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New York Times, Monday, January 4, 2016

Author:
Herre Schouwerwou
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
81/15/201511/29/20180
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0113300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62100
Herre Schouwerwou

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Schouwerwou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Herre Schouwerwou notes:
This crossword comes almost one full year after my debut yet it was accepted just two weeks after. One clue from that puzzle ('Perfect ... read more

This crossword comes almost one full year after my debut yet it was accepted just two weeks after. One clue from that puzzle ("Perfect night for a pillow fight") provided the seed for this one. I scribbled it down in my crossword ideas book and came up with a couple of dozen more P__F__ entries. By having a large selection to pick from, it made building and filling the grid easier — for the most part.

I realize that FARON might not be Monday fill but he was a big country music star in his day and is a nod to my dad who enjoyed country music. I can remember hearing Faron Young's songs on some "Decades of Country Music" collection that my dad had on 8-track. My music taste leans more to PINK FLOYD so I just had to include them to balance things out.

Here is what Joel had to say: "This sort of theme type can often be underwhelming, but your version of it works for a couple reasons. First, you have six theme examples, some of them interlocking, which is very impressive. Even better, though, you've chosen lively and fresh theme answers. The fill was very clean and easy, which was another reason we said yes."

Hope you agree with Will and Joel. Happy New Year!

Jeff Chen notes:
Six P- F- phrases today. Nice choice of themers, POPPIN' FRESH my favorite, PILLOW FIGHTS and PARTY FAVORS also colorful. I almost ... read more

Six P- F- phrases today. Nice choice of themers, POPPIN' FRESH my favorite, PILLOW FIGHTS and PARTY FAVORS also colorful. I almost didn't notice PINK FLOYD and PETIT FOUR hiding in the corners, but they're zingy too.

I'm not creepy at all, kids!

POUND FOOLISH does sound a bit like a partial to me, but I can see the argument that it's fine. I can much more buy PENNY WISE, as I can imagine someone tilting their head, saying "Penny wise ...", and walking away, clucking their tongue as they imply the remainder. (I swear, I don't do this. Much.) I like it when a crossword entry has hidden punctuation.

Interesting short fill today; some entries we don't often see in early-week puzzles:

  • FARON. Anyone with a #1 country hit seems legit to me, as long as the crossings are easy and fair. Thumbs-up from me.
  • EPOS. Pretty tough piece of vocab. I might have balked at that EPOS/SETH crossing, but the clue for EPOS indicates pluralization. Thumbs-up.
  • SADA. Would she be "important" enough to be in a crossword, if her name wasn't so crossword-friendly with its common letters and alternating vowel consonant pattern? Tough to say.
  • NEGS. Not being a photographer, it's tough to figure out if this is a common abbreviation for "negatives." In any case, it's not a pervasive abbreviation. I vote Gluey.
  • IDEO. Prefixes are called out as undesirable by most editors. Gluey.
  • REARMS. Tough call. Is this a MYOW (make-up-your-own-word)? The RE- addition seems iffy.

So on a case by case basis, I think Herre's fill is pretty good. As a whole, it left me with a bit of an esoteric feel.

I like high theme density — six themers is no joke — but I'm not as taken by it as Will and Joel. The feat is also muted for me since it's easy to come up with all sorts of P- F- phrases.

It would have been nice to get a little something extra, perhaps a revealer. Hmm, PERSONAL FOUL, PHOTO FINISH, PICKET FENCE, POLICE FORCE? Dang it, nothing nicely describes the concept. Ah well.

Pretty fun start to the week.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0104 ( 24,163 )

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Across
1
Small jump : HOP
4
Burrito alternative : TAMALE
10
Lion's sound : ROAR
14
April is the only month that has one : ANI
15
Backbone-related : SPINAL
16
Border : EDGE
17
Attila or one of his followers : HUN
18
Gifts for guests : PARTYFAVORS
20
Seeks answers : ASKS
22
Caddie's bagful : TEES
23
Cap for a Special Forces member : BERET
24
Alternative to Spot or Rover : FIDO
26
"$&#@" and "%*&!" : CURSES
27
Friendly scuffles at sleepovers : PILLOWFIGHTS
32
Hoity-toity sort : SNOOT
33
Jimi Hendrix hairdo : AFRO
34
Poems featuring 39-Across : EPOS
38
Dangerous, as winter sidewalks : ICY
39
Acts of bravery : HEROICS
42
Mare : horse :: ___ : sheep : EWE
43
Actress Thompson of TV's "Family" : SADA
45
Double agent : MOLE
46
Group of eight : OCTET
48
Not good with large sums of money, in a saying : POUNDFOOLISH
51
Furnishes with new weapons : REARMS
54
Foot or yard : UNIT
55
Fire-setter's crime : ARSON
56
___ Jemima : AUNT
59
Scoffer's sound : PFFT
62
Real name of the Pillsbury Doughboy : POPPINFRESH
65
Rowboat propeller : OAR
66
Thought: Prefix : IDEO
67
Harass, as a witness in court : BADGER
68
Gun in an action film : UZI
69
TV rooms : DENS
70
Outer parts of pizzas : CRUSTS
71
Agent, for short : REP
Down
1
Response to a joke : HAHA
2
"This one's ___" ("Our treat") : ONUS
3
"The Wall" rock band : PINKFLOYD
4
Amount of cough syrup: Abbr. : TSP
5
Judd who wrote and directed "Knocked Up" : APATOW
6
Muck : MIRE
7
One or two poker chips, maybe : ANTE
8
Brand of chips : LAYS
9
Sprite : ELF
10
What the numbers 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 are in : REVERSE
11
Scents : ODORS
12
Be of the same mind : AGREE
13
Observes the Sabbath : RESTS
19
Share a border : ABUT
21
Farm storage building : SILO
25
Performs, to Shakespeare : DOTH
26
One of the three flavors of Neapolitan ice cream, for short : CHOC
27
Letters between chis and omegas : PSIS
28
Ancient alpaca herder : INCA
29
___ Young, singer with the #1 country hit "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young" : FARON
30
"Uncle," in poker : IFOLD
31
Mourning : GRIEF
35
Small frosted cake : PETITFOUR
36
Is indebted to : OWES
37
MacFarlane of "Family Guy" : SETH
40
Cousins of ostriches : EMUS
41
Any second now : SOON
44
Fittingly : APROPOS
47
Trim, as a hedge : CLIP
49
Prefix with potent : OMNI
50
Beginning : OUTSET
51
Swift : RAPID
52
Wear away, as soil : ERODE
53
Colorado ski town : ASPEN
56
At a distance : AFAR
57
Official language of Pakistan : URDU
58
Darkroom masters, for short : NEGS
60
Discombobulate : FAZE
61
Voyage : TRIP
63
Airer of the Olympics since 1988 : NBC
64
9 a.m. and 12 p.m.: Abbr. : HRS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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