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New York Times, Friday, August 9, 2019

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2310/9/20129/24/20195
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1332473
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62110
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes:
I submitted this puzzle in early 2018, and I hazily recall it was one of my early efforts to try working with open corners. On the ... read more

I submitted this puzzle in early 2018, and I hazily recall it was one of my early efforts to try working with open corners. On the other hand, I very clearly recall what a relief I felt to get an acceptance. From March 2017 to February 2018, not counting collabs with Mike Hawkins, I had an unbroken streak of 29 NYT rejections! I only say this to offer words of encouragement to constructors in a drought. Keep trying!

Oh, and I couldn't figure out why the editorial team had changed the original 16-Across / 6-Down ANEMIC / ETC to ANEMIA / ETA. Then I noticed 40-Down ET AL and realized the Latin ET dupe. Just shows how closely they are paying attention. Good catch!

Jeff Chen notes:
A standard 70-word themeless has to be near-flawless for me to perk up. Nearly all 12 entries in the four triple-stacks have to ... read more

A standard 70-word themeless has to be near-flawless for me to perk up. Nearly all 12 entries in the four triple-stacks have to sizzle, and the short fill must be clean as a whistle. Even if these criteria are met, the puzzle usually has to do something above and beyond.

The longest entries, TWITTERATI and DEATH STARE, certainly qualified as above and beyond. Not easy to squeeze these into the middle of the puzzle. Note how cleverly John did this – both answers steer well clear of the four triple-stacks in the corners, making for more flexibility.

I did enjoy TWITTERATI more than DEATH STARE. I'm sure it's my personal preferences in this day and age, as the latter reminded me of a certain unpleasant Orangeman. Huh, so did TWITTERATI. #Sad.

A couple of clues stymied me. What's a "demesne"? Looked it up, and the dictionary said ESTATE. It's an accurate clue, but it's both boring and a turn-off.

Speaking of turn-off: the ULTRAHD clue. 4K? Apparently that's the term the wonks use for Ultra HD. (Something about 4000 horizontal pixels.) NONES is "the religiously unaffiliated" – basically, the dictionary definition. To EMBAR is to hinder, also from the dictionary.

I bet if you looked up FARO, you'd get something that starts with "gambling game that …"

These aren't bad. Neither are they good, though, and a (mostly) standard 70-word puzzle needs much more to help it stand out.

Thankfully there was enough OVEN MITT (awesome playful clue, riffing on "handy" = "hand-y"), HOW RUDE!, LOGICIAN, SCANDIUM, CANOODLE, to keep me entertained.

1
S
2
C
3
O
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N
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C
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E
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H
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O
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W
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R
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U
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D
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C
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B
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A
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M
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A
N
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E
V
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N
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A
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D
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M
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P
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O
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D
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D
E
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H
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U
L
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A
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D
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I
O
W
A
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M
E
T
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T
A
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M
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A
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C
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F
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O
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E
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B
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W
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A
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Y
O
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R
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B
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C
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E
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N
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A
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O
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H
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M
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O
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L
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K
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A
B
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L
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P
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0809 ( 25,476 )
Across
1
Wall light : SCONCE
7
"Well, excu-u-use me!" : HOWRUDE
14
Frisk : CAVORT
15
What short sleeves leave : BAREARMS
16
Feebleness : ANEMIA
17
Wholly : EVERYBIT
18
The religiously unaffiliated : NONES
19
Wipe out : ERASE
20
Carrier to Tokyo : ANA
21
Monk's title : DOM
22
Single-___ : PAYER
24
Twerp : SNOT
25
Terse response accepting responsibility : IDID
27
Unnerving look : DEATHSTARE
30
4K : ULTRAHD
32
Midwest tribe : IOWA
33
Private R&R : METIME
34
Frustrating place to be stranded : TARMAC
38
Gambling card game that up to 10 may comfortably play at once : FARO
40
Involve, as in controversy : EMBROIL
41
Some social media celebrities : TWITTERATI
45
Days of old : YORE
46
Decays : ROTS
47
Pair : BRACE
49
Org. that penalizes carrying : NBA
50
Places where people wear masks, for short : ORS
51
Actress Katherine of "27 Dresses" : HEIGL
53
Fool : MORON
55
Like well-connected investigative reporters, say : LEAKEDTO
57
Detests : ABHORS
58
"If ... then" sort of thinker : LOGICIAN
59
Faux brother of a popular rock group : RAMONE
60
Do a school visit, in a way? : SNORKEL
61
Play favorites with : PREFER
Down
1
Rare-earth element named after where it was discovered : SCANDIUM
2
Engage in some P.D.A. : CANOODLE
3
Handy item in the kitchen? : OVENMITT
4
The ___ Nugget (alliteratively named newspaper since 1897) : NOME
5
English potato chip : CRISP
6
Subj. of a "Delayed" sign : ETA
7
Cheese sometimes flavored with dill : HAVARTI
8
Subjects of tests for purity : ORES
9
"___ sorry ..." : WERE
10
Beam : RAY
11
Illinois college town : URBANA
12
Key of Mozart's "Requiem" : DMINOR
13
Demesne : ESTATE
15
Greek city visited by Paul before Athens : BEREA
19
Sized up : EYED
23
Stick : ADHERE
24
Like a cloudless night : STARRY
26
Gets carried away : DRIFTS
28
Capturer of an unguarded remark : HOTMIC
29
Stick in a cabinet, say : SWAB
31
Latin 101 word : AMAT
35
Clear choice for auto buyers : MOONROOF
36
Like the 101st Division : AIRBORNE
37
Skin care product : CLEANSER
39
Kind of velocity in planetary physics : ORBITAL
40
And others: Abbr. : ETAL
41
Some social media commenters : TROLLS
42
Kept going and going : WOREON
43
"We've got the green light" : ITSAGO
44
Most common noble gas : ARGON
48
Hinder : EMBAR
51
"Shoot!" : HECK
52
Emmy winner Falco : EDIE
54
"Heavens to Betsy!" : OHME
56
Wine aperitif : KIR
57
One of the first artists to incorporate random chance : ARP

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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