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New York Times, Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Author: Peter A. Collins
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter A. Collins
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51123331294
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1.564273

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 70 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes: I remember the genesis for this puzzle came to me on a rainy night a couple of years ago as I was driving back to Ann Arbor from ... more
Peter A. Collins notes: I remember the genesis for this puzzle came to me on a rainy night a couple of years ago as I was driving back to Ann Arbor from Detroit. For some reason, the Muse seems to speak to me while I'm driving my car or walking my dog. I was thinking about "Dances with Wolves", and noticed that the letters DATE were hiding inside. As I quickly tapped out the length with my fingers on the steering wheel, I was a bit dismayed to find that it was "plus-sized" at 16 letters. Before I had pulled into my driveway, I'd found "Dead Poets Society" — also 16 letters — and I was off and running.

I'm sure there are many "date" movies I could've chosen from, but these all seem to be fairly classic (although I must admit I've never seen "WIld at Heart" — is it a classic?).

Here's a little personal fact about Elmore LEONARD (40-Down). He and my father-in-law went to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, with Elmore being a couple of years older. About a dozen years ago, at the U of D High School auction, Elmore put up, to the highest bidder, the right to have the bidder's name as a character in Leonard's upcoming novel. My father-in-law was the high bidder, so now he and my mother-in-law's names are immortalized in "Tishomingo Blues". My father-in-law is a gangster and my mother-in-law is a high-end hooker. Nice.

Will Shortz notes: As you probably noticed, the grid is an atypical 16x15 squares, in order to accommodate the theme. I'm happy to run any sort of unusual grid ... more
Will Shortz notes: As you probably noticed, the grid is an atypical 16x15 squares, in order to accommodate the theme. I'm happy to run any sort of unusual grid size like this as long as there's a good enough reason and readers get their usual amount of crossword solving.
Jeff Chen notes: Pete is one of the most published constructors in the Shortz era, and has the distinction of being one of fewer than 20 people who have doubly ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Pete is one of the most published constructors in the Shortz era, and has the distinction of being one of fewer than 20 people who have doubly "hit for the cycle" (having published a puzzle for every day of the week not just once, but twice). It takes a wide range of constructing skills to achieve this feat — he's in rarefied air.

Straightforward theme, the letters DATE being in found in sequence within the four movies. Consistency is good, with each of the movies being well-known and all of them having the D-A-T-E in sequential order. It would have been really neat if the word DATE (without breaks) had been hidden in the theme movies, but that's likely too much to ask for. After 30 minutes all I could come up with was THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, which is way too long. Even more awesome would be some visual of a nervous young TEEN trying to YAWN his ARM around his DATE. Definitely too much to ask for.

Note on PEWIT, which I have a feeling will draw complaints from some solvers. At first I had a negative reaction to it, but I then found it to be an interesting answer to look up. I think I would have seen PEWIT as an asset to the grid if it had been clued something like "Bird whose name imitates its cry". Funny sound, indeed. What can I say, I'm easily amused.

Nice NE and SW corners, containing such goodies as PAVLOVA and MOLIERE and NINE IRON. The NE suffers a bit from the crosswordese AWN, but all the crossings are fair. The SW is really good; a clean and fun triple-stack of 7's including the topical LEONARD. On that note, I enjoy it when a constructor personalizes his/her grid, and Pete's comment on LEONARD is a highlight for me. I like how Ben Tausig sends blurbs about his American Values Crossword constructors — wouldn't it be cool if the NYT were to even occasionally publish these little stories alongside the grid?

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,324
Across Down
1. Place for washing instructions, often : LABEL
6. Houdini feat : ESCAPE
12. Free TV ad, for short : PSA
15. Wack : INANE
16. One end of a pencil : ERASER
17. Grain beard : AWN
18. 1990 Kevin Costner film : DANCESWITHWOLVES
21. Reason for an R rating : GORE
22. Urban ordinance that might apply to a late-night party : NOISELAW
23. 1990 Nicolas Cage film : WILDATHEART
27. November exhortation : VOTE
28. "Nice!" : SWEET
29. Mont Blanc, e.g., to locals : ALPE
30. Flu symptom : FEVER
31. "___ Boys" (Alcott novel) : JOS
32. "___ Maria" : AVE
33. Drilling sites : MOLARS
34. 18-, 23-, 51- and 56-Across? : DATEMOVIES
38. One of two used facetiously in Mötley Crüe : UMLAUT
41. "Oedipus ___" : REX
42. Combat : WAR
45. Attendees : GOERS
46. Ballet bend : PLIE
48. DVD player button : EJECT
50. Bushels : ALOT
51. 1967 Dustin Hoffman film : THEGRADUATE
53. Not a club for big shots? : NINEIRON
55. "Get the Party Started" singer : PINK
56. 1989 Robin Williams film : DEADPOETSSOCIETY
61. Part of E.T.A.: Abbr. : ARR
62. "As you wish" : SOBEIT
63. For all ___ : TOSEE
64. Neighbor of Homer : NED
65. In public : OPENLY
66. Misses at a bullfight?: Abbr. : SRTAS
1. Pot top : LID
2. Santa ___ winds : ANA
3. "Walk Like an Egyptian" band, with "the" : BANGLES
4. Purposely obfuscate, in a way : ENCODE
5. Ogle : LEERAT
6. "That's nasty!" : EEW
7. ___ Lanka : SRI
8. Quick refresher : CATNAP
9. Where sailors go in port : ASHORE
10. Lapwing : PEWIT
11. Mythological lover boy : EROS
12. "The Dying Swan" ballerina : PAVLOVA
13. Cardigan, e.g. : SWEATER
14. What an information booth has : ANSWERS
19. Volleyball action between a bump and a spike : SET
20. Is honest (with) : LEVELS
23. Paper with "Marketplace" and "Money & Investing" sects. : WSJ
24. ___ Jima : IWO
25. Privileged one : HAVE
26. K-5, schoolwise : ELEM
30. Adversary : FOE
32. A.B.A. member : ATT
33. Betty Crocker product : MIX
34. Ran out, as in front of traffic : DARTED
35. Vienna's land: Abbr. : AUS
36. Not a copy: Abbr. : ORIG
37. Go off course : VEER
38. Kampala resident : UGANDAN
39. "Tartuffe" writer : MOLIERE
40. "Get Shorty" novelist Elmore ___ : LEONARD
42. Most diluted : WEAKEST
43. Play part : ACT
44. Hwy. : RTE
46. One of the friends on "Friends" : PHOEBE
47. Like the pre-Easter season : LENTEN
48. Decrees : EDICTS
49. III's father : JUNIOR
51. Scout unit : TROOP
52. Abbr. on mail to a soldier : APO
54. ___ facto : IPSO
57. R.S.V.P. part : SIL
58. Hog's home : STY
59. What a caddy may hold : TEA
60. What "aye" means : YES

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

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