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New York Times, Saturday, May 7, 2016

Author:
Kyle Mahowald
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
183/22/20042/10/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2303262
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60111
Kyle Mahowald

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JKXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Mahowald. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I tend to like themeless puzzles featuring a single, stellar grid-spanner across the middle. The impact of WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU is ... read more

I tend to like themeless puzzles featuring a single, stellar grid-spanner across the middle. The impact of WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU is high, and it doesn't stress the grid nearly as much as a triple-stack or even a double-stack of grid-spanners. A nice way to introduce a new 15-letter entry.

I can't believe I used to love this show

I also liked the feature entries intersecting WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU — MUST BE NICE (sigh) and DYNAMIC DUO are great selections. Along with a couple of other nice long entries like SIGHT GAG, IM ON FIRE, HEDONISM, the skeleton of the grid bursts with color.

I would have liked more sizzling entries, though. The NW and SE corners feature triple-stacks, but PONIARDS, AMERICAN, CASH SALE aren't that interesting to me. INSOMNIA carries a beautiful clue: [A good cure for it is sleep, per W.C. Fields], echoing the Marx Bros. wit in the opposite corner, so that does elevate it.

It's tough enough to put together any clean and colorful triple-stack, even when they're only eight letters long, and it becomes even harder when you run a long entry through it. When you run two entries through — and they're next to each other, like HEDONISM and YES WE CAN — it's almost a guarantee that some of your long slots won't turn into great assets.

It's a tricky balance of trying to cram in a ton of long slots vs. converting all those slots into sizzling material. We also see other signs of that stress in the SE corner, with ONEA and SESS holding the stack together. Along with some HHH, EES (electrical engineers), A TOE, DOES SO, the level of glue is right at my personal threshold.

New short or mid-length entries can delight me, and trying to figure out MAC PRO was entertaining. I'm not sure if it has legs, like the IPAD, or if it'll go the way of the POWER PC or EMAC. But for now, it was really fun to struggle with the odd MACP?? pattern.

1
P
2
O
3
N
4
I
5
A
6
R
7
D
8
S
9
M
10
A
11
C
12
P
13
R
14
O
15
I
M
O
N
F
I
R
E
16
U
P
R
O
A
R
17
S
I
G
H
T
G
A
G
18
S
T
A
R
V
E
19
A
T
O
E
20
S
M
E
21
L
T
22
F
O
A
L
23
A
R
24
M
25
A
R
A
B
26
T
U
G
S
27
T
28
H
R
E
A
29
D
S
30
L
E
31
T
S
S
E
E
32
O
H
E
N
R
Y
33
T
A
N
S
34
W
H
A
T
S
N
35
E
W
W
I
T
36
H
37
Y
38
O
39
U
40
H
A
L
O
41
C
R
E
E
P
S
42
M
43
A
44
R
45
R
Y
M
E
46
R
E
A
D
S
T
O
47
A
Q
U
A
48
I
N
49
T
O
50
P
O
W
51
D
U
M
B
52
C
A
R
D
53
S
54
N
E
55
M
56
O
57
R
I
B
B
58
E
D
59
A
M
E
60
R
I
C
A
N
61
I
N
L
I
E
U
62
C
A
S
H
S
A
L
E
63
D
O
E
S
S
O
64
I
N
S
O
M
N
I
A
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0507 ( 24,287 )
Across
1
Small, slim daggers : PONIARDS
9
Apple variety : MACPRO
15
Single from Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." : IMONFIRE
16
Major protest : UPROAR
17
Many a Harpo Marx joke : SIGHTGAG
18
Extremely fast? : STARVE
19
Dip ___ in : ATOE
20
Get the lead out? : SMELT
22
"Poor little" one in Coleridge's "To a Young Ass" : FOAL
23
Automatic, for one : ARM
25
Like Egypt : ARAB
26
Jerks : TUGS
27
They're followed on message boards : THREADS
30
"Hmm" : LETSSEE
32
Writer who gave his name to an annual award : OHENRY
33
Many vacationers bring them home : TANS
34
Question before a personal update : WHATSNEWWITHYOU
40
Something depicted for goodness' sake? : HALO
41
With 48-Across, enters stealthily : CREEPS
42
One-knee plea : MARRYME
46
Entertains at bedtime : READSTO
47
Color of McCartney's "Sgt. Pepper" uniform : AQUA
48
See 41-Across : INTO
50
Belt line? : POW
51
Sharp's opposite : DUMB
52
Sharp's handful : CARDS
54
Captain of fiction : NEMO
57
Like corduroy : RIBBED
59
Cheese choice : AMERICAN
61
As a replacement : INLIEU
62
Simplest sort of deal : CASHSALE
63
Insistent retort : DOESSO
64
A good cure for it is sleep, per W. C. Fields : INSOMNIA
Down
1
Where Fermi studied : PISA
2
Cut out : OMIT
3
Place to be avoided : NOGOAREA
4
Not learned : INHERENT
5
Like a boat's cockpit, usually : AFT
6
Drilling sites : RIGS
7
Plays with emotions? : DRAMAS
8
Rocker with the 1976 album "Live Bullet" : SEGER
9
"I wish *I* had that" : MUSTBENICE
10
On point : APT
11
Common use for pipe cleaners : CRAFTS
12
Like tea bags : POROUS
13
Plunder : RAVAGE
14
Words that may elicit a worried gulp : ORELSE
21
Show title shown on a license plate : LALAW
24
Like much of the Everglades : MARSHY
27
Way up at a ski resort : TOW
28
Primary loser to J.F.K. in 1960 : HHH
29
Longtime nickname in comics : DYNAMICDUO
31
Certain sandal : TSTRAP
33
First word of Frost's "The Road Not Taken" : TWO
35
"Neapolitan Novels" author Ferrante : ELENA
36
Pleasure principle : HEDONISM
37
Frequent chant in 2008 : YESWECAN
38
Go for it, with "in" : OPT
39
Grp. doing private shows? : USO
42
Home of the soccer team that FIFA named the Club of the Century : MADRID
43
Mother-or-son Philippine president : AQUINO
44
Bit of gang warfare : RUMBLE
45
Some wedding parties : RABBIS
46
Hall-of-Fame N.B.A. player known as "The Worm" : RODMAN
49
One of the singing Braxton sisters : TRACI
53
Mtg. : SESS
55
Where Bambara is widely spoken : MALI
56
Fit for service : ONEA
58
Experts in power: Abbr. : EES
60
Symbol of charge density : RHO

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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