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New York Times, Friday, May 17, 2019

Author:
Adam Fromm
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
66/18/20085/17/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3001011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67001
Adam Fromm

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 30 Missing: {KQXZ} Spans: 3, (1 triple stack) This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Fromm. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Adam Fromm notes:
I'm not sure why I decided to try burying a mini-theme in a 15-stack, aside from the not-always-advisable 'just to see if I can' ... read more

I'm not sure why I decided to try burying a mini-theme in a 15-stack, aside from the not-always-advisable "just to see if I can" impulse. (For me, that usually turns into the regrettable crossword version of "hold my beer and watch this": four killer seed entries, surrounded by 20 medical abbreviations and three Peruvian tree frogs.)

I think it started by accident — I was tinkering with stack ideas, noticed I'd inadvertently thrown in two different military ranks on top of each other, and decided to steer into the skid. I do know that I got pretty lucky, finding spans that clicked with each other within a few tries, and from there I fought my usual angsty longing for the crunchiest fill imaginable, in favor of clean, crisp, and light on the word putty. Whether I succeeded on that count, I have no idea, but there's nothing that makes me cringe for a change, so I'll take it.

It would have been nice for the ranks to appear in proper order, with GENERAL at the top and PRIVATE at the bottom, but, well, beggars, choosers, and all that.

Jeff Chen notes:
Dazzling clue alert! [Country superfans] had me puzzled, making it tough to break into that middle triple stack. What a delight to ... read more

Dazzling clue alert! [Country superfans] had me puzzled, making it tough to break into that middle triple stack. What a delight to first figure out it started with a rare letter, J — not often that a rare letter anchors a triple-stack.

And then an even bigger pleasure to realize I'd been duped. Not a country music star like I'd been worried about, given my terrible knowledge of pop music. Country, as in nation! I'm not sure how common the term JINGOISTS is, but I don't care. What a great misdirect.

Solid triple-stack. None of them is as brilliantly clued as JINGOISTS, but MAJOR LEAGUE GAME, PRIVATE PRACTICE, GENERAL AUDIENCE are all good. I wish at least one of them had been given a wickedly clever wordplay clue – PRIVATE PRACTICE seems ripe for one. Something related to the army?

Hey, wait! Hold on just a second! (I admit, I skimmed over Adam's note, missing his point entirely at first.) MAJOR, PRIVATE, GENERAL? Okay, that's cool. Triple-stacks have been done to death, so they have to have fantastic entries to make them stand out. I'd never considered an alternate way to achieve stand-out-itude. How is it even possible to get three army ranks in a stack? That's an impressive feat.

I was revving up to grumble about the usual issues with triple-stacks; especially the gluey bits holding them together: APA, MCC (CD = 400, x3 = 1200 = MCC), and the terrible EEE. EEG TEST is a weird phrase, too, usually seen as just EEG. But heck, in the service of something cool, I can give that all a pass.

I'd have liked a little more zing in the other long slots. TABLE TOPS and GOOD SENSE are good, but AT THE ALTAR (feels like a partial) and RESTORED ain't gonna win any awards.

DEAD AGAIN was a well-made movie, but it literally didn't win any awards. At the time, I thought it wuz robbed. But I'm not sure it has staying power within the crossworld.

I hope other solvers figure out the mini-theme, because that was memorable. Along with the brilliant clue for JINGOISTS, I was thoroughly entertained.

1
F
2
R
3
I
4
G
5
G
6
A
7
C
8
R
9
U
10
S
11
A
12
D
13
E
14
S
15
L
O
G
O
U
T
16
H
A
R
P
S
E
A
L
17
I
N
L
A
S
T
18
U
N
G
U
L
A
T
E
19
N
C
O
20
H
21
U
G
G
E
D
22
D
E
E
23
G
O
O
24
D
25
S
E
N
S
E
26
E
A
R
P
27
R
O
A
R
28
G
29
R
E
G
30
M
31
A
32
J
O
R
L
E
33
A
34
G
U
E
G
A
35
M
36
E
37
P
R
I
V
A
T
E
P
R
A
C
T
I
C
E
38
G
E
N
E
R
A
L
A
U
D
I
E
N
C
E
39
G
O
E
R
40
B
E
T
S
41
A
42
T
O
N
43
T
44
A
B
L
E
T
45
O
46
P
47
S
48
T
R
I
49
E
50
M
B
R
Y
O
51
H
E
T
52
W
A
S
53
H
R
O
O
M
54
U
55
N
56
E
A
S
Y
57
A
N
T
I
G
O
N
E
58
P
A
T
R
O
L
59
R
E
S
T
O
R
E
D
60
E
N
C
A
S
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0517 ( 25,392 )

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Across
1
Goddess played by Rene Russo in "Thor" : FRIGGA
7
Single-minded pursuits : CRUSADES
15
Quit : LOGOUT
16
Swimmer off the coast of Greenland : HARPSEAL
17
Bringing up the rear : INLAST
18
Having hooves : UNGULATE
19
E-4 or E-6, in the Army: Abbr. : NCO
20
Stayed close to : HUGGED
22
Kool Moe ___ (first rapper to perform at the Grammys) : DEE
23
Shrewdness : GOODSENSE
26
Brother of the Wild West : EARP
27
Laugh hysterically : ROAR
28
One of the Brady kids : GREG
30
Summer broadcast for ESPN : MAJORLEAGUEGAME
37
What many doctors and lawyers work in : PRIVATEPRACTICE
38
It's sanctioned by a "G" : GENERALAUDIENCE
39
Skipper's opposite : GOER
40
Risks : BETS
41
Gobs : ATON
43
Things felt at a casino? : TABLETOPS
48
Start of a cycle? : TRI
49
Nascent stage : EMBRYO
51
Riled (up) : HET
52
Lavatory : WASHROOM
54
On edge : UNEASY
57
Daughter (and granddaughter) of Jocasta : ANTIGONE
58
Police : PATROL
59
Good as new : RESTORED
60
Bundle : ENCASE
Down
1
Brief affair : FLING
2
Mr. Microphone manufacturer : RONCO
3
Cool digs? : IGLOO
4
Indian state on the Arabian Sea : GOA
5
The Theatre Cat in Broadway's "Cats" : GUS
6
Bad way to be left : ATTHEALTAR
7
Slowly moves (along) : CHUGS
8
Shooting location : RANGE
9
Hankering : URGE
10
Bubble and squeak ingredient, slangily : SPUD
11
Communication that's seen but not heard, for short : ASL
12
1991 Kenneth Branagh film about reincarnation : DEADAGAIN
13
Diner : EATER
14
Computer mode : SLEEP
21
Pull off a spool : UNREEL
24
Didn't pull over : DROVEON
25
Jimmy Dorsey standard with the line "You're like the fragrance of blossoms fair" : SORARE
26
Common diagnostic for epileptics : EEGTEST
28
Caribbean land named by Columbus : GUADELOUPE
29
Rattle off : RECITE
30
Efficiency stat : MPG
31
Word whose first letter is dropped in contractions : ARE
32
Country superfans : JINGOISTS
33
Therapists' org. : APA
34
Squalid : GRUBBY
35
Three CDs? : MCC
36
Wide shoe spec : EEE
41
Having it out : ATWAR
42
Bygone saxophone great, familiarly : TRANE
43
Collide with in an intersection, perhaps : TBONE
44
Packing : ARMED
45
John who wrote "Appointment in Samarra" : OHARA
46
Money at una casa de cambio : PESOS
47
Panache : STYLE
49
So : ERGO
50
Tie up : MOOR
53
#1, e.g. : HIT
55
Photographer Goldin : NAN
56
And all that: Abbr. : ETC

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 6 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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