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New York Times, Friday, August 18, 2017

Author: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor: Will Shortz
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1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 173 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brendan Emmett Quigley notes: This is surreal. I only vaguely remember making this one. When I saw the grid, I almost didn't recognize it. I think I ... more
Brendan Emmett Quigley notes:

This is surreal. I only vaguely remember making this one. When I saw the grid, I almost didn't recognize it. I think I made this one back in December, but like I said my memory is extremely hazy. Is this what Alzheimer's is going to feel like?

Hey, if David Bowie can have no memory of recording one entire album ("Station To Station"), I think I'm allowed to have one puzzle I don't recall making.

Jeff Chen notes: BEQ is one of the best out there when it comes to innovation in themeless grid patterns. I suppose making (at least) one themeless ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

BEQ is one of the best out there when it comes to innovation in themeless grid patterns. I suppose making (at least) one themeless per week will develop that skill!

Some great feature entries in BABY DOLLS, SANDWICH BAGS, MADE NO SENSE, LAW CLERKS — all intersecting together in the same region! Along with the complete lack of crossword glue in that wide-open middle, it made for such a pleasurable solving experience. It's difficult to execute on a big section like this to end up with both sparkle and cleanliness, but BEQ did it. Bravo, sir!

I sometimes wonder if my bar for themelesses is too high these days. As much as I loved the middle section, the corners didn't do nearly as much for me, which pulled this one out of POW! contention.

Finishing with an error in CASAVAS / DIAVOLO didn't help, but that was my fault, not the puzzle's — I should have known that it's "cassava," and that a cassava is a root, not a melon. But I would sympathize with others who made the same mistake. DIABOLO vs. DIAVOLO … man, that's hard to keep straight.

Themelesses featuring mostly seven-letter entries ... they're so hard to pull off with the same color as you can more easily get in 8+ letter answers. Things like SUMATRA are interesting, but ACHIEVE, DEIGNED, UNNAMED, ONE GRAM didn't do much for me. THE AREA felt partial-ish, too. (I don't mind duplicated short words, but THE above THE felt wonky.)

And I had to debate re: AGRIBIZ. Such an interesting string of letters, ending with that Z, but the term didn't resonate with this MBA / WSJ reader. I wondered how many others it would feel similarly. It's a valid term, just not one I've personally heard much.

Similar feeling about SAD KEANU. I've been a big fan of his ever since "The Matrix," but this meme was new to me. I'm sure it hit some folks strongly, though — people who are on Instagram, Fb, Twitter more, perhaps?

So overall, a knockout solving experience for me in the middle, but not as strong in the corners.

1
S
2
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3
M
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A
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N
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H
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F
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64
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0818 ( 24,755 )
Across Down
1. Island known for its coffee : SUMATRA
8. "So effective you can skip a day" sloganeer, once : MITCHUM
15. Weight of a U.S. banknote : ONEGRAM
16. Be successful : ACHIEVE
17. 1942 Abbott and Costello musical comedy : RIORITA
18. Thought fit : DEIGNED
19. Frequent designation for Elizabeth Taylor : EXWIFE
20. Theologian called "The Father of English History" : BEDE
21. Carrier in the Star Alliance : SAS
22. Jazz/samba fusion popularized in the 1960s : BOSSANOVA
25. Computer programmer's need : LOGIC
28. Especially : ABOVEALL
31. Spouse of Alexander Hamilton : ELIZA
32. Home of "the bell," briefly : NYSE
33. Bucket of bolts : HEAP
35. Shaping device : ADZ
36. Level connectors in Donkey Kong : LADDERS
39. Stink : ADO
40. Damage control org. : FEMA
42. Exultant cry : IWON
43. Word ending many farm names : ACRES
45. They're just above a handlebar : NOSTRILS
47. Clotheshorse : DANDY
48. They write many opinions : LAWCLERKS
50. Platform for Siri : IOS
53. ___ scale : MOHS
54. Very passionate : HEATED
58. Epithet for Jesus : THELAMB
60. Toy consisting of a spool on a string : DIABOLO
61. What you're in if you're nearby : THEAREA
62. Anonymous : UNNAMED
63. Joined forces? : YINYANG
64. Bit of media self-promotion : HOUSEAD
1. Miffed : SORE
2. System used by servers : UNIX
3. Cry around mealtime : MEOW
4. Growing industry, informally? : AGRIBIZ
5. Like some multiuse eyeglass lenses : TRIFOCAL
6. $40/hour and others : RATES
7. Health org. : AMA
8. Defied 25-Across : MADENOSENSE
9. Became slippery, in a way : ICEDOVER
10. Take things the wrong way : THIEVE
11. One of a pack of 20, for short : CIG
12. Farmyard females : HENS
13. Layer below the sclera : UVEA
14. Doc's orders : MEDS
20. Toys that may open and close their eyes : BABYDOLLS
23. Sometimes-zippered container : SANDWICHBAG
24. "That's the spot!" : AAH
25. Prominent part of Nestea's logo : LEAF
26. Antique : OLDEN
27. Whatchamacallit : GIZMO
29. Gather : LEARN
30. Put in a hold : LADED
34. Fragrant prom present : POSY
37. Amelia Earhart and others : AIRWOMEN
38. Internet meme of the star of "The Matrix" looking sullen : SADKEANU
41. Gallaudet Univ. system : ASL
44. Cousins of honeydews : CASABAS
46. Actress Taylor of "Bones" : TAMARA
49. Safari sighting, informally : RHINO
50. Minute, to a tot : ITTY
51. "Surprising to run into you here" : OHHI
52. Taken in : SEEN
55. One might require an oversize jacket : TOME
56. Birthplace of the philosopher Parmenides : ELEA
57. ___-Frank Act : DODD
59. Often-misused irregular verb : LAY
60. "Everybody knows that!" : DUH

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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