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New York Times, Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Author:
Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
997/5/20106/13/201960
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2578172598
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.636212
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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
4
G
5
C
6
L
7
A
8
S
9
P
10
B
11
E
12
A
13
C
14
H
15
L
E
N
A
16
H
A
T
C
H
17
I
M
D
U
E
18
I
S
A
Y
19
A
M
O
R
E
20
L
I
V
E
R
21
P
E
D
22
A
M
A
Z
I
N
23
G
G
R
A
C
E
24
T
R
I
25
T
I
P
26
P
O
P
E
27
N
A
S
28
O
V
E
R
R
I
29
C
30
E
31
M
A
R
32
C
R
Y
33
P
E
T
E
34
O
A
R
35
S
36
A
37
W
E
D
38
V
39
E
N
T
I
L
40
A
41
T
T
E
42
P
43
R
I
X
44
S
I
G
H
45
B
46
A
47
I
48
L
49
L
O
U
50
P
51
O
52
M
53
D
E
E
54
P
E
N
D
S
55
A
W
L
56
O
M
E
57
N
58
F
O
R
G
E
D
59
S
E
E
60
I
N
G
D
O
61
U
62
B
L
E
63
E
A
T
64
E
R
O
D
E
65
A
T
R
I
A
66
A
L
M
A
67
R
U
N
O
N
68
L
I
S
T
S
69
M
O
A
B
70
S
P
E
L
T
71
S
T
A
S
H
72
P
U
N
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0509 ( 25,019 )
Across
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
Down
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?