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New York Times, Friday, July 20, 2018

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
183/28/201111/9/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02320101
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.

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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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