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New York Times, Saturday, May 18, 2019

Author:
Andy Kravis and Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1511/3/20137/25/201910
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4122213
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63050
Andy Kravis
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4311/6/20128/10/201920
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
94566391
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62160
Erik Agard

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Kravis. This is puzzle # 38 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
As always, Erik and I had a blast working together. We had a tough time cluing HANGMAN, but the editing team came up with the superb ... read more

As always, Erik and I had a blast working together. We had a tough time cluing HANGMAN, but the editing team came up with the superb clue [Bad choices in it might cost you an arm and a leg]. We wanted to share a few of our favorite clues that hit the cutting room floor:

  • [PDA screen?] for KISS CAM
  • [Forward-looking figure?] for LOT
  • [Part of a subway series] for TRAIN STOP
Jeff Chen notes:
I appreciate when people work with new themeless grid types. If you press the 'Analyze this puzzle' button down below, you'll see that ... read more

I appreciate when people work with new themeless grid types. If you press the "Analyze this puzzle" button down below, you'll see that there are zero identical grids – and even zero with similar topology. That's a rare occurrence for themelesses, which usually have black square patterns that are similar to previous themelesses, if not precisely the same.

Why does this matter, Jeff, you ridiculous pedant?

I'm glad you asked! I usually don't care about statistics or measurements in puzzles — it only matters to me when they directly correlate to solver pleasure. In this case, the grid helped me break out of the staid themeless sensation of "feature answers packed into each of the four corners."

Not only did I get TIGERPROOFING across the middle, but it felt like everywhere I turned, there was a CASABLANCA. BETA TESTER. HERE'S HOW. BOER WAR. SEE IF I CARE? I sure do!

I enjoy it when the entire themeless feels relevant, rather than when it's all about the four corners, and the rest of the puzzle serves simply to join those corners together.

TIGERPROOFING comes at a relevant time, just a few weeks after Tiger's career comeback, winning this year's Masters. Amazing that he's persevered through all the surgeries. It feels like eons ago that golf course designers used TIGERPROOFING to try to give other people a shot against the wunderkind.

(As an aside, there's a program called "Dr. Fill" that competes in the ACPT. Some constructors have been accused of DR FILL PROOFING. Probably not a crossworthy entry just yet…)

As with most 66-word puzzles, a bit too many slots filled with neutral material like RELATE TO, TELECOMS, ALL ALONG, TEAMING. Easy to be SORE AT these, or at least call them not that ENTICING.

But there were a lot of strong feature entries sprinkled throughout, VR HEADSET, SOME PEOPLE!, HANGMAN with a fantastic clue about bad choices costing you an arm and a leg. And the clue [Hard core] made for a delightful moment of discovery; a PIT is a literal hard core. Helped keep my attention through this challenging solve.

1
A
2
F
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C
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A
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G
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N
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T
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M
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A
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C
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M
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D
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C
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C
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B
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K
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H
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B
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N
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U
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E
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S
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A
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V
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C
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P
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H
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H
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W
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P
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A
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T
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X
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N
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C
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P
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O
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S
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R
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L
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G
C
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S
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M
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M
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M
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A
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N
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T
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60
L
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0518 ( 25,393 )

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Across
1
Jets are found in it, for short : AFC
4
Rep : AGENT
9
Photo framer's offering : MAT
12
Tough person to get information from : CLAM
14
Like southern Israel vis-à-vis northern Israel : DRIER
15
Porter of note : COLE
16
Acclaimed 1942 film banned in Germany until after W.W. II : CASABLANCA
18
Alma mater of N.B.A. M.V.P. Russell Westbrook : UCLA
19
It's found just south of the White House's South Lawn : ESTREET
20
Stadium divertissement : KISSCAM
22
Often-braised cut of beef : SHORTRIB
24
Language of South Asia : NEPALI
25
Home of the Unesco World Heritage Site of Palmyra : SYRIA
26
"It's futile" : NOUSE
28
Ending of eight U.S. presidents' names : SON
29
Quad bike, e.g. : ATV
31
Drawing : ENTICING
33
Measures taken to make golf courses tougher in the early 2000s : TIGERPROOFING
36
"Let me demonstrate" : HERESHOW
37
Hard core : PIT
38
Sports star who once declared "I am America" : ALI
39
Like some barbecue : TEXAN
41
Guitar accessories : CAPOS
45
Arizona rival : NESTEA
47
Empathize with : RELATETO
49
Some guitar basics : GCHORDS
51
Salt : MARINER
52
Bryophytic growth : MOSS
53
"What a jerk!" : SOMEPEOPLE
55
NASA's ___ Research Center : AMES
56
Walt Disney's middle name : ELIAS
57
Singer of the song "Shadowland" in "The Lion King" : NALA
58
Subj. of the 2017 memoir "Working on the Dark Side of the Moon" : NSA
59
British weight : TONNE
60
Something to build on : LOT
Down
1
Reach : ACCESS
2
Ostentatious : FLASHY
3
___ oil : CASTOR
4
Richard who composed the music for "Damn Yankees" and "The Pajama Game" : ADLER
5
Cheesy crust : GRATIN
6
"___ feste Burg ist unser Gott" (Bach cantata) : EIN
7
Narrow part : NECK
8
Station : TRAINSTOP
9
Venomous snake : MOCCASIN
10
The whole time : ALLALONG
11
Joining, with "up" : TEAMING
13
Subject of the Supreme Court cases Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges : MARRIAGE
15
Edge : CUSP
17
One looking for bugs : BETATESTER
21
"Go right ahead!" : SEEIFICARE
23
Conflict that saw the sieges of Ladysmith and Kimberley : BOERWAR
27
One overseas : UNO
30
Modern game equipment : VRHEADSET
32
That's the ticket! : CITATION
33
Sprint and such : TELECOMS
34
Home of the Isle of Man : IRISHSEA
35
Cow or chicken follower : POX
36
Bad choices in it might cost you an arm and a leg : HANGMAN
40
Like the lion slain in Hercules' first labor : NEMEAN
42
Foreign correspondent, maybe : PENPAL
43
Classic opera set in Cyprus : OTELLO
44
Cross with : SOREAT
46
Have trouble sleeping, say : TOSS
48
Run out : LAPSE
50
Daring way to fly : SOLO
54
Calculus calculation, for short : MIN

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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