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New York Times, Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Author: Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
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867/5/20108/1/201850
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1.634192
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQ} This is puzzle # 82 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: My original submission included RUM BABA / RUMBA and MEMENTOS / MENTOS. But Will thought it was confusing, having so much doubling. Apparently ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

My original submission included RUM BABA / RUMBA and MEMENTOS / MENTOS. But Will thought it was confusing, having so much doubling. Apparently he doesn't know just how bad my vision is!

A big shout-out to my local Starbucks and their delicious VENTI LATTEs. And to their menu written in teeny-tiny text that all blurs together for me.

Jeff Chen notes: It should come to no surprise to people who know me that I originally clued POWER UP as something like [Awesome ability gained by a video game ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

It should come to no surprise to people who know me that I originally clued POWER UP as something like [Awesome ability gained by a video game avatar, such as the embiggerator or the super-immortality mushroom for Mario].

My gridding philosophy has always been to pack in as many strong bonuses while minimizing gluey short fill. Sometimes I wonder if I overdo it, though, making a puzzle too tough for solvers. I've recently had a string of people tell me how hard my puzzles are.

I love me THE FLASH, PHENOM, EXPONENT, all of which I think everyone ought to know.

Okay, I only expect people to know at least two of the four people who have been the Flash, not all four. I'm not a monster.

But did I overdo it with FLIP TOP, TRI TIP, LSD TABS? Not sure. Even BILGE RATS, which I love (I take full advantage of "Talk like a pirate day") might make a solver's life challenging.

As a constructor, I want to produce puzzles that first and foremost are solvable, and that hopefully entertain. I'm never sure if I accomplished that. So I continue to seek feedback and try to learn from it. You can reach me through the "Contact us" link on the home page if you have constructive criticism.

Final note: the grid would have come together a lot easier if I didn't feel like I had to avoid any non-thematic doubled letters in the fill (aside from the necessary EE in SEEING DOUBLE, of course). Turns out it's tough to eschew entries with EE, SS, even OO. All those entries went POOF! I have a feeling no one even noticed this, but man, my compulsions are strong.

1
F
2
R
3
O
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G
5
C
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L
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A
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S
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P
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B
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E
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A
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H
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L
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N
A
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H
A
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I
M
D
U
E
18
I
S
A
Y
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A
M
O
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E
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L
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A
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G
G
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E
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T
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T
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P
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P
O
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N
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S
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O
V
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C
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E
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M
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C
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Y
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P
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O
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S
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A
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W
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D
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V
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E
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A
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P
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B
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F
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S
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O
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U
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B
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E
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A
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A
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L
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M
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0509 ( 25,019 )
Across Down
1. Talking animal in some fairy tales : FROG
5. It's gripping : CLASP
10. Summer vacation spot : BEACH
15. Musical Horne : LENA
16. Come out of one's shell : HATCH
17. "My luck is bound to change" : IMDUE
18. Exclamation of surprise, in Britain : ISAY
19. "When the stars make you drool just like pasta fazool, that's ___" : AMORE
20. Organ that Prometheus regenerated nightly : LIVER
21. ___ Xing : PED
22. Reality TV show, when 59-Across? : AMAZINGGRACE
24. Cut of beef in a Newport steak : TRITIP
26. Vatican V.I.P. : POPE
27. Famous feuder with Jay-Z : NAS
28. Chilled, when 59-Across? : OVERRICE
31. Ding, e.g. : MAR
32. Caterwaul : CRY
33. Sneaky ___ (trickster) : PETE
34. Crew's need : OARS
36. Left slack-jawed : AWED
38. Aerate, when 59-Across? : VENTILATTE
42. Grand ___ : PRIX
44. [That's so ... sad] : SIGH
45. Skip out (on) : BAIL
49. Costello of Abbott and Costello : LOU
50. Small dog, informally : POM
53. "Possibly," when 59-Across? : DEEPENDS
55. Hole-punching tool : AWL
56. Sign for good or ill : OMEN
58. Did a blacksmith's job : FORGED
59. Experiencing a vision problem : SEEINGDOUBLE
63. Get a bite : EAT
64. Slowly break down : ERODE
65. Two of the heart's chambers : ATRIA
66. ___ mater : ALMA
67. Babble : RUNON
68. Shopping aids : LISTS
69. Utah town near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks : MOAB
70. Said "O-D-O-U-R," e.g. : SPELT
71. Apt rhyme for "cache" : STASH
72. The salon names To Dye For and Best Little Hairhouse (both real!), e.g. : PUNS
1. Cap on many a shampoo bottle : FLIPTOP
2. Member of the B-team : RESERVE
3. Slimming down : ONADIET
4. Part of L.G.B.T.Q. : GAY
5. Advocate for : CHAMPION
6. Eastern priest : LAMA
7. The whole shebang : ATOZ
8. Substitute for legal tender : SCRIP
9. Real standout : PHENOM
10. Insulting designation from a pirate : BILGERAT
11. Mideast bigwig : EMIR
12. Typical part of a book deal : ADVANCE
13. Line holdup? : CUECARD
14. Nonconforming opinion : HERESY
22. Diver's need : AIR
23. College admissions fig. : GPA
25. Famed fountain name : TREVI
29. Sacred creature in ancient Egypt : CAT
30. She threw the apple of discord, in Greek myth : ERIS
35. Took a tumble, as the stock market : SLID
37. Big name in grills : WEBER
39. High number? : EXPONENT
40. "Just a number," according to a common saying : AGE
41. Superhero with super speed : THEFLASH
42. Give some juice : POWERUP
43. Prime directive : RULEONE
46. Poet who read at President Clinton's 1993 inauguration : ANGELOU
47. Creative sort : IDEAMAN
48. Beginnings of some trips : LSDTABS
49. Light sources in a light show : LASERS
51. "Wow!," in a text : OMG
52. Gold and silver : MEDALS
54. "The Gold-Bug" author : POE
57. Playground call : NOTIT
60. One with millions of Instagram followers, say : IDOL
61. ___ Major : URSA
62. Smithereens : BITS
66. Rock band's need : AMP

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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