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New York Times, Monday, August 13, 2018

Author:
Lynn Lempel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
8612/9/19796/3/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
661132130
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.610812
Lynn Lempel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 84 for Ms. Lempel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Lynn Lempel notes:
This had to be the fastest acceptance of all time. I snail-mailed the puzzle on a Friday and got an email back on Monday!! I couldn't ... read more

This had to be the fastest acceptance of all time. I snail-mailed the puzzle on a Friday and got an email back on Monday!! I couldn't believe it had even gotten there already. Will said he wanted to use it for a Monday, but I'd written Tuesdayish clues. So he asked me to suggest easier clues for some of the answers. He also said he was concerned that my clue for MAKE PASSES was awfully harsh, and he asked me to soften it. So the clue was changed to what you see today, from my original [… invite a sexual harassment charge].

As is very often the case, this idea simmered for many moons before I could come up with a final themer to balance DRAW A BLANK. I wasn't really thrilled with MAKE PASSES, but at some point you have to just throw in the towel and go with something.

Will did ease up slightly more than I did on the clues, but overall they're not far different from my revised version. A clue he didn't change was the one for AKA. I hadn't expected that to survive!

Jeff Chen notes:
I loved this concept, phrases that can represent GOOD NEWS or BAD NEWS, depending on how you look at them. To GO DOWN IN HISTORY is ... read more

I loved this concept, phrases that can represent GOOD NEWS or BAD NEWS, depending on how you look at them. To GO DOWN IN HISTORY is fantastic, in terms of creating a lasting legacy. Going down in history class, not so much.

DRAW A BLANK is so clever — great thing to do, in Scrabble! Not so good when you DRAW A BLANK, as in when you're unable to come up with something (as I often do in Scrabble!).

GET A RUN is another good one, GOOD in baseball, BAD in hosiery.

MAKE PASSES is okay, as it's good to complete passes in football, not so good in a bar. But MAKE PASSES is stilted-sounding in the realm of football.

I'll explain PRO to those that might have been as confused as I was. How does a PROfessional give you the "aye"? When it's a professional pirate? Nope, I red-facedly admit it took a long time to think about a PRO vote = giving the "aye".

I wish we had some pirates in the Senate.

Solid Lempelian gridwork. All you need is a pair of great bonuses – SIDEKICKS and PRIVATEER, yes! – and the doggedness to keep your grid to a minor smattering of INST ABED. Often, it's "just" a matter of tireless and grueling iteration. The best constructors like Lynn make it seem easy.

This is a Wish I'd Thought of That concept. It's a shame that MAKE PASSES fell flat for me, as this would have been an easy POW! choice otherwise. I can see where Lynn was coming from though — you have to stop and submit at some point.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0813 ( 25,115 )
Across
1
Pear variety : BOSC
5
Fiction's opposite : FACT
9
Peruvian animal : LLAMA
14
Toledo's home : OHIO
15
Carpet layer's measurement : AREA
16
Common golf shirts : POLOS
17
Leave a lasting legacy ... or do worse at school : GODOWNINHISTORY
20
Drug giant ___ Lilly : ELI
21
English school on the Thames : ETON
22
The Gershwins' "Of ___ I Sing" : THEE
23
Succeed on the gridiron ... or invite a slap in the face : MAKEPASSES
26
Word after Near, Middle or Far : EAST
27
Waders with curved bills : IBISES
28
Gunky roofing stuff : TAR
30
Diplomat's forte : TACT
31
Cannabis variety used for rope : HEMP
35
Times Sq. squad : NYPD
38
Sound of annoyance : TSK
39
Score in baseball ... or ruin some hose : GETARUN
41
Part of Adam from which Eve was fashioned : RIB
43
"SportsNation" station : ESPN
45
Shoe with holes : CROC
46
Helper : AIDE
47
Curling surface : ICE
49
One of the Baltic States : LATVIA
51
Femme fatale : VAMP
54
Be lucky in Scrabble ... or come up short memorywise : DRAWABLANK
58
Gel-producing succulent : ALOE
59
Starting point for a horse race : GATE
60
Have dinner : EAT
61
Start of a mixed message, as illustrated by 17-, 23-, 39- and 54-Across : GOODNEWSBADNEWS
66
Excessive : UNDUE
67
Vichyssoise vegetable : LEEK
68
Drop that might run down the face : TEAR
69
Land with pyramids : EGYPT
70
"Roseanne" actress Gilbert : SARA
71
Jason's fleece-seeking ship : ARGO
Down
1
Spongy ground : BOG
2
"Well, whaddya know!" : OHO
3
Trusty companions : SIDEKICKS
4
Most hip : COOLEST
5
Devoted follower : FAN
6
Zodiac ram : ARIES
7
¢ : CENTS
8
Chevy model named for a Western lake : TAHOE
9
Carole King's "Tapestry" and "Music" : LPS
10
Small chance to win big bucks : LOTTERY
11
Hawaiian hello : ALOHA
12
Group's basic customs : MORES
13
Up to now : ASYET
18
Clean (off) : WIPE
19
The "I" of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST
23
Barack's opponent in 2012 : MITT
24
Demean : ABASE
25
Arthur with a namesake stadium : ASHE
29
TV journalist Curry : ANN
32
List shortener: Abbr. : ETC
33
Damage somewhat : MAR
34
One giving you the aye? : PRO
36
Nongovernmentally owned ship decked out for war : PRIVATEER
37
Brought to ruin : DIDIN
39
Health products chain : GNC
40
Sch. near Hollywood : UCLA
42
A pelican has a big one : BEAK
44
Chimed in on the conversation : PIPEDUP
46
U.S. city with the world's busiest airport : ATLANTA
48
Margin : EDGE
50
Under the covers : ABED
51
Unclear : VAGUE
52
Sing-___ (hootenanny feature) : ALONG
53
Temperamental : MOODY
55
Lou with more than 70 albums : RAWLS
56
Out on a naval deployment : ATSEA
57
Big name in grills : WEBER
62
Bit of fishery equipment : NET
63
Stephanie Clifford ___ Stormy Daniels : AKA
64
Jokester : WAG
65
Letters suggesting a sellout : SRO

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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