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New York Times, Monday, January 6, 2014

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6711/13/201212/20/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
622187482
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQWZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 7 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:
I normally can handle 60 theme squares, but this one was a bit challenging. Probably because the limited supply of M * & V * ... read more

I normally can handle 60 theme squares, but this one was a bit challenging. Probably because the limited supply of M * & V * candidates & the exact MMXIV order the theme demands. I just could not come up with a cleaner lower right corner.

Happy New Year!

Will Shortz notes:
I debated for a long time whether or not to 'explain' the significance of the puzzle's Roman numerals (M-M-X-I-V) in the clue for 67A ... read more

I debated for a long time whether or not to "explain" the significance of the puzzle's Roman numerals (M-M-X-I-V) in the clue for 67A ... and decided against. For one thing I couldn't think of a smooth way to do it. Also, most Times solvers are smart enough to get the point of the puzzle without a sledgehammer from me (right?).

Jeff Chen notes:
Really nice to have a Monday with an additional layer of complexity. During my solve I couldn't tell what was going on, and even after ... read more

Really nice to have a Monday with an additional layer of complexity. During my solve I couldn't tell what was going on, and even after I filled in ROMAN, still wasn't sure. WARNING: SLEDGEHAMMER ALERT A pretty cool moment to realize MMXIV was a little shout-out to the new year, 2014. Nice concept!

As always, C.C. does a nice job of choosing her theme answers. They're all strong phrases, and I appreciated the nod to Sue Grafton and her very useful "_ IS FOR _" series, which has been either a godsend or a bane, depending on how you see the A IS, B IS partials. I personally consider them more evil than tofurky sausage (don't ask), but I can see how some solvers would appreciate having a gimme to start them off, especially with harder puzzles.

I like C.C.'s layout too. She allows for four long downs, all nice entries, although I could see how people might react negatively to KIRK GIBSON (if you aren't into baseball, or if you're a diehard A's fan STUPID KIRK GIBSON AND THE SLEDGEHAMMER WAYS YOU RUIN PEOPLE'S DREAMS). Ahem. YOGA MATS and THE ALAMO are very nice.

I considered this puzzle for the POW! because it's innovative and well-constructed, but my personal preference for ultra-smooth Mondays made me hesitate. ELOI is on my personal Do Not Call list (although it's gotten me out of jams in the past), and the smattering of ANIM (awkward abbr), our old xw friend ISAO Aoki, along with a SCH EER ONCLE felt like a touch too much. I love GOKART as an entry, but ONCLE and TNUT feel like a high price to pay on a Monday.

Starting the daily constructor comments has been an incredible privilege, and seeing the human side to puzzles has made me appreciate puzzles even more. Hearing about C.C.'s troubles with the SE made me want to investigate further. And sure enough, once you lock in the last theme answer and THE ALAMO and decide you're not going to use cheater squares, that little chunk becomes tough to fill cleanly.

I realize I'm extremely picky about smoothness on Mondays, and many constructors/solvers don't share my values, so I'll stop there. Overall, I really enjoyed today's offering EXCEPT CURSE YOU KIRK GIBSON.

1
O
2
B
3
E
4
Y
5
S
6
R
7
I
8
D
9
E
10
S
11
K
12
I
13
P
14
H
A
V
O
C
15
E
M
I
R
16
M
E
S
A
17
M
N
I
G
H
18
T
S
H
Y
A
19
M
A
L
A
N
20
S
E
L
A
21
N
E
O
22
A
L
L
O
T
23
M
24
B
U
T
T
25
E
26
R
F
L
Y
27
G
28
O
29
K
A
R
T
30
L
E
I
31
G
32
A
33
M
34
A
N
I
T
A
35
L
36
E
I
L
A
37
R
P
I
38
V
C
R
S
39
X
A
C
T
O
40
T
E
A
L
41
E
L
K
42
M
E
R
G
E
43
T
H
E
R
E
44
L
E
G
45
I
N
A
46
P
L
E
N
T
Y
47
I
48
A
M
A
M
49
E
50
R
I
C
A
51
A
52
M
B
L
E
53
B
I
N
54
L
55
A
56
U
57
D
58
V
I
S
F
O
59
R
60
V
E
N
G
61
E
A
N
C
E
62
E
L
O
I
63
A
I
R
S
64
E
M
I
L
E
65
R
E
N
E
66
G
A
T
E
67
R
O
M
A
N
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0106 ( 23,435 )
Across
1
Follows orders : OBEYS
6
Be a passenger : RIDE
10
Hop, ___ and a jump : SKIP
14
Mass destruction : HAVOC
15
Ruler of Dubai : EMIR
16
Small plateau : MESA
17
*"The Sixth Sense" director : MNIGHTSHYAMALAN
20
Actress Ward of "CSI: NY" : SELA
21
Recent: Prefix : NEO
22
Apportion : ALLOT
23
*1988 Best Play Tony winner inspired by Puccini : MBUTTERFLY
27
Kiddie racer : GOKART
30
Gift upon arriving in Honolulu : LEI
31
Bit of cheesecake : GAM
34
California's Santa ___ racetrack : ANITA
35
Girl in Byron's "Don Juan" : LEILA
37
Upstate N.Y. campus : RPI
38
TV hookups : VCRS
39
*Craft knife brand : XACTO
40
Duck or one of its colors : TEAL
41
Antlered animal : ELK
42
Two-lanes-into-one highway sign : MERGE
43
"Voilà!" : THERE
44
Chicken drumstick : LEG
45
___ nutshell : INA
46
More than enough : PLENTY
47
*2007 Stephen Colbert satirical book : IAMAMERICA
51
Mosey along : AMBLE
53
Holder of sale goods : BIN
54
Praise : LAUD
58
*22nd in a Sue Grafton series : VISFORVENGEANCE
62
"The Time Machine" people : ELOI
63
Puts on TV : AIRS
64
Actor Hirsch of "Into the Wild" : EMILE
65
Philosopher Descartes : RENE
66
Information on a boarding pass or stadium ticket : GATE
67
___ numerals (what the initial letters of the answers to the five starred clues all are) : ROMAN
Down
1
___ law (electricity principle) : OHMS
2
Source of misery : BANE
3
Diabolical : EVIL
4
They may be unrolled before meditation : YOGAMATS
5
Acad. or univ. : SCH
6
Button putting everything back to zero : RESET
7
Declaration while perspiring : IMHOT
8
Handyman's inits. : DIY
9
Gay Nineties, e.g. : ERA
10
Wee : SMALL
11
Good color for St. Patrick's Day : KELLYGREEN
12
Golfer Aoki : ISAO
13
Huff and puff : PANT
18
Letter-shaped bolt fastener : TNUT
19
"The Sopranos" subject : MAFIA
24
Garment under a blouse : BRA
25
Best of the best : ELITE
26
Move, to a real estate agent : RELO
27
It helps call a meeting to order : GAVEL
28
"Mon ___" (Jacques Tati film) : ONCLE
29
Dodgers slugger who was the 1988 N.L. M.V.P. : KIRKGIBSON
32
In pieces : APART
33
"Wrecking Ball" singer Cyrus : MILEY
35
Former West Coast N.F.L.'er : LARAM
36
Heart chart: Abbr. : ECG
39
TV's "warrior princess" : XENA
40
Something to remember in San Antonio? : THEALAMO
42
Old copy machine : MIMEO
43
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" channel : TLC
46
___-Pong : PING
48
"What's it all about, ___?" : ALFIE
49
Late critic Roger : EBERT
50
Light wash : RINSE
51
State forcefully : AVER
52
1/500 of the Indianapolis 500 : MILE
55
Lively, on scores: Abbr. : ANIM
56
Its fight song is "The Mighty Bruins" : UCLA
57
TV chef Paula : DEEN
59
Cleaning cloth : RAG
60
By way of : VIA
61
Always, in odes : EER

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?