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New York Times, Monday, January 2, 2017

Author:
Chuck Deodene
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4111/16/199410/1/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02398118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58031
Chuck Deodene

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

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.

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K
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0102 ( 24,527 )

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Across
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
Down
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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