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New York Times, Friday, July 5, 2019

Author:
Freddie Cheng
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
97/12/20107/5/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1232010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61000
Freddie Cheng

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JKQZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Cheng. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Freddie Cheng notes:
The seed for the puzzle was 'PHARMA BRO,' as it was an entry that the NYT team liked in a prior unrelated and rejected themeless. So I ... read more

The seed for the puzzle was "PHARMA BRO," as it was an entry that the NYT team liked in a prior unrelated and rejected themeless. So I thought I was pretty safe going with that ...yes, you guessed it, it still didn't make the cut! Though deemed "fresh," it had to be taken out due to its "ephemeral feel" that wouldn't last the test of time or the syndication lag, all of which I ultimately agreed with. So, the "most hated man in America" (for a while at least, until _____ took his place — insert your fav public enemy #1 here) was out, and his employee PHARMA REP was in. In the process, AUDIO TOUR / SLEEP ON IT morphed into the slightly more conventional AUDIOTAPE / SLEEPOVER now in that SE corner.

Only a few of my clues made it through (like 22A and 32D), so I still have a lot to learn. For example for 11D, "Not the hang-gliding type?" turned into "One who hates heights," and "Drug pusher?" for PHARMA REP was replaced by "One making a living by pushing drugs, informally," which is more accurate I suppose.

My favorite bit of the puzzle is probably the DAYTRADER / FAT FINGER pair, mostly because of my current day job in markets risk management. Yes, the latter does happen more than you think!

Hope my first themeless is acceptable to everyone.

Constructor Log : Submitted March 2018 and accepted in June after the aforementioned revision.

Jeff Chen notes:
I almost disqualified this puzzle from POW! contention based on technical flaws. A 70-word crossword (generally an easy themeless ... read more

I almost disqualified this puzzle from POW! contention based on technical flaws. A 70-word crossword (generally an easy themeless construction) shouldn't contain more than a couple of dabs of crossword glue. AEROS, AS FAR, DELED, UNSHY? Add in ASES, ERTE, SYN, TALI? Yikes! It's like seeing a bunch of unsanded welds holding together a bronze sculpture.

What's the most important aspect of a puzzle, though? How much fun and entertainment it provides. Nothing else comes close. I had a blast solving this one, for so many reasons:

Great feature entries. ON SALE NOW / AS IF I CARE / THAT'S A LIE = great triple-stack. FREECYCLE / RETROCOOL / ACROPHOBE, another one! With BAD COP running through it! Heck, most every long slot held something wonderful. AUDIO TAPE was only so-so, but everything else was great to stellar.

Playful clues. DAY TRADER is a fantastic entry, and [One who gives a lot of orders] makes it even better. (Buy / sell orders.) The neutral HULA cleverly plays on "wiggle room." Even the ugly as sin SYN gets rescued by disguising the link between "illustration" and "for example," making me think it was going for some art term.

MORE playful clues! Shouting HIDE at a birthday party. MARS, the subject of "areology"? Ah yes, the Greek war god is Ares — I enjoyed making that link. [Rush home?] needed a telltale question mark, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment. (That's a FRATernity rush, not a mad dash to get home on time.)

Then I put my constructor's hat back on, wondering why Freddie resorted to so much glue. Turns out that there's a reason for it. The four corners may not look any bigger than normal, but note how many mid-length entries link into them. The SE, for example: DAY TRADER, AERIES, DRY MOP running through the stack makes for a tougher constructing challenge than usual.

All in all, this puzzle gave me a feeling of glee. POW! for that.

1
G
2
U
3
A
4
R
5
R
6
I
7
N
8
D
9
F
10
R
11
A
12
T
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O
N
S
A
14
L
E
N
O
W
15
G
R
E
C
O
16
A
S
I
F
I
C
A
R
E
17
R
E
T
R
Y
18
T
H
A
T
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A
L
I
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19
A
E
R
O
S
20
S
Y
N
21
P
S
A
22
B
23
A
D
C
O
P
24
L
E
T
T
25
S
26
P
S
Y
C
H
27
O
28
A
29
S
30
F
A
R
31
H
I
32
D
E
33
C
O
O
P
34
S
C
A
M
35
R
E
L
A
X
36
L
O
B
E
37
E
R
T
E
38
A
R
T
Y
39
D
E
L
E
D
40
S
A
F
E
41
S
T
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S
T
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A
R
S
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P
I
X
I
E
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S
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R
E
Y
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B
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R
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A
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T
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N
C
T
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P
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H
A
R
M
53
A
R
E
P
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A
R
G
U
E
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A
U
D
I
O
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A
P
E
56
L
O
E
S
S
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S
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V
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R
58
I
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M
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60
P
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L
Y
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0705 ( 25,441 )
Across
1
Gum-producing plant : GUAR
5
Addition to a compost pile : RIND
9
Rush home? : FRAT
13
Store discount come-on : ONSALENOW
15
___-Turkish War (post-W.W. I conflict) : GRECO
16
"Doesn't concern me" : ASIFICARE
17
Take two : RETRY
18
"Not true!" : THATSALIE
19
Former Houston hockey team : AEROS
20
Illustration, for example: Abbr. : SYN
21
Ad time filler, for short : PSA
22
Half of an interrogation team : BADCOP
24
Neighbors of Estonians : LETTS
26
First American film in which a toilet is heard being flushed (1960) : PSYCHO
28
Equally distant : ASFAR
31
Cry at a surprise birthday party : HIDE
33
Shut (up) : COOP
34
Pull a fast one on : SCAM
35
Chill : RELAX
36
Where a stud might go : LOBE
37
Big name in Deco design : ERTE
38
Hipsteresque, in a way : ARTY
39
Struck out : DELED
40
Like bonds designated AAA : SAFEST
42
A-listers : STARS
44
Little mischief-makers : PIXIES
46
Fernando or Felipe, once : REY
47
Word with nursing or training : BRA
50
Touch of color : TINCT
51
One making a living by pushing drugs, informally : PHARMAREP
54
Contend : ARGUE
55
Sound evidence? : AUDIOTAPE
56
Good earth : LOESS
57
Stay with a friend, say : SLEEPOVER
58
Concerning : INRE
59
What areology is the study of : MARS
60
Synthetic fiber, for short : POLY
Down
1
Sources of cashmere : GOATS
2
Openly confident : UNSHY
3
___ fusion (cuisine) : ASIAN
4
Large quantity : RAFT
5
Like the role of Albus Dumbledore after the second Harry Potter movie : RECAST
6
All huffy : INALATHER
7
"Me neither" : NORI
8
Poindexter : DWEEB
9
Gives away to a better home, in a modern coinage : FREECYCLES
10
Back in again : RETROCOOL
11
One who hates heights : ACROPHOBE
12
Messes around (with) : TOYS
14
Daffy Duck, notably : LISPER
15
Addressees of valedictories : GRADS
23
High point : APEX
24
"Nobody ever told me," e.g. : LAMEEXCUSE
25
Deposits in some banks : SILTS
27
Bit of punditry : OPED
28
"___ Death," movement from "Peer Gynt" : ASES
29
Metal in a junk heap : SCRAPIRON
30
Cause of typos, humorously : FATFINGER
32
One who gives a lot of orders : DAYTRADER
35
Be highly regarded : RATE
39
Clean lightly, as a floor : DRYMOP
41
Listings in a travel guide : SITES
43
Metaphor for penthouse suites : AERIES
45
Back problem : SPASM
47
"Project Runway" cable channel : BRAVO
48
Turn back : REPEL
49
Mimic's skill : APERY
50
Anklebones : TALI
52
Activity for which you need a fair amount of wiggle room : HULA
53
On : ATOP

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

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