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New York Times, Friday, August 30, 2019

Author:
Trent H. Evans
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
49/3/201811/4/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0300010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53000
Trent H. Evans

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Evans. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Trent H. Evans notes:
It's been a great summer. I recently got back from playing trumpet on a concert tour of Europe with a big band made up of a group of ... read more

It's been a great summer. I recently got back from playing trumpet on a concert tour of Europe with a big band made up of a group of old friends from Texas Christian University. Playing with the Curt Wilson Alumni Band and exploring Spain and Portugal with my wife Beth was magical. Thanks, Curt! And now I get to share another puzzle with you in the New York Times on the day after my birthday? Life is good.

Queue times for themeless puzzles are long, so looking at this now is like opening a time capsule from February 2018 when I submitted it. As usual, Will, Joel, and Sam made it better. They deprived you of masterful gems like ARMERS and RENEGERS that appeared in my initial version. Happily, they liked my edits, and now this puzzle has made its way into your hands. They were on the crossword field playing defense for you, dear solver, and I'm glad of that. I've learned a few things since then.

One of the ways I've learned is through the surreal experience of reading comments about my puzzles from hundreds of people across multiple forums online. Those of us who make puzzles do read those comments and reviews. Observing how solvers react to puzzles is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a constructor. Kind comments warm my heart, and critical ones help me improve. My favorite professor when I was a psychology grad student once listened carefully to my thorough analysis of a case and declared to the entire class, "I'm listening to what Trent is saying and thinking to myself, ‘Trent has no idea what the *^%! he's talking about.'" My patients reap the benefit of that man's brutality to this day.

Happy Friday Crossworld! I hope you enjoy the solve, and I look forward to your thoughts. Have a fantastic weekend.

P.S. If you're interested in making your own puzzle, stop on by the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory on Facebook. While the focus of the group is to increase the participation of women, people of color, and other groups underrepresented in the puzzle world, there's something for everyone interested in trying their hand at puzzle constructing. There are lots of us there who would be happy to help you.

Jeff Chen notes:
Ha ha ha, do you look fat? Don't ask questions if you don't want the answers! I soon as I typed those sentences, I RUED it. ... read more

Ha ha ha, do you look fat? Don't ask questions if you don't want the answers!

I soon as I typed those sentences, I RUED it.

Seriously though, DO I LOOK FAT hit me the wrong way. First of all, isn't the stereotypical joke "does this dress make me look fat?" Second, it's a stereotype. Third, let's be honest, maybe I have EATETH too much.

72-word themelesses have to be near perfect, given the ever-escalating bar. I enjoyed OFFICE WIFE and MELLO YELLO, a bit of EVIL GENIUS. I did wonder if OFFICE WIFE held connotations of cheating? Made me uncomfortable, but it's fine, if not as amusing as "work spouse."

As did MOHEL, EDDA, ILIAC, and the bizarre strings of EATETH AEAEA. That last one looks like the result when my 3-year-old son gets onto my computer.

Even EVERDEEN might be tough for some. As much as I loved "The Hunger Games" (remember all those ridiculous questions about "does Jennifer Lawrence look too fat to play the role of near-starving Katniss?), I wonder if its specific names will stand the test of time.

#TeamPeeta

I enjoyed some of the long fill, SNEAK PEEKS and EVIL GENIUS in particular, but both of them are hard to clue in clever ways. For a puzzle featuring EVIL GENIUS, there wasn't a lot of wickedly clever wordplay going on.

1
O
2
F
3
F
4
I
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C
6
E
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W
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I
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F
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E
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C
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B
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R
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M
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E
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A
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A
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D
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F
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S
H
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P
D
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H
A
V
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E
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S
C
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M
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T
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S
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A
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S
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R
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A
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C
T
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L
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N
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J
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T
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S
O
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M
O
H
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E
L
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E
I
G
H
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P
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M
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C
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B
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S
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A
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P
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R
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C
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O
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D
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A
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H
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E
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R
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D
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0830 ( 25,497 )
Across
1
Certain "work spouse" : OFFICEWIFE
11
One with a handle on the transportation industry? : CBER
15
Alternative to Mountain Dew : MELLOYELLO
16
Caption on breaking news : LIVE
17
One who might cackle "Mwa-ha-ha-ha!" : EVILGENIUS
18
Years and years : AGES
19
X or Y preceder : GEN
20
Walks or runs : STAT
21
"Nice thinking!" : SMART
22
Like a Hail Mary pass : ARCED
25
Amplify, with "out" : FLESH
27
Kissing in a restaurant or on a bus, for short : PDA
28
Lad : SHAVER
30
Scurry : SCAMPER
32
Levels : TRUES
34
Bit of protective wear? : AMULET
35
Name given to toughen up a boy, in a song : SUE
37
What a person with a poker face doesn't do : REACT
39
Writer Deighton : LEN
40
With complete care : JUSTSO
42
Bris officiant : MOHEL
44
Friday and Saturday Broadway showtime : EIGHTPM
46
Paparazzi targets, briefly : CELEBS
49
Orch. section : STR
50
Island of myth in Homer's "Odyssey" : AEAEA
52
Soak : STEEP
54
On the verge of crying : TEARY
56
Gospel singer Winans : CECE
58
___ Balls (Hostess product) : SNO
59
Ancient Norse work : EDDA
60
Old Native American carvings : ARROWHEADS
63
Like comments that require apologies : RUED
64
Question always best answered "no" : DOILOOKFAT
65
Springs : SPAS
66
Previews : SNEAKPEEKS
Down
1
End of fraternity row? : OMEGA
2
101, 102 and others : FEVERS
3
Draw back : FLINCH
4
"___ say!" : ILL
5
Small part of the works : COG
6
Things in orbits : EYES
7
Was released : WENTFREE
8
Related to the hip : ILIAL
9
Set at a cocktail party : FLUTES
10
Canon camera : EOS
11
Shut (up) : CLAM
12
Home of the Met ... or the Mets : BIGAPPLE
13
"Hunger Games" protagonist Katniss ___ : EVERDEEN
14
Common fix for computer problems : RESTART
21
Bogus : SHAM
23
Consumes, biblically : EATETH
24
TiVo, for one : DVR
26
Give a withering review : SCATHE
29
One edition of The Wall Street Journal : EUROPE
31
Retro hairstyle : MULLET
33
Uncle ___ : SAM
35
Dressed for the game : SUITEDUP
36
Highest-quality, according to govt. food regulators : USGRADEA
38
Longest continuous sponsor of the Olympics (since 1928) : COCACOLA
40
Court players : JESTERS
41
Pause in a legal process : STAY
43
Two-time U.S. Open champ of the 1990s : ELS
45
French leader after Hollande : MACRON
47
"Take care!" : BESAFE
48
"Where the Wild Things Are" author : SENDAK
51
Spooky : EERIE
53
Parts of earrings : POSTS
55
X-ray units : RADS
57
Popular "Star Wars" doll : EWOK
60
Them's the breaks! : ADS
61
Problem for an infielder, maybe : HOP
62
Barely manage, with "out" : EKE

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?