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New York Times, Thursday, August 8, 2019

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5012/11/20118/8/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74962202
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 50 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
THINK / TWICE = double the first word in five clues, so that their answers make sense. Not as tricky as a typical Thursday, but still ... read more

THINK / TWICE = double the first word in five clues, so that their answers make sense. Not as tricky as a typical Thursday, but still a reasonable gimmick. I bet a lot of solvers are breathing a sigh of relief to get a softball that still meets their expectations for some Thursday trickery. Some solvers quit after Wednesday because they can't break through the Thursday barrier. Perhaps this one will open the door!

Tim did a great job choosing key words that:

  1. are valid in their own right,
  2. are also valid when doubled, and
  3. have vastly different meanings when doubled. Elegant touch that they're all exactly three letters, too.

Delightful long bonuses, as I've come to expect from Tim, who's one of the best gridmakers out there. POWER LINES, EVIDENCE, and MATT BIONDI are great, and the fantastic OIL PRICES is a standout with its clue. "Crude estimates," indeed.

The best Thursday constructors struggle with the balance of making a trick interesting and novel enough, while not making it so hard that a minority of people understand what's going on. It's so difficult to set up solvers for a hard-earned a-ha, one that feels worthy of all the time they put in. Tim struck a fine balance today.

I've seen tricks like today's, but not quite Tim's implementation. (I'm thankful that the Constructors Getting Scooped streak ended at three.) It did remind me of a brilliant metapuzzle by Matt Gaffney, but in a good way. I enjoy seeing how top constructors execute on a similar notion.

1
P
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A
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C
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O
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A
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W
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F
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0808 ( 25,475 )

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Across
1
José, to amigos : PEPE
5
Going rate : PACE
9
Motion pictures? : OPART
14
Company with a for-profit foundation? : AVON
15
Improvisational style : SCAT
16
Gondolier, maybe : POLER
17
*Boo during a baseball game : WILDPITCH
19
See 60-Across : TWICE
20
Ricky's player on old TV : DESI
21
Around 20%, typically : TIP
23
Modern alternative to a garage sale : EBAY
24
2/ : FEB
25
*Tin has been in them since 1929 : COMICSTRIPS
29
"I'd like another" : ONEMORE
31
Philistine-fighting king : SAUL
32
Org. with Huskies and Bulldogs : NCAA
33
One way to get help : ASK
35
Class for a physiology major, informally : BIO
37
*Tar remover : DENTALHYGIENIST
43
Letters on an N.L. Central cap : STL
44
Was first : LED
45
Spanish feminine pronoun : ELLA
46
Implores : BEGS
49
Number one : TOPSPOT
51
*Ken, for one : LOGICPUZZLE
55
Campground sights : RVS
56
Prefix meaning "height" : ACRO
57
Cable news anchor Cabrera : ANA
58
Home of about 25% of U.N. member states : ASIA
60
With 19-Across, reconsider ... or a hint to the starts of the five starred clues : THINK
62
*Can components : HIGHKICKS
66
Member of Dubya's cabinet : CONDI
67
843 acres, for New York's Central Park : AREA
68
Princess whose brother is not a prince : LEIA
69
Invited over for lunch, say : HADIN
70
Crawl (with) : TEEM
71
Its min. score is 120 : LSAT
Down
1
Possible maker of a muddy footprint : PAW
2
Law school class : EVIDENCE
3
Climbing vegetables : POLEBEANS
4
Discontinues : ENDS
5
Letter that sounds like an expression of relief : PSI
6
Be dramatic? : ACT
7
Stickers in a plant store : CACTI
8
Law school class : ETHICS
9
Not dither : OPT
10
Casualties of violent storms : POWERLINES
11
Out, of sorts : ALIBI
12
Show the highlights : RECAP
13
Hearts that don't beat very much? : TREYS
18
___ de gallo : PICO
22
"Buckle Up, Dummies" ad, e.g. : PSA
24
A fan (of) : FOND
26
___ tradition : ORAL
27
Interlace : MESH
28
Lazy river transport : TUBE
30
Winner of five swimming gold medals at the 1988 Olympics : MATTBIONDI
34
Jon of Arizona politics : KYL
36
Figures calculated using crude estimates : OILPRICES
38
Pianist Templeton : ALEC
39
Jazzman Stan : GETZ
40
Object of veneration : IDOL
41
Part of a notable 1993 breakup : SLOVAKIA
42
Some parlor designs, informally : TATS
47
Scholarship application fig. : GPA
48
Portable shade provider : SUNHAT
50
Zenith : PEAK
51
Close securely : LATCH
52
L.P.G.A. great Lorena : OCHOA
53
Daily monotony : GRIND
54
Angola's northern neighbor, once : ZAIRE
59
Place to grow some herbs : SILL
61
Family : KIN
63
"Well, I'll be!" : GEE
64
Topping on a Hawaiian pizza : HAM
65
Lost one's standing? : SAT

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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