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New York Times, Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Author: David Kwong
Editor: Will Shortz
David Kwong
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174/1/20066/28/20175
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1.59222
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {KXZ} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Kwong. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Kwong notes: My pal Kevan Choset told me this joke a few years ago so I decided to turn it into a puzzle. I bet he's super mad at me right now. ... more
David Kwong notes:

My pal Kevan Choset told me this joke a few years ago so I decided to turn it into a puzzle. I bet he's super mad at me right now. Hopefully he's not reading this post.

It wasn't that easy to get this quip to fit. I had probably a dozen different versions of it, varying the "connecting" words and the tense of it. JACQUESCOUSTEAU was always going to be a 15, but the rest required a lot of massaging.

(Jeff: David is up to all sorts of cool stuff. Check out his new book, info at Publishers Weekly and Amazon. And a cool magic trick below ... on the Today Show!)


Jeff Chen notes: I usually groan at quote puzzles, but I loved this one. Natalie Portman dating Jacques Cousteau would have produced the celeb ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I usually groan at quote puzzles, but I loved this one. Natalie Portman dating Jacques Cousteau would have produced the celeb portmanteau of … PORTMANTEAU! Quote puzzles need to pack a tremendous punch to make them worth all the real estate they take up. Today was a rare instance where I thought that was the case.

Nice job on a tough construction, too. 15 / 12 / 15 / 12 / 15 themer lengths is a punishing demand. No matter how you lay them out, there's going to be a lot of themer overlap you have to deal with.

David decided to take most of his pain in the upper left and lower right corners, where pairs of themers are dangerously close together. The upper left does suffer a bit with UNHIP (maybe I'm too unhip to say this?), DUOMO, DEWAR an esoteric trio. Along with NUEVO, it didn't make for the greatest start to the puzzle. Toss in SCHED, and that's about all the crossword glue I want in one puzzle.

Thankfully, the opposite corner came out clean as a whistle. Beautiful work there, not a drop of crossword glue in a region that had to work with difficult constraints — four parallel down answers having to thread through CALL and the end of PORTMANTEAU.

Elsewhere, there was only MTGS that stuck out. I might have placed a black square at the M of MCLEAN to smooth that out, but that's a judgment call. Overall, very good work in short fill considering the constraints.

Strong bonuses, too, with Uncle Sam's I WANT YOU and Shakespeare's ELSINORE weaving through three themers apiece. It's so hard to work in long bonuses when you have this much theme density, so the effort is appreciated.

Love the GPA clue too; Dean Wormer taking such pleasure in announcing Bluto's GPA as a 0.0. TEES also was nice, having their "home on the range" — the driving range, that is.

Funny/punny quote, good bonus fill with a smooth overall result. This is how a quote puzzle should be done.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0628 ( 24,704 )
Across Down
1. Suckling site : UDDER
6. Piedmont wine center : ASTI
10. Lay an egg, so to speak : FLOP
14. "Prospero Año ___!" : NUEVO
15. Garbage-hauling boat : SCOW
16. Hitchhiker's hope : RIDE
17. Start of a quip about a whimsical celebrity couple : HOWIWISHNATALIE
20. It may run the Sierra OS : IMAC
21. Winner's hand gesture : VEE
22. Like "it," grammatically : NEUTER
23. Quip, part 2 : PORTMANDATED
26. Treelike creature of Middle-earth : ENT
27. River of France and Belgium : LYS
28. Dadaist Jean : ARP
31. De Botton who wrote "The Architecture of Happiness" : ALAIN
35. Words sealed with a kiss : IDO
36. First name in stunt cycling : EVEL
37. Quip, part 3 : JACQUESCOUSTEAU
41. Greek counterpart of Mars : ARES
42. Chemical in Drano : LYE
43. Kvetches : CARPS
44. "Far out!" : RAD
45. Target of ID theft: Abbr. : SSN
46. Bluto's was 0.0 in "Animal House" : GPA
48. Quip, part 4 : SOICOULDCALL
54. "American Pie" singer Don : MCLEAN
57. Article in Le Monde : UNE
58. First name at Woodstock : ARLO
59. End of the quip : THEMPORTMANTEAU
62. Best Picture of 1958 : GIGI
63. Like elbowing through a crowd, say : RUDE
64. Flashes one's pearlies : BEAMS
65. Smart-alecky talk : SASS
66. George Orwell's alma mater : ETON
67. Test for gold content, say : ASSAY
1. Square : UNHIP
2. Cathedral of Florence : DUOMO
3. ___ flask (thermos) : DEWAR
4. Kick out : EVICT
5. Heed the coxswain : ROW
6. Green light : ASSENT
7. Amtrak posting: Abbr. : SCHED
8. Proverbial amount of bricks : TON
9. Wartime poster phrase : IWANTYOU
10. Con artist's crime : FRAUD
11. Cheery tune : LILT
12. Drooling dog of the comics : ODIE
13. Source of pressure, perhaps : PEER
18. Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN
19. Things having their home on the range? : TEES
24. Drop-down item : MENU
25. Gucci of fashion : ALDO
28. State firmly : AVER
29. Swing a scythe, say : REAP
30. Grade enhancer : PLUS
31. Cracked a bit : AJAR
32. Logan of CBS News : LARA
33. Got completely correct : ACED
34. Mensa members' assets : IQS
35. Curling surface : ICE
36. Fig. in a pilot's announcement : ETA
38. "To be, or not to be" soliloquy setting : ELSINORE
39. Coordinate, as audio and video : SYNC
40. Whole bunch : SCAD
45. Household item whose manufacture employs 42-Across : SOAP
46. Mob hit participants : GUNMEN
47. "Spare me!," for one : PLEA
48. Games played by Elite Eight winners : SEMIS
49. Get the better of : OUTDO
50. Phoebe of "Gremlins" : CATES
51. Polygon measures : AREAS
52. Andean source of wool : LLAMA
53. God-awful : LOUSY
54. Boardroom events: Abbr. : MTGS
55. "Pet" that needs watering : CHIA
56. Endurance, informally : LEGS
60. Same old same old : RUT
61. Org. for Raptors and Hawks : NBA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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