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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
277/17/200710/9/20186
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5122098
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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