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New York Times, Friday, April 26, 2019

Author:
Kyle Dolan
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
115/22/20123/27/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1031132
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59120
Kyle T. Dolan

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 28 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Dolan. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kyle T. Dolan notes:

My fiancée's love of Taylor Swift inspired me to seed this themeless grid with 1-Across, which makes its New York Times debut today.

Jeff Chen notes:
Finally, the NYT allows HARDASS! Some longtime solvers frown upon the NYT crossword becoming the NYT crassword, but I'm personally ... read more

Finally, the NYT allows HARDASS! Some longtime solvers frown upon the NYT crossword becoming the NYT crassword, but I'm personally hoping BADASSERY will soon see its debut.

Neither Jim nor I were fooled by the CLINTON ERA clue, but both of us stopped to admire it. Bushes are found on either side of it … as in GHWB and GWB. Great way to innocently hide the capitalization of Bush.

On the other hand, Jim and I had opposite reactions to PEACE TOWER. XWI's resident Canuck got that wonderfully delightful sense of smugness, able to drop it in almost immediately. While XWI's resident Ameriboor struggled for each letter.

That pair of entries epitomized my experience in solving this puzzle.

YAY! GRAD SCHOOL = great entry, plus a fantastic clue — I got my "third degree" at UW.

HUH? PORT SALUT. I wondered if it might be PORTS A LUT. Apparently not.

YAY! SAUSAGE DOG, they're so awesome.

HUH? IT BURNS? Does that open the door for IT ITCHES? ITS CRAMPING? Speaking of doors, PICKS A DOOR … as much as I love the Monty Hall Problem, PICKS A DOOR feels a bit arbitrary as a stand-alone phrase.

Along with some HOLO APIA PICT MAIA (anyone else drop in GAIA and never think to correct it?), it wasn't the cleanest of grids. 72 worders are the easiest of themelesses to build, so I put them under the highest scrutiny.

But overall, some solid feature entries and two fantastic clues to help see me through to the end. Sometimes it just takes a handful of mind-blowing clues to make a themeless stand out, so I wouldn't be surprised if some solvers adore this one.

1
S
2
H
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A
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K
5
E
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I
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T
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O
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F
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F
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P
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Y
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P
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K
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A
B
L
E
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M
A
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A
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O
L
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V
E
B
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A
D
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B
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C
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T
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U
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D
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N
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H
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A
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A
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S
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I
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P
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A
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M
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G
A
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O
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P
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J
E
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S
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A
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O
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P
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A
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P
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H
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D
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B
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P
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O
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V
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G
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C
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O
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A
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P
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P
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A
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0426 ( 25,371 )

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Across
1
#1 Taylor Swift song about defying one's critics : SHAKEITOFF
11
Make out : ESPY
15
Where a hand might be raised : POKERTABLE
16
Mother of Hermes : MAIA
17
Bakery item with a Mediterranean flair : OLIVEBREAD
18
Smacker : BUCK
19
___ Kukoc, 6'11" N.B.A. star of 1993-2006 : TONI
20
Usually illegal maneuvers : UEYS
21
Place for an anchor : DESK
22
Wonkish sort : NERD
24
Tough, demanding type : HARDASS
27
Suck up : SIPHON
30
Longtime cartoon business : ACME
31
___ pal : GAL
32
Beverage brand with a wave in its logo : OCEANSPRAY
34
Knight in a popular film franchise : JEDI
35
"Where America shops for value," per an old slogan : SEARS
36
Eight-time Norris Trophy winner : ORR
37
Scene of biblical destruction : SODOM
38
Ancient dweller beyond Hadrian's Wall : PICT
39
Where you might be given the third degree : GRADSCHOOL
41
Peak service? : ACE
42
"What a ___" : PITY
43
Cranky due to lack of food : HANGRY
44
Holds for a while : DETAINS
46
Make, as one's way : WEND
47
See 45-Down : BONE
48
Pacific island capital : APIA
50
It may precede "copy" : OVER
54
Goggle : GAWK
55
Bushes are found on both sides of it : CLINTONERA
57
Biblical brother : ABEL
58
About to start the workday, say : PUNCHINGIN
59
Flammable structure : PYRE
60
"If nothing else ..." : ATTHELEAST
Down
1
Help out, in a gym : SPOT
2
Prefix with -gram : HOLO
3
Related : AKIN
4
Comedian who starred in 2014's "About Last Night" : KEVINHART
5
Lead-in to long : ERE
6
Shout of pain : ITBURNS
7
Like goods weighed on scales : TARED
8
Not question : OBEY
9
Classic bit of study material : FLASHCARD
10
Put change into : FED
11
One reporting a fight : EMBED
12
Pet with short legs and a long body, slangily : SAUSAGEDOG
13
Chooses at the request of Monty Hall, say : PICKSADOOR
14
Not shut up : YAK
21
Rap mogul of the highest degree? : DRE
23
Ages and ages : EONS
25
Funny Schumer : AMY
26
By a narrow margin : SLIMLY
27
Scrubber sold in a yellow box : SOSPAD
28
First hip-hop single to top the Billboard Hot 100 (1990) : ICEICEBABY
29
Ottawa landmark completed just after W.W. I : PEACETOWER
30
Impressive display : ARRAY
33
Mild cheese with an orange rind : PORTSALUT
34
Who wrote "I am two fools, I know, / For loving, and for saying so / In whining poetry" : JOHNDONNE
37
Get a good look at : SCAN
39
Artificially stir (up) : GIN
40
Cover in a protective layer : SHEATHE
42
What "pizza" means in Italian : PIE
45
With 47-Across, talus : ANKLE
46
Machine that pulls : WINCH
49
Draft amount, maybe : PINT
51
Fifth-brightest star in the night sky : VEGA
52
Harmonia's opposite in Greek myth : ERIS
53
Go on (about) : RANT
54
Chain with more than 3,500 stores worldwide : GAP
55
One doing a balancing act, say : CPA
56
Coconut ___ : OIL

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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