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New York Times, Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Author:
Sen. Joe Donnelly and Michael S. Maurer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
11/10/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.66000
Joe Donnelly
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
255/4/19921/10/20183
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
32511310
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.550006
Michael S. Maurer

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQX} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Donnelly. This is puzzle # 25 for Mr. Maurer. See all the celebrity crosswords. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
This puzzle is a collaboration by the basketball-loving senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, working together with longtime crossword contributor Michael S. (Mickey) Maurer, the owner of the Indianapolis Business Journal. This is Mickey's 25th crossword for The Times.
More information about the making of today's puzzle appears in the Times's daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Constructor notes:
MICKEY: I am delighted when my puzzle appears in the New York Times so I always try to maintain three puzzles in the queue to feed ... read more

MICKEY: I am delighted when my puzzle appears in the New York Times so I always try to maintain three puzzles in the queue to feed that addiction.

Puns and quips are my favorite crossword puzzle themes. We should all know by now that it is difficult to shoot a quip puzzle idea past Will Shortz. I keep trying. Many of my recent puzzles including this collaboration with Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly are themed puns. Some of these puns made me laugh out loud. See 18 across.

It was a pleasure to work with Senator Joe Donnelly. I am not making a political statement here, but I was not surprised to learn that Senator Donnelly was recognized as the 2nd most bipartisan Senator since 1993 by the Lugar Center, McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is easy to work with. I had originally intended to hide his name in the puzzle (don, nelly) but those letters didn't mesh well with the theme clues.

We chose a basketball theme for Indiana, a basketball crazy state that produced Oscar Robinson, Larry Bird and George McGinnis. McGinnis was recently enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2017). You do not need a deep understanding of the game of basketball to enjoy this puzzle. I hope you like our effort.

Jeff Chen notes:
Plays on basketball terms! ALLEY OOPS as a bowling flub made me laugh, as did FOUL LINE = something a censor has to bleep out. ... read more

Plays on basketball terms! ALLEY OOPS as a bowling flub made me laugh, as did FOUL LINE = something a censor has to bleep out.

Great to get so much bonus material, too. The grid was packed with such goodies as WISEASS, APPLE TV, HOOKS UP, and an ejected player hitting the SHOWERS. Along with Eric SEVAREID and a fun wordplay clue in DILATES (eye pupils, not student pupils!), that's a lot of good stuff.

It almost felt like a little too much. When your themers all have question marked clues, it's important not to have too many other question marked clues in the grid, for fear of muddying up theme vs. fill. With DILATES and WISEASS in such prominent positions within the grid, I wasn't sure if I was missing some theme material. I mean, Dennis Rodman is a WISEASS, right?

It's unusual to put themers in row 2, so that also muddied things up for me. It wasn't hard to pick out the five themers, but it wasn't easy, either. I would have liked a more standard layout, with themers in rows 3 / 13 instead of 2 / 14.

I know, us regular solvers are so annoyingly demanding about our crossword conventions!

A bit too much crossword glue in SKAT / ESTE, DBL, SOO, GIE. I can understand the constructors' decision to prioritize snazziness over smoothness, but it felt like the prices I had to pay as a solver were too high. I would have preferred a less audacious grid, perhaps breaking up WISEASS / TOPPLED, and/or SEVAREID / LINSEEDS.

As a big basketball fan myself (well, until I tore my Achilles playing one-on-one last year), I enjoyed the hoops wordplay. I also liked that the constructors selected terms that would be mostly accessible even to non-fans. As much as I like more specialized lingo like DOUBLE DRIBBLE, or SHOT CLOCK, terms like FAST BREAK are more accessible to a larger number of solvers.

1
D
2
I
3
A
4
L
5
O
6
G
7
W
8
I
9
S
10
E
11
A
12
S
13
S
14
I
M
P
A
L
A
15
B
A
N
K
S
H
O
T
16
L
A
P
S
A
T
17
O
R
N
A
T
E
L
Y
18
A
L
L
E
Y
O
19
O
P
S
20
T
E
A
21
T
O
E
D
22
P
S
A
23
S
24
D
25
M
26
Z
27
E
N
T
28
G
29
M
C
30
W
E
31
L
32
C
O
M
E
33
S
E
V
34
A
R
E
I
35
D
36
L
E
A
F
E
D
37
F
A
S
T
B
38
R
E
A
K
39
A
40
T
41
H
E
N
S
42
L
I
N
S
E
43
E
44
D
45
S
46
C
R
O
W
D
E
47
D
48
F
A
T
49
M
E
H
50
T
I
O
51
S
E
52
A
L
53
W
I
N
O
54
K
55
G
56
B
57
F
R
E
58
E
59
T
H
R
O
W
60
A
61
S
S
U
A
62
G
E
S
63
C
R
E
A
T
E
64
F
O
U
L
L
I
N
E
65
H
I
T
T
E
R
66
T
O
P
P
L
E
D
67
O
B
S
E
S
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0110 ( 24,900 )
Across
1
Exchange of words : DIALOG
7
Smart farm animal? : WISEASS
14
Chevrolet model : IMPALA
15
Warning during a heist? : BANKSHOT
16
Washes against, as the shore : LAPSAT
17
In baroque fashion : ORNATELY
18
Gutterball? : ALLEYOOPS
20
Afternoon social : TEA
21
Pigeon-___ : TOED
22
Filler ads, in brief : PSAS
24
Korean border area, for short : DMZ
27
Sinus doc : ENT
28
Yukon or Sierra : GMC
30
Opening word at many a conference : WELCOME
33
Eric of old CBS News : SEVAREID
36
Flipped (through) : LEAFED
37
Dinner at the end of Ramadan? : FASTBREAK
39
Where Socrates lived : ATHENS
42
Artists' oil sources : LINSEEDS
46
Like Times Square on New Year's Eve : CROWDED
48
Diet of Jack Sprat's wife : FAT
49
"Doesn't excite me" : MEH
50
Spanish uncle : TIO
51
Elite team member : SEAL
53
Bowery boozer : WINO
54
"The Spy Who Loved Me" org. : KGB
57
Rug store promotion? : FREETHROW
60
Pacifies : ASSUAGES
63
Establish : CREATE
64
Something bleeped out for television? : FOULLINE
65
Successful batter : HITTER
66
Knocked over : TOPPLED
67
Think about only one thing : OBSESS
Down
1
Works with pupils? : DILATES
2
"No one's with me" : IMALONE
3
Digital media player that's "big" in New York City? : APPLETV
4
Operated on, as the eyes : LASED
5
Beauty product line with the slogan "Ageless" : OLAY
6
Cat, to Catarina : GATO
7
Site of a 1955 "Pact" : WARSAW
8
Comfort ___ : INN
9
32-card card game : SKAT
10
Punta del ___ (Uruguayan resort) : ESTE
11
Leading : AHEADOF
12
Fa follower : SOL
13
Home on a farm : STY
15
Noggin knocks : BOPS
19
Footnote abbr. : OPCIT
23
Jennifer Lopez title role : SELENA
25
___ Tussaud: Abbr. : MME
26
The end of the British monarchy? : ZED
28
Thou : GRAND
29
Things babies make : MESSES
31
___ of one's worries : LEAST
32
One might say "Happy Birthday" : CAKE
34
Not many : AFEW
35
Two-bagger: Abbr. : DBL
38
Part of N.R.A. : RIFLE
39
SAT alternative : ACT
40
Numerical prefix : TRI
41
Has a one-night stand, say : HOOKSUP
43
Abu Dhabi, for one : EMIRATE
44
Signifies : DENOTES
45
An ejected player might be sent to them : SHOWERS
47
Protect against the other team scoring : DEFEND
52
The end of the British monarchy? : ARSE
53
Sharpens : WHETS
55
More than a sip : GULP
56
Spalding or Voit product : BALL
58
Bounce off the wall : ECHO
59
Chicago daily, informally : TRIB
60
Back, on a ship : AFT
61
Great Lakes' ___ Canals : SOO
62
Bestow, to Burns : GIE

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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