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New York Times, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Author:
Susan Gelfand
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/3/20088/27/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0952100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.69102
Susan Gelfand

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 12 for Ms. Gelfand. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I looked at 1-Down, [Word before top or party], six letters, and filled in POOPER. Took me few seconds to realize that POOPER TOP 1.) ... read more

I looked at 1-Down, [Word before top or party], six letters, and filled in POOPER. Took me few seconds to realize that POOPER TOP 1.) wouldn't pass the breakfast test, 2.) isn't a real thing, and 3.) is a funny phrase evoking images of double-story outhouses that I'll be using more frequently. Talk about COMIC RELIEF!

Onto the puzzle! Four famous comedians hiding at the front of phrases, Sid CAESAR, Eddie MURPHY, Billy CRYSTAL, and Chris POOPER TOP. Er, ROCK. I couldn't personally identify Sid Caesar out of a lineup of him plus four Lilliputian Taiwanese orcs, but the name is quite familiar. And I like how he helps spread the puzzle's appeal to the older generation who might not recognize (or choose to ignore) the more recent guys.

Cho mama's so funny ...

It would have been great to get a more recent comedian, and a female one or two, but who else would fit this theme pattern? If only there were such a thing as a CK AIRPLANE or a CHAPPELLE BERET or a CHO MAMA.

Hey, CK ONE! That "a thing," isn't it?

Really nice gridwork today, Susie producing a smooth solve. All throughout I was impressed at how little glue I encountered, only hitching at the ELD / ENE area. OLD / ONE would be so much better! But OLD HAT sits up at the top of the grid. Ooh, I hate when that happens!

And I really liked the way Susie worked in so much Scrabbly goodness. Sometimes I feel like Xs and Js are jammed in with a big shoehorn and hammer, but I love the smoothness around the J and X in the NW, and the selection of Vs in the SE. I can imagine the temptation to try to squeeze a Q in the SE, resulting in EQUI or something. Vs aren't as spicy as Qs or Xs, but they still do the job of adding seasoning to the puzzle.

You know what was funny for me? The use of the question mark in the clue for COMIC RELIEF. Just when I thought I knew when it should be deployed. I mean, those comedians do provide COMIC RELIEF, yeah?

Overall, a very well-executed puzzle causing me to amuse myself to no end.

1
P
2
E
3
R
4
O
5
L
6
D
7
H
8
A
9
T
10
C
11
M
12
A
13
J
14
A
X
E
15
R
O
W
E
N
A
16
L
A
N
E
17
J
O
T
18
C
A
E
S
A
R
19
S
A
L
A
D
20
A
D
O
21
S
22
M
E
S
23
P
H
I
A
L
24
M
U
R
P
25
H
Y
B
E
26
D
27
E
M
M
Y
28
S
29
A
S
T
R
O
30
O
31
D
D
32
U
Z
I
33
A
G
34
E
35
E
N
E
36
E
T
E
S
37
C
38
R
Y
S
T
39
A
L
G
E
40
Y
S
E
R
41
B
A
A
S
42
C
U
D
43
M
O
C
44
E
M
S
45
C
H
E
46
Y
A
47
R
48
D
49
S
50
L
E
H
51
A
R
52
R
53
O
54
C
55
K
O
P
E
R
A
56
R
O
B
O
57
T
58
R
A
N
59
E
V
I
L
60
C
O
M
I
C
R
61
E
L
I
E
62
F
63
E
V
A
64
H
O
O
D
65
I
R
O
N
E
R
66
R
E
M
67
A
N
N
E
68
S
A
N
E
L
Y
69
E
L
I
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0120 ( 23,814 )
Across
1
Lead-in to cent or annum : PER
4
Passé : OLDHAT
10
Key of Schubert's Symphony No. 9: Abbr. : CMAJ
14
Lumberjack's tool : AXE
15
Ivanhoe's love : ROWENA
16
Alternative to Drive or Road : LANE
17
Scribble (down) : JOT
18
Dish with croutons and Parmesan cheese : CAESARSALAD
20
Commotions : ADOS
22
Madrid month : MES
23
Lab bottle : PHIAL
24
Pull-down sleeper : MURPHYBED
27
Daytime ___ : EMMYS
29
Houston athlete : ASTRO
30
Peculiar : ODD
32
Action film weapon : UZI
33
Social Security criterion : AGE
35
Okla. City-to-St. Louis direction : ENE
36
Verb with "vous" : ETES
37
Evian competitor : CRYSTALGEYSER
41
Barnyard bleats : BAAS
42
Guernsey chew : CUD
43
Comfy bit of footwear : MOC
44
Certain dash lengths : EMS
45
"Evita" role : CHE
46
Super Bowl gains : YARDS
50
"The Merry Widow" composer : LEHAR
52
"Tommy," for one : ROCKOPERA
56
Tireless worker? : ROBOT
58
Managed : RAN
59
Bad to the bone : EVIL
60
What the starts of 18-, 24-, 37- and 52-Across can provide? : COMICRELIEF
63
"Evita" role : EVA
64
Part of a parka : HOOD
65
Laundry worker : IRONER
66
___ stage : REM
67
English princess who competed in the 1976 Olympics : ANNE
68
In a rational way : SANELY
69
Old ___ (Yale, affectionately) : ELI
Down
1
Word before top or party : PAJAMA
2
Book of the Bible or an event described in it : EXODUS
3
Comeback : RETORT
4
Tolkien creature : ORC
5
Like some rich soil : LOAMY
6
Geek : DWEEB
7
"Siddhartha" writer : HESSE
8
Santa ___ winds : ANA
9
Roofer's cover : TARP
10
Insurance submission : CLAIM
11
Sled dog : MALAMUTE
12
One taking a close look : ANALYZER
13
Clampett patriarch : JED
19
"___ Rather Be With Me" (1967 hit) : SHED
21
Uses an aerosol : SPRAYS
25
Monopolizes : HOGS
26
Bell sound : DONG
28
Bro's sibling : SIS
31
Consider : DEEM
34
Work on a gravestone, e.g. : ETCH
35
Antiquity, in antiquity : ELD
36
Rarity at Alcatraz : ESCAPE
37
Neighbor of Nigeria : CAMEROON
38
Kurosawa classic : RASHOMON
39
Violinist Leopold : AUER
40
What some dieters do : YOYO
41
___ canto : BEL
45
Swamp beast, informally : CROC
47
Patriot Paul : REVERE
48
Senseless talk : DRIVEL
49
Part of an Italian sub : SALAMI
51
Tolerate : ABIDE
53
Fabric once described as "comfort in action" : ORLON
54
"The Dark Knight" actor : CAINE
55
Prepare to be knighted : KNEEL
57
Speaker of baseball : TRIS
60
When repeated, a lively dance : CHA
61
Detergent brand : ERA
62
Word after fish or French : FRY

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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