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New York Times, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Author:
Michael Hawkins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
141/23/20142/8/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1214141
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64100
Michael Hawkins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 35 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Hawkins. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Hawkins notes:
At a mini-conference last year, the first speaker of the day used the term BUZZKILL, which I connected to my battle earlier that ... read more

At a mini-conference last year, the first speaker of the day used the term BUZZKILL, which I connected to my battle earlier that morning with the alarm clock. By the end of her presentation, I had worked out the rest of the theme.

This puzzle is dedicated to Katie, my wife of fifteen years, whom I married in 18-A and who may never forgive me for introducing to the 49-A.

Jeff Chen notes:
I almost dismissed this as an inelegant, loosey-goosey theme. Man, am I glad I took a second look! I skimmed over the SNOOZE BUTTON ... read more

I almost dismissed this as an inelegant, loosey-goosey theme. Man, am I glad I took a second look! I skimmed over the SNOOZE BUTTON clue at first, thinking that the theme was simply "noises that come out of an alarm clock." RADIO, BUZZ, SOUND? Bleh, totally unspecific!

What, you got the real theme immediately? Um, so did I. For all those ninnies that didn't, bear with us:

The SNOOZE BUTTON makes the RADIO go silent, for RADIO SILENCE. It KILLs the BUZZing, as in a BUZZKILL. And it turns OFF the SOUND = SOUND OFF!

Brilliant!

I wasn't sure if it was just me who missed the cleverosity, so I asked Jim for his thoughts on the puzzle. Turns out he glossed over it, too! After chit-chatting about it, we both agreed that it was delightful; such fantastic plays on words that were tightly bound to SNOOZE BUTTON.

Great grid execution, too. Mike didn't try to do too much, sticking with an easy-to-fill 76-word grid. But with a little zazz in STARGAZING, WORD LENGTH, HOT YOGA, even some BUSH SR, UNICORN, ST LOUIS, that's more than good enough for me.

Best yet, such a silky-smooth grid. I love it when I can't find a single short entry to squint at. This grid felt much more friendly to newer solvers than either of the past two days, even given the presence of HOBART. Some might complain about that one, but come on. You gotta at least be familiar with world capitals.

Okay, maybe BORGE crossing KLEE isn't newb-friendly. But that's perfectly fine in a mid-week puzzle. Paul KLEE is an important painter educated solvers ought to at least have heard of.

So, so, so glad I took a second and third look. A fantastic-- albeit delayed — a-ha moment.

1
G
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A
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B
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N
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K
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K
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0711 ( 25,082 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
Suddenly stopped communicating with, in modern lingo : GHOSTED
8
Daft : MAD
11
Utility bill meas. : BTU
14
Fresh spin on a familiar idea : NEWTAKE
15
Ride on a merry-go-round, maybe : UNICORN
17
Conceives : CREATES
18
City nicknamed "The Gateway to the West" : STLOUIS
19
Incommunicado period : RADIOSILENCE
21
Wade in the Baseball Hall of Fame : BOGGS
24
Bench press muscle, for short : PEC
25
Spook grp. : CIA
26
Running shoe brand : AVIA
27
Put on a truck, say : LOAD
29
"Don't ___ it!" : SWEAT
31
Debbie Downer : BUZZKILL
33
Frenzied place : ZOO
34
Contacted without a trip to the post office, say : EMAILED
35
"Gone With the Wind" locale : GEORGIA
39
___ Stark, patriarch on "Game of Thrones" : NED
40
Express one's opinion in no uncertain terms : SOUNDOFF
41
Pianist/comic Victor of old TV : BORGE
44
O'Hare and LAX : HUBS
45
Emmy-winning Kudrow : LISA
46
What a weather balloon might be mistaken for : UFO
47
Roman sun god : SOL
48
General tone : TENOR
49
What a late sleeper may use ... resulting in 19-, 31- and 40-Across? : SNOOZEBUTTON
54
Meditative exercises in a steamy room : HOTYOGA
55
Could no longer fit into, as one's childhood clothing : OUTGREW
59
Pittsburgh pro : STEELER
60
Former : ONETIME
61
Like the Canadian flag's maple leaf : RED
62
Verb with "thou" : ART
63
Verbally attack, with "at" : LASHOUT
Down
1
Big purveyor of vitamin supplements : GNC
2
___ Majesty : HER
3
Be behind : OWE
4
Observatory activity : STARGAZING
5
Byes : TATAS
6
Barely made, with out : EKED
7
Lucy's guy : DESI
8
Tousled : MUSSED
9
Bit of a lark : ANTIC
10
___ pickle : DILL
11
Leave, slangily : BOUNCE
12
One of the Nixons : TRICIA
13
Vote out : UNSEAT
16
Iowa college : COE
20
Memorable 1995 hurricane : OPAL
21
___ in arms : BABE
22
Tube traveler : OVUM
23
Egyptian tourist spot : GIZA
27
Set off a polygraph : LIED
28
Up there in years : OLD
29
Procrastinator's promise : SOON
30
Six for dinner? : WORDLENGTH
32
Paul who painted "Fish Magic" : KLEE
33
For whom "it is not possible either to trick or escape the mind," per Hesiod : ZEUS
35
Great deal : GOB
36
"How's it ___?" : GOIN
37
Supposing that : IFSO
38
Many miles away : AFAR
40
"Star Trek" role for George Takei : SULU
41
W.'s father : BUSHSR
42
Significant : OFNOTE
43
Entrenched : ROOTED
44
Capital of Tasmania : HOBART
47
Bob with the Silver Bullet Band : SEGER
48
Pledge drive giveaways : TOTES
50
"Hey!" from Jesús : OYE
51
Author Émile : ZOLA
52
Hammer or sickle : TOOL
53
"Chicken of the sea" : TUNA
56
2016 Olympics host, informally : RIO
57
Bird whose name is also the initials of a school in Ypsilanti : EMU
58
Dampen : WET

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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