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New York Times, Friday, June 14, 2019

Author:
Caitlin Reid
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
45/10/20187/14/20190
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1100110
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57000
Caitlin Reid

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 32 Missing: {FJQZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Ms. Reid. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Caitlin Reid notes:
I am thrilled and humbled to have my first NYT themeless published! The quality of themelesses here sometimes seems like an impossibly ... read more

I am thrilled and humbled to have my first NYT themeless published! The quality of themelesses here sometimes seems like an impossibly high standard to meet, and indeed the first iteration of this puzzle wasn't up to snuff! But after reading the encouraging notes from the editing team, I was tempted to revive this puzzle into what you see today.

The crossword gods smiled upon me — I was able to find another (much livelier) entry at 33-Across that enabled me to keep the top half of the puzzle relatively unchanged and fill the bottom portion with a lot more fun stuff. I'm also pleasantly surprised to see many of my clues passed muster (my favorites probably being 18- and 33-Across and 35-Down).

I hope you enjoy the solve!

Jeff Chen notes:
Every once in a while, a new voice emerges onto the scene, making me sit up a little straighter. It hasn't been since Robyn Weintraub ... read more

Every once in a while, a new voice emerges onto the scene, making me sit up a little straighter. It hasn't been since Robyn Weintraub started making her playful themelesses that I've felt this great a disturbance in the Force. I loved today's solving experience, packed with joy and entertainment from start to finish.

Let's start with the feature entry. If you're going to pick a 13-letter seed, you have to make sure it's solid gold — both on its own right and for its cluing potential — because 13-letter seeds often make trouble for the rest of the grid. Caitlin made hers count, SHAM MARRIAGES colorful, and made even better by the clever repurposing of "actors' unions." Brilliant!

I call I GOT DIBS on this puzzle, far from a HARD PASS, a DEAD SEXY solving experience, WINK WINK, PREGGO, CAPISCE? Zero BAD PR on this one.

With a 70-word themeless, I want every long entry to count. ENROLLEE and ATE LUNCH struck me as more neutral, but everything else was an asset. No SOB STORY there; great usage of long slots.

And the clues. ORBS as "round figures"? The DERMIS being "skin deep"? Clever clever, wink wink!

Just a couple of dings, DAT and MARG thankfully minor. I used to be perfectly fine with KOD = KO'D in boxing, but I've heard a good number of complaints about this one, from both solvers and editors. What do editors know, anyway, you might ask, when KO'D is seen all the time in boxing recaps?

Well, they do control publication, so there is that. Thus the reason I lowered the score on KOD a while back.

I'm hoping to see a lot more from Caitlin. I have a feeling we might be lucky enough to be witnessing the emergence of a great new themeless writer.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0614 ( 25,420 )

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Across
1
Cry on the battlefield : CHARGE
7
"Mine!" : IGOTDIBS
15
Reading Fightin Phils, e.g. : AATEAM
16
"Just curious" : NOREASON
17
Expecting, slangily : PREGGO
18
"Cue the violins!" elicitor : SOBSTORY
19
Loafs : IDLES
20
Children's Dr.? : SEUSS
21
One on foot, informally : PED
22
Made a web site? : SPUN
23
1/746 horsepower : WATT
24
Pouty face : MOUE
25
"It's no use" : CANTWIN
27
Celebrity mug shot, typically : BADPR
28
The key to making a quick exit? : ESC
29
Veteran : OLDTIMER
33
Actors' unions? : SHAMMARRIAGES
37
Famous sights at San Francisco's Pier 39 : SEALIONS
38
Chap : GUY
40
Einstein : BRAIN
43
Simply taboo : NOTDONE
45
Only N.F.L. franchise to win championships representing three different cities : RAMS
46
Villain in "Wonder Woman" : ARES
48
Diminishes : EBBS
49
Occasion for a party : EVE
50
Schooled on the field : OWNED
52
Sweeping : BROAD
53
[If you catch my drift ...] : WINKWINK
55
Like Antarctica : REMOTE
56
One on a registrar's list : ENROLLEE
57
Pro QB Manning, by birth : ELISHA
58
Really hot : DEADSEXY
59
Get down : MASTER
Down
1
"Savvy?" : CAPISCE
2
Definite no, informally : HARDPASS
3
Put away a sandwich, perhaps : ATELUNCH
4
Royal stand-in : REGENT
5
Has a hard time swallowing : GAGS
6
Alternative genre : EMO
7
Implant : INSET
8
Die, as a light : GOOUT
9
Round figures : ORBS
10
Julia Roberts's role in the "Ocean's" series : TESS
11
Informal object : DAT
12
Pill bug or wood louse : ISOPOD
13
Buoyed : BOREUP
14
Action film director Zack : SNYDER
20
Toga go-with : SANDAL
23
Mrs. Flintstone : WILMA
24
Tequila cocktail, in slang : MARG
26
Group who Mao Zedong famously said "hold up half the sky" : WOMEN
27
World's longest wooden roller coaster, with "The" : BEAST
30
Prefix with -logy : TRI
31
Worked (out) : IRONED
32
Mythological judge of the dead in the underworld : MINOS
34
Clearance caveat : ASIS
35
"I" lift? : EGOBOOST
36
Catch some rays : SUNBATHE
39
Reply often made with a sigh : YESDEAR
40
Steeped : BREWED
41
Gorge : RAVINE
42
Supreme god of the universe, in ancient Egypt : AMENRA
44
It's only skin-deep : DERMIS
46
Add-on : ANNEX
47
Change, as a lock : REKEY
50
Hooters : OWLS
51
Craftiness : WILE
52
Banjoist Fleck : BELA
54
Clobbered, in brief : KOD
55
___ sleep : REM

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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