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New York Times, Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
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3449640
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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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Students & seniors
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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