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New York Times, Saturday, May 4, 2019

Author:
Mark Diehl
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
7411/11/19845/4/20193
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
3214719362
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.572038
Mark Diehl

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 29 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 74 for Mr. Diehl. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Mark Diehl notes:
When I noticed that today's timely wish could be split up so nicely into four balanced pieces, this puzzle demanded to be made. And ... read more

When I noticed that today's timely wish could be split up so nicely into four balanced pieces, this puzzle demanded to be made. And since each entry could be clued separately in a non-revealing manner it was the perfect seeding set for a "mini-theme" themeless. Incorporating the number 4 in the NE sector was the biggest constructing hurdle, as you likely guessed. It will probably be a challenge to some solvers and I sort of apologize for that, but really the puzzle made me do it!

Jeff Chen notes:
I like mini-themes in themelesses, as long as 1.) they're amusing or surprising, and 2.) they don't degrade the puzzle by introducing ... read more

I like mini-themes in themelesses, as long as 1.) they're amusing or surprising, and 2.) they don't degrade the puzzle by introducing excess inflexibility.

Today's MAY / THE 4TH / BE WITH / YOU was both amusing and surprising – unusual to have a digit in a themeless, and very unusual to have four separate answers connect.

This Star Wars dork says that the force is with Mark!

Splitting up the mini-theme as MAY THE 4TH / BE WITH YOU might have been better, though. It'd be one thing if each of the four pieces could truly stand on their own. But BE WITH felt partialish (and THE 4TH to a lesser extent). So why not go whole hog and run MAY THE 4TH / BE WITH YOU as a cross-referenced pair of marquee answers?

I also wondered if criterion 2.) had been compromised. You might think splitting into four pieces would make things easier, but it's often not the case since that forces (ha) multiple black square placements right off the bat. While I did like PROCEDURE MANUAL and BALANCED BUDGETS, they're more workmanlike than colorful.

In the case of PROCEDURE MANUAL, literally workmanlike!

A bit of ABEAM ATEST EEN SRAS YRS too. Overall, I think the puzzle could have had more of a remastered Episode VI effect instead of an original Episode IV one (read: bright and shiny vs. you can almost see the strings holding the ships) if MAY THE 4TH / BE WITH YOU had seeded two standard 9x3 stacks.

A ton of great clues today. The telltale question mark did nothing to lift the fog from [Fashion lines?]. Hems? Seams? D'oh! That's fashion, used as a verb. Brilliant AD LIB clue.

[Hard to move] also baffled me, especially with no question mark. One sense of [Hard to move] is heavy, awkward, gigantic. Another is STOIC.

TSA AGENT is a great entry on its own. With a tip of the hat to removing one's hat for a TSA AGENT, it becomes even greater.

Loved the Star Wars nod. I bet if Mark had gone with a 9 / 9 split of the mini-theme, it'd have blown up the Death Star, instead of just missing that exhaust port.

1
M
2
A
3
Y
4
A
5
P
6
S
7
O
8
T
9
H
10
E
11
4
12
T
13
H
14
O
R
E
15
T
H
E
U
16
N
I
V
E
R
S
E
17
P
R
O
18
C
E
D
U
R
E
M
A
N
U
A
L
19
P
I
M
A
S
20
S
T
O
I
C
21
N
A
P
22
E
V
E
N
T
23
S
E
N
D
24
I
N
G
E
25
D
E
N
T
26
B
I
A
S
27
S
N
E
E
R
28
A
29
B
E
A
M
30
S
T
E
R
N
S
31
M
32
C
K
U
E
N
33
W
R
I
E
S
T
34
B
O
O
E
R
S
35
C
H
A
R
D
36
A
D
L
I
B
37
L
O
O
S
38
A
39
L
40
A
41
N
42
B
E
E
T
43
M
A
U
L
44
O
H
A
R
A
45
Y
R
S
46
S
I
D
L
E
47
L
U
T
E
S
48
B
A
L
49
A
N
C
E
D
B
50
U
D
G
E
T
S
51
I
T
A
L
I
A
N
W
I
N
E
52
L
O
A
53
B
E
W
I
T
H
54
E
T
O
N
55
Y
O
U
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0504 ( 25,379 )
Across
1
Could : MAY
4
Tail end of a dog? : APSO
8
U.S. Independence Day, informally : THE4TH
14
It could be carried in a cart : ORE
15
Space for everything : THEUNIVERSE
17
Written guide for a business : PROCEDUREMANUAL
19
"River People" of Arizona : PIMAS
20
Hard to move : STOIC
21
Wet ___ : NAP
22
Solar or lunar eclipse, e.g. : EVENT
23
Thrill : SEND
24
"The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" playwright : INGE
25
Some headway : DENT
26
Lean : BIAS
27
Villainous trademark : SNEER
28
Laterally, in a way : ABEAM
30
Rears : STERNS
31
Poet/lyricist who wrote the 1974 #1 hit "Seasons in the Sun" : MCKUEN
33
Most askew : WRIEST
34
Jeer leaders? : BOOERS
35
Green vegetable : CHARD
36
Fashion lines? : ADLIB
37
Heads of Parliament? : LOOS
38
Bean in space : ALAN
42
Vegetable with greens : BEET
43
Beat badly : MAUL
44
John who wrote "From the Terrace" : OHARA
45
Sch. divisions : YRS
46
Not proceed straightforwardly : SIDLE
47
Renaissance Faire sights : LUTES
48
Goals for fiscal conservatives : BALANCEDBUDGETS
51
Marsala, e.g. : ITALIANWINE
52
"Aloha nui ___" (Hawaiian sign-off meaning "lots of love") : LOA
53
Accompany : BEWITH
54
Radley rival : ETON
55
Recipient of the wish at 1-, 8-, 53- and 55-Across : YOU
Down
1
Took a spill, say? : MOPPED
2
Finally hit the big time : ARRIVE
3
Ones doing great and loyal service : YEOMEN
4
Big bang source, informally : ATEST
5
Candidate's goal, for short : PHD
6
Playfully fantastical : SEUSSIAN
7
Heading over a list of leading figures on a business's website : OURTEAM
8
Retiring : TIMID
9
Climate control syst. : HVAC
10
Yet, to Yeats : EEN
11
Toyota models since 1984 : 4RUNNERS
12
Person for whom one removes one's hat : TSAAGENT
13
Support staff : HELPERS
16
Ones making glowing recommendations? : NEONS
18
Is tough enough : CANTAKEIT
24
Request from someone who's disconsolate : INEEDAHUG
26
Makers of fine combs : BEES
27
Come alive : STIR
29
Pacifica or Sausalito, to S.F. : BURB
30
Sp. mujeres : SRAS
31
Centrist : MODERATE
32
Picnic staple : COLESLAW
33
Full monty : WHOLEBIT
34
Layette item : BABYBIB
35
Polite kids' plea : COULDWE
37
Fully charged : LADEN
39
Within recent memory : LATELY
40
Denial to a denial : ARETOO
41
Pirate haven of old : NASSAU
43
A Minor Prophet : MICAH
44
Long-gone : OLDEN
46
Sulk : SNIT
49
"Moonlight" Oscar winner : ALI
50
Commercial game whose box says it's for 2-10 players : UNO

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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