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New York Times, Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Author:
Ethan Cooper
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
155/17/19999/10/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1442400
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56101
Ethan Cooper

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {GJQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Cooper. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I've had hundreds of BLTs in my life, but I've never thought about the order of ingredients. Does it matter? Seems like it should ... read more

I've had hundreds of BLTs in my life, but I've never thought about the order of ingredients. Does it matter? Seems like it should – it'd be weird if someone described our nation's flag as the good old white, blue, and red, yeah?

Only one way to find out! Now I have to figure out which deli will give me the least side-eye when I order six different BLTs, using the six different permutations.

Great theme phrases. I LOVED TO BITS every single one of them, LOWER BACK TATTOO a great find for LBT. It's not as colorful a term as the more well-known one, but sadly, T S (warning, hilarious but NSFW!) doesn't fit in a B L T permutation theme.

I also appreciated how careful Ethan was to avoid duplicating any one word. It'd be all too easy to use TO or TOO twice. That attention to detail made the theme set stand out even more.

Five themers aren't easy to work into a 15x15 grid, especially when they're fairly long. If this had been a meatier theme, one that could have run on a Wednesday, I'd have given it more passes. For a newb, though, seeing ALBEE VERDI ULTA KVELL EPOCHAL might elicit a sensation of THIS LOOKS BAD.

All of these words are fair game, entries that educated NYT solvers ought to be (at least vaguely) familiar with. As a whole, though, they might take away from a victorious finish. As a constructor, you want to deliver a shout of "I DID IT!" instead of an "uh … I think I might have kinda sorta maybe finished?"

Black squares divided the grid into two halves, upper and lower. I'd have asked Ethan to rework, creating openings somewhere along that black diagonal. It'd be one thing if you could only have good grid flow or clean fill, but I'm positive that with this theme set, you can have both.

I'd have loved some rationale behind permuting the B L T letters – there are dozens of words indicating anagramming, so I'm sure there's some food-anagramming revealer out there – but overall, the snazziness of the five themers made up for that omission.

1
A
2
M
3
Y
4
C
5
A
6
R
7
O
8
M
9
S
10
A
11
L
12
M
13
A
14
D
O
E
15
A
D
E
L
E
16
C
L
O
U
D
17
M
O
S
18
L
O
V
E
D
19
T
O
B
I
T
S
20
I
S
S
21
U
E
22
A
R
R
E
S
T
23
T
H
I
N
B
24
L
25
U
26
E
L
I
N
E
27
S
U
R
I
28
A
L
P
S
29
A
30
C
31
E
32
S
33
U
M
T
O
34
S
35
P
36
A
C
E
X
37
L
38
O
39
W
E
R
B
A
C
40
K
T
A
T
T
O
O
41
A
L
E
X
I
S
42
H
A
L
L
E
43
O
D
D
44
F
A
T
E
45
A
46
A
47
R
48
P
49
T
50
H
51
I
S
L
O
O
52
K
S
B
A
D
53
M
54
A
O
I
S
T
55
V
E
R
D
I
56
B
O
R
N
T
O
O
57
L
58
A
59
T
E
60
A
I
D
61
L
O
T
T
O
62
P
I
X
E
L
63
M
A
D
64
T
R
Y
O
N
65
S
T
E
A
L
66
S
L
Y
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0910 ( 25,508 )
Across
1
"Ask ___" (newspaper advice column) : AMY
4
Bounce, as off a pool table cushion : CAROM
9
Actress Hayek : SALMA
14
Deer with no antlers : DOE
15
Singer with the best-selling albums "19," "21" and "25" : ADELE
16
Bringer of rain : CLOUD
17
Jan., Feb., Mar., etc. : MOS
18
Absolutely adored : LOVEDTOBITS
20
What a weekly has once a week : ISSUE
22
Police action : ARREST
23
The police, metaphorically : THINBLUELINE
27
Daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes : SURI
28
Destination for European hikers : ALPS
29
Versatile blackjack card : ACE
32
Reach by addition : SUMTO
34
Rocket-building company since 2002 : SPACEX
37
Body art that might be revealed by hip-hugger jeans : LOWERBACKTATTOO
41
___ de Tocqueville, author of "Democracy in America" : ALEXIS
42
Oscar-winning Berry : HALLE
43
Like 43, e.g. : ODD
44
Destiny : FATE
45
Senior's org. : AARP
49
"Uh-oh" : THISLOOKSBAD
53
Hardcore Chinese party adherent : MAOIST
55
"Aida" composer : VERDI
56
Like a millennial who's a huge fan of 1960s-'70s music, it's said : BORNTOOLATE
60
Help out : AID
61
Source of revenue for many states : LOTTO
62
Dot on a computer screen : PIXEL
63
Ticked off : MAD
64
Test before buying, as clothes : TRYON
65
Daring base runner's goal : STEAL
66
Foxy : SLY
Down
1
Confesses (to) : ADMITS
2
Kind of pork at a Chinese restaurant : MOOSHU
3
Polite assent : YESSIR
4
___ Carr, best-selling author of historical thrillers : CALEB
5
Hubbub : ADO
6
Fire (up), as an engine : REV
7
Part of a World Cup chant : OLE
8
Finishes in the top three, say : MEDALS
9
Treat disdainfully : SCORN
10
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" playwright : ALBEE
11
Clark's crush at the Daily Planet : LOIS
12
Mixed-breed dog : MUTT
13
Main source of online revenue : ADS
19
One more than bi- : TRI
21
Available to all, as a bathroom : UNISEX
24
Petting zoo babies : LAMBS
25
Beauty products chain : ULTA
26
Era-defining : EPOCHAL
29
___ of Congress : ACT
30
Elon Musk, for 34-Across : CEO
31
Prefix with skeleton : EXO
33
Ocean State sch. : URI
34
Canonized pope of the fifth century : STLEO
35
Buddy : PAL
36
Relaxed : ATEASE
37
Language related to Thai : LAO
38
Like 1960s-'70s music : OLD
39
Joined in matrimony : WED
40
Green Hornet's sidekick : KATO
44
Aperture settings : FSTOPS
46
J.J. who directed "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" : ABRAMS
47
Kind of tire : RADIAL
48
2000s stage name for rapper Sean Combs : PDIDDY
49
Lone Ranger's sidekick : TONTO
50
Flirt with at a bar, say : HITON
51
"Am ___ out of touch?" : ISO
52
Nearly plotz with pride : KVELL
53
Othello, for one : MOOR
54
Bohemian : ARTY
56
Sandwich whose initials have been rearranged in five other ways in this puzzle : BLT
57
Flaming : LIT
58
Lumberjack's tool : AXE
59
Spill the ___ (reveal sensitive information) : TEA

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

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