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New York Times, Monday, January 13, 2014

Author: Lynn Lempel
Editor: Will Shortz
Lynn Lempel
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654112130
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1.610712
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQX} This is puzzle # 65 for Ms. Lempel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Lynn Lempel notes: This was a relatively easy puzzle to do once the idea struck. I do remember regretting the need to scrap MONEYBALL, because I ... more
Lynn Lempel notes: This was a relatively easy puzzle to do once the idea struck. I do remember regretting the need to scrap MONEYBALL, because I didn't want to repeat the B-A-L-L of BALLISTIC — and that was too good to part with. Also, the BALL half would have been too similar to CALL and WALL.

With themes like this, I like it when the pronunciation of the key word(s) changes. That was a plus for RHONE VALLEY, which admittedly rates rather low on the "fun" scale.

I see that Will changed quite a few of the clues, generally making them more straightforward. Yes, it's Monday. His clue redo that I especially like is for 33-Across. A number sequence there definitely has more flair than the "Sitcom, say" clue I submitted.

Will Shortz notes: For someone solving this crossword from top to bottom, the puzzle's structure is like a joke. You wonder where the theme is going ... more
Will Shortz notes: For someone solving this crossword from top to bottom, the puzzle's structure is like a joke. You wonder where the theme is going and then … boom! the punchline comes at the end (58A). Very pretty. As always, Lynn's construction is gorgeous, too.
Jeff Chen notes: An absolutely beauty of a Monday puzzle. It has everything I personally look for: 1.) innovative theme, 2.) spicy long fill and 3.) ... more
Jeff Chen notes: An absolutely beauty of a Monday puzzle. It has everything I personally look for: 1.) innovative theme, 2.) spicy long fill and 3.) fill accessible to the novice (little to no ugly stuff). There's more good stuff coming up this week, but Monday constructions are perhaps the hardest type to pull off well, and Lynn's nailed it.

The theme isn't necessarily ground-breaking, but it contains an added level of complexity which helps makes it more interesting for the experienced solver. We see a lot of puzzles where a certain word is hidden within theme phrases, but having two words hidden helps to distinguish it.

And with five long theme entries, I'd expect to see a lack of good long fill and a lot of short ugly stuff. Lynn has done something unusual, shoving her top two entries into one region of the grid (instead of spreading them out, one to the left and one to the right). That usually creates difficulties in filling such a dense area, but she makes it look easy. Having a five-letter word sandwiched by theme entries (VILLA between PHONE CALL and RHONE VALLEY, and TOMEI between STONEWALLED and ONE AND ALL) often will result in bad fill due to the severe constraints, but she uses a set of cheaters in the very NE and SW to smooth things out. I fully approve — as Patrick Berry has said many a time, he'd always choose to use cheaters if it results in better fill.

The grid arrangement allows Lynn huge flexibility in the NW and SE corners (the theme answers barely constrain her at all in these regions), and look at all the goodness she's packed in there. ON THE GO / FOR A SONG / FLEW SOLO all in parallel, with only ESS as a (very minor) blight? Yes, please! I didn't notice any really bad fill as I solved, nor did I notice anything even with a careful scan afterward. A stonker of a job.

Uber-professional work, a total pleasure to solve; a near-perfect Monday puzzle. Beautiful start to the week.

JimH notes: That SERIES at 33 Across is, of course, the famous Fibonnaci sequence. Oh, and that GOOSES at 28 Across is from the same constructor who famously gave us this controversial answer in 2012.
1
O
2
F
3
F
4
E
5
R
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P
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L
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U
9
S
10
C
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O
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P
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N
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14
E
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N
S
15
E
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S
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T
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P
H
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E
C
A
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H
A
W
21
I
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A
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V
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A
24
E
S
S
25
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N
26
E
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V
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Y
28
G
O
O
29
S
E
S
30
A
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D
31
Y
D
S
32
O
N
L
Y
33
S
34
E
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E
35
S
36
G
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N
37
E
38
B
A
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S
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I
40
C
41
C
A
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M
L
Y
42
E
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A
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S
44
F
45
A
46
R
47
S
O
B
48
F
49
A
M
I
N
E
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S
T
O
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N
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W
A
52
L
53
L
E
D
54
S
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P
55
T
O
M
E
I
56
O
U
Z
O
57
H
S
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58
O
N
E
A
N
59
D
60
A
L
L
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P
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A
S
T
E
63
P
A
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T
64
A
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L
U
65
T
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66
L
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B
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68
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0113 ( 23,442 )
Across Down
1. Bid : OFFER
6. + : PLUS
10. Police officer : COP
13. Actor Nick : NOLTE
14. Countless centuries : EONS
15. Arrow-shooting Greek god : EROS
17. Buy a meal for : TREAT
18. An operator may help place one : PHONECALL
20. Hem and ___ : HAW
21. Letter after theta : IOTA
23. Luxurious country house : VILLA
24. Suffix with shepherd : ESS
25. Wine-producing area of SE France : RHONEVALLEY
28. Pokes in the rear : GOOSES
30. Assistance : AID
31. Fabric amts. : YDS
32. Exclusively : ONLY
33. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 ..., e.g. : SERIES
36. Flown into a rage : GONEBALLISTIC
41. In a composed manner : CALMLY
42. Historical periods : ERAS
44. Distant : FAR
47. Cry loudly : SOB
48. Widespread food shortage : FAMINE
50. Refused to cooperate : STONEWALLED
54. Savor, as fine wine : SIP
55. Marisa of "Anger Management" : TOMEI
56. Anise-flavored liqueur : OUZO
57. President before D.D.E. : HST
58. Everybody ... or part of the contents of 18-, 25-, 36- and 50-Across : ONEANDALL
61. Adhesive : PASTE
63. Go separate ways : PART
64. Rights group, for short : ACLU
65. Message in 140 or fewer characters : TWEET
66. British bathroom : LOO
67. "Porgy and ___" : BESS
68. ___, Roebuck and Co. : SEARS
1. Always rushing, rushing, rushing : ONTHEGO
2. Very inexpensively : FORASONG
3. Went without a copilot : FLEWSOLO
4. When a plane is due in, for short : ETA
5. Stop working at 65, say : RETIRE
6. ___-Bismol : PEPTO
7. "Freaky Friday" actress Lindsay : LOHAN
8. First numero : UNO
9. Nine-digit fig. : SSN
10. Filmmaker ___ B. DeMille : CECIL
11. Through word of mouth : ORALLY
12. Surveyed, as before an election : POLLED
16. Leaves rolling in the aisles : SLAYS
19. Avoids, as capture : EVADES
22. Noncommittal replies : OHS
26. Late's opposite : EARLY
27. Britain's last King Henry : VIII
29. In ___ (working harmoniously) : SYNC
33. Rio carnival dance : SAMBA
34. Building wing : ELL
35. Flower's support : STEM
37. Enter gently : EASEIN
38. Hard hit : BLOW
39. Isle of Man's locale : IRISHSEA
40. Flour or sugar container : CANISTER
43. Groups like Disney's dwarfs : SEPTETS
44. Camera setting : FSTOP
45. Lacking a key, musically : ATONAL
46. Cesar who played the Joker : ROMERO
48. Turkish topper : FEZ
49. Accepts formally, as a resolution : ADOPTS
51. "Cool!" : NEATO
52. Lies languidly : LOLLS
53. Real doozies : LULUS
59. Apply lightly, with "on" : DAB
60. Snoopy, in his dreams : ACE
62. Stupefaction : AWE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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