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New York Times, Friday, August 14, 2015

Author:
Natan Last and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
287/17/20072/3/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6122098
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60350
Natan Last

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Last. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Return of the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class! With Natan Last at the helm, they collectively produce a nice themeless featuring such strong ... read more

Return of the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class! With Natan Last at the helm, they collectively produce a nice themeless featuring such strong entries as AFFLUENZA, IM ONTO YOU, RADIO PLAY, and JUMBOTRON. Even the ones I wasn't familiar with sounded interesting, like SNOCKERED. I still prefer STONKERED's color and fun, but having a wide variety of synonyms for "drunk" sure makes it easier when you want to tell someone you're magoogled.

The iconic Luca Brasi

IM ONTO YOU felt especially nice, as it took me a while to parse it correctly. Turns out I MONT O YOU (homage to a Swiss Alp) isn't really a thing. That's one great feature about multiple-word entries — the can be so trickily fun to parse.

Then again, multi-word phrases have to be spot on in order for me to count them as an asset. DOTTED THE I feels like someone didn't dot all the I, yeah?

Er, didn't dot all the Is.

A couple of gluey entries like IS SO and A DRAG are to be expected. GAYER felt more off to me, given its clue, [More like Paree]. I wonder if Natan submitted an edgier, more fun clue? Not sure if there's any way to clue that such that it wouldn't be offensive to someone, though.

Speaking of clues, what a fantastic misdirection with [Ring exchange]. I confidently filled in I DOS, which fit so nicely ... except that it didn't. I've seen so many similar clues for I DO or I DOS that I didn't even think it could be related to the boxing ring exchange of JABS. Fun when a clue innocently seems like a gimme to veteran solvers, but it actually favors solvers who have fewer preconceived notions about certain clues.

A couple of older names in the grid, which is perfectly fine with me if they're classic people or characters. Ratso RIZZO is a classic. Luca BRASI, one of my favorite movie roles. Peri GILPIN … as much as I loved "Frasier," I don't know that she's achieved a timeless quality.

Some beautiful entries spread through the grid, along with some that didn't quite hit for me.

1
A
2
F
3
F
4
L
5
U
6
E
7
N
8
Z
9
A
10
T
11
R
12
A
13
P
14
S
E
E
Y
A
S
O
O
N
15
S
W
A
M
I
16
T
R
A
D
E
S
H
O
W
17
W
I
D
E
N
18
O
M
R
I
19
O
M
A
20
G
A
Z
I
N
E
21
I
S
A
22
A
23
C
24
R
I
Z
Z
O
25
N
Y
26
E
27
T
28
G
I
L
P
29
I
30
N
31
D
32
O
33
T
34
T
E
D
T
H
35
E
I
36
E
L
S
E
37
A
D
R
A
G
38
R
O
T
39
B
R
A
S
I
40
W
E
A
K
41
W
E
N
T
42
E
A
S
Y
O
N
43
G
A
N
E
44
S
H
45
G
U
L
L
46
S
A
T
E
47
D
48
F
L
49
A
50
G
51
G
52
J
53
U
M
B
O
T
R
54
O
55
N
56
B
A
N
57
S
58
A
V
I
A
N
59
I
M
O
60
N
61
T
O
Y
O
U
62
B
E
T
T
Y
63
B
E
L
I
E
V
E
M
E
64
S
A
S
H
65
S
N
O
C
K
E
R
E
D
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0814 ( 24,020 )
Across
1
Woe that's the result of extreme materialism : AFFLUENZA
10
Pie hole : TRAP
14
"Be there shortly" : SEEYASOON
15
Know-it-all? : SWAMI
16
Expo : TRADESHOW
17
Spread : WIDEN
18
King of Israel who founded Samaria : OMRI
19
Hearst publication since 2000 : OMAGAZINE
21
Singer of stories : ISAAC
24
Hoffman's role in "Midnight Cowboy" : RIZZO
25
European refusal : NYET
28
Peri of "Frasier" : GILPIN
31
Finished with precision, say : DOTTEDTHEI
36
"What ___?" : ELSE
37
"What ___!" : ADRAG
38
Balderdash : ROT
39
Corleone's enforcer in "The Godfather" : BRASI
40
Diluted : WEAK
41
Cut some slack : WENTEASYON
43
Hindu god with the head of an elephant : GANESH
45
Take in : GULL
46
Full : SATED
48
Randall ___, recurring character in Stephen King novels : FLAGG
52
What might make you a big fan? : JUMBOTRON
56
Harsh punishments : BANS
58
For the birds? : AVIAN
59
"The jig is up!" : IMONTOYOU
62
Brown ___ : BETTY
63
"It's true!" : BELIEVEME
64
Door part : SASH
65
Stinko : SNOCKERED
Down
1
Regarding : ASTO
2
Physicist who coined the word "neutrino" : FERMI
3
Confessions to a therapist : FEARS
4
Girl's name derived from the name of an ancient Anatolian kingdom : LYDIA
5
It's served by Gulf Air: Abbr. : UAE
6
Story's opening? : ESS
7
Big Apple neighborhood : NOHO
8
Zip : ZOOM
9
___ al-Awlaki, terrorist targeted in a 2011 American drone strike : ANWAR
10
Sticks in a Halloween bag? : TWIZZLERS
11
1938's "The War of the Worlds," e.g. : RADIOPLAY
12
"It's true!" : AMEN
13
Ache : PINE
15
Neighbor of a Mozambican : SWAZI
20
Movie with the song "I Remember It Well" : GIGI
22
Rare blood type, for short : ANEG
23
Charisse of "Brigadoon" : CYD
26
Sein : German :: ___ : French : ETRE
27
Little cover at the beach : THONG
29
"That ___ true" : ISSO
30
European refusal : NEIN
31
Homey : DAWG
32
Some ancient halls : ODEA
33
Sends out : TRANSMITS
34
Lose one's shirt : TAKEABATH
35
Response to an attack by a group of senators : ETTU
39
Blast : BALL
41
Sharpen : WHET
42
One working hard before the holidays : ELF
44
Poker-faced : STONY
47
Bits : DRIBS
49
___ it all : ABOVE
50
More like Paree : GAYER
51
Legendary guard of treasure : GNOME
52
Ring exchange : JABS
53
Place for an iris : UVEA
54
It's a sign : OMEN
55
Certain plea, briefly : NOLO
57
Went after, in a way : SUED
60
Actor Cage, informally : NIC
61
Sci-fi drug : TEK

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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