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New York Times, Saturday, July 20, 2019

Author:
Sam Trabucco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2410/29/20153/1/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4102368
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.66151
Sam Trabucco

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Trabucco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Trabucco notes:
This ended up being a bit of a NERD FEST. Starting off with SPAM BOTS, we've also got SETTLERS OF CATAN (which I've played about a ... read more

This ended up being a bit of a NERD FEST. Starting off with SPAM BOTS, we've also got SETTLERS OF CATAN (which I've played about a hundred too many times) and the PURE MATH / TRIG / PARITY trio (an homage to my days as a mathlete). Wait, did I say NERD FEST or AUTOBIOGRAPHY? Trick question, they're the same thing!

Jeff Chen notes:
Playing SETTLERS OF CATAN with friends? AH, THIS IS THE LIFE! I wondered how many solvers would struggle with the former, only to ... read more

Playing SETTLERS OF CATAN with friends? AH, THIS IS THE LIFE!

I wondered how many solvers would struggle with the former, only to say "settlers of … wtf?" at the end. I love the game, but if you've never heard of it, those last five letters are random. (Though how apt for the last letter to cross NERDFEST!)

[Ghost buster, of a sort] — I haven't been so pleasantly stumped by a clue in years. I was already struggling with the oddball U SHAPE, so that wasn't helping me break into that corner. Finally grokking PAC MAN as a buster (of a sort) of ghosts = a brilliant a-ha.

I heard a lot of complaints about DANK MEMES, one of those hipster-fresh entries the youngsters introduce. Not fair to judge a puzzle by its oddest entry, but people feel what they feel. I've heard of JANKY — it's a funny term used in our climbing gym all the time — but JANK did make me pause.

Also in the "made me pause" category: HOME CURE, which didn't sound as strong as "home remedy." JOS is part of a menswear brand? HATARI was well before my time. The aforementioned U SHAPE (is O SHAPE or T SHAPE also valid, then?).

It's tough to put much more into your themeless grid when two crossing 15s already take up so much real estate, causing so much inflexibility. Sam did well to pack in a lot of APERITIFS CAT TREATS PHONE CASE SGT PEPPER (what a beautifully bizarre string of letters, SGTP to start!) and much more.

MUCH more, now that I take another look: LONE WOLF, the funny MEGADETH, SLED RIDE, SPAMBOTS, TOP FORTY.

Too bad my solving experience was tinged by a handful of "hmm, that's weird" sensations. A shame, because the sheer volume of long answers — in addition to two 15s! — was impressive.

1
S
2
P
3
A
4
M
5
B
6
O
7
T
8
S
9
P
10
A
11
C
12
M
13
A
14
N
15
H
O
M
E
C
U
R
E
16
U
S
H
A
P
E
17
O
H
I
G
E
T
I
T
18
R
A
I
D
E
D
19
P
L
E
A
20
S
G
T
21
P
E
P
P
E
R
22
D
23
R
E
24
L
A
M
25
S
A
I
26
L
27
F
E
E
T
28
E
R
A
29
S
30
S
T
U
31
P
I
T
T
32
T
R
I
T
E
33
T
I
X
34
A
H
T
H
I
35
S
I
S
T
H
E
36
L
I
F
E
37
J
O
S
38
E
L
R
O
Y
39
S
O
N
S
40
A
N
T
41
D
E
A
F
42
J
A
N
K
43
R
E
O
44
S
45
D
N
C
46
A
W
E
47
C
A
T
48
T
R
E
A
49
T
S
50
W
51
E
52
A
53
N
54
H
A
T
A
R
I
55
T
O
P
56
F
O
R
T
Y
57
U
S
E
R
I
D
58
A
T
E
A
L
I
V
E
59
B
E
E
R
M
E
60
N
E
R
D
F
E
S
T
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0720 ( 25,456 )

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Across
1
Junk dealers? : SPAMBOTS
9
Ghost buster, of a sort : PACMAN
15
Fix without doctoring : HOMECURE
16
Many a magnet has one : USHAPE
17
Thought accompanying a light bulb : OHIGETIT
18
Like speakeasies and fridges, at times : RAIDED
19
One may be copped : PLEA
20
"Bandleader" with a 1967 #1 album : SGTPEPPER
22
Dr. ___ : DRE
24
On the ___ : LAM
25
Go with the wind? : SAIL
27
' : FEET
28
Big times : ERAS
30
Man's name that's an alphabet run : STU
31
The Panthers of the A.C.C. : PITT
32
Commonplace : TRITE
33
Passes, slangily : TIX
34
Comment of complete contentment : AHTHISISTHELIFE
37
___ A. Bank (men's clothier since 1905) : JOS
38
Man's name that means "the king" : ELROY
39
Last word in many company names : SONS
40
Tidbit for an echidna : ANT
41
Tone-___ : DEAF
42
Of very poor quality, in modern slang : JANK
43
Old Model M's and Model T-6s : REOS
45
Blues group?: Abbr. : DNC
46
It's truly inspired : AWE
47
Offerings from Friskies : CATTREATS
50
Gradually cut off (from) : WEAN
54
1962 John Wayne film : HATARI
55
Hit list : TOPFORTY
57
Handle, of a sort : USERID
58
Descended upon, as mosquitoes might : ATEALIVE
59
"Another Bud, bud!" : BEERME
60
Comic con, e.g. : NERDFEST
Down
1
Prime directive? : SHOP
2
Nebula Award winner Frederik : POHL
3
Guy's gal : AMIE
4
Pioneering thrash metal band with its own music festival, Gigantour : MEGADETH
5
Dating letters : BCE
6
Commencement : OUTSET
7
Class in which kids may learn about sin? : TRIG
8
Best-selling game with a hexagonal board : SETTLERSOFCATAN
9
College area of study with no application required? : PUREMATH
10
On the double : ASAP
11
Contents of a bowl or a pot : CHIPS
12
Complained loudly and publicly : MADEASTINK
13
Kir and Campari, for two : APERITIFS
14
Stark family member on "Game of Thrones" : NED
21
What the U.S. and Canadian dollars had, roughly, in the early 2010s : PARITY
23
Made looser or tighter, in a way : RETIED
26
Opulence : LUXE
27
Is perfect, clothing-wise : FITSTOATEE
29
It's got its ups and downs : SEESAW
31
Mobile home? : PHONECASE
32
Capital on the Balkan Peninsula : TIRANE
34
Barely open : AJAR
35
It's going downhill : SLEDRIDE
36
Not a team player : LONEWOLF
42
Often-reddish quartz : JASPER
44
1990s' ___ Report : STARR
48
Crop : TRIM
49
Something brought to a supermarket : TOTE
51
City on a lake of the same name : ERIE
52
Off-road rides, for short : ATVS
53
Vote in the Security Council : NYET
54
Nucleus : HUB
56
Something everyone's doing : FAD

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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