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New York Times, Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3449640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.597100
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 37 Missing: {JQWXZ} This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
The original version of today's puzzle contained TURNPIKE, hidden in UTURN and PIKESPEAK. Will suggested replacing those entries so ... read more

The original version of today's puzzle contained TURNPIKE, hidden in UTURN and PIKESPEAK. Will suggested replacing those entries so that all four hidden answers would be local roads - hence DRIVE. I also originally clued STRINGTIE as "Attire for Colonel Sanders," hoping impishly that a few solvers might enter WHITESUIT.

Jeff Chen notes:
ROADBLOCKS today, black squares breaking up 'road' synonyms. Wow, was NUEVO LEON tough to figure out! And although I'd seen SHANGRI LA ... read more

ROADBLOCKS today, black squares breaking up "road" synonyms. Wow, was NUEVO LEON tough to figure out! And although I'd seen SHANGRI LA in crosswords before, how bizarre it looked as SHANGRILA (rhyming with "Anguilla").

The latter I loved, at least after finally piecing it together. Easily recognizable phrase, and it's so juicy. That's the way to execute on a theme like this.

The former (actually NUEVO LEON, nuevo = new) didn't leave me with a very good feel, wondering if perhaps I got a square wrong somewhere, even after double-checking all the crosses a few times. I like learning something from a crossword, but not when it interferes with the high I get from finishing an early-week puzzle speedily and with confidence. I threw a flag for interference today.

Why not break up AVENUE into *AVEN and UEYS? Maybe SAFE HAVEN?

Not a huge fan of SLAVE in puzzles, either. I realize some people will scoff at me for being too sensitive about this sort of thing, but when there are plenty of ??AVE options, why not choose something that's more neutral, less likely to cheese off a subset of solvers?

Okay, maybe there wasn't as much flexibility as usual, since the long down, FLASH LAMP, made the construction tougher. But while I appreciate long downs for their ability to snazz up a puzzle, something like FLASH LAMP doesn't do much for me.

(STRING TIE is better – it still feels a bit old-timey, given the Colonel Sanders clue, but it's not as odd.)

I'd almost rather have broken up FLASH LAMP at the second L. There was already a reasonable amount of juice in TOURIST and CEVICHE, that I'd have preferred living with just those. Breaking up the long downs might have also allowed a smoothing of ELKIN / ILYA, which both felt like they were pushing the boundaries of a Tuesday. Not sure I'd expect a newer solver to be able to get that square right.

A solid idea, but not my ideal execution.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0501 ( 25,011 )

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Across
1
Tests the weight of by lifting : HEFTS
6
Sot's woe, for short : DTS
9
Welcome sight in a desert : OASIS
14
Dole out : ALLOT
15
Slip of paper in a poker pot : IOU
16
Thin pancakes with sour cream : BLINI
17
Work like a dog : SLAVE
18
Mexican state that touches Texas : NUEVOLEON
20
"___ Last Bow" (1917 Sherlock Holmes story) : HIS
21
Caboose, for a train : REAR
23
Alliance : LEAGUE
24
Utopia : SHANGRILA
27
Aids for butterfly collectors : NETS
28
"The Simpsons" girl : LISA
29
Cream ___ : SODA
31
Busy bees during tax season, for short : CPAS
33
Figures on a spreadsheet : DATA
35
Macaroni or ravioli : PASTA
40
Meandering : AIMLESS
42
"Rock-a-bye Baby" setting : TREETOP
44
Push away : REPEL
45
Yen : ACHE
47
Gait faster than a walk : TROT
48
More than none but less than all : SOME
50
Morrison who wrote "Beloved" : TONI
52
Word stamped on an invoice : PAID
56
Good place to fish from : RIVERBANK
59
Salient : OFNOTE
61
Kovalchuk of the N.H.L. : ILYA
62
African game : GNU
64
Obstacle ... or any one of four black squares in this puzzle? : ROADBLOCK
66
Bishop's headdress : MITER
68
Polynesian land east of Fiji : TONGA
69
Greek letter that represents the golden ratio : PHI
70
Figure in many a sci-fi film : ALIEN
71
Part of a cattle roundup : STEER
72
Perfect diving score : TEN
73
Winter Olympics equipment : SLEDS
Down
1
Corned beef dish : HASH
2
Perry of fashion : ELLIS
3
Early means of providing light for a photograph : FLASHLAMP
4
"Mazel ___!" : TOV
5
Backs of ships : STERNS
6
Currency of Tunisia : DINAR
7
Reader of a Fodor's guide : TOURIST
8
"So ___ me!" : SUE
9
One of two to four in a standard orchestra : OBOE
10
Poe's middle name : ALLAN
11
Long, drawn-out fight : SIEGE
12
Two-way, as doors : INOUT
13
Certain math ratios : SINES
19
Infamous impaler : VLAD
22
"Good gravy!" : EGADS
25
Bride's path : AISLE
26
Unwilling : LOATH
30
Play "monkey see, monkey do"? : APE
31
Airport rental : CAR
32
___ chart : PIE
34
"Same here" : ASAMI
36
Corporation named after a mountain : AETNA
37
Bit of wear for Colonel Sanders : STRINGTIE
38
As well : TOO
39
Prone (to) : APT
41
Harlem sights : ELS
43
Take another crack at : RETRY
46
Latin American seafood dish : CEVICHE
49
Pitcher Hershiser : OREL
51
White House family with the dog Bo : OBAMAS
52
Strong wines : PORTS
53
Going on : AFOOT
54
Vapid : INANE
55
Word before City or after Fort on Midwest maps : DODGE
57
Stanley who wrote "The Magic Kingdom" : ELKIN
58
Hit below the belt : KNEED
60
Skier's convenience : TBAR
63
Large coffee holders : URNS
65
Go (for) : OPT
67
Under the weather : ILL

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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