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New York Times, Monday, January 1, 2018

Author:
Matthew Sewell
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
128/24/201611/27/20192
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2105121
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64131
Matthew Sewell

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Sewell. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matthew Sewell notes:
The spark for this was hearing 'Burning Love' on the radio. In a flash, I jotted down a few more theme candidates. I hope the relatively ... read more

The spark for this was hearing "Burning Love" on the radio. In a flash, I jotted down a few more theme candidates. I hope the relatively adventurous vocabulary for a Monday kindles some interest for solvers. My thanks to Will, Sam, and the NYT puzzle team for fanning this particular flame.

Jeff Chen notes:
Wordplay on 'torch songs' today. Given my severe deficiencies in pop culture, I was thrilled to have recognized Jon Bon Jovi! But BLAZE OF ... read more

Wordplay on "torch songs" today. Given my severe deficiencies in pop culture, I was thrilled to have recognized Jon Bon Jovi! But BLAZE OF GLORY? Maybe that was some witty reference to his … horse named Glory? BURNING LOVE ... maybe Elvis burned … Valentine's Day hearts? You know ... showing his disdain for the holiday?

Okay, maybe you don't know.

For those who haven't already snorted their way out of reading the rest of this post, these are all famous songs involving some sort of fire, thus making them a "torch song."

Putting aside my deficiencies, I imagine this could be a perfect Monday puzzle for pop music fans. Nice and consistent, each song title relating to fire somehow. And each of the songs Matt chose seem famous enough to be crossworthy.

I would have pegged it for a Wednesday puzzle, though, especially given a couple aspects of the fill:

  • The trio of PALOMA, OIL SANDS (an "unconventional" petroleum deposit), LLEWYN might elicit a "I have to know trivia" response from novice solvers
  • The ONT / ADONAI crossing could be rough for newbs
  • ANAT, AAAA, PFC, ENE, STD is more crossword glue than I think a newer solver should be subjected to

I did like some of the bonuses, PIQUANT, BELEAGUERED, ICE CAVE, PT BOAT, FAT CAT helping keep my interest through the solve. I'm okay with the trade-offs, paying all the aforementioned prices for all these lovely entries … in a later-week puzzle. Not as much for a Monday.

Nice idea, good wordplay riffing on the term "torch song." Didn't resonate with me, but I think a certain segment of solvers will love it.

Jim Horne notes:
You don't hear the term torch song so much anymore, and that's too bad. Love song is a rough equivalent, but that term is safe and sappy by ... read more

You don't hear the term torch song so much anymore, and that's too bad. Love song is a rough equivalent, but that term is safe and sappy by comparison. If you're singing lyrics like "I'm going to love you, like nobody's love you, come rain or come shine," you're addressing someone you're "carrying a torch for." Love songs imply sweetness and cuddling. Torch songs promise at least the possibility of furniture-busting sex.

1
M
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A
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R
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C
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O
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M
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O
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A
9
T
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S
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M
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I
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G
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O
W
N
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P
15
V
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A
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B
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O
F
G
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Y
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K
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G
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C
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A
W
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O
N
T
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P
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S
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P
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T
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B
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A
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F
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B
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U
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G
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C
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M
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P
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L
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F
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S
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P
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O
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D
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M
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F
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A
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W
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P
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H
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0101 ( 24,891 )
Across
1
___ Polo, traveler at the court of Kublai Khan : MARCO
6
Rings of water around castles : MOATS
11
Russian fighter jet : MIG
14
Come clean : OWNUP
15
Property defacer : VANDAL
16
Signature Obama legislation, for short : ACA
17
Jon Bon Jovi torch song? : BLAZEOFGLORY
19
Centerpiece of a frat party : KEG
20
Stick in one's ___ : CRAW
21
Province west of Que. : ONT
22
Chest muscles, for short : PECS
23
J.F.K.'s W.W. II command : PTBOAT
26
Tiny battery size : AAAA
27
Med. school subject : ANAT
28
Lawyer's charge : FEE
29
Elvis Presley torch song? : BURNINGLOVE
32
Squid, in Italian cuisine : CALAMARI
35
Tough puzzle : POSER
36
Bangles torch song? : ETERNALFLAME
40
Sudden outpouring : SPATE
42
Some Canadian petroleum deposits : OILSANDS
45
The Doors torch song? : LIGHTMYFIRE
49
"Lower your voice, please" : SHH
50
Pale blue hue : AQUA
51
Horse of a certain color : ROAN
52
With prudence : WISELY
55
Fat used in mincemeat : SUET
56
Place : PUT
57
Match up : SYNC
58
Sarcastic laugh syllable : HAR
59
The Trammps torch song? : DISCOINFERNO
64
Opposite of WSW : ENE
65
Letter-shaped girders : IBEAMS
66
Diplomat : ENVOY
67
Norm: Abbr. : STD
68
Drives the getaway car for, say : ABETS
69
Grabs some Z's : RESTS
Down
1
Unruly throng : MOB
2
Leatherworker's punch : AWL
3
Genetic carrier, briefly : RNA
4
Ancient Incan capital : CUZCO
5
"Madama Butterfly," for one : OPERA
6
S.I. or GQ : MAG
7
Given out for a time : ONLOAN
8
Hebrew for "my Lord" : ADONAI
9
Scottish pattern : TARTAN
10
Crafty : SLY
11
Speak gobbledygook : MAKENOSENSE
12
Glacial chamber : ICECAVE
13
Joke writer : GAGSTER
15
Ex-G.I.'s org. : VFW
18
Crunchy, healthful snack : OATBAR
22
Pablo Picasso's designer daughter : PALOMA
23
Army E-3: Abbr. : PFC
24
Pekoe, for one : TEA
25
Under siege : BELEAGUERED
26
"Madama Butterfly" highlight : ARIA
30
Server with a spigot : URN
31
Transcript figs. : GPAS
33
To boot : ATTHAT
34
Chance upon : MEET
37
Pork cut : LOIN
38
Christmas tree : FIR
39
"Inside ___ Davis" (Coen brothers film) : LLEWYN
40
Cuts drastically, as prices : SLASHES
41
Pleasingly tangy : PIQUANT
43
FedEx competitor : DHL
44
Like a wallflower : SHY
46
Onetime Dr Pepper rival : MRPIBB
47
"Get it?" : YOUSEE
48
Wealthy sort, informally : FATCAT
53
Derive via logic : INFER
54
Public outburst : SCENE
57
Kim, to Kourtney or Khloé : SIS
59
A day in Spain : DIA
60
Yoga chants : OMS
61
#vanlife homes, briefly : RVS
62
"Let's ___ and say we did" : NOT
63
Kvetchers' cries : OYS

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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