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New York Times, Friday, September 6, 2019

Author:
Mark Diehl
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
7511/11/19849/6/20193
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3214720362
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.573038
Mark Diehl

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {FJX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 75 for Mr. Diehl. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Mark Diehl notes:
I was on an include-a-number kick when I constructed this puzzle, so it all started with 3 MUSKETEERS BARS crossing C3PO. Toying with ... read more

I was on an include-a-number kick when I constructed this puzzle, so it all started with 3 MUSKETEERS BARS crossing C3PO. Toying with PEANUT BUTTER CUP as a possible mini-theme entry, I opened up the stacked positions adjacent to the two sweets to lower the word count down to 70 and the scrabbly SUZY Q CAKES seductively presented itself. Tough to ignore that entry, but what were the odds a companion treat could be found?

Doubly damn tough, it turned out, but I discovered and settled on KEY LIME PIE, finished the fill and fired the puzzle off in the mail. Will and crew responded: "We like the fill as a whole. However, KEY LIME PIE stuck out to us as inconsistent, since it's not really a "snack" like the others, and not a commercial name either. Think this is replaceable somehow?"

My first thought was "PROBABLY NOT, WILL," yet in the end, the helpful OREO saved the day once again

Jeff Chen notes:
What's this, Mark Diehl on a Friday? The man renowned for his diabolical Saturday creations treats us to an easier Friday. And talk ... read more

What's this, Mark Diehl on a Friday? The man renowned for his diabolical Saturday creations treats us to an easier Friday. And talk about treats! We get SUZY Qs, a PEANUT BUTTER CUP, some 3 MUSKETEERS, and an OREO. That's a tasty — if diabetes-inducing — mini-theme.

Rare to see numbers in a themeless, so I enjoyed getting C3PO, a perfect way to work in that 3.

I wasn't hot on just getting one PEANUT BUTTER CUP. Where'd the other one from the two-pack go, hmm, Mark? Gimme gimme gimme! A couple of extraneous words also bugged me, CAKES and COOKIE feeling tacked on. They are technically correct, but who wouldn't give you the side-eye if you asked for a SUZY Q CAKE?

Mostly I was irritated by not getting that other PEANUT BUTTER CUP. Who can eat just one?

A mini-theme with this density – including pairs stacked atop each other! – usually doesn't allow for that much extra long fill, but this is Mark, a consummate pro, we're talking about. Such a pleasure to get a vending machine full of HARD NOSED / INCOGNITO / LEAD DOGS, and BROCADE / CORIOLIS force.

I hesitated right off the bat, with the pile-up of NUEVA IZAAK LYNDE, all crossing ANIL. Thankfully, the rest of the puzzle was smoother, but it's a shame that the upper themer stack necessitated a rough start to the puzzle. I didn't think it was worth it. Shortening (pun intended) to SUZY Q and OREOS would have made things much smoother (because you can shift SUZY Q back and forth to find a more optimal position).

I was thrown for a loop by the clue for ROPE. Looped for a throw, what a fun reversal!

Not my favorite mini-theme, but I appreciated seeing something a little different.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0906 ( 25,504 )
Across
1
Blue dye : ANIL
5
Person in a "Class of ..." : ALUM
9
Bad response from an audience : HISS
13
Snack items from Hostess : SUZYQCAKES
16
Nordqvist of the L.P.G.A. : ANNA
17
Snack item from Reese's : PEANUTBUTTERCUP
19
Skirts : EVADES
20
Heads to Nome, say : LEADDOGS
21
They have teeth but don't bite : RAKES
22
Red ___ : HERRING
23
Motors (around) : TOOLS
25
Part of a makeup artist's kit : TONER
28
People working at home : UMPS
32
Back on board? : DEE
33
Barn dance call : DOSIDO
34
2002 George Clooney film set in space : SOLARIS
36
Listen here! : WIRETAP
37
Celiac concern : GLUTEN
38
Honey : BAE
39
Half ___ (Yosemite attraction) : DOME
40
Not blackball, say : ADMIT
41
French day named after the Roman god of war : MARDI
43
Kimono fabric : BROCADE
45
"I'm here if you have any questions" : ASKME
50
Kind of force generated by the earth's rotation : CORIOLIS
52
Plains natives : OMAHAS
53
Snack items from Mars : 3MUSKETEERSBARS
55
Hide : PELT
56
Snack item from Nabisco : OREOCOOKIE
57
Pair of 11s? : ONES
58
Actress Best of old Hollywood : EDNA
59
Spam comes in them : TINS
Down
1
In line with : ASPER
2
___ España (old colonial domain) : NUEVA
3
Walton who wrote "The Compleat Angler" : IZAAK
4
Paul who was the longtime "center square" on "Hollywood Squares" : LYNDE
5
Bills no more : ACTS
6
Setting in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" : LAB
7
Marilyn Monroe played one in "Some Like It Hot" : UKULELE
8
They're fed by the street : METERS
9
Unsentimental : HARDNOSED
10
Undercover : INCOGNITO
11
Very close : SNUG
12
Dim bulbs : SAPS
14
Knight's undertaking : QUEST
15
Part of the Hardee's logo : STAR
18
Important movie credit : EDITOR
22
Weeds, say : HOES
24
God who gave an eye in his search for wisdom : ODIN
26
Traditional product of North Holland : EDAM
27
It may be looped for a throw : ROPE
28
Green-conscious grp. : USGA
29
Creation of a dentist or a potter : MOLD
30
Surveyor's instrument : PLUMBRULE
31
Horace and Juvenal, for two : SATIRISTS
33
Went pffft! : DIED
35
Gained back, as ground : RETOOK
36
Suffix with kitchen : WARE
38
Satan's spawn : BADSEED
41
École teacher : MAITRE
42
Response to a disbeliever : IAMSO
44
Title female role in Shakespeare, informally : CLEO
46
Wooden shoe : SABOT
47
Business casual material : KHAKI
48
California county containing Muir Woods : MARIN
49
Trouble for Sylvester the Cat : ESSES
50
Sci-fi character who claims fluency in more than six million forms of communication : C3PO
51
It's a sign : OMEN
52
Killer whale : ORCA
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Phanerozoic ___ (current period in the earth's history) : EON

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

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