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New York Times, Monday, January 4, 2016

Author: Herre Schouwerwou
Editor: Will Shortz
Herre Schouwerwou
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
71/15/201511/1/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0113200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Schouwerwou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 )
Across Down
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
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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