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New York Times, Saturday, July 22, 2017

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6511/13/20129/2/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
621187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 32 Missing: {XYZ} This is puzzle # 45 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Great craftsmanship in this puzzle. A common critique I have for C.C.'s puzzles is that they contain a little too much crossword glue ... read more

Great craftsmanship in this puzzle. A common critique I have for C.C.'s puzzles is that they contain a little too much crossword glue for my taste, but that didn't apply today. With just SHA, TAS, TMEN as minor blips, it's well under my threshold for crossword glue in a themeless. Okay, DEEPS is odd in the plural, but still, four dabs of mostly negligible glue makes for a smooth puzzle.

And C.C. manages to retain her trademark, a ton of fresh fill spread throughout her grid. Her themed puzzles are always chock full of great bonuses, and this themeless shines with snazzy material like EPIC WINS, LATTE ART (with a fun clue referring to the heart shapes many baristas form), TSA AGENT, TWITTER ALERTS, FRIEND REQUEST, etc.

I didn't know what BITMOJIS were, but it was a fun term to learn. One day I'll get on Snapchat … (That's the day that everyone else realizes it's not cool anymore.)

FOAM HATS! Oh, wait. FOAM … HAND? Right, the oversized novelty things you see at ballparks. It felt like there had to be a better, more catchy term for that, but alas, no. My gut originally said "foam fingers" was more in the language. But that doesn't make sense, given that it's not just a single foam finger.

Though the puzzle was expertly made, I didn't end up giving it the POW! because I felt far outside out of the target solving audience. I appreciate a FRIEND REQUEST. I don't totally know what TWITTER ALERTS are, but that entry makes sense. Throw in BITMOJIS though ... three feature entries focused on one area of life felt like too many to me.

I can certainly see how social media wonks would love this one, though.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0722 ( 24,728 )
Across
1
Time-tested : CLASSIC
8
Being tried : ATBAR
13
Pouring one's heart out at a coffeehouse? : LATTEART
15
Lead female role on Netflix's "House of Cards" : CLAIRE
16
Sweepstakes exhortation : ENTERNOW
17
Radiance, in England : LUSTRE
18
Exhibit flexibility : ADAPT
19
Biting words? : SICEM
21
Descend upon en masse : MOB
22
"What is ___?" : THIS
23
Wearer of an "H"-inscribed hat : ASTRO
24
Snapchat's ghost, e.g. : LOGO
25
Pluto, to Saturn : SON
26
Home to the Museum of El Greco : CRETE
27
Lieutenant of 1970s TV : KOJAK
28
"___ Fancy has been quelled": Longfellow : ERE
29
Awesome successes : EPICWINS
31
Attempt to establish an online connection : FRIENDREQUEST
34
What some caddies carry : LOOSETEA
35
The ___ Store : UPS
36
Smoother, now : EASED
37
Much-mimicked entertainer : ELVIS
39
Budgeter's concern : CAP
42
Dodgers' pursuers : TMEN
43
Like H-U-M-O-U-R : SPELT
44
Monastery head : LAMA
45
1950s song syllable : SHA
46
Major port near the Persian Gulf : BASRA
47
Sticks in the mud : MIRES
48
Maker of hospital cuts : LANCET
50
Airport monitor : TSAAGENT
52
Hard-wired : INNATE
53
Words next to an X : SIGNHERE
54
Heavens : EDENS
55
Key : CENTRAL
Down
1
Slip preventers : CLEATS
2
Shore line? : LANDHO
3
Reach : ATTAIN
4
Manual sequence : STEPS
5
Rockefeller Center muralist : SERT
6
Actor Hunter or singer Hunter : IAN
7
Sports stick : CROSSE
8
Application to a cut : ALUM
9
U. 2's? : TAS
10
Cartoon avatars on Snapchat : BITMOJIS
11
Confident to a fault : ARROGANT
12
Some athletic footwear : REEBOKS
14
Certain social media notifications : TWITTERALERTS
15
Big role for Liz Taylor : CLEO
20
Bistro offering : CREPE
23
Fail to be : ARENT
24
Big-box store founded in 1946 : LOWES
26
Seminary study : CREED
27
Single-serve coffee holders : KCUPS
28
Sportscaster Rich : EISEN
30
Cry of exasperation : IQUIT
31
Bit of sports fan paraphernalia : FOAMHAND
32
Show for which Laurie Metcalf won three Emmys : ROSEANNE
33
Ocean areas : DEEPS
34
Does not disturb : LETSLIE
38
Competitor of Mt. Olive : VLASIC
39
Drive like hell : CAREER
40
Ankh-holding deity : AMENRA
41
Baby blue, e.g. : PASTEL
43
Be adequate for : SATE
44
Word before or after green : LIGHT
46
Over and under, e.g. : BETS
47
Michael who directed "The Insider" : MANN
49
Fire : CAN
51
Sensitive conversation topic : AGE

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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