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New York Times, Monday, September 16, 2019

Author:
Amanda Rafkin and Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
19/16/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53000
Amanda Rafkin
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
222/9/201711/19/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5383300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61031
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 38 Missing: {KQWXZ} Spans: 2 This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Rafkin. This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
AMANDA: What an absolute thrill to be making my NYT crossword debut! I'll let the entries of PRIDE MONTH, GAYER, AIDA, and MORENO serve as a ... read more

AMANDA: What an absolute thrill to be making my NYT crossword debut! I'll let the entries of PRIDE MONTH, GAYER, AIDA, and MORENO serve as a formal introduction. That pretty much tells you most of what you need to know about me. (Ok, ok: I'm a concert pianist turned therapist turned musical theater pianist/composer. As one is.)

It's been such a fun experience to discover and break into the crossworld where my puns are embraced rather than identified as the formal cause of me swiftly seeing myself out of a room. Getting to make these puzzles, especially with Ross, has been such a huge source of joy for me and I hope you find some joy yourself in the solve! If you want to say hi and nerd out, you can find me on all the usual platforms where my handle is just my name because I've used up all of my creativity in other outlets.

ROSS: Amanda writes all the best clues in this and every puzzle we make together. Bow down.

Also, if you identify as non-male and/or LGBTQ+ and/or POC and you want to get into crossword constructing, I'd be thrilled to offer whatever assistance I can to help you get your puzzles published. Contact me via Instagram (@rosstrudeau) or Twitter (@trudeauross).

Jeff Chen notes:
I love Ross's drive to help underrepresented demographics get into crossword construction. How apt to have UBERMENSCH in the grid! JUST ... read more

I love Ross's drive to help underrepresented demographics get into crossword construction. How apt to have UBERMENSCH in the grid!

JUST FOR THE RECORD, Amanda's debut is a solid example of a "how are these seemingly disparate things related?" theme. GUINNESS records, STUDIO records, and records kept by a STENOGRAPHER — different enough that the revealer gave me a decent a-ha moment.

Some might wonder if GUINNESS OFFICIAL is a real thing, but it most definitely is. I admit I watch too many "Dude Perfect" videos – their raw enthusiasm is irresistible. Some of my favorite episodes are those where they break ridiculous "world records," always needing a GUINNESS OFFICIAL to be present.

I wasn't so sure about a STUDIO SINGER. I've heard of studio musicians – I never got good enough to be one, sadly – but there's such a thing as a STUDIO SINGER? According to the Goog, yep! It's unfortunately not as catchy a phrase as "studio musician" or "backup singer."

STENOGRAPHER works for the third type of record, although it's not an entry anyone would write home about.

As much as I like UBERMENSCH, it'll be a tough word for some novice solvers. If all the crossings had been no-brainers, I wouldn't have mentioned it, but TCM (Turner Classic Movies) could be a killer. Along with another hard piece of vocab in CARPACCIO, I'd have asked for the difficulty dial to be turned down from eleven to ten. Something like PRIDE MONTH feels much more accessible to a wider audience, while still being a great entry.

All in all, a well-made debut puzzle, the overall smoothness demonstrating careful craftsmanship. If the themers had been punchier and the grid more Monday-friendly, I'd have given it some POW! consideration.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0916 ( 25,514 )
Across
1
Design details, informally : SPECS
6
Archaeologist's treasure : RELIC
11
"Nova" airer : PBS
14
Major manufacturer of soda can materials : ALCOA
15
Justice Kagan : ELENA
16
Fe, on the periodic table : IRON
17
Adjudicator of an attempt at a physical feat, say : GUINNESSOFFICIAL
20
Early birds? : EGGS
21
Eldest of the von Trapp children : LIESL
22
What polytheists believe in : GODS
23
"Let's do it!" : IMIN
25
Hole ___ (golf feat) : INONE
27
Vocalist who doesn't tour : STUDIOSINGER
32
Cosmopolitan or People, for short : MAG
35
1960s vice president Humphrey : HUBERT
36
L.A.'s ___ Arts District : NOHO
37
Pepsi-___ : COLA
38
Genre for Puccini and Ponchielli : OPERA
39
Rear end : BUTT
40
Macho : MANLY
41
Rowboat propellers : OARS
42
Fumbles : ERRS
43
Nickname of King Edward VII : BERTIE
44
Channel for lovers of old films : TCM
45
One versed in shorthand : STENOGRAPHER
47
Standing straight : ERECT
49
Elton John musical based on a work by Verdi : AIDA
50
Deep blue dye : ANIL
51
Throw, as an anchor : HEAVE
54
Mention as an example : CITE
58
"To be totally clear" ... or why to bring in a 17-, 27- or 45-Across? : JUSTFORTHERECORD
61
Whale found in every one of the world's oceans : ORCA
62
Gold or platinum : METAL
63
Like most notebook paper : LINED
64
"___, humbug!" : BAH
65
Impolitely overlooks : SNUBS
66
Amble (along) : MOSEY
Down
1
Wise one : SAGE
2
What goes into a socket : PLUG
3
Juul, e.g., briefly : ECIG
4
Takes under advisement : CONSIDERS
5
The "S" of S.F. : SAN
6
Pine secretions : RESINS
7
"What ___ would you like?" : ELSE
8
Births between Cancer and Virgo : LEOS
9
Airborne : INFLIGHT
10
Half-___ (coffee order) : CAF
11
June observance commemorating the Stonewall Riots : PRIDEMONTH
12
Drag neckwear : BOAS
13
Sketch show with celebrity hosts, for short : SNL
16
Green "X" for Microsoft Excel, e.g. : ICON
18
T. S. ___, poet who wrote "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" : ELIOT
19
Assistant to Dr. Frankenstein : IGOR
24
Oscar winner Sorvino : MIRA
26
Prefix with liberal : NEO
27
Aim for the basket : SHOOT
28
Rapper Shakur : TUPAC
29
Nietzsche's ideal man : UBERMENSCH
30
Put away, as ashes : INURN
31
"Nuh-uh!" : NOTSO
33
"Kate & ___" (1980s TV show) : ALLIE
34
More gleeful : GAYER
37
Dish of thinly sliced raw meat : CARPACCIO
39
Fellow members of a church : BRETHREN
40
Quaff made with honey : MEAD
42
"Yadda, yadda, yadda ...": Abbr. : ETC
43
Bramble : BRIER
45
Who "I" refers to : SELF
46
Auctioneers' mallets : GAVELS
48
Moreno of "West Side Story" : RITA
50
Atmosphere : AURA
52
Question to a betrayer : ETTU
53
Monomaniacal captain of literature : AHAB
55
Charged particles : IONS
56
Christmas purchase that's quickly thrown out : TREE
57
Small whirlpool : EDDY
58
Nine-to-five activity : JOB
59
Yogi's sounds while meditating : OMS
60
Dutch ___ disease : ELM

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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