHI RICE, all delicious. MOSAIC LAW took me two missteps – KOSHER LAW and then JUDAIC LAW, but MOSAIC LAW is inferable. Remember that dude, Moses?

DISS TRACK was my least favorite of the five, only vaguely having heard of it before. But it seems to be solidly in the language, so that's simply personal preference. Glad that it was easily understandable – you're DISSing someone on a record TRACK.

Running I JUST MIGHT and I LUCKED OUT through the center was the icing on the cake. What an impressive middle of the grid!

I appreciate David's effort to zazz up the grid with more long slots, AFC NORTH and MEGALOMANIA providing more juice. RAVE CULTURE didn't do much for me though, as it felt too specialized a term at first; a bit arbitrary. Some research showed that I was wrong yet again. It's definitely a thing – and a popular thing at that!

Opening up the top and bottom of the grid to include these extra long entries did exact a price, though. There was enough ERE NOW, AGUE, NIIHAU, that the puzzle fell out of POW! consideration. It's a shame, as that center five-stack had such a wow factor.

I wonder what would have happened if David had broken up VERA WANG and AFC NORTH, which might have allowed him to smooth out some oddballs, and maybe even juice up his NW / SE corners more as well.

1
P
2
O
3
D
4
S
5
I
6
T
7
H
8
A
9
C
10
A
11
M
12
E
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W
14
A
N
E
W
15
J
E
D
G
A
R
16
U
R
I
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R
A
V
E
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C
U
L
T
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E
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B
E
N
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A
D
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D
A
S
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V
E
R
A
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W
A
N
G
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S
I
L
E
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C
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E
R
O
S
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K
E
E
N
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M
O
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S
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A
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I
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C
L
A
W
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I
T
D
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W
I
N
E
F
L
A
S
K
34
S
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G
A
R
R
U
S
H
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S
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S
H
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C
E
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P
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I
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C
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D
I
S
S
T
R
A
C
K
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Z
E
R
O
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C
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A
E
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R
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O
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A
F
C
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O
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R
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T
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H
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D
E
B
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K
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R
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I
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M
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A
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L
O
M
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B
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N
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H
A
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R
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S
T
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I
N
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A
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S
A
G
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0308 ( 25,322 )

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Across
1
Things cotton pickers pick : PODS
5
U.S. city named after a Greek island : ITHACA
11
Kitten sound : MEW
14
Over : ANEW
15
2011 biopic about an F.B.I. director : JEDGAR
16
William Tell's canton : URI
17
Phenomenon characterized by electronic dance music : RAVECULTURE
19
Uncle ___ (commercial figure) : BEN
20
Puma competitor : ADIDAS
21
Noted Chinese-American fashion designer : VERAWANG
23
Miscellaneous part? : SILENTC
25
Mischievous boy of myth : EROS
26
Intent : KEEN
27
Source of rules for keeping kosher : MOSAICLAW
32
"___ be great ..." : ITD
33
Red or white container : WINEFLASK
34
What a whole lot of kisses might result in : SUGARRUSH
35
Stuff in a roll at a Japanese restaurant : SUSHIRICE
36
Snap : PIC
39
Song that a hip-hop rivalry might inspire : DISSTRACK
40
Absolute nobody : ZERO
41
W.W.E. legend John : CENA
42
Aquarium accessory : AERATOR
44
Baltimore Ravens' grp. : AFCNORTH
49
Poke holes in, so to speak : DEBUNK
50
Big name in camping gear : REI
51
Condition whose first two letters are oddly appropriate : MEGALOMANIA
53
Something to do at home? : BAT
54
Island WSW of Kauai : NIIHAU
55
Phone : RING
56
Place where farm animals rootle : STY
57
Baby : INFANT
58
Seasoning in stuffing : SAGE
Down
1
Do a certain hybrid winter sport : PARASKI
2
Slimming down : ONADIET
3
Kind of eggs : DEVILED
4
1912 Olympics locale : SWEDEN
5
"Hmm, sounds like a good idea" : IJUSTMIGHT
6
Letterhead abbr. : TEL
7
Product from Panasonic : HDTV
8
It's not a good fit : AGUE
9
Nicholas ___, author of the 2010 best seller "The Shallows" : CARR
10
The "A" of 52-Down : AREA
11
President until 2011 : MUBARAK
12
Up to this point, old-style : ERENOW
13
Oscar's first Best Picture (1927-28) : WINGS
18
Food bank item : CAN
22
Origin of the word "flannel" : WELSH
24
1997 action thriller starring Nicolas Cage : CONAIR
28
Junípero ___, father of California history : SERRA
29
It has a large horn : AFRICA
30
"Whew! That was fortunate for me" : ILUCKEDOUT
31
Liquor store purchase : CASE
33
Become too scared, with "out" : WUSS
34
Lazy ___ : SUSAN
35
Vegas : SINCITY
36
Flowery girl's name : PETUNIA
37
Laundry job : IRONING
38
Fancy restaurant fee : CORKAGE
39
Take down : DEFEAT
40
Renowned Broadway deli : ZABARS
41
Pasta and such, informally : CARBS
43
Sleep study subject : REM
45
Westin competitor : OMNI
46
Pull (in) : REIN
47
Office letters that bring happiness? : TGIF
48
What might follow a crack : HAHA
52
PC hookup, for short : LAN

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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