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New York Times, Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
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1.56261
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 38 Missing: {HQVXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 26 for Ms. Burnikel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: This puzzle was accepted on Sept 6th, 2014. As you can see from my original grid, Will removed the circles and re-did the upper left corner. Maybe he did not like ADOBO (26-A) on a Tuesday?
Jeff Chen notes: Very cool idea, names of fashion designers hidden within phrases (highlighted below), with INTERIOR DESIGNER as a perfect revealer. I'm a ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Very cool idea, names of fashion designers hidden within phrases (highlighted below), with INTERIOR DESIGNER as a perfect revealer. I'm a little tired of the "same word hidden in four different phrases" theme type, but it's a different story when four different (but related) words are hidden.

Andrea BOCELLI

It's especially neat when the hidden words are pretty tough to hide, i.e. 4+ letters or ones that contain tricky letter sequences. Finding ARMANI within FARM ANIMALS is a great discovery, and the KL in KLEIN makes it tough to identify a phrase across which KLEIN can span. I thought ANKLE INJURY was the weakest of the themers since I hear "sprained ankle" or "twisted ankle" much more frequently, but it is something you see in the sports pages.

With wide 16x15 grids, it's important to keep the solver's attention. So I appreciate C.C.'s (Zhouqin's) efforts to work in BITTER END, STEADY JOB, OSCAR NOD, even things like BOCELLI, GOOGLED, DELAWARE, TOLD YA. All makes for a more interesting solving experience.

I wondered if the MUSCAT/BOCELLI crossing would trip people up, although I think it's perfectly fair. NYT solvers are expected to know, or at least recognize world capitals. And BOCELLI being one of the most famous opera tenors of all time means a NYT solver really ought to know him.

The ALOMAR / LEDA crossing was more questionable for me. On one hand, Roberto ALOMAR is in the Hall of Fame, one of the most storied second basemen in baseball history. On the other hand, I feel for people who grouse about crosswords having way too much baseball in them. And LEDA, the Queen of Sparta, is a toughie even for this Greek mythology lover.

There's also too much of the S STAR (feels like cheating what with the two starting Ss), ENL, ITI, OEDS (odd to pluralize it), AMT, SRA for my taste, but that's the price to pay of working in so much good long fill into a puzzle with five long themers. If I had my druthers, I'd like to see fewer gluey bits at the expense of not as much nice long fill, but I can appreciate the balance C.C. struck.

Very nice theme concept with a perfect revealer.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,171
Across Down
1. Like "War and Peace," famously : LONG
5. Exposed : BARED
10. StubHub's parent : EBAY
14. Instrument that begins an orchestra's tune-up : OBOE
15. Gushes onstage, say : EMOTES
17. Tip of Italy, once? : LIRA
18. Most of the leading characters in "Babe" : FARMANIMALS
20. To-do : STIR
21. Recipe no. : AMT
22. Queen of Sparta : LEDA
23. Downed, as a meal : ATE
25. Tiny bit : TAD
26. Fitness program popularized in the 1990s : TAEBO
28. Things kids make in the winter : SNOWANGELS
31. Skip over : OMIT
33. Sitting room : PARLOR
34. Where Oman Air is headquartered : MUSCAT
37. Apiece : PER
38. Refs. that may occupy whole shelves : OEDS
41. Elle Decor reader ... or any of the names hidden in 18-, 28-, 52- and 66-Across? : INTERIORDESIGNER
45. Casting need : REEL
46. His, to Hilaire : SES
47. "See?!" : TOLDYA
48. ___-Lorraine : ALSACE
51. Hard-to-read character : RUNE
52. Aerial navigation beacon : RADIORANGE
55. "In my view ..." : IDSAY
59. Poehler of "Sisters" : AMY
60. Birthplace of the Baath Party: Abbr. : SYR
61. Any of las Filipinas : ISLA
63. Towing org. : AAA
64. Karate studio : DOJO
66. Serious setback for a kicker : ANKLEINJURY
69. Youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, familiarly : AROD
70. Think creatively : NOODLE
71. Tiny matter : ATOM
72. Lee side, informally : REBS
73. Dashboard array : DIALS
74. Trait origin : GENE
1. Lite, on labels : LOFAT
2. Michelle in the White House : OBAMA
3. El ___ (the United States, to Central Americans) : NORTE
4. Masterpiece : GEM
5. Nota ___ : BENE
6. In the thick of : AMIDST
7. Like the numerals V and I : ROMAN
8. Gate info : ETA
9. The Blue Hen State : DELAWARE
10. 1994 P.G.A. Tour Rookie of the Year : ELS
11. Conclusion of an arduous process : BITTEREND
12. Plain font : ARIAL
13. Things gained and lost in football : YARDS
16. Cool red giant : SSTAR
19. Roberto in Cooperstown : ALOMAR
24. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL
27. "Time to Say Goodbye" tenor Andrea : BOCELLI
29. Many David Brooks pieces : OPEDS
30. Looked up, in a way : GOOGLED
32. "Lord, is ___?" : ITI
34. Old Russian space station : MIR
35. Jean-Luc Godard's "___ Femme Coquette" : UNE
36. Reliable source of money : STEADYJOB
37. Hog the mirror, maybe : PREEN
39. Susan of "L.A. Law" : DEY
40. Madeira Mrs. : SRA
42. Recognition from the Academy : OSCARNOD
43. Poker great Ungar : STU
44. ___ Sea (Italy/Greece separator) : IONIAN
49. Message that might be laid out in coconuts on a beach : SOS
50. Early Indo-European : ARYAN
51. Scalp : RESELL
52. Missile tracker : RADAR
53. Love, to Casanova : AMORE
54. Radner of comedy : GILDA
56. Brown a bit : SAUTE
57. Sorkin who created HBO's "The Newsroom" : AARON
58. "I rock!" : YAYME
62. Tells a tale : LIES
65. Has too much, in brief : ODS
67. ___ pond (ornamental pool) : KOI
68. Spree : JAG

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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