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New York Times, Monday, January 5, 2015

Author: John Guzzetta
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2010/9/20129/14/20184
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1322453
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {J} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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John Guzzetta notes: Happy New Year, everyone! The fact that this simple theme featured animals made me worry that it would go straight into the ... more
John Guzzetta notes:

Happy New Year, everyone! The fact that this simple theme featured animals made me worry that it would go straight into the editor's trash can. But, when I didn't see most of the theme phrases in the XWord Info archives, I thought it might make an entertaining Monday.

The fill was another story. The layout of the middle required DRACULA and AZTECAN, and so it locked in either crosswordese or partials. Personally, I like one or two gettable partials in early-week puzzles. They don't look so elegant in the finished grid, but they are pleasant enough when solving, even helpful (to me). But, having three intersect is pretty ugly, and these days, I would probably try to start from scratch with the grid layout.

Jeff Chen notes: Nice start to the week, five colorful phrases ending with a type of bird. I appreciated the consistency, each of the phrases ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Nice start to the week, five colorful phrases ending with a type of bird. I appreciated the consistency, each of the phrases containing exactly two separate words, none of them hyphenated. An elegant touch.

Dr. Tim Whatley, the original regifter. Recognize him?

REGIFT could be one of those eye-rolling add-an-RE-to-the-beginning-of-anything, i.e. REOIL or REPEN or REBURP. This one is not just acceptable, but desirable in my eyes, because it's a lively entry that's entered the lexicon in a big way, perhaps first popularized by Seinfeld. Silly goose Americans.

This is a very difficult grid arrangement, what with a 13-letter themer smack dab in the middle. I often do everything I can to switch out the middle themer for a 7-letter one. That's often impossible, but once in a while you'll luck into something useable, which makes grid-building so much easier.

John deploys a lot of his black squares to separate themers, but there is only so much you can do with a 10/10/13/10/10 arrangement. The middle suffers, what with I REST / A TEE / USE IT all in one region. Too many partials for my taste, period, and way too many in a tiny area. It's so tough in the middle columns of the puzzle – you can either choose to separate LEGAL EAGLE and OLD BUZZARD, or OLD BUZZARD and SPRING CHICKEN, but you can't really do both. I might have leaned more toward the latter, due to the constraints the Z puts on that rocky I REST / A TEE / USE IT region.

I do like the NE and SW, nice and clean even though those parallel downs cause many constraints. John does really well to quasi-separate them from the rest of the puzzle through smart black square placement, and also does it in a way which doesn't make the puzzle flow suffer. Doing all this with a QUATRAIN and a PANDEMIC along with an extra Z worked smoothly in deserves a SHOUT OUT. Kudos!

1
S
2
O
3
R
4
E
5
R
6
P
7
E
8
A
9
F
10
A
11
Q
12
S
13
E
N
E
R
O
14
V
I
E
W
15
E
M
U
S
16
L
E
G
A
L
17
E
A
G
L
E
18
L
E
A
N
19
D
W
I
20
E
L
L
21
A
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N
T
22
O
A
F
23
S
24
O
L
25
D
26
B
27
U
Z
Z
A
R
28
D
29
M
Y
T
H
30
S
31
I
R
E
S
T
32
B
A
M
33
A
P
34
U
35
A
T
E
E
36
L
I
Z
37
S
38
P
R
I
N
39
G
C
H
I
C
40
K
E
N
41
A
H
A
42
T
H
O
U
43
T
A
N
44
L
O
N
45
T
I
T
L
46
E
47
N
I
48
K
49
E
50
S
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B
U
D
52
G
E
T
H
A
W
53
K
54
T
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55
T
E
N
D
56
E
A
57
T
58
M
A
D
59
M
O
M
A
60
S
61
I
62
L
L
Y
G
63
O
O
S
E
64
O
U
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S
65
O
P
A
L
66
I
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I
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P
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F
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D
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0105 ( 23,799 )
Across Down
1. More achy : SORER
6. Item in a pod : PEA
9. Helpful website feature, for short : FAQS
13. First month of el año : ENERO
14. Panorama : VIEW
15. Cousins of ostriches : EMUS
16. Skillful lawyer : LEGALEAGLE
18. Not fatty : LEAN
19. Result of a failed Breathalyzer test, for short : DWI
20. 90-degree turn : ELL
21. "Sorry, that ___ happenin'!" : AINT
22. Dullards : OAFS
24. Cantankerous fellow : OLDBUZZARD
29. Folklore stories : MYTHS
31. "___ my case" : IREST
32. Crash sound : BAM
33. Clerk on "The Simpsons" : APU
35. "That suits me to ___" : ATEE
36. ___ Lemon, "30 Rock" character : LIZ
37. Relative youngster : SPRINGCHICKEN
41. "Now I see!" : AHA
42. Pronoun before "shalt not" : THOU
43. Light brown : TAN
44. Chaney who starred in "The Phantom of the Opera" : LON
45. Duke or duchess : TITLE
47. "Just do it" shoes : NIKES
51. Hard-liner on government spending : BUDGETHAWK
54. Michelin product : TIRE
55. Care for, as a garden : TEND
56. Urging from a dinner host : EAT
58. Bonkers : MAD
59. N.Y.C. home of Magrittes and Matisses : MOMA
60. Goofball : SILLYGOOSE
64. French yeses : OUIS
65. National gem of Australia : OPAL
66. Word before planet or peace : INNER
67. Hankering : ITCH
68. Curse : POX
69. Whole ___ (grocery chain) : FOODS
1. Not often : SELDOM
2. Traffic sign with an arrow : ONEWAY
3. Pass along, as a past present : REGIFT
4. Reagan ___ (most of the 1980s) : ERA
5. What an actor plays : ROLE
6. Bacon source : PIG
7. Coral dweller : EEL
8. Amazement : AWE
9. "___ Navidad" : FELIZ
10. Open to suggestions : AMENABLE
11. "Roses are red ...," e.g. : QUATRAIN
12. Nine-digit ID : SSN
14. Frankie of the Four Seasons : VALLI
17. "Evil Woman" grp. : ELO
21. Like many Mexicans' forebears : AZTECAN
23. ___-Pei (dog breed) : SHAR
25. One trying to grab a bite at the theater? : DRACULA
26. Girl's name that's a Hebrew letter : BETH
27. "Can you ___ in a sentence?" (spelling bee request) : USEIT
28. Area between the two Koreas, for short : DMZ
30. Ready for the rotisserie : SPITTED
34. Not touched, as a boxer : UNHIT
37. Public mention : SHOUTOUT
38. Nightmare for the C.D.C. : PANDEMIC
39. Invader of old Rome : GOTH
40. Work with yarn : KNIT
41. Priest's robe : ALB
46. Tom ___, onetime Marilyn Monroe co-star : EWELL
48. Robe tied with an obi : KIMONO
49. Like 18 1/2 minutes of the Watergate tapes : ERASED
50. Passover meals : SEDERS
52. Grind, as the teeth : GNASH
53. Nickname for Catherine : KAY
57. "Woo-hoo! The weekend's almost here!" : TGIF
59. "Après ___ le déluge" : MOI
60. Soak up : SOP
61. Big event at the N.Y.S.E. : IPO
62. Airport with the Tom Bradley Intl. Terminal : LAX
63. Singer Yoko : ONO

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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