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New York Times, Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Author:
Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1017/5/20108/7/201961
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678182598
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637222
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVX} This is puzzle # 101 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Pro tip: if you're working on a crossword at your local coffee shop, mumbling like a madman AIRWAY OFF DAY ILL SAY ILL PAY ILL STAY AU ... read more

Pro tip: if you're working on a crossword at your local coffee shop, mumbling like a madman AIRWAY OFF DAY ILL SAY ILL PAY ILL STAY AU LAIT, BAH THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING LONGER! will draw stares.

A shame that my wife, Jill ANY DAY, didn't write this one.

Jeff Chen notes:
Things happen in threes. First, it was the AVXC, then the WSJ, now the Universal crossword. I wrote this puzzle in late 2017, and Will ... read more

Things happen in threes. First, it was the AVXC, then the WSJ, now the Universal crossword. I wrote this puzzle in late 2017, and Will accepted it in mid-2018. I realize that the Venn diagram overlap of Universal and NYT solvers is likely small, maybe minuscule. That didn't make it any less painful when I opened up Mary Ellen's puzzle and got that sinking feeling.

Sigh.

I'd love to see Will improve the lag time between acceptance and publication. Over a year is tough to swallow. It's easy to see why some top constructors have shifted to other venues, notably the WSJ, American Values Crossword, and the New Yorker. It's a tremendous loss to the NYT crossword that Liz Gorski has gone off on her own, with a fantastic subscription service.

It's a tough ask, though. Reducing that queue time would require a systems overhaul and a much more nimble operation. It would mean going from a paper-based system that Will prefers (he likes to mark up snail mail submissions) to an electronic one, where he could better organize and keep track of how long any particular accepted puzzle has been sitting in limbo.

And for what? To massage the fragile egos of constructors? Yeah, but he's already built an incredibly successful operation, with hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers, getting 125 submissions a week for seven precious slots. What works for him is doing just fine. So why mess with success?

(Although a retooling of Sunday puzzle querying is badly needed, since of those 125 submissions, only a tiny fraction are Sundays.)

Sometimes it's best to eat one's frustration and focus on the good. It's illy say — er, silly — to not concentrate on one's appreciation and thankfulness. Even after 100+ publications, I still get a lot of joy from giving a few people out there 10 minutes of (hopefully enjoyable) diversion in their day.

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N
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C
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A
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R
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H
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I
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N
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P
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U
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D
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W
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0807 ( 25,474 )
Across
1
"Today" network : NBC
4
Ali Baba, for one : ARAB
8
Main component of a crab shell : CHITIN
14
Something to roll over, for short : IRA
15
Daughter of Cronus : HERA
16
___ mama (rum drink) : BAHAMA
17
*Scarcity : EARTHDAY
19
Ready to turn in : SLEEPY
20
"I'm off!" : CIAO
21
Oslo Accords grp. : PLO
22
"Talking" tree of a Tennyson poem : OAK
23
*Futuristic film of 1982 : ENTREE
25
*Amazement : UNDERWAY
30
Places to stay : INNS
32
Softball : EASYONE
33
High on the Scoville scale : SPICY
36
Cover completely : COAT
38
Fashion designer Sui : ANNA
39
Go for the gold? : PAN
40
*Lay waste to : ASHTRAY
43
"Law & Order" figs. : DAS
44
Take too much of, briefly : ODON
46
Nuisance : PEST
47
Many a bike lock, essentially : UBOLT
49
Regular at Waikiki, e.g. : SURFBUM
51
Rice-shaped pasta : ORZO
53
*Magnificent : EAGLERAY
55
*Oaf : OUTLAY
59
Sit in the cellar, say : AGE
60
Livener of an empty wall : ART
62
Alert for a distracted driver : HONK
63
Summer hat : PANAMA
66
"Language" that explains the answers to the six starred clues : PIGLATIN
68
Added a comment, with "in" : CHIMED
69
Eau, across the Pyrenees : AGUA
70
Troupe grp. : USO
71
Indiana hoopsters : PACERS
72
Ink : TATS
73
Finish (up) : SEW
Down
1
Many a flower girl : NIECE
2
Hard drive, essentially : BRAIN
3
Gemology unit : CARAT
4
"That's the spot!" : AHH
5
Grader's tool : REDPEN
6
Kazakhstan's ___ Sea : ARAL
7
Habitat for alligators and crawdads : BAYOU
8
___ Sports (March Madness broadcaster) : CBS
9
Celestial circles : HALOES
10
"Message received" : IHEARYA
11
National sport of South Korea : TAEKWONDO
12
Jackanapes : IMP
13
Bill-blocking vote : NAY
18
Like an inner tube : TORIC
24
One-named singer with four Grammys : ENYA
26
In the vicinity of : NEARTO
27
It may be roaming overseas : DATA
28
Record of a single year : ANNAL
29
Brewer's supply : YEAST
31
Conceptual framework : SCHEMA
33
Slangy "What if ..." : SPOSE
34
"The Taming of the Shrew" setting : PADUA
35
Lifeless? : INORGANIC
37
Nail-biters during March Madness : OTS
41
Urge on : SPUR
42
Yellow citrus fruit used in Japanese cuisine : YUZU
45
Battle between Giants and Titans, maybe : NFLGAME
48
Louis ___, South Africa's first P.M. : BOTHA
50
Certain German wheels, informally : BEEMER
52
Low-grade liquor : ROTGUT
54
Talk to loudly : YAPAT
56
___-eater : LOTUS
57
Absinthe flavor : ANISE
58
"See what I'm talkin' 'bout?" : YKNOW
61
Latvia's capital : RIGA
63
Hallucinogenic inits. : PCP
64
"I've got it!" : AHA
65
Sides of some buses : ADS
67
Vegas opener? : LAS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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