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New York Times, Monday, January 2, 2017

Author: Chuck Deodene
Editor: Will Shortz
Chuck Deodene
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4011/16/199410/3/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
01398118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58031

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQUZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 39 for Mr. Deodene. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: Welcome back, Chuck! After almost a five year absence from the NYT crossword scene, the prolific constructor returns … with ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Welcome back, Chuck! After almost a five year absence from the NYT crossword scene, the prolific constructor returns … with his first Monday puzzle. Only a Sunday left to "hit for the cycle"!

PARTY DOWN played upon, synonyms for "party" hidden in vertical theme answers. I liked the extra bonus of all the hidden words boogieing down from left to right, too. It's a party in your crossword, and everyone's invited!

Will has told me in the past that he isn't super keen on hidden words within a single, bigger word, i.e. BASH in WABASH. I tend to agree with that assessment, hidden words much more interesting when hidden across themers, so it was slightly disappointing to have every one of the party types hidden that way. It is consistent — all four done the same way — but the SCHOOL in SCHOOL CAFETERIA seems a little bit like a waste of space, for example.

It's easy enough to break most of the party types across two words, something like LEGAL AID or LIFE STORY, but it sure would be tough to get all four of them done this way while keeping the left-to-right boogieing down. And I sure did like that big-picture effect.

Chuck does so well with his bonus fill, the mark of an old pro. With five themers, there's not a lot of extra grid territory to work with, but Chuck wisely sections off chunks in the NE/SW featuring seven-letter entries. I GOTCHA, NOT THAT!, EPITAPH, CICADAS all helped elevate my solving experience. TOBACCOS is an odd plural, but GOES BALD is a fun entry. To us non-sensitive baldies, that is.

There was some ASA, COL, ESSE, SRA, AHOLD, but only ESSE stuck out to me. (AH SO is icky, playing on old Asian stereotypes, but it is gettable. Okay, maybe I am a little sensitive.) Everything else I think most beginning solvers should be able to grok. Reasonable trade-off, to get the high-ish theme density and all the extras.

Can't wait to see what Sunday concept Chuck is going to give us! I'm rooting for him to join the cycle club.

1
A
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W
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B
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0102 ( 24,527 )
Across Down
1. Leatherworker's tool : AWL
4. Wrath : IRE
7. Sauce often used in a Bloody Mary : TABASCO
14. Port-au-Prince resident : HAITIAN
16. "Um-hmm, O.K." : IGOTCHA
17. Call from a football referee : OFFSIDE
18. "Please! Anything but!" : NOTTHAT
19. Onion relative used in soups : LEEK
20. Little troublemakers : IMPS
22. Charged particles : IONS
23. M.R.I. orderers : DRS
24. Versatile bean : SOYA
25. Texas site of a 1993 siege : WACO
27. Itsy-bitsy branch : TWIG
29. Some DVD players : RCAS
31. Caustic agent : LYE
34. Japan's largest company by revenue : TOYOTA
36. Crops used in making cigarettes : TOBACCOS
38. Ready, willing and ___ : ABLE
39. Classic Eric Clapton song about unrequited love : LAYLA
41. Statutes : LAWS
42. Loses one's hair : GOESBALD
44. Hold back, as a yawn : STIFLE
46. Moment, informally : SEC
47. World's fair, e.g. : EXPO
48. Wish : HOPE
49. Like the water in a baptism : HOLY
51. Get bent out of shape : WARP
53. ___ talks (lecture series) : TED
56. Busy time at the drive-thru : NOON
58. Nay voter : ANTI
59. It's made up of DNA : GENE
60. Message that might end "R.I.P." : EPITAPH
63. Invaded in large numbers : OVERRAN
65. 17-year insects : CICADAS
66. Standards by which things are measured : METRICS
67. Follows, as a schedule : KEEPSTO
68. Monterrey Mrs. : SRA
69. Consumed : ATE
1. Get ___ of (grasp) : AHOLD
2. Communion tidbit : WAFER
3. Vegetarianism or bohemianism : LIFESTYLECHOICE
4. Three on a grandfather clock : III
5. Source of faraway X-rays : RADIOGALAXY
6. Foe : ENEMY
7. Pantry containers : TINS
8. Long, long ___ : AGO
9. Web crawler, e.g. : BOT
10. Web-filled room, often : ATTIC
11. Spot for a food fight : SCHOOLCAFETERIA
12. Jackie of "Shanghai Knights" : CHAN
13. Honey Bunches of ___ : OATS
15. "Shameful!" : TSK
21. Really revel ... or a hint to the words formed by the circled letters : PARTYDOWN
24. Take a chair : SIT
25. Indiana/Illinois separator : WABASHRIVER
26. White ___ sheet : ASA
28. Troubles : WOES
30. Kurtz's rank in "Apocalypse Now": Abbr. : COL
32. Mournful cry : YOWL
33. To be, to Tacitus : ESSE
34. Little things that say "To" and "From" : TAGS
35. Orchestra reed : OBOE
37. Scissor cut : CLIP
40. Swiss mount : ALP
43. ___ Paese (variety of cheese) : BEL
45. Spinning toy : TOP
50. Like beer that's not in a bottle : ONTAP
52. Things split in fission : ATOMS
54. Make into 41-Across : ENACT
55. Not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree : DENSE
56. Part bitten by a vampire : NECK
57. Mayberry boy : OPIE
58. "I understand," facetiously : AHSO
59. Hound's warning : GRR
61. Many online banners : ADS
62. Bit of butter : PAT
64. When a plane is due in, for short : ETA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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