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New York Times, Monday, January 5, 2015

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2110/9/20122/8/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1322463
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
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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
I
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
51
B
U
D
52
G
E
T
H
A
W
53
K
54
T
I
R
E
55
T
E
N
D
56
E
A
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T
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M
A
D
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M
O
M
A
60
S
61
I
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L
L
Y
G
63
O
O
S
E
64
O
U
I
S
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O
P
A
L
66
I
N
N
E
R
67
I
T
C
H
68
P
O
X
69
F
O
O
D
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0105 ( 23,799 )
Across
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
Down
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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