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New York Times, Monday, January 18, 2016

Author:
Kathy Wienberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
61/18/201610/23/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1212000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59010
Kathy Wienberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQX} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Wienberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kathy Wienberg notes:
I am thrilled about my debut puzzle being published in the NYT. After solving these puzzles for over 30 years, I pursued my dream of ... read more

I am thrilled about my debut puzzle being published in the NYT. After solving these puzzles for over 30 years, I pursued my dream of writing a crossword puzzle after retiring from teaching kindergarten.

After deciding that I wanted to literally put "poetry" in motion, I worked on this puzzle for a long time. It was submitted in January 2015. When it was accepted in May, I was ecstatic that my dream came true. Constructing this puzzle gave me an even deeper respect for all puzzle creators. I am grateful to Will Shortz for selecting my puzzle.

The length of the theme entries in this puzzle created an opportunity to have more longer across answers than is normally seen. I hope solvers enjoy this feature and the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
Impressively smooth debut from Kathy, whose husband got his debut in the LA Times just over a year ago. She gives us POETRY IN MOTION, ... read more

Impressively smooth debut from Kathy, whose husband got his debut in the LA Times just over a year ago. She gives us POETRY IN MOTION, or the letters P O E T R Y mixed up within phrases. I love the phrases Kathy chose, as MINORITY REPORT was one of my favorite Tom Cruise movies, and PYROTECHNIC is just plain fun. Was anyone else addicted to "Dance 360," with Kel shouting out to the PARTY PEOPLE as DJ K-Sly dropped the beats?

The image of Tom Cruise chasing an eyeball rolling down a ramp will never leave my head

No? Me neither. Ahem.

Even experienced crossword constructors tend to have a rough time making Monday puzzles. I think an ideal Monday puzzle should be accessible to all sorts of newer solvers, which means all crossings should be very fair, with leeway for gaps in people's knowledge bases. They should also strive to keep the crossword glue to a minimum, as these ugly bits can elicit a head-scratching reaction from newer solvers. So I was a little worried when I opened up the file to see a 74-word puzzle — most new constructors stick to a 78-word puzzle, which is much easier to execute on.

There was a bit of A TALE / ASEA in the east section, but that's all I noticed during my solve, aside from a stray AGA. And for Kathy to work in such nice vocab as MAELSTROM, RENEGADES, CADENCE, even SPARROW with its interesting clue [Fictional pirate who shares his name with a bird] — that's really nice work. It shows how much care and time she put into making this puzzle.

I wasn't as taken with the theme concept, as POETRY IN MOTION doesn't quite say "anagram these letters" like MIXED or SCRAMBLED would. Additionally, there's so much flexibility in arranging six letters anywhere inside a phrase that it feels a bit too easy to come up with themers.

Still, Kathy chose vivid themers, and she did quite a nice job of pulling together a smooth Monday puzzle, one of the tougher construction challenges out there. Looking forward to more from her.

1
P
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I
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T
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A
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C
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Z
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A
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R
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C
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A
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N
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D
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O
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A
T
O
M
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H
O
B
O
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A
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U
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R
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E
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G
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D
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M
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R
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G
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P
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Y
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H
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A
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K
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E
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M
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O
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H
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P
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A
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O
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K
N
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L
L
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F
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Y
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P
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0118 ( 24,177 )

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Across
1
Bread with a pocket : PITA
5
Ivan the Terrible, for one : CZAR
9
Positive, as an attitude : CANDO
14
Tiny building block : ATOM
15
Down-on-his-luck wanderer : HOBO
16
Farewell that's "bid" : ADIEU
17
Rebels : RENEGADES
19
Copenhageners, e.g. : DANES
20
2002 Tom Cruise sci-fi film : MINORITYREPORT
22
___ Khan : AGA
23
"___-Man," 2015 superhero movie : ANT
24
Related to fireworks : PYROTECHNIC
30
Alias : AKA
33
All of them lead to Rome, in a saying : ROADS
34
Right of way, at law : EASEMENT
36
Greek liqueur : OUZO
37
Square, triangle or circle : SHAPE
39
On the Pacific, say : ASEA
40
Boss : OVERSEER
42
Small hill : KNOLL
43
Put money into, as a meter : FED
44
They know how to have a good time : PARTYPEOPLE
47
Smith who sang the theme for "Spectre" : SAM
48
Ages and ages : EON
49
Sublime physical performance ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters : POETRYINMOTION
57
Relish : SAVOR
58
Violent vortex : MAELSTROM
60
Note taker : STENO
61
Forest scent : PINE
62
Surrender : CEDE
63
Lost on purpose : THREW
64
Lost traction : SLID
65
Rio de Janeiro, for the 2016 Olympics : HOST
Down
1
It's not easy to shoot : PAR
2
Agenda listing : ITEM
3
Tennille of pop music's Captain & Tennille : TONI
4
"So be it!" : AMEN
5
Cry to the cavalry : CHARGE
6
It starts with Aries : ZODIAC
7
Assist with a heist, say : ABET
8
Like Santa's cheeks : ROSY
9
Rhythm : CADENCE
10
Change with the times : ADAPT
11
El ___ (weather phenomenon) : NINO
12
Bambi, for one : DEER
13
Boot from power : OUST
18
Nannies and billies : GOATS
21
Employee's reward : RAISE
24
Prosecutor's burden : PROOF
25
"___ got mail" : YOUVE
26
Torn down : RAZED
27
Aroma : ODOR
28
Valentine symbol : HEART
29
Snooze : NAP
30
Creator of "The Tortoise and the Hare" : AESOP
31
Mournful ring : KNELL
32
Dickens's "___ of Two Cities" : ATALE
35
Hand, to José : MANO
37
Sordid : SEAMY
38
Counterpart of his : HER
41
Fictional pirate who shares his name with a bird : SPARROW
42
Smallville family : KENTS
45
Saudi neighbor : YEMENI
46
Put together, as funds : POOLED
47
Slingshot missile : STONE
49
"Hey, you!" : PSST
50
Vow : OATH
51
Second-to-last word in a fairy tale : EVER
52
Little rascals : IMPS
53
Something chewed by a nervous person : NAIL
54
Yen : ITCH
55
Brand touted as "Milk's favorite cookie" : OREO
56
Go-aheads : NODS
59
New York baseballer : MET

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

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