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New York Times, Friday, July 20, 2018

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
203/28/201112/29/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02320112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {QYZ} This is puzzle # 16 for Ms. Weintraub. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Robyn Weintraub notes:
I have no interest in poker, yet curiously I have now debuted both POKER TABLE and POKER TABLES to the New York Times crossword puzzle ... read more

I have no interest in poker, yet curiously I have now debuted both POKER TABLE and POKER TABLES to the New York Times crossword puzzle universe. The singular entry shows up today, and the plural one appeared in my first published NY Times puzzle in 2011 — which feels like a million years ago.

I do love cooking, however, and this puzzle is chock full of food related terminology: EATS, SPAM (ew…), ANISE, SABRA (hummus), RAISINS, PINK SALT, SPATULAS, NOSE TO TAIL, and that's without counting EGG HUNT or DEWARS. Hmm… this write up is making me hungry. I'm going to get some breakfast while you enjoy the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
POKER TABLE is a standout example of a perfect themeless entry/clue pair. Not only is POKER TABLE a great phrase on its own, evoking ... read more

POKER TABLE is a standout example of a perfect themeless entry/clue pair. Not only is POKER TABLE a great phrase on its own, evoking stogie-filled back rooms and the hilarious "Ocean's 11" scene where Topher Grace boasts about having a hand that's "all red," but what a clue! [Place where lots of calls are made] hints at a phone booth, or a coffee shop WHERE I'M JUST TRYING TO DO A LITTLE DARNED WRITING YOU CHATTERING TALKERS!

No, POKER TABLE calls are where a player matches a raise. Perfect!

BARBIE DOLL is a colorful phrase, no doubt. And the clue is excellent, too, referring to Barbie's Dreamhouse.

Man, I'd pay through the nose to keep my daughter away from Barbie, though.

I thought Robyn did a great job weaving in a ton of snazzy phrases, from AVERAGE JOE to START SMALL to ROLLER RINK to SEA TURTLE. As usual, she's IN RARE FORM!

There were a few long entries that gave me pause, though. WORKMATE – is that similar to a co-worker? Maybe British usage or something?

A HALF DOOR is a … half a door?

And NOSE TO TAIL is so descriptive, but is that a real thing? Apparently so! The Google first tells me it's a British term describing bumper to bumper traffic. But Googs don't lie! There's a book called "The Whole Beast," about eating the pig from snout to the tip of the tail.

I'm an adventurous eater. But there are certain parts of a pig you couldn't pay me enough to choke down.

Along with a smattering of RUR, DONA, OTRO, NRC, ENOL, I felt like this wasn't quite POW! quality.

Close though, especially given some of the fantastic clues. I mean, [Getty oil, e.g.] for ART, playing on the Getty museum. Brilliant! SPATULAS can get (cake) batters out! A BRIT happy to gain an extra few pounds! Lovely stuff; super entertaining.

Overall, oh so close to getting my POW! stamp. But not quite there, given my high expectations of Robyn.

1
B
2
A
3
R
4
B
5
I
6
E
7
D
8
O
9
L
10
L
11
S
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P
13
A
14
M
15
A
V
E
R
A
G
E
J
O
E
16
T
O
N
E
17
L
I
V
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G
W
A
G
E
18
A
K
I
N
19
M
A
S
T
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H
A
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G
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P
R
E
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S
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F
U
R
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E
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R
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A
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R
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A
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I
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S
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D
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U
P
N
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X
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31
W
O
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K
M
A
32
T
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E
34
B
O
R
A
T
35
H
A
N
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S
A
B
R
A
37
S
P
A
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U
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L
A
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B
A
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L
O
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R
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A
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P
E
L
L
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T
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H
E
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O
F
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A
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H
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46
D
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O
N
A
48
O
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G
50
L
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E
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E
N
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N
O
S
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O
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A
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F
O
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R
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C
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B
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0720 ( 25,091 )
Across
1
Dreamhouse resident : BARBIEDOLL
11
Food portmanteau : SPAM
15
He's nothing special : AVERAGEJOE
16
Get fit, with "up" : TONE
17
It gets you what you need : LIVINGWAGE
18
Analogous : AKIN
19
Schooner feature : MAST
20
Secretary of state after Muskie : HAIG
21
Times, Post, News, etc. : PRESS
22
Stole, maybe : FUR
23
Neighbor of Djibouti : ERITREA
25
Gorp ingredients : RAISINS
29
Actress Kirsten : DUNST
30
About to go : UPNEXT
31
One might be by the water cooler : WORKMATE
34
Title character of a 2006 mockumentary : BORAT
35
___ characters (Chinese script) : HAN
36
Israeli-born Jew : SABRA
37
What can get batters out? : SPATULAS
39
Chad's place : BALLOT
40
Not built up : RURAL
41
Kibble form : PELLETS
42
From that, formally : THEREOF
44
Getty oil, e.g. : ART
45
Sword grips : HAFTS
46
Portuguese woman's title : DONA
48
Check out, in a way : OGLE
52
Hydroxyl-bearing compound : ENOL
53
Like cooking that goes whole hog? : NOSETOTAIL
55
Warning from one holding an iron : FORE
56
Place to spin your wheels : ROLLERRINK
57
Rice and Robbins : TIMS
58
Skull accompanier : CROSSBONES
Down
1
Topical treatment : BALM
2
Running shoe brand : AVIA
3
Short spins? : REVS
4
One who's happy about acquiring a few extra pounds, informally : BRIT
5
Janis with the 1975 hit "At Seventeen" : IAN
6
Activity for a basket holder : EGGHUNT
7
Bacardi brand : DEWARS
8
Tourist city in Ventura County : OJAI
9
Got access, in a way : LOGGEDON
10
Catwoman portrayer Meriwether : LEE
11
Not bite off more than one can chew : STARTSMALL
12
Place where lots of calls are made : POKERTABLE
13
Star ___ (pho flavorer) : ANISE
14
Intelligence community? : MENSA
21
Colorful seasoning that originated near the Himalayas : PINKSALT
22
Pipe fittings and such : FIXTURES
24
Play from which the word "robot" comes : RUR
25
Alternatives to marinades : RUBS
26
For one : APOP
27
At one's best : INRAREFORM
28
Creatures that divers sometimes swim with : SEATURTLES
31
"Time ___ ..." : WAS
32
Pleasant pace : TROT
33
Chuck wagon fixin's : EATS
35
Divided barrier : HALFDOOR
38
Language similar to Thai : LAO
39
Knocks loudly? : BERATES
41
Storyboard parts : PANELS
42
"Five-finger discount" : THEFT
43
Five-letter capital written as two words in its native language : HANOI
47
2017 Tony winner for Best Play : OSLO
48
Other: Sp. : OTRO
49
Appreciation : GAIN
50
A cameo might have one : LINE
51
Group to which five U.S. presidents have belonged, from Harding to Ford : ELKS
53
Government org. concerned with radioactive waste : NRC
54
Scepter accompanier : ORB

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle.

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