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New York Times, Friday, May 19, 2017

Author:
Matthew Sewell
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
98/24/20163/11/20181
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2104011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65121
Matthew Sewell

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {FQ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Sewell. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matthew Sewell notes:
I hope solvers have fun with this themeless; I was glad to be able to work in what seemed like a good variety of entries without too ... read more

I hope solvers have fun with this themeless; I was glad to be able to work in what seemed like a good variety of entries without too many compromises. As a solver, I enjoy when the mid-length entries are lively, and I felt like luck was on my side with this one — for example, 6-Down and 25-Across were both "Hm, I wonder if that would work..." ideas that panned out. I suppose that's a sideways way of saying that I didn't go looking for a 6-Down, but maybe sometimes you look up and you find yourself with one anyway. C'est la vie.

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm usually wary of themelesses heavy on seven-letter entries — those mid-lengthers often end up more neutral than snazzy. There ... read more

I'm usually wary of themelesses heavy on seven-letter entries — those mid-lengthers often end up more neutral than snazzy. There aren't as many juicy phrases that are seven letters, compared to eight+ letters.

So what a nice surprise in the upper right, with LEAR JET, STEPMOM, NBA JAM … and the lower left, with KISS CAM, IM ALIVE, and COME NOW! Juicy stuff squeezed out of those slots.

INTONED and EYELESS, not so much.

USURPED and BARRAGE … I could go either way on those. They're more everyday, workmanlike terms, but they might be ripe for great wordplay clues? Not today, unfortunately, both getting tough dictionary definitions.

And ALCAZAR, a Moorish castle built during Muslim rule. Good to learn a thing or two from a crossword ... but the random-seeming string of letters made me wonder if I had an error somewhere. Satisfying to add to my vocabulary, but not satisfying during those head-scratching moments of my solve.

MANBUN is such a fun entry. But so cringeworthy in real life. It was so cool to see Jeremy Lin earn the starting PG spot for the New Jersey Nets … and so embarrassing to see him sport a MAN BUN. Sigh.

A couple of great long entries, ENGAGEMENT PARTY anchoring the middle. This is the type of entry that shines for me — not only is it jazzy in its own right, but it's ripe for clever cluing. [Its honorees plan to become one] made me think, "… plan to become one what?" But it's just "become one," as in "wed." Great stuff.

CRUSHING IT also crushed it. I normally am so-so on add-a-short-word phrases, but there's something fresh about this one. Crushed it! Rocked it! Nailed it! (Younger people roll their eyes at me when I use any of these phrases.)

Along with STREAMLINE, ANY SECOND (although I so badly wanted NOW after that), LAST CHANCE, some nice feature entries. A couple of liabilities did detract from the overall experience, notably NOL (esoteric legal term), and also the more minor ETO / WAC, ARR, STS.

Overall, I would have liked a few more assets in the puzzle, especially given the moderate number of liabilities, but some strong work in those mid-length slots.

1
A
2
B
3
U
4
S
5
E
6
M
7
E
8
N
9
D
10
O
11
L
12
D
13
S
14
L
A
S
T
C
15
H
A
N
C
E
16
M
E
E
T
17
C
R
U
S
H
I
N
G
I
T
18
E
A
V
E
19
A
R
R
20
O
N
B
A
S
E
21
G
R
I
P
22
Z
A
P
23
S
24
T
U
G
25
N
26
B
A
J
A
M
27
A
G
E
N
28
T
29
N
E
30
W
T
O
31
E
T
O
32
R
E
D
E
E
33
M
34
M
A
I
N
35
I
T
E
M
36
A
N
Y
37
S
E
C
O
N
D
38
K
39
I
40
C
K
E
D
I
N
41
N
E
L
42
L
43
I
44
E
45
I
M
O
46
T
E
X
T
47
S
48
T
E
E
N
Y
49
S
A
M
50
O
S
A
51
P
P
52
P
53
D
O
T
E
54
S
L
E
W
55
R
56
E
A
R
E
57
D
58
N
O
L
59
C
I
N
E
60
S
T
R
E
A
M
61
L
I
N
E
62
A
V
O
N
63
I
N
T
E
R
V
E
N
E
S
64
M
E
W
S
65
R
A
Y
S
66
S
E
E
D
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0519 ( 24,664 )
Across
1
Walk all over : ABUSE
6
Put back together : MEND
10
88 or 98 : OLDS
14
"It's now or never" : LASTCHANCE
16
Converge : MEET
17
Nailing a performance : CRUSHINGIT
18
Origination point of some drips : EAVE
19
Sheet music abbr. : ARR
20
Having hit successfully, say : ONBASE
21
Weightlifter's concern : GRIP
22
Obliterates : ZAPS
24
Port whistler : TUG
25
Classic arcade game with a glass backboard that shatters : NBAJAM
27
86 or 99 : AGENT
29
Still learning the ropes of : NEWTO
31
Large W.W. II area: Abbr. : ETO
32
Save : REDEEM
34
Agenda-topping issue : MAINITEM
36
Momentarily : ANYSECOND
38
Started to work : KICKEDIN
41
Bratty girl on "Little House on the Prairie" : NELLIE
45
Qualifier in 46-Across : IMO
46
Messages with emojis : TEXTS
48
Size zero, say : TEENY
49
Savory Indian appetizer : SAMOSA
51
Marking for a very soft passage : PPP
53
Show great fondness : DOTE
54
Abundance : SLEW
55
Mothered or fathered : REARED
58
___ pros. (lawsuit abbr.) : NOL
59
French filmdom : CINE
60
Rid of inefficient extras : STREAMLINE
62
What makes consumers blush? : AVON
63
Plays peacemaker : INTERVENES
64
Pet sounds : MEWS
65
They may be soaked up : RAYS
66
They're favorites : SEEDS
Down
1
Moorish castle : ALCAZAR
2
Heavy rain : BARRAGE
3
Wrongly assumed : USURPED
4
Some patrons: Abbr. : STS
5
Voice-activated Amazon device : ECHO
6
"The ponytail's hipster cousin," per GQ : MANBUN
7
Its honorees plan to become one : ENGAGEMENTPARTY
8
Org. for forensic specialist Abby Sciuto : NCIS
9
Class clown's comeuppance : DETENTION
10
Competitor of Cartier : OMEGA
11
Means of travel for a V.I.P. : LEARJET
12
Get sidetracked : DEVIATE
13
Part of a blended family : STEPMOM
15
Soupçon : HINT
23
Crafty sort : SNEAK
26
Article of attire with strings : BONNET
28
Convictions : TENETS
30
W.W. II service member : WAC
33
Old-fashioned letter opener : MYDEARSIR
35
Dogged it : IDLED
37
It shares a key with a caret : SIX
38
What motivates people to get to first base during a game? : KISSCAM
39
Survivor's cry : IMALIVE
40
"Let's get real here ..." : COMENOW
42
Strong and majestic : LEONINE
43
Half spoken, half sung : INTONED
44
Naturally blind : EYELESS
47
Flings : SPREES
50
Eponym of USA Track & Field's highest award : OWENS
52
It may be poached : PEAR
56
View from Catania : ETNA
57
Photo ID issuers : DMVS
61
Commander during John Brown's capture in 1859 : LEE

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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