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New York Times, Saturday, May 26, 2018

Author: Peter Wentz
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter Wentz
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1.81005
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 32 for Mr. Wentz. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Peter Wentz notes: More Saturday puzzle good times! This grid layout is something of an old standby for me, with the three long central answers ... more
Peter Wentz notes:

More Saturday puzzle good times! This grid layout is something of an old standby for me, with the three long central answers balancing the mid-range entries in each quadrant. A few bullet points about this one:

-I believe DOTEDU was a first in my debut all those years ago, and it looks like this might be the first DOTGOV to grace a mainstream crossword. Be on the lookout for DOTLIMO and DOTDIAMONDS in future puzzles.

-Yes, I wasn't all that happy with the THE trio in this grid. In my own halfhearted defense, all three of those entries are pretty solid & if you're going to repeat a word, the most common in the English language isn't a bad choice.

-Two companies of eleven-figure Facebook acquisition offers in one quadrant! Stacks like these are the funnest to create.

Hope this one is a 34-Across! (sorry...)

Jeff Chen notes: CROWD PLEASER indeed! Such a solid example of a stair stack themeless, Peter hitting on all marks. A great stair stack starts ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

CROWD PLEASER indeed! Such a solid example of a stair stack themeless, Peter hitting on all marks.

A great stair stack starts with that oh-so-important middle triplet. CROWD PLEASER / PLAY THE PONIES / THE LEGO MOVIE provide so much zazz. Yes!

Then the NW / SE stacks – POP A PILL / AMAZONIA, and WHATS APP over SNAP CHAT = good usage of those slots.

And finally, where many stair stacks fall is in the SW / NE corners, so hard to execute on once the stair stack is fixed in place. THE CURE / PHONE SEX plus STARBASE / BEDTIMES = excellent work.

And of course, Peter is such a great gridder that he wove everything together with little to no crossword glue. Some will argue that ENO gets way too much expose for his level of fame, but I think he's crossworthy enough. And RNS might be hard to figure out if you don't know it (registered nurses).

I did wonder if POP A PILL was as on point as "pill popper." But ultimately I thought it was a solid 1-Across.

I also don't love THE CURE crossing THE LEGO MOVIE, at THE, but it's not a deal-breaker.

Terrific puzzle from one of the top themeless constructors around. It's not easy to work with 68-word grids, and Peter does it so elegantly.

1
P
2
O
3
P
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A
5
P
6
I
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L
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L
9
L
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E
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T
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B
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A
M
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D
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K
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D
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D
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C
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H
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0526 ( 25,036 )
Across Down
1. Easy way to ease pain : POPAPILL
9. Doesn't bother : LETSBE
15. About a third of South America : AMAZONIA
16. Election Day declaration : IVOTED
17. Tries to detect, as a substance in the body : TESTSFOR
18. Literally, "of nothing" : DENADA
19. Part of some shortcuts : ALT
20. Its capital is Nuku'alofa : TONGA
22. "Dagnabbit!" : NERTS
23. Bottom of the sea? : KEEL
25. Single numbers : SOLI
27. Trash holder : BIN
28. "How curious ..." : ITSODD
31. Final stage : ENDGAME
34. Fan favorite : CROWDPLEASER
37. Patronize off-track betting, say : PLAYTHEPONIES
39. Blockbuster 2014 animated film : THELEGOMOVIE
40. Typing center : HOMEROW
41. Heat : ESTRUS
45. Repeated collaborator with Bowie : ENO
46. Grasslands burrower : VOLE
49. Supposed source of large footprints : YETI
50. The "00" of ".00" : CENTS
53. V-shaped cut : NOTCH
56. In : HOT
57. The Beatles had their last one in 1966 : USTOUR
59. 2014 Facebook acquisition : WHATSAPP
61. Not leave at the end of the line : REELIN
62. One of the superstates in "1984" : EASTASIA
63. Panegyrizes : EXALTS
64. Instagram rival : SNAPCHAT
1. Republican politico George : PATAKI
2. ___ station : OMELET
3. Wallops : PASTES
4. Drug marketed as Retrovir : AZT
5. Use Instagram, e.g. : POST
6. Thumbnail bio, e.g. : INFO
7. Threats to Daniel, in the Book of Daniel : LIONS
8. Slow and dignified : LARGO
9. Aid in keeping food fresh : LID
10. Perfectly matched : EVEN
11. Word with skin or ring : TONE
12. Outpost in science fiction : STARBASE
13. Subjects of babysitter negotiations : BEDTIMES
14. Portrayer of Warren Buffett in HBO's "Too Big to Fail" : EDASNER
21. War-torn Mideast city : ALEPPO
24. Setting : LOCALE
26. Smitten : INLOVE
29. Lint collector : DRYER
30. End of a presidential address : DOTGOV
32. Margaret Thatcher's husband : DENIS
33. Merrymaking : GAIETY
35. Question pundits discuss after a presidential debate : WHOWON
36. Certain voter ID : DEM
37. Intimate practice done at a distance : PHONESEX
38. Beverage said to help with weight loss : LEMONTEA
39. "Friday I'm in Love" band, 1992 : THECURE
42. Warmed-over material : REHASH
43. It's perfect : UTOPIA
44. Hold tight : SITPAT
47. "Never stop improving" sloganeer : LOWES
48. ___ Hunt, protagonist in the "Mission: Impossible" films : ETHAN
51. Payment that many wait in line to make : TOLL
52. "___ yourself" : SUIT
54. Mexican quarters : CASA
55. Letters before a colon : HTTP
58. Some shelter volunteers, briefly : RNS
60. Certain ink holder : SAC

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?