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New York Times, Friday, January 8, 2016

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1105/2/200610/16/201912
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612253714106
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {FQXZ} This is puzzle # 93 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
As you might imagine, this puzzle started with the two entries that afford it the slightest hint of a theme — DREAM GIRLS and ... read more

As you might imagine, this puzzle started with the two entries that afford it the slightest hint of a theme — DREAM GIRLS and JERSEY BOYS.

Will Shortz kept my Indiana University-based clue for PSI. He returned the favor by keeping "Collins" in the next clue. In fact, one of my post-retirement projects (someday when I retire) is going to be researching to see if I'm related to Col. William O. Collins, for whom Fort Collins is named. William Collinses are rife in our family (we currently have a string of at least seven generations of them, the first one having served in the Civil War), and both William O. and my ancestors hail from southwest Ohio.

If I'm related to William O., then I'm also related to the man for whom Casper, Wyoming, is named. Caspar Collins was William O.'s son. The different spellings of Caspar and Casper arose from a long-ago typographical error.

This concludes today's history lesson.

Jeff Chen notes:
I enjoy mini-themes in my themelesses; an unexpected bonus. I got stuck in the NW corner, so it was great to realize Pete's DREAMGIRLS ... read more

I enjoy mini-themes in my themelesses; an unexpected bonus. I got stuck in the NW corner, so it was great to realize Pete's DREAMGIRLS / JERSEY BOYS link. I don't know either, but I like the connection a lot. I'll have to check out DREAMGIRLS especially — Jamie Foxx, Beyonce, and Eddie Murphy = all-star cast! It would have been perfect if the gap between musical and movie had been exactly the same for both shows, but what can you do.

Movie poster for DREAMGIRLS

Pete shoots for the moon, with 18 long slots. It's a very tough arrangement, since there are long entries running through the triple-stacks and interlocking into each other. Check out how I DID MY BEST, ABSORPTION, POCAHANTAS, and COTTON SWAB link together in the middle of the puzzle — that restricts flexibility in filling, since so much of the puzzle's skeleton is locked together, one answer affecting many others. Very tough to convert all 18 slots into assets.

Pete gets a lot of strong material dotted in, from DOGGIE DOOR to OSCAR WILDE to BREAKDANCE to PILOT ERROR. There are a few long entries that didn't hit for me — ANOINTINGS, STARTS OVER, LETTER TRAY, LACERATED — which isn't surprising given the high degree of interlock. It's one of the themeless constructor's dilemmas: do you start with a small number of long entries (about 10) and work hard to convert them all into assets, or do you start with a huge number, knowing that you'll likely end up with a few so-so entries?

Hey, an innovative PSI clue! I was just in Bloomington, Indiana over the holidays ((I tried to go see Will's puzzle exhibit at IU, but it had just closed — boo!), so it was fun to realize that the pervasive IU symbol does look like a psi.

A couple of minor offenders in SSR, WSW, ETE, etc., but the great cluing swept those away for me. My favorite was [One with a lot to think about] — a HOMEOWNER owns a lot, or a parcel of land. [Professional fixer] made me think of Harvey Keitel's character in "Pulp Fiction," but this was a very different kind of "fixer," as in a VET spaying cats and dogs.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0108 ( 24,167 )
Across
1
Hit 1981 Broadway musical made into a 2006 film : DREAMGIRLS
11
Like five-star accommodations : POSH
15
Pet project for a 14-Down : DOGGIEDOOR
16
Regarding : ASTO
17
Acts in some rituals : ANOINTINGS
18
Deal with a huge catch : SCAM
19
One-named New Ager : YANNI
20
One who might say "Brace yourself!," in brief? : DDS
21
"Don't ___!" (parental admonition) : STARE
22
Mag crowning a "Bachelor of the Year" : COSMO
24
Plot element? : SHORTO
25
Bogus, to Brits : PHONEY
27
What Indiana University's superimposed "I" and "U" looks like : PSI
28
Sioux City-to-Fort Collins dir. : WSW
29
Place : LIEU
30
Bounty work? : ABSORPTION
33
Scare : ALARM
35
Treaty of Rome creation, for short : EEC
36
Find x, say : SOLVE
37
Aid in collecting evidence : COTTONSWAB
40
It forms part of the Polish/German border : ODER
41
Burgundy season : ETE
42
Professional fixer : VET
43
Hawkeye rival, briefly : HUSKER
45
Cheesemaking need : RENNET
47
___ Brava, Spain : COSTA
48
Old Peloponnesian power : ARGOS
49
Label a bomb : PAN
50
"I'm at your disposal" : USEME
54
Slender : TRIM
55
Desk accessory : LETTERTRAY
57
Geological units : EONS
58
Make one's head spin? : BREAKDANCE
59
Bit at the bottom : DREG
60
Hit 2005 Broadway musical made into a 2014 film : JERSEYBOYS
Down
1
Time to strike : DDAY
2
First name in gossip : RONA
3
___ Krenz, last Communist leader of East Germany : EGON
4
"Henry V" battle setting : AGINCOURT
5
Boris or Natasha, to Fearless Leader : MINION
6
Contract : GET
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Statement after a valiant attempt : IDIDMYBEST
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Common concerto closer : RONDO
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Stock to be split? : LOGS
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Ceremonially gowned grp. : SRS
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Meal, in Italy : PASTO
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Who wrote "There is no sin except stupidity" : OSCARWILDE
13
Goes from the top : STARTSOVER
14
One with a lot to think about : HOMEOWNER
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23-Down travelers : SHIPS
23
See 21-Down : SEA
24
Old geographical inits. : SSR
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Possibility considered after an air accident : PILOTERROR
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Combustion contraption : HEATENGINE
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Noted kidnappee of 1613 : POCAHONTAS
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Slashed : LACERATED
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Put in stitches : SEW
32
Guessed : TOOKASTAB
34
Romeo's repertoire : MOVES
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What a birdie flies over : NET
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Take all the dishes from : BUS
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Solid : STURDY
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Request to leave out for takeout? : NOMSG
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Bring all the dishes to : CATER
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Father of the mariée : PERE
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Cosmetician Laszlo : ERNO
52
Gray of R&B : MACY
53
Things opened in the morning : EYES
55
"All the way with ___" ('64 slogan) : LBJ
56
Scratch : EKE

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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