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New York Times, Saturday, April 6, 2019

Author:
Ned White
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
241/16/20107/8/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1205259
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58010
Ned White

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQVXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 23 for Mr. White. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ned White notes:
SNUFFLEUPAGUS was the 'seed' entry, originally in the top stack where it just wouldn't work, so down to the bottom stack it went, and ... read more

SNUFFLEUPAGUS was the "seed" entry, originally in the top stack where it just wouldn't work, so down to the bottom stack it went, and happily so. It arose in a conversation with my brother over how to pronounce it, but just as much it's here as a nod to my kids, who grew up with Sesame Street (and my daughter was a Sesame Street intern one summer, working as their "muppet wrangler").

This puzzle is a major redo of a previous effort that had a ho-hum top stack with some resulting fairly sketchy fill - a near-miss with Will, with too many "dings." I opted to go with a three-part series of monologue bits from the same speaker in the top stack and to clue them contextually. They depend on each other to be sussed out, and I enjoyed the chance to test it with Will and company as a relatively fresh way to build a themeless puzzle, with three sequential conversational pieces to start the puzzle off.

But it all started with SNUFFY, Big Bird's imaginary friend who later appears as a very real woolly mammoth - to the chagrin (and delight) of the other characters. SNUFFY lives, and I'm glad he's (she's?) making his/her puzzle debut here.

Jeff Chen notes:
Quick! How many of you out there can say the name of Big Bird's wooly friend? I thought so! And doubly quick, how many of you can ... read more

Quick! How many of you out there can say the name of Big Bird's wooly friend? I thought so! And doubly quick, how many of you can spell it?

S N U F F … E? A? L?

Drat.

Glad that Ned was careful with his crossing answers. I hitched on the -AGUS ending, wondering if it could be -IGUS crossing FLIM. But that seemed flimsy.

Thank goodness I know IGA from crosswords – I hope others weren't baffled, as IGA seems to be regional. Ultimately, if you're doing the NYT Saturday crossword, chances are you've run into IGA in the crossword before.

One crazily-spelled entry in a crossword, I can handle. Two? On top of each other? Hatchi matchi!

I remembered that LIPPI is a painter, but the guy's first name? FRAFILIPPO? It's as if his parents evilly tented their fingers and roared out a maniacal laugh as they imagined the gnashing of future solvers' teeth. Parsing that string seemed like it should be ___ LIPPO LIPPI. But FRAFI didn't seem right.

(Turns out that he did go by LIPPO LIPPI. A big time-saver when your full titled name is FRA' FILIPPO LIPPI!)

Devious clue for one of the answers running across those two long entries, [Innocent, e.g.]. I had the starting P and ending E, and struggled to figure out a synonym for innocent. Ah! That's POPE Innocent. Such a relief to figure that out and finally nail down those middle two letters.

Another wickedly clever clue in LETS. Think of "reserve" as "re-serve"!

I enjoyed the pairing of NOT A BAD IDEA … BUT WILL IT WORK? I wasn't hot on the latter by itself, but there's something cool about two adjacent long entries, connected. The first time I saw something like that, I was blown away.

All in all, some great feature entries, but this type of grid doesn't allow for much juice outside of the big north and south stacks. For instance, NUTS ABOUT, TWIN PAC, ALATEEN … they're fine, but I wasn't nuts about them.

1
N
2
O
3
T
4
A
5
B
6
A
7
D
8
I
9
D
10
E
11
A
12
B
U
T
W
I
L
L
I
T
W
O
R
13
K
14
W
I
N
S
O
M
E
L
O
S
E
S
O
M
15
E
16
U
G
H
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S
S
N
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N
Y
E
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U
A
R
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S
O
O
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T
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D
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I
N
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B
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A
S
R
A
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S
N
O
W
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F
E
T
E
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S
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L
E
T
S
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E
D
I
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T
O
R
S
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C
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H
A
S
S
E
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N
U
T
S
A
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B
O
U
T
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S
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N
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A
P
T
O
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H
O
T
M
E
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S
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S
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N
A
D
A
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S
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T
I
N
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E
W
E
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S
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A
B
A
C
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K
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A
T
E
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N
O
T
I
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R
O
M
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N
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A
M
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S
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P
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F
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O
U
R
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F
R
A
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F
I
L
I
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P
P
O
L
61
I
P
P
I
62
S
N
U
F
F
L
E
U
P
A
G
U
S
63
T
R
E
A
S
U
R
E
M
A
P
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0406 ( 25,351 )

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Across
1
"Pretty good thinking ..." : NOTABADIDEA
12
"Any chance of success, though?" : BUTWILLITWORK
14
"Things don't always go the way you want" : WINSOMELOSESOME
16
Cry made while holding one's nose : UGH
17
Employment form info, for short : SSN
18
Bill of the Planetary Society : NYE
19
Egypt was once part of it: Abbr. : UAR
20
Flue problem : SOOT
22
Tumult : DIN
24
Port north of Kuwait City : BASRA
26
Word with bird or board : SNOW
27
Big dos : FETES
29
Calls to reserve? : LETS
30
Masthead section : EDITORS
32
Gliding ballet move : CHASSE
34
Enamored of, informally : NUTSABOUT
36
Suddenly awaken : SNAPTO
39
Dumpster fire : HOTMESS
42
Squat : NADA
43
Save money : STINT
45
Ricotta sources : EWES
47
Unawares : ABACK
49
Had something : ATE
50
"You've got the wrong person" : NOTI
51
CD attachment? : ROM
52
Subject of the 1977 best-selling memoir "A Rumor of War," for short : NAM
54
Blockage letters : SPF
57
"___ Day Will Come" (1963 #1 hit) : OUR
58
Renaissance artist who's famous for his "Coronation of the Virgin" : FRAFILIPPOLIPPI
62
Woolly "Sesame Street" character whose first name is Aloysius : SNUFFLEUPAGUS
63
Prop in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" : TREASUREMAP
Down
1
What one may be in the habit for? : NUNHOOD
2
What regular-season soccer games lack, for short : OTS
3
Jeffersons : TWOS
4
Focuses : AIMS
5
Equipment for mixologists : BLENDERS
6
Word with "first of" or "best of" : ALL
7
1979 platinum album with the hit "I'll Never Love This Way Again" : DIONNE
8
Minute, informally : ITSY
9
Hardly Joe Cool : DWEEB
10
Titaness with a home on the edge of Oceanus : EOS
11
Stirs : AROUSES
12
Earthquake that everyone's been waiting for : BIGONE
13
Popular big box stores : KMARTS
14
Get cold feet, with "out" : WUSS
15
Eliminate : ERASE
21
Pair of things sold together, in commercialese : TWINPAC
23
Baseball announcer's cry : ITSAHIT
25
Adolescents' support group : ALATEEN
27
Pix : FOTOS
28
Charmin alternative : SCOTT
31
When repeated, express disapproval : TUT
33
Well-tuned engine output : HUM
35
Unwanted growth often related to arthritis : BONESPUR
36
Gobble (down) : SNARF
37
Jim of 1960s TV : NABORS
38
Rigid : ADAMANT
40
Quickly grab : SWOOPUP
41
Party preps : SETUPS
44
Many Sri Lankans : TAMILS
46
Modern answer source : SIRI
48
One of a kitchen set : KNIFE
53
Bravo preceder : ALFA
55
Innocent, perhaps : POPE
56
Deception, informally : FLAM
59
Trim option : FUR
60
Little: Fr. : PEU
61
Supermarket chain since 1926 : IGA

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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