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New York Times, Saturday, August 4, 2018

Author: Sam Trabucco
Editor: Will Shortz
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1410/29/20159/22/20180
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3100244
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1.67140
Sam Trabucco
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Trabucco. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Trabucco notes: Many solvers enjoy cross-references in their puzzles, but I know that many others detest them with some sort of burning passion I ... more
Sam Trabucco notes:

Many solvers enjoy cross-references in their puzzles, but I know that many others detest them with some sort of burning passion I can't relate to. My hope is that this puzzle presents a "worst of both worlds" situation — solvers who like them will be disappointed, and solvers who hate them will have their days ruined before discovering the trick! I'm equal opportunity like that.

Of the numbers which were possible to use, SEVEN was (of course) the most constraining since I didn't want to cross two *S EVEN phrases. Luckily, there were actually two options I could find in the slot — apologies to JESSE VENTURA for the exclusion!

Hope you enjoyed!

Jeff Chen notes: Will often gets correspondence on a certain clue, expressing outrage that HE IS MOST CERTAINLY WRONG, SIR! (Turns out to be right ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Will often gets correspondence on a certain clue, expressing outrage that HE IS MOST CERTAINLY WRONG, SIR! (Turns out to be right 99.5% of the time.) I was all set to write him and his copyediting team to say that there was something wrong with the clues today … and then I realized that THERE WAS A TRICK RUNNING IN MY THEMELESS PUZZLE! WHAAAA?!

And what a trick! I nearly solved the entire grid before realizing what was going on. An example: 18-Across references 10-Down (literally). What does that "literally" mean? There's a T E N at the end of EVERY SO OF(T E N)! It has nothing to do with the entry at 10-Down (RESTLESS); just a fake-out.

A fantastic a-ha moment! Best in my recent memory! Heck yeah!

But to be honest, I had mixed feelings at the end of my solve. Such a great concept – I loved, loved, loved it! Why was it running on a Saturday though, where I expect my themeless to be a little more chock-full of colorful long fill? This could have been the perfect Thursday puzzle. Quintessential.

I discussed it with Jim, and in the end, I decided that I liked Will throwing us all off guard, keeping us on our toes, not being too predictable. It's good to break expectations every once in a while.

And ultimately, there was still enough sizzle in the grid – THE ARTIST, GENE POOL, PRESS EVENT, the dreaded FRIEND ZONE, MODEL UN, COW POSE, HAND BRA (think about Vogue covers …) – that I felt like it'd be plain stupid not to give this fantastic theme the POW! just because it ran on a day I didn't expect. It's pretty incredible that Sam managed to fit in his four turning themers – all super-strong choices – plus all this great fill, with just a few KETT TRA dabs of glue.

Bravo, Sam!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0804 ( 25,106 )
Across Down
1. Buzz source : HIVE
5. Right : PROPER
11. Leader in a chorus line? : TRA
14. Conversation stopper : AHEM
15. Love of Cyrano de Bergerac : ROXANE
16. One not abstaining : WET
17. Husband of Octavia : NERO
18. With 10-Down, literally, now and then : EVERYSOOFTEN
20. Feature of a moat : DAM
21. Things a smartphone has lots of : USES
22. Cash payment? : ATMFEE
23. With 7-Down, literally, neither wins nor loses : BREAKSEVEN
25. Pick up : LEARN
26. Some spicy brews : RYEBEERS
29. Like ranches, typically : FENCED
30. European river that originates from a glacier : AARE
31. Ones not abstaining : VOTERS
33. Some Tesla employees, in brief : EES
34. Only French-produced film to win an Oscar for Best Picture (2011) : THEARTIST
37. Chest-thumping, for short? : CPR
40. Abide : ENDURE
41. Old Gremlins and Hornets : AMCS
45. Eye : LOOKAT
47. Makings of a population : GENEPOOL
49. Ran in place : IDLED
50. With 8-Down, literally, one just taking up space : DEADWEIGHT
51. Preps, as cappuccino milk : FROTHS
53. Lamebrain : BOZO
55. Pen lead-in : EPI
56. With 1-Down, literally, downright dastardly : BADTOTHEBONE
58. Place for a post : BLOG
59. Put something past? : ACE
60. Electrically insulating material around nerve fibers : MYELIN
61. Wild country : BUSH
62. Ancient title : REX
63. Divorcé, e.g. : EXMATE
64. Tech review site : CNET
1. Makeshift technique for female modesty : HANDBRA
2. "Yep, perfectly clear" : IHEARYA
3. "The Astronomer" painter : VERMEER
4. ___ pop : EMO
5. Groundhog Day celebration, typically : PRESSEVENT
6. Knock about : ROVE
7. Buffoons : OXES
8. Course number : PAR
9. "May It Be" singer, 2001 : ENYA
10. Never putting down roots for long : RESTLESS
11. Coin-flipping "Batman" villain : TWOFACE
12. Ringmaster? : REFEREE
13. Sees (to) : ATTENDS
19. Calpurnia's dream of Caesar's death, e.g. : OMEN
21. Alternative to a mandolin, informally : UKE
24. Provide job support : ABET
27. Take it for a ride : ROAD
28. Member of the "magnificent" 1996 U.S. women's gymnastics team : STRUG
29. Unwanted state for a would-be lover : FRIENDZONE
32. ___ humain (person: Fr.) : ETRE
35. Commute in the afternoon, say : HEADHOME
36. Appetizer that may accompany sangria : TAPA
37. Popular snack for bikers and hikers : CLIFBAR
38. "Star Wars" sporting event : PODRACE
39. Quaint item on an office desk : ROLODEX
42. Exercise in student diplomacy, for short : MODELUN
43. It's performed on hands and knees in yoga : COWPOSE
44. Dexterity : SLEIGHT
46. Etta of old comics : KETT
48. Job ad abbr. : EEO
52. It goes to hell : STYX
53. ___ Fleck and the Flecktones : BELA
54. End note? : OBIT
57. Bottom line? : HEM
58. Airer of the children's news program "Newsround" since 1972 : BBC

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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