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New York Times, Saturday, July 13, 2019

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
976/16/201110/30/201918
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76691132242
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1.645173
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 31 Missing: {KQZ} This is puzzle # 95 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
This puzzle was born after I saw MAUI WOWIE in a Facebook post several years ago. I thought it could make for a lively seed entry, and ... read more

This puzzle was born after I saw MAUI WOWIE in a Facebook post several years ago. I thought it could make for a lively seed entry, and all those vowels also seemed promising from a construction standpoint. When I found that ALPHA MALE and N'EST CE PAS could stack on top of MAUI WOWIE without introducing junky short crossings, I was off and rolling.

My favorite part of the puzzle is the lower left, where all three entries in the stack (CHICANA, CHUG-A-LUG, and LIMO RIDE), as well as numerous entries in the adjacent section (CLOROX, CHI-TOWN, IXNAY, and LOW-RES), feel lively to me. Hope this puzzle makes for a fun and crunchy Saturday!

Jeff Chen notes:
Entertaining solve, N'EST CE PAS? I shuddered when encountering what seemed like an esoteric pot term with a bizarre middle string ... read more

Entertaining solve, N'EST CE PAS?

I shuddered when encountering what seemed like an esoteric pot term with a bizarre middle string of letters, _AUIWO___. Even being in Seattle, where the clouds are now 45% pot smoke and rising, terms like Indica, O.G. Kush, Khola go over my head. And WTF might Fat Banana be? Don't want to know. Thank goodness MAUI WOWIE was gettable; such an amusing rhyming name.

Note the black squares in the middle of the puzzle. They could easily have been a straight diagonal (covering the I of CALI and N of NEAR). Pro tip: kinking it into a zig-zag opens up room for a couple more mid-length slots, which David used so wisely. CHI-TOWN and TAN LINE add a lot to this standard 72-word themeless layout.

As with most all of David's themelesses, excellent execution. Not much wastage in the long slots, with a couple of stellar entry/clue pairs – LIMO RIDE as a [Long car trip?] was my favorite.

For most any other constructor, AGITA and AMPAS would be passable. Not so much for David, given his outstanding body of themeless work.

A lot to love, and it could easily have been someone else's POW! The tone didn't resonate with me, though, given the frat boy feeling I got from the ALPHA MALE, CHUG A LUG, MAUI WOWIE, even PRIME RIB. Not to mention, FRAT clued as [___ boy].

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0713 ( 25,449 )

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Across
1
"Right?": Fr. : NESTCEPAS
10
Org. whose founders include Cecil B. DeMille : AMPAS
15
Leading man? : ALPHAMALE
16
Sturdy floor wood : LARCH
17
Potent Hawaiian weed : MAUIWOWIE
18
Unsettled feeling : AGITA
19
High-society people may put them on when in public : AIRS
20
Alternative to a Lambo : JAG
21
A man or a mouse : ANIMAL
22
Demolition letters : TNT
23
Not so far away : HITHER
25
It multiplies by dividing : CELL
26
"Narcissus and Goldmund" novelist : HESSE
28
___ truck : TACO
30
Part of a guess in Battleship : ROW
31
Only place in the U.S. to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, informally : CALI
34
Vacation souvenir, perhaps : TANLINE
36
Parent company of Pine-Sol : CLOROX
38
Blanket : ENROBE
39
Home of Millennium Park, informally : CHITOWN
40
Sharing many of the characteristics of : NEAR
41
Background noise : HUM
42
___ boy : FRAT
44
Goods, slangily : MERCH
48
2019 #1 album by Tyler, the Creator : IGOR
50
Medicine cabinet glass : EYECUP
53
"Brilliant!" : AHA
54
200-milligram units : CARATS
56
Snow of "Game of Thrones" : JON
57
Bibliographer's abbr. : ETAL
58
Still around : ALIVE
59
1963 Four Seasons hit : CANDYGIRL
61
Paintings of Adam and Eve, typically : NUDES
62
Alternative to Kickstarter : INDIEGOGO
63
Bond, e.g. : AGENT
64
Fully fixed : GOODASNEW
Down
1
Jet popular in the 1960s and '70s : NAMATH
2
Flight attendant in "Airplane!" : ELAINE
3
Periods of growth : SPURTS
4
"Who is ___?" : THIS
5
Harsh cry : CAW
6
Expressive characters : EMOJI
7
Rough up, in a way : PAWAT
8
Come down (on) : ALIGHT
9
Match : SEE
10
Boy's name that becomes a girl's name if you move the first letter to the end : ALAN
11
Tricks : MAGIC
12
Steakhouse selection : PRIMERIB
13
Not have an accomplice : ACTALONE
14
"You want to?" : SHALLWE
21
Occult : ARCANE
23
Learn indirectly : HEAROF
24
Taken in : EATEN
27
Orkneyan or Shetlander : SCOT
29
Part of a cloverleaf : ONRAMP
32
Pixelated, perhaps : LOWRES
33
"Nope" : IXNAY
35
Family hand-me-down? : LORE
36
Quickly drink : CHUGALUG
37
Long car trip? : LIMORIDE
39
Woman who has traveled to el Norte, maybe : CHICANA
43
Music style that might feature an accordion and a bajo sexto : TEJANO
45
G.I. meal : RATION
46
Put some juice into : CHARGE
47
Bless : HALLOW
49
Shade of black : RAVEN
51
Zillow listing : CONDO
52
Ruined : UNDID
55
Challenge : TEST
57
Fragile projectiles : EGGS
59
Short smoke : CIG
60
House support : YEA

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

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