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New York Times, Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Author: Peter A. Collins
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter A. Collins
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
975/2/200610/31/201611
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51123331294
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.564273

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 75 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes: It's an honor to have the first puzzle of the new year. It's perhaps a bit unusual to have a rebus puzzle on a Wednesday, but ... more
Peter A. Collins notes: It's an honor to have the first puzzle of the new year. It's perhaps a bit unusual to have a rebus puzzle on a Wednesday, but here it is. And I guess this puzzle couldn't run on any other day but January 1.

I think 2014 uses all the digits that have homophones, other than 8/ate, and that's if one is willing to allow "oh" to stand for "zero". I'm sure some will take exception to that bit of cruciverbalistic license.

The grid was a bit difficult to fill, primarily because of the side-by-side-by-side-by-side themed entries. What you're seeing is the second incarnation of the puzzle. Will asked me to rework my original version. That version contained some rather ugly fill, such as ROYG and TEENTSY.

Happy New Year to all!

Will Shortz notes: I've been saving this puzzle since June. The theme is slight — just one answer (37A) and its four numerical crossings. But ... more
Will Shortz notes: I've been saving this puzzle since June. The theme is slight — just one answer (37A) and its four numerical crossings. But it's fun and timely. I like the fact that all the numbers change spelling in the other direction — 2 to "too," 0 to "Oh," 1 to "won," and 4 to "for."
Jeff Chen notes: Happy 2014 indeed! Good way to kick off the new year. Pete uses the digits 2 0 1 4 in the horizontal direction, and homonyms of them ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Happy 2014 indeed! Good way to kick off the new year. Pete uses the digits 2 0 1 4 in the horizontal direction, and homonyms of them in the vertical. At first I was stuck around that area, but it sure provided a nice moment when things clicked. The only pause I had was "oh" didn't seem right for "zero" (sorry, Pete!), but that might be a dialect or usage issue, so we'll let that pass.

Pete wasn't kidding — this is a very tough construction. There are four parallel downs which must work together to form coherent across entries, plus Pete chose to go with a 74-word puzzle. The acrosses around HAPPY 2014 are nice and smooth, with just an IANS as a blip; very impressive. I didn't know WATUTSI but was glad to look it up. And the NW was beautiful! All sorts of fancy entries up there, EGBERT actually being my favorite. I can overlook an ENV and and ESO to get NIRVANA and GEISHA.

Some issues arose in the SW corner, though. The high constraints in the middle propagate through the puzzle, and since that SW corner has a lot of white space, it becomes even tougher to fill. CAVER made me pause (I used to cave, and we called it caving, but never called ourselves cavers), and it crosses the long partial ARE WE. Our old crossword frenemy ETUI also makes an appearance, along with the outdated ARTE Johnson. It's really tough after WATUTSI is fixed into place, which constrains the number of fill options and forces some compromises.

Nice theme concept, fun solve, with a bit of crunchiness.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,430
Across Down
1. Frank's partner in the funnies : ERNEST
7. Old ___ (London theater) : VIC
10. À la mode : CHIC
14. Asian entertainer : GEISHA
15. Have a mortgage, say : OWE
16. ___ O'Neill : OONA
17. Tree with extra-large acorns : BUROAK
18. ___ Cob, Conn. : COS
19. NASA component: Abbr. : NATL
20. Card holder: Abbr. : ENV
21. Eponymous sitcom star of the 2000s : REBA
23. After-dinner wine : SHERRY
25. Narrow inlet : RIA
26. Model Porizkova : PAULINA
28. Dine : SUP
29. Ad nauseam : TONOEND
31. Far sides of ranges : TARGETS
33. ___ King Cole : NAT
34. Actor McKellen and others : IANS
36. Hawaiian singer with many 1960s-'70s TV guest appearances : DONHO
37. New Year's greeting : HAPPY2014
40. Spelunker : CAVER
43. Sleek swimmers : EELS
44. N.Y.C. line : IRT
47. Teresa Heinz or Christina Onassis : HEIRESS
49. Spartan : AUSTERE
52. Roth ___ : IRA
53. People of Rwanda and Burundi : WATUTSI
55. K.G.B. rival : CIA
56. 2000s TV drama set in the 1960s : MADMEN
58. Smile : BEAM
59. Like some sale goods: Abbr. : IRR
60. Tailor's case : ETUI
61. The White Stripes or OutKast : DUO
63. Declutter : NEATEN
65. The White Stripes' genre : ROCK
66. Rap sheet letters : AKA
67. Little-known : NONAME
68. Johnson of "Laugh-In" : ARTE
69. Permit : LET
70. Aslant : ANGLED
1. First king of the English : EGBERT
2. After-school activity? : REUNION
3. Band with the 10x platinum album "Nevermind" : NIRVANA
4. That, in Toledo : ESO
5. Economics Nobelist William F. ___ : SHARPE
6. Sample the hooch : TAKEANIP
7. Not shy about expressing opinions : VOCAL
8. ___ Jima : IWO
9. Business jet maker : CESSNA
10. Dunce cap shape : CONE
11. Make rough : HOARSEN
12. "Actually ..." : INTRUTH
13. Afro-Caribbean music : CALYPSO
22. Capital spanning the Danube : BUDAPEST
24. Achieved through difficulty : HARDWON
27. 1971 #1 hit for Carole King : ITSTOOLATE
30. Alternative : OTHER
32. "Try!" : GOFORIT
35. Bill ___, the Science Guy : NYE
38. "___ there yet?" : AREWE
39. Classic Stephen Foster song : OHSUSANNA
40. Fire-breathing creature of myth : CHIMERA
41. Faucet attachment : AERATOR
42. Span across a gorge, say : VIADUCT
45. Soloist's performance : RECITAL
46. Persian Wars vessel : TRIREME
48. Bit of beachwear : SANDAL
50. San ___, Calif. : SIMEON
51. Took home : EARNED
54. W.W. II menace : UBOAT
57. Love from the Beach Boys? : MIKE
62. Instrument for 36-Across, informally : UKE
64. "Life of Pi" director Lee : ANG

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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