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New York Times, Thursday, December 15, 2016

Author: Jacob Stulberg
Editor: Will Shortz
Jacob Stulberg
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1912/25/20133/17/20170
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ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61460
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Stulberg. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes: Special thanks to constructors Byron Walden, Robin Schulman, and Daniel Landman, whose 'IDOIDOIDOIDOIDO' and ... more
Jacob Stulberg notes:

Special thanks to constructors Byron Walden, Robin Schulman, and Daniel Landman, whose "IDOIDOIDOIDOIDO" and "ITSAMADMADMADMADWORLD" puzzles inspired today's theme and revealer. A few answers that didn't make the cut: INFANTFORMULA, FASHIONABLYLATE, and FLAGSOFOURFATHERS. I also considered LALALAND for 50-Down, but 13 LAs in one puzzle would just be silly.

Jeff Chen notes: Sam 'S Diddy' Donaldson told me a long time ago that he was over rebuses; that they were so far overdone that he couldn't take them ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Sam "S Diddy" Donaldson told me a long time ago that he was over rebuses; that they were so far overdone that he couldn't take them anymore. I tend to agree with him, although when they have a little somethin' extra, I still really enjoy them. That was the case for me today, grinning at Jacob's neat FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA entry as an entire row of rebi.

I quickly figured out that there was a rebus element when SP(LA)SH didn't fit in, and that triggered my usual sad trombone feeling. But when a FA popped up, I perked up. Could it be related to FDR's super-cute dog, FALA?

What a neat moment when I got to the FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA finale. Maybe I'm just a sucker for holiday songs and feelings, but I enjoyed that discovery.

From a constructor's standpoint, it's tough to work around so many rebus squares, so I enjoyed the craftsmanship, Jacob giving us a super-smooth grid. I mean, only a bit of IND / RDS around that very tough lower right corner? Great work. And some EASY RIDER, REGULAR GUY, FAJITA, LAPLAND, GRAPPA bonuses, only needing some minor crossword glue (RRS, old-timey SOTS) to make it all happen? That's the type of master craftsmanship I've come to expect from Jacob.

And from a solver's standpoint, it's rare to get an entire long entry made out of rebus squares, so that was a cool surprise. Again, something so pleasing about having that ubiquitous Christmas carol line so tidily packed in.

I'm still not totally sure why most of the themers have exactly one FA and one LA — I liked the consistency of each themer having a FA and a LA, but felt like it might have been better if they had contained the FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA sequence in order or something? Or if the song went, "Deck the halls with boughs of holly, FA LA FA LA FA LA FA LA, FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA" that would have made more sense to me.

The puzzle gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling, however, that I shrugged off my doubt. Off to find some gay apparel!

1
D
2
E
3
B
4
U
5
T
6
T
7
S
8
K
9
G
10
R
11
A
12
F
13
E
L
I
Z
A
14
U
P
I
15
C
R
E
D
O
16
FA
L
L
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N
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G
F
LA
T
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R
A
G
E
S
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C
E
L
20
S
O
T
S
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P
O
P
U
P
S
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E
N
Y
23
A
24
FA
S
H
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I
O
N
P
LA
T
E
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M
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A
R
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S
W
E
A
R
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P
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R
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E
E
N
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S
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O
L
E
34
G
35
U
36
M
37
G
R
A
N
D
38
FA
T
H
E
R
39
C
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LA
U
S
E
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A
S
S
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J
I
M
S
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A
S
Y
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T
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Y
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O
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W
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E
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A
B
S
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P
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A
R
FA
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G
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LA
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S
S
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O
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M
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A
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R
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A
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I
S
T
A
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P
A
Y
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S
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A
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E
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G
O
D
O
T
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FA
LA
LA
LA
LA
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LA
LA
LA
LA
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E
M
E
R
Y
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I
N
D
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T
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Y
S
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D
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S
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,509
Across Down
1. Kickoff : DEBUT
6. "For shame!" : TSK
9. Only tennis player to have won each Grand Slam event at least four times : GRAF
13. Mrs. Alexander Hamilton : ELIZA
14. Reuters competitor : UPI
15. Words to live by : CREDO
16. Bombing, as a joke : FALLINGFLAT
18. Parties hard, in modern lingo : RAGES
19. Doc's image, e.g.? : CEL
20. Drunks : SOTS
21. Windows that are usually closed : POPUPS
22. Singer with the 2008 album "And Winter Came ..." : ENYA
24. Trendy type : FASHIONPLATE
26. Spoil : MAR
28. Say with a raised hand : SWEAR
29. Tidy oneself : PREEN
32. Slipper part : SOLE
34. It's not allowed in many classrooms : GUM
37. Discriminatory part of post-Reconstruction legislation : GRANDFATHERCLAUSE
41. Biblical beast : ASS
42. Slim ___ (snack sticks) : JIMS
43. To date : ASYET
44. "That hurts!" : YOWIE
47. Chippendales dancers have nice ones : ABS
48. Short-stemmed vessel : PARFAITGLASS
52. Actor Epps : OMAR
56. Bygone record label : ARISTA
57. Is worth doing : PAYS
59. Had something : ATE
60. Title character who never appears : GODOT
61. Christmastime refrain : FALALALALALALALALA
63. ___ paper (abrasive) : EMERY
64. Ill. neighbor : IND
65. Plot feature of Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida" : TRYST
66. Bolt : DART
67. Lines on some maps: Abbr. : RDS
68. Glide : SKATE
1. Cover with graffiti, say : DEFACE
2. 1990s sitcom about a bookstore owner : ELLEN
3. Kid's father : BILLY
4. Mideastern heat? : UZI
5. Whups : TANS
6. School whose mascot is Jumbo the elephant : TUFTS
7. Juicy front-page story : SPLASH
8. ___ bag : KIT
9. Fragrant Italian brandy : GRAPPA
10. Joe Six-Pack : REGULARGUY
11. Crack : ADEPT
12. Bob who directed the 1966 musical "Sweet Charity" : FOSSE
15. Witch : CRONE
17. Be successful : GOFAR
21. Word with trip or strip : POWER
23. "You said it!" : AMEN
25. British ___ : ISLES
27. "So what?" : AND
29. Sports org. with pitching : PGA
30. Lines on some maps: Abbr. : RRS
31. 1969 film whose working title was "The Loners" : EASYRIDER
32. Larsson who wrote "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" : STIEG
33. Volt per ampere : OHM
35. "I will speak daggers to her, but ___ none": Hamlet : USE
36. Came together : MET
38. Dish in a tortilla : FAJITA
39. Part of a truck : CAB
40. Rope : LASSO
45. To some degree : OFASORT
46. Like bon mots : WITTY
47. Safe spaces : ASYLA
48. Summoned : PAGED
49. Factor in a wine rating : AROMA
50. Home to the Sami people : LAPLAND
51. Green sides : SALADS
53. British protectorate until 1957 : MALAYA
54. "Finally!" : ATLAST
55. Tell : RELATE
58. Window coverings : SLATS
61. Middling : FAIR
62. Escapade : LARK

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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