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New York Times, Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
202/9/201710/8/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5372300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58031
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QV} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
If you identify as non-male and/or LGBT and/or POC, and you're looking to get into crossword constructing, I'd be thrilled to offer ... read more

If you identify as non-male and/or LGBT and/or POC, and you're looking to get into crossword constructing, I'd be thrilled to offer whatever assistance I can to help you get your puzzles published. Contact me via Instagram (@rosstrudeau) or Twitter (@trudeauross).

This is a 72-word puzzle, but if I could borrow the time stone and advise 2017 Ross, I'd have him drop a black square at the T in ANNOTATORS. The puzzle would still have room to breathe, and naive me could have avoided UOMO and CTS and IROC / DCON, etc.

Jeff Chen notes:
POKE, PET, TAP, STROKE – all appropriate for a FINISHING TOUCH revealer, each word placed at the end of its theme phrase. Ross ... read more

POKE, PET, TAP, STROKE – all appropriate for a FINISHING TOUCH revealer, each word placed at the end of its theme phrase. Ross disguised them well, making me happily fail in my early-week "Guess That Theme" game. The POKE in PIG IN A POKE is so far away from the "touch" meaning, for example. Every one of the four was so nicely obfuscated.

Interesting that Ross used across bonus fill again. The Jeff of today approves of the Ross of today's message to the Ross of yesteryear. Ghosts of puzzles past! (A shame that the queue time from acceptance to publication can be so long.)

Low word counts can be useful when they produce colorful, juicy fill. But ANNOTATORS and BROCAS AREA don't do much for me. The former is dry, and the latter is a toughie. I enjoyed reading up on BROCAS AREA, but I don't think it matches the simplicity of the theme.

The importance of matching fill to theme is something that's only dawned upon me in the past few years. A simple, beginners' theme + a crazy-hard fill can make for a dissonant solving experience, forcing someone to work so hard for too simple an a-ha. Along with BROCAS AREA there was GARRET and ESTADO, XTINA, UOMO, ITZA. All in all, it didn't make for a great early-week experience.

I appreciate the idea behind going down to 72 words in an early-week grid, as it can 1) give the constructor a personal challenge, and 2) have the potential of a fresh, yet still smooth, feeling. Yesterday's 72-word puzzle worked better on the second count than today's.

But overall, the theme was solid, putting a mist over my eyes until the very end. Along with some great long fill in NOT AGAIN, ROTOTILL, PATOIS, there were enough assets to still make for a decent solve.

1
J
2
A
3
D
4
E
5
C
6
F
7
O
8
S
9
C
10
R
11
E
12
P
13
E
14
A
L
E
S
15
R
A
M
P
16
L
O
W
E
R
17
M
O
N
T
18
A
N
N
O
19
T
A
T
O
R
S
20
B
U
Y
A
21
P
I
G
I
N
A
P
O
K
E
22
D
A
S
23
G
U
S
T
24
E
25
X
O
T
I
26
C
27
P
E
T
28
I
29
N
30
C
31
H
32
I
T
T
33
O
N
T
O
34
G
L
O
R
Y
35
T
H
I
36
S
I
S
S
P
37
I
38
N
A
L
T
A
P
39
Z
I
N
C
S
40
O
D
O
R
41
O
N
E
42
A
C
A
I
43
S
44
U
N
S
T
R
45
O
K
E
46
E
47
L
A
N
48
A
E
R
49
F
50
I
N
I
S
H
51
I
52
N
G
T
O
53
U
54
C
55
H
56
B
R
O
C
A
S
A
R
E
A
57
M
O
R
E
58
T
O
W
E
R
59
N
O
R
I
60
E
M
I
R
61
U
M
A
S
S
62
D
C
O
N
63
O
O
P
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0507 ( 25,382 )

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Across
1
Green carving stone : JADE
5
Execs who handle the green : CFOS
9
Brunch item often topped with sugar or fruit : CREPE
14
Alternatives to lagers : ALES
15
Aid to accessibility : RAMP
16
Word before "the bar" or "the boom" : LOWER
17
___ Blanc : MONT
18
Ones making written comments on text : ANNOTATORS
20
Purchase something sight unseen : BUYAPIGINAPOKE
22
Prosecutors, for short : DAS
23
Big wind : GUST
24
Chinchilla or macaw, e.g. : EXOTICPET
28
Snowfall unit : INCH
32
"Cousin" of 1960s TV : ITT
33
Not deceived by : ONTO
34
Battlefield renown : GLORY
35
1984 mockumentary with a lot of ad-libbed dialogue : THISISSPINALTAP
39
Anti-rust coatings : ZINCS
40
Smell : ODOR
41
Unified : ONE
42
Smoothie berry : ACAI
43
Danger of laboring outdoors in the summer : SUNSTROKE
46
Panache : ELAN
48
___ Lingus : AER
49
Icing on the cake ... or a hint to 20-, 24-, 35- and 43-Across : FINISHINGTOUCH
56
Brain region linked to speech : BROCASAREA
57
What someone who's never satisfied wants : MORE
58
Minaret, e.g. : TOWER
59
"Me neither," formally : NORI
60
Qatari leader : EMIR
61
Sch. whose athletes are the Minutemen and Minutewomen : UMASS
62
Pest control brand : DCON
63
"My b" : OOPS
Down
1
Frame component : JAMB
2
Felipe or Moises of baseball : ALOU
3
Refute : DENY
4
Nueva York or Dakota del Norte : ESTADO
5
Ocean Spray fruit snacks : CRAISINS
6
Scary part of a wolf : FANG
7
Upscale hotel chain : OMNI
8
Quick learner, say : SPONGE
9
Thunder sounds : CLAPS
10
Turn soil by machine : ROTOTILL
11
Furry "Star Wars" creature : EWOK
12
Father, in France : PERE
13
Bustling hosp. locales : ERS
19
Stretched tight : TAUT
21
Local dialect : PATOIS
24
System of moral values : ETHIC
25
Singer Aguilera's nickname : XTINA
26
Abbr. for change : CTS
27
Quickly attach, as a top to a bottle : POPON
29
Taboo : NOTOK
30
Popular bird in origami : CRANE
31
Promote excessively : HYPE
32
Chichén ___ (Mayan ruins) : ITZA
34
Attic : GARRET
36
Arts and ___ : SCIENCES
37
Names, briefly : IDS
38
"[sigh] ... We just dealt with this" : NOTAGAIN
43
Say "Talk to the hand, 'cause the face ain't listenin'," say : SASS
44
Release from one's clutches : UNHAND
45
Theatrical cry from a balcony : OROMEO
47
Ones failing polygraphs : LIARS
49
Native to : FROM
50
Hawkeye's home : IOWA
51
Classic Camaro : IROC
52
Master detective Wolfe : NERO
53
Man, in Milan : UOMO
54
Blood's foe : CRIP
55
The wife's, e.g. : HERS
56
A/C stat : BTU

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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