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New York Times, Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Author:
Joel Fagliano
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6510/22/20096/16/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
16911910325
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64351
Joel Fagliano

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 64 for Mr. Fagliano. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
STATE CAPITALS … anagrammed? Not sure why you'd want to anagram LANSING, uh … ST PAUL … hmm … whatever ... read more

STATE CAPITALS … anagrammed? Not sure why you'd want to anagram LANSING, uh … ST PAUL … hmm … whatever ANTI-US anagrams to.

I enjoy anagrams, but only when there's a good rationale for them. If there had been some real phrase like CAPITAL MIXUP, it'd have been solid.

This grid is a great example of how going to a low word count can actually work (it usually doesn't). For a theme that solvers might not connect to, it's essential to give them something extra in the fill to keep them entertained. Giant corners like the SW / NE, coming up!

When newer constructors ask for grid help, the first thing I do is look at the overall layout, and if there are any likely gridding trouble spots. My eyes would have bugged out at the SW / NE, advising to break up those sections STATE! Er, stat.

I'm not a fan of STELE or SANDP (that's S&P, outside the crossworld), but SAMANTHA / THIRTEEN / THE EU help offset them. And IT'S A GIRL / NET SALES are bonuses, too. Along with entries we don't see that often in crosswords – PARADE, NOUGAT, REPASTS – the grid gave me a sense of being anything but the same-old, same-old. In a good way.

There were trade-offs, no doubt. Having both AGHA and EMIR in one grid isn't ideal. EATER is basically a partial. Overall though, the freshness within the grid made up for the dings.

Joel has serious construction chops, so I think he made a good call to go to a 72-word grid. But the number of constructors who can do it successfully is in the single digits.

It's too bad that not many solvers would immediately recognize BLENDED CAPITAL – a finance term regarding mixed sources of start-up funds. It'd have been the perfect revealer. I probably would have used it anyway. Even with a boring dictionary definition, it would have given the theme a raison d'etre.

1
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0501 ( 25,376 )

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Across
1
Word found before and after "and," in a phrase : SUCH
5
Unit for a YouTube video : VIEW
9
Object : THING
14
Mr. : English :: ___ : Persian : AGHA
15
Novel on which the film "Clueless" is based : EMMA
16
Picky ___ : EATER
17
Matter for the Postal Inspection Service : MAILFRAUD
19
"Is this really necessary?" : MUSTI
20
*Not formally worded : INSLANG
21
*Like the pitcher in a batting order, often : UPLAST
22
Ending with orange or lemon : ADE
23
Basis of some scholarships : NEED
25
Part of a Snickers bar : NOUGAT
26
*Peacocks, but not peahens : MALES
28
Mork's birthplace on "Mork & Mindy" : ORK
30
Stack : PILE
31
A, B, C, D and E, to nutritionists : VITAMINS
35
Stop signal : RED
36
What the answers to the starred clues are each anagrams of : STATECAPITALS
39
When doubled, uncritically enthusiastic : RAH
40
Joined the Army, say : ENLISTED
41
Sheik's peer : EMIR
43
Bask on the beach : SUN
44
*Wandered : ROVED
48
Post-championship celebration : PARADE
50
Building by a barn : SILO
53
Dark loaf : RYE
54
*Like some foreign protests : ANTIUS
55
*What keeps a part apart : HAIRGEL
57
Engraved stone marker : STELE
58
Pale-colored beer : BLONDEALE
60
What Britain voted to Brexit from, for short : THEEU
61
Cordon (off) : ROPE
62
Give off : EMIT
63
Wall St. "500" : SANDP
64
Gets a Venmo request, say : OWES
65
Article's start, in journalism jargon : LEDE
Down
1
Who asked "Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox?" : SAMIAM
2
Lake Victoria lies on its southern border : UGANDA
3
A little chipper : CHISEL
4
Campus building : HALL
5
"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" author : VERNE
6
Public perception : IMAGE
7
Down Under bird : EMU
8
Spitball, e.g. : WAD
9
Conductor's beat : TEMPO
10
Bring before a superior for reprimand : HAULUP
11
Birth announcement : ITSAGIRL
12
Bottom line figure : NETSALES
13
Clenched, as teeth : GRITTED
18
MuggleNet or The Leaky Cauldron, for "Harry Potter" readers : FANSITE
21
Separate, as stitches : UNKNIT
24
*Internet addresses : DOMAINS
27
Compassionate "Uncle Tom's Cabin" girl : EVA
29
Tears : RIPS
32
What verb endings indicate : TENSES
33
Free speech org. : ACLU
34
Substance for a juicer : STEROID
36
Killer Bee? : SAMANTHA
37
Missing button in many an elevator : THIRTEEN
38
Fuss : ADO
39
Meals : REPASTS
42
Argued vehemently (against) : RAILED
45
Something that requires a special headset to play, informally : VRGAME
46
Lash holder : EYELID
47
Upper-right keyboard button : DELETE
49
Next in line : DUEUP
51
"Wouldn't that be nice!" : IHOPE
52
Olympic pool divisions : LANES
56
Walk dizzily : REEL
58
"My man!" : BRO
59
Part of PRNDL : LOW

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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