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New York Times, Monday, January 1, 2018

Author:
Matthew Sewell
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
98/24/20163/11/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2104011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65121
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.

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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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