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New York Times, Saturday, March 9, 2019

Author:
Sam Trabucco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2110/29/20157/20/20190
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3102357
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.68150
Sam Trabucco

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 62, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Trabucco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Trabucco notes:
ALRIGHTY THEN is one of the first entries I ever decided I was going to seed a themeless with. My first few tries didn't end up ... read more

ALRIGHTY THEN is one of the first entries I ever decided I was going to seed a themeless with. My first few tries didn't end up working out, so I'm thrilled that it fit as a seed into this really finicky grid, as something like the two hundredth thing I tried in the slot. I hope solvers like the grid as much as I ended up liking it! I've pretty much stopped making grids like this because they're so frustrating (often requiring literally hundreds of complete iterations), but I do like how this one turned out, especially the middle.

Also, lest my gay card be revoked, please rest assured that my original clue for KNOWLES did in fact refer to Beyoncé.

Jeff Chen notes:
Note the similarities between today's grid and Sam's last themeless? They're not identical, but they're so similar. Today's is easier ... read more

Note the similarities between today's grid and Sam's last themeless? They're not identical, but they're so similar. Today's is easier to fill in general because you can work on the SW / NE more independently, since those regions are easier to separate from the rest of the grid.

Similar impressions about the grid qualities, too – both have a lot of stellar entries, not many gluey bits, but some oddities. The SW corner is a perfect microcosm of this. Starting with ALRIGHTY THEN and THE CONGA on the outside edge. INBOX ZERO, LOWBALLS, MG MIDGET, IRON RULE inside – wow! And no crossword glue!

But DRAWMEN? GULLED?

Huh.

Since the SW corner is easier to construct today compared to his last grid, I can understand the allure of going for broke, stuffing as much great material inside as possible. DRAWMEN is a heavy price to pay though, especially if you're crossing it with XMEN. Most other editors wouldn't allow that.

Along with VIENNA COFFEE (a sort of espresso drink?), FAST ICE (solid H20 during Ramadan?), LOESSER, BURKINI (cross between a burqa and a bikini), that's as a whole too esoteric for my taste.

Don't get me wrong — I like each of these entries on their own. Some of them I like a lot — BURKINI, what a fun term! But it felt like it had the potential to be a slew of punishingly-tough material forced upon some poor solvers all at once. I'd have rather had a few less of these and a few more minor short offenders like STET and EXTS.

Jim Horne notes:
Jeff and I often disagree about puzzles, but today I must object. In his list of esoterica, he includes delicious VIENNA COFFEE, ... read more

Jeff and I often disagree about puzzles, but today I must object.

In his list of esoterica, he includes delicious VIENNA COFFEE, the fun word BURKINI, and most egregious of all, one of the great songwriters in American Musical history, the brilliant Frank LOESSER. Adelaide's Lament has nothing on mine for this appalling diss.

If she's getting a kind of a name for herself
And the name ain't his...

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0309 ( 25,323 )

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Across
1
"Go to Hades!" : DROPDEAD
9
"Goodness me!" : GOSH
13
Wake-up call : REVEILLE
14
XX, in Italy : VENTI
15
"Goodness me!" : IDECLARE
16
Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," for one : BALLAD
17
Modest article of swimwear with a portmanteau name : BURKINI
18
Medical breakthrough : VACCINE
19
Sorority letters : XIS
20
Pianist's finger-sliding : GLISSANDO
22
Clickers? : TAPSHOES
25
Major exporter of artichokes and gold : PERU
26
Hit lists? : TOPTENS
27
Decide not to take out : STET
28
Significant investment, informally : MIL
31
Oxymoronic skiing condition : DRYSNOW
33
Golfs, for example : VWS
34
Understand intuitively : GROK
36
Dramatic courtroom outburst : ITSALIE
38
Like fairways : MOWN
39
Partygoers may get a kick out of it : THECONGA
41
Goal of having no unread emails : INBOXZERO
43
Bit of resistance : OHM
45
Some workers who stretch plastic materials : DRAWMEN
46
Freeze that extends out from a coastline : FASTICE
50
Took in : GULLED
51
When to wear a cocktail dress, traditionally : AFTERSIX
52
Page in a film guide : ELLEN
53
Adjust, in a way : REORIENT
54
Trueheart of the comics : TESS
55
Common camping equipment : TENTPEGS
Down
1
Little bit : DRIB
2
Brought back : REDUX
3
Ready to move on : OVERIT
4
Eats like a bird : PECKSAT
5
Capital and largest city of East Timor : DILI
6
Joie de vivre : ELAN
7
Remark after an awkward silence : ALRIGHTYTHEN
8
Grand finale? : DEE
9
Alternatives to tablets : GELCAPS
10
Computer programs? : ONLINETV
11
Patron of Scotland : STANDREW
12
Places to lie low : HIDEOUTS
14
Cleaners, for short : VACS
16
Certain jazz club improvisation : BASSSOLO
18
Drink with espresso and whipped cream : VIENNACOFFEE
21
"Guys and Dolls" composer/lyricist : LOESSER
23
Escape ___ : POD
24
Applied, as perfume : SPRITZED
28
Classic British two-seater : MGMIDGET
29
Autocracy : IRONRULE
30
Deliberately underestimates : LOWBALLS
32
Take the palm : WIN
35
John who wrote the 1959 best seller "A Separate Peace" : KNOWLES
37
Vanity case? : EGOTRIP
40
Words of enlightenment : AHISEE
42
Cyclops and Beast, for two : XMEN
44
Running the show, informally : MCING
47
Bunches : ATON
48
Waldorf Astoria muralist : SERT
49
Personal organizer nos. : EXTS
51
Lost ___ : ART

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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