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New York Times, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Author:
Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3310/2/20088/21/20199
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
7257516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63130
Samuel A. Donaldson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQVX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 27 for Mr. Donaldson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I still managed to enjoy this one even after my years of dentist-aversion therapy. (Not surprisingly, it hasn't worked out well for my ... read more

I still managed to enjoy this one even after my years of dentist-aversion therapy. (Not surprisingly, it hasn't worked out well for my teeth.) I admit it; I'm an anti-dentite! But I enjoyed the dentist making a good FIRST IMPRESSION (ha ha, remember when the dentist got my nightguard mold stuck in my mouth?), offering a BRIDGE LOAN (and when another charged me for extra procedures I didn't ask for!), and everyone's favorite … YOU KNOW THE (shudder) DRILL!

I'm sure Mark Diehl is shaking his head at me. Sorry Mark, I'm sure you're tons better than all the terrible dentists I've gone through.

BRUSH PILES … what's a brush pile? Apparently, it's … wait for it … a pile of brush! It seems that birds are attracted to them. I have no idea how this works, but now I'm eager to go try it out. With wood-type brush, that is, not dentist-type brushes.

Unique black square pattern, those chunks in the middle odd-looking. They did allow Sam to work in some very nice seven-letter bonus entries, PASSKEY, AIRCREW, WHISKAS, and … RESLIDE. Sam, really?! Sam often takes the "go big or go home" approach, and I don't mind seeing a bit of OYEZ and PLAT to get some very nice CRACK UP, AGILITY, GO KAPUT, OPUS DEI. It's just such a shame to fill a precious seven-letter slot with a baserunner going back to first and trying to RESLIDE back into second. Or something like that.

With some AGRI, ERST, LEK, MUS, TRE in there too, it was too much crossword glue for me overall. But I do like how much snazzy bonus material Sam jammed in. Not sure why WHISKAS makes me CRACK UP, but it does.

Love the SOFA clue — [Loose change "collector"] feels Donaldson-esque. Nice to get a little of a constructor's personality in his/her puzzle.

I still have a long way to go in getting over my anti-dentite ways, and Sam's inspired me to try harder. I know the drill …

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0104 ( 24,529 )

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Across
1
Bee ball? : SWARM
6
Somewhat : ATAD
10
Historian's focus : PAST
14
Sarcastic "Amazing!" : OHGEE
15
Hedonistic sort : ROUE
16
Janis's spouse in the comics : ARLO
17
The new dentist wanted to make a good ... : FIRSTIMPRESSION
20
Gymnast's asset : AGILITY
21
Secret group in "The Da Vinci Code" : OPUSDEI
22
Important contacts : INS
23
Kind of cross or yogurt : GREEK
24
The dentist helped the patient afford the visit with a ... : BRIDGELOAN
28
Previously, previously : ERST
32
Mystical character : RUNE
33
Albanian currency : LEK
34
Info on a wine label : YEAR
35
Target of crunches : ABS
36
Heads for the bar? : FOAMS
39
Org. that prohibits traveling : NBA
40
Dispatched, as a dragon : SLEW
42
Young sea lion : PUP
43
Big D.C. lobby : AARP
44
Rogen of "Sausage Party" : SETH
45
The dentist sorted all the bristled instruments into ... : BRUSHPILES
48
"Too rich for my blood" : IMOUT
50
Flub : ERR
51
Super 8 alternative : DAYSINN
54
Burst out laughing : CRACKUP
58
When it was time for the filling, the dentist asked for, well, ... : YOUKNOWTHEDRILL
60
"Diana" singer Paul : ANKA
61
Like Mother Hubbard's cupboard : BARE
62
Insurance giant : AETNA
63
Capone's nemesis : NESS
64
Call in court : OYEZ
65
A workout works one up : SWEAT
Down
1
Loose change "collector" : SOFA
2
Fillmore's party : WHIG
3
Prefix with cultural : AGRI
4
Decline again : RESLIDE
5
Parceling (out) : METING
6
___ ant : ARMY
7
Word after carrot or muffin : TOP
8
Night light up north : AURORA
9
Intensify : DEEPEN
10
It'll open many doors : PASSKEY
11
Like much of Arizona : ARID
12
Plum used to flavor gin : SLOE
13
Singer Tennille : TONI
18
By ___ (alone) : ITSELF
19
Good name for a plaintiff? : SUE
23
Die : GOKAPUT
24
Pentagon V.I.P.s : BRASS
25
Belarussian money : RUBLE
26
Atlas extra : INSET
27
Barack Obama, astrologically : LEO
29
Kidney-related : RENAL
30
Buffalo pro : SABRE
31
Bunkers : TRAPS
37
M M M : MUS
38
Shape of the world : SPHERE
41
Friskies rival : WHISKAS
43
All plane attendants in attendance : AIRCREW
45
Congo ape : BONOBO
46
Where fashions debut : RUNWAY
47
Some luxury bags : PRADAS
49
Short amount of time? : MIN
51
Cannon on screen : DYAN
52
Best of the best : AONE
53
Big laughs : YUKS
54
Word in some French restaurant names : CHEZ
55
Franklin's flier : KITE
56
What's got the upper hand? : ULNA
57
Surveyor's map : PLAT
59
Numero after due : TRE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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