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New York Times, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Author:
Mary Lou Guizzo
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
264/17/20142/7/202014
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31163741
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61440
Mary Lou Guizzo

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 5 This is puzzle # 25 for Ms. Guizzo. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Mary Lou Guizzo notes:
My original thought when I submitted this puzzle in August 2018 was that it might run on Boxing Day. That did not happen, so I'll put ... read more

My original thought when I submitted this puzzle in August 2018 was that it might run on Boxing Day. That did not happen, so I'll put it out there for anyone who needs some fighting words. Just remember, "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going." I know, wrong sport, but I hope it works for you and you enjoyed the puzzle.

On a more personal note, this puzzle is being published at a time when I am facing a challenging medical condition. So I'm going to use this opportunity to crowd-source for your prayers/positive thoughts. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Jeff Chen notes:
Who knew there were so many boxing-inspired idioms out there? Wait … all of them exactly 15 letters? It's a crossword ... read more

Who knew there were so many boxing-inspired idioms out there? Wait … all of them exactly 15 letters? It's a crossword constructor's dream!

Such juicy phrases, too. HIT BELOW THE BELT all the way to PULL ONE'S PUNCHES; each one is snazzy, albeit violent. I'd insert commentary about America's dangerous obsession with all things head-smashing here, but you've already heard it, I'm sure. Doesn't stop me from watching football highlights, anyway.

SPARRING PARTNER did stick out, feeling a bit "one of these things is not like the other." The rest of them are figures of speech, widely used in other aspects of life. SPARRING PARTNER works with debate practice, etc., but I associate it much more strongly with the boxing world than outside of it.

Huge constraints — 5 themers of 15-letters is usually a recipe for disaster. That's so much real estate taken up that there's rarely any room for bonuses, and a big bottle of crossword glue is often required to hold everything together. I finished with an error, ERETU/IDEO instead of ERITU/IDIO, and although it is my fault, I'm sympathetic to others who made the same mistake.

I'd have also liked a story in the crossword, created by a strong sequence in the themers. Maybe THE GLOVES ARE OFF!, let's go, I ain't gonna PULL ONE'S PUNCHES! Guh, you HIT me BELOW THE BELT?! Fine, I'll THROW IN THE TOWEL!

Maybe I've been reading too many "Highlights" magazines to my kids. The "put the four cartoons in the proper sequence" always seem to trip me up. I mean, trip up my kids! I always get them right. Sometimes.

I might be pulling my punches because I'm a big fan of Mary Lou's, and I'm hoping for the best for her medical condition. This wasn't my favorite of her puzzles due to a lot of issues in execution — close to a TKO — but I did enjoy the eye-opener of just how many boxing-related figures of speech there are.

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© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0115 ( 25,635 )
Across
1
Mary Stuart, for one : SCOT
5
Taiwan-based computer giant : ACER
9
Secretly watched : SPIED
14
Tea made with milk, sugar and cardamom : CHAI
15
Rob of "Parks and Recreation" : LOWE
16
Attacked with a spray : MACED
17
Engaged in foul play : HITBELOWTHEBELT
20
Burnt ___ (old Crayola color) : UMBER
21
Some batteries : AAAS
22
One engaged in friendly contention : SPARRINGPARTNER
29
Lith., e.g., once : SSR
30
Hands (out) : DOLES
31
2020, por ejemplo : ANO
32
"___ che macchiavi quell'anima" (aria opener) : ERITU
34
Invalidate : ANNUL
36
"Oh, now they're really going to fight!" : THEGLOVESAREOFF
41
Puts up on a gallery wall : HANGS
42
Colorful spring flower : PANSY
43
A.B.A. member: Abbr. : ATT
44
Stand in a mall : KIOSK
46
HBO competitor : TMC
49
Cry "Uncle!" : THROWINTHETOWEL
54
Veg out : LOLL
55
___ Gay (historic plane) : ENOLA
56
Hold back : PULLONESPUNCHES
62
Elude : AVOID
63
Gangster : THUG
64
Turnabouts, informally : UIES
65
Evasive : CAGEY
66
Actor Rogen : SETH
67
Crafty website : ETSY
Down
1
Straight downhill ski run : SCHUSS
2
Some early "astronauts" : CHIMPS
3
Granola treat : OATBAR
4
River of Tuscany : TIBER
5
Nothing but : ALL
6
Corp. manager : COO
7
"Oh, gross!" : EWW
8
Do over for radio, say : RETAPE
9
___ campaign : SMEAR
10
Colt 45 brewer : PABST
11
Knock off : ICE
12
What has a long history in ichthyology? : EEL
13
E.P.A.-banned pesticide : DDT
18
Slip up : ERR
19
Nine-time P.G.A. Tour winner Jay : HAAS
23
Individual: Prefix : IDIO
24
Timeout alternative : NOTV
25
Receptacle for one doing decoupage : GLUEPOT
26
Smaller than micro- : NANO
27
Ample, informally : ENUF
28
Deeply massage : ROLF
32
Meringue ingredient : EGG
33
"Kidnapped" author's monogram : RLS
34
"___ gratia artis" : ARS
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Napoleon's marshal : NEY
36
"Take ___!" : THAT
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Possesses, biblically : HATH
38
___'acte : ENTR
39
Pageant wear : SASH
40
Tennis great Huber : ANKE
44
Drying oven : KILN
45
Coves : INLETS
46
Like a really good game for a pitcher, say : TWOHIT
47
Brawls : MELEES
48
Stylish and sophisticated : CLASSY
50
Skateboarding jump : OLLIE
51
Forested : WOODY
52
Full complement of limbs on a squid : TEN
53
Exactly as scheduled : ONCUE
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Lead-in to Man or 12 : PAC
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School founded by Thos. Jefferson : UVA
58
Make a record of : LOG
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Gender-neutral pronoun spelled with a slash between the first and second letters : SHE
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Wager : PUT
61
"Yuck!" : UGH

Answer summary:

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