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New York Times, Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Author:
Tracy Gray
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
249/8/20106/12/20185
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6245610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60431
Tracy Gray

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 19 for Ms. Gray. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tracy Gray notes:
Curses!! That's the theme of my puzzle — well, actually faux curses — which are often used in tv shows and cartoons to ... read more

Curses!!

That's the theme of my puzzle — well, actually faux curses — which are often used in tv shows and cartoons to allow characters to appear to be swearing, while not upsetting the censors. Each theme entry is clued as a grawlix (a string of typographical symbols used to represent an obscenity or swear word) with the name of the actor or cartoon character most associated with uttering it.

The inspiration for the puzzle came from watching reruns of M*A*S*H and "Everybody Loves Raymond" and hearing Colonel Potter and Frank Barone, respectively, yell out their many faux profanities. I researched lists of minced oaths used in movies, tv shows, comics, cartoons, and books; watched and listened to clips of cartoons of Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and others; and googled scripts from several tv show episodes to verify the spelling of the curse word(s).

Many thanks to Will and Joel for working with me through several theme entries to make sure that even the fake cuss words would not be bleeped by the NYT crossword censors!

Jeff Chen notes:
Fictional swear words = an amusing crossword idea. I knew SHAZBOT right off the top, and that was super fun to plunk in. And having ... read more

Fictional swear words = an amusing crossword idea. I knew SHAZBOT right off the top, and that was super fun to plunk in. And having watched every episode of M * A * S * H, I knew HORSE PUCKEY too! Er, HORSE HOCKEY. Dang it. Er, DAGNABIT!

I did find DAGNABIT to be "one of these things is not like the others" though, as I hear it in normal use — not all the time, but it does come up. Not knowing who Deputy Dawg was, I wondered if the word originated from him. But it appears to be a variant of "goddammit." Huh. Dammit.

I was surprised that I needed every cross to get JEEZALOO — given that I've seen every episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond." Huh. I seem to have wasted much of my life, dagnabit. At least I've never seen an episode of "Spongebob"! Although, OH BARNACLES sure didn't come easy. Double dagnabit.

Loved the bonus of RUMOR HAS IT … and SNAPCHAT / OIL HEATERS were pretty good too. With five themers, Tracy could have skated by with just a pair of bonus entries or two, so the extra effort was appreciated. A bit of SYCAMORE, RHOMBI, MENTHOL, and GASBAGS helped keep my attention through the solve.

Nice, clean grid. If a bit of AZO is all you end up with, you can be proud of yourself. ON HIRE was a bit weird — not sure why I love quaint British terms like "lorry" and "anti-clockwise" but not ON HIRE … gor!

LOVED the clue for GIRL, referencing Mo'ne Davis, the Little League star. Able to pitch a 70 mph fastball at age 13? Damn, GIRL! (I once tried at one of those carnival "how fast can you pitch" stations. Ahem … barely broke 50 mph. As a 20-year old. Triple dagnabbit.)

I'm shazbotting glad I don't have a censor today.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0125 ( 24,550 )
Across
1. Sweet-curd cheese : EDAM
5. Start of a one-two punch : JAB
8. S.L.R. settings : FSTOPS
14. River that turned to blood in Exodus : NILE
15. Bird with a potent kick : EMU
16. Available for rental, in Britain : ONHIRE
17. "@#$!" from Deputy Dawg : DAGNABIT
19. Hid from the cops, say : LAYLOW
20. Blue-gray shade : SLATE
21. "Blondie" or "Dilbert" : STRIP
23. QVC competitor : HSN
24. "@#$!" from Colonel Sherman Potter : HORSEHOCKEY
27. Cinco de Mayo beer : CORONA
30. Milo of "The Verdict" : OSHEA
31. Burglar's take : HAUL
32. Robocall from the I.R.S., e.g. : SCAM
35. Like Marx Brothers comedies : ANTIC
38. Place for quick cash, for short : ATM
39. "@#$!" from Mork : SHAZBOT
41. Prefix with freak or friendly : ECO
42. Bogus : PHONY
44. Dark film genre, informally : NOIR
45. Golfer Norman a.k.a. the Great White Shark : GREG
46. Christina who played Lizzie Borden : RICCI
48. Takes down a notch : ABASES
50. "@#$!" from SpongeBob SquarePants : OHBARNACLES
53. Reggae forerunner : SKA
54. Business bigwig : MOGUL
55. "The Voice" airer : NBCTV
59. Hand down, as a family business : PASSON
61. "@#$!" from Frank on "Everybody Loves Raymond" : JEEZALOO
63. Abode that's abuzz : APIARY
64. WWW bookmark : URL
65. Former Little League star Mo'ne Davis, e.g. : GIRL
66. Snowsuit attachment : MITTEN
67. Schuss, say : SKI
68. Polish's partner : SPIT
Down
1. Breaks off : ENDS
2. Competitor of Ivory and Coast : DIAL
3. Bit of birdbath gunk : ALGA
4. Flavoring in Kool cigarettes : MENTHOL
5. One of the Bushes : JEB
6. Out of whack : AMISS
7. Montana city that consolidated with Silver Bow County : BUTTE
8. Books with large pages : FOLIOS
9. Most-downloaded app of 2016 : SNAPCHAT
10. Possessive pronoun in the Lord's Prayer : THY
11. Some portable room warmers : OILHEATERS
12. Like dull-as-dishwater writing : PROSY
13. Stitched together : SEWN
18. MTV's "___ Flux" : AEON
22. Diamonds, in plane geometry : RHOMBI
25. Devil-may-care : RASH
26. Baseball's Griffey : KEN
27. "Cheerio" sayer : CHAP
28. Words from the witness stand : OATH
29. "According to the grapevine ..." : RUMORHASIT
33. Making, as a wicker chair : CANING
34. Kind of dye with vivid colors : AZO
36. Frozen drink brand : ICEE
37. Gear parts : COGS
39. Tree that sheds its bark : SYCAMORE
40. ___ fixation (Freud topic) : ORAL
43. Pen tip : NIB
45. Long-winded sorts : GASBAGS
47. Hume of "Cocoon" : CRONYN
49. Auto pioneer Karl : BENZ
50. Giraffe's cousin : OKAPI
51. How prime rib may be served : AUJUS
52. Uriah Heep's profession : CLERK
53. Much-maligned food : SPAM
56. Hair holder : CLIP
57. Spelling or Amos : TORI
58. Chevy plug-in car : VOLT
60. Took a load off : SAT
62. Manning of the gridiron : ELI

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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