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New York Times, Monday, October 10, 2016

Author:
Patrick Merrell
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
887/10/20018/9/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
21105123352
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60553
Patrick Merrell

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {Z} This is puzzle # 85 for Mr. Merrell. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Easy-breezy, smooth puzzle with a fun theme — creatures with a monster in their names — everything I think a Monday should ... read more

Easy-breezy, smooth puzzle with a fun theme — creatures with a monster in their names — everything I think a Monday should be. At first I didn't get why GIANT of GIANT SQUID fit into the concept, but a quick headslap came after recalling the GIANTs in fairy tales, Harry Potter, etc.

Did you notice Patrick's elegant touch, two airborne animals in the top half of the grid, and two undersea ones in the bottom half? Love that! And I can imagine an ordered sequence, with a VAMPIRE BAT flying high, a DRAGONFLY closer to the ground, a DEVILFISH swimming not too deep, and a GIANT SQUID lurking in the depths. Absolutely perfect.

Nice bonus entries, too. Patrick uses the "long downs" approach with RUTABAGA (I'm not sure why, but it's such a funny-sounding word) and OFF NIGHT, a typical way to incorporate longer fill. Working long bonus fill into the across direction can be trickier, since those answers tend to have a lot of overlap with themers. Some very good choices in STALLION and BEATNIKS, and both are integrated so smoothly. Throw in a little NOONDAY, ITS TIME, and BAROQUE, and this solver got a lot more than he expected out of a Monday puzzle.

Such a smooth solve. I didn't care for ORONO, since it's a pretty small town and constructors tend to lean on it due to its vowel / consonant alternation, but all the crossings are fair. I debated whether ARIEL should be known by NYT solvers, but what else could that R be?

Normally I don't care for fill that's related to the theme, but it was fun to get a little STINE in the grid. For those in the know, he's been called the "Stephen King of children's literature." Perfect for this puzzle!

Although I'm a total wuss when it comes to anything remotely scary, I really enjoyed this puzzle.

1
D
2
O
3
O
4
R
5
S
6
A
7
J
8
A
9
R
10
E
11
T
12
N
13
A
14
I
M
H
I
T
15
R
A
G
U
16
A
H
E
M
17
V
A
M
P
I
18
R
E
B
A
T
19
R
A
R
E
20
A
N
Y
O
N
E
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S
T
A
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L
L
I
O
N
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P
E
A
24
S
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E
B
A
Y
26
F
27
A
28
V
E
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D
O
30
E
31
A
T
O
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A
33
S
34
T
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O
R
O
N
36
O
37
D
R
38
A
G
O
N
F
L
Y
39
N
I
L
40
N
41
O
O
N
D
A
Y
42
L
A
P
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D
E
V
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I
L
F
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S
H
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A
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B
A
T
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A
L
O
T
O
F
48
T
O
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W
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A
C
E
S
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S
A
N
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S
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C
H
54
E
R
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B
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E
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A
T
N
I
K
58
S
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A
P
O
60
L
61
L
62
O
63
A
C
T
I
64
G
I
A
65
N
T
S
Q
U
I
D
66
W
H
O
M
67
H
E
M
I
68
O
U
T
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D
69
L
O
B
E
70
T
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X
71
N
E
E
D
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1010 ( 24,443 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
Numbered things in a hotel hallway : DOORS
6
Not fully closed, as 1-Across : AJAR
10
Sicilian volcano : ETNA
14
Cry to a battlefield medic : IMHIT
15
Pasta sauce "trusted since 1937" : RAGU
16
"Um, pardon me" : AHEM
17
Airborne animal with a monstrous name : VAMPIREBAT
19
Not medium or well done : RARE
20
"Who knows the answer?" : ANYONE
21
Mare's mate : STALLION
23
Pod fillers : PEAS
25
Site with the option "Shop by category" : EBAY
26
Top choice, informally : FAVE
29
Anonymous John : DOE
31
Exclamation when raising one's champagne glass : ATOAST
35
University of Maine town : ORONO
37
Airborne animal with a monstrous name : DRAGONFLY
39
Zilch : NIL
40
12:00 : NOONDAY
42
Spot for a cat : LAP
43
Undersea animal with a monstrous name : DEVILFISH
45
Lessen : ABATE
47
Much : ALOTOF
48
Remove from a no-parking zone, say : TOW
50
High/low cards : ACES
51
___-serif font : SANS
53
Singer who starred in "Moonstruck" : CHER
55
Beret-wearing individualists of the 1950s-'60s : BEATNIKS
59
U.S. moon-landing program : APOLLO
63
Play's start : ACTI
64
Undersea animal with a monstrous name : GIANTSQUID
66
"For ___ the Bell Tolls" : WHOM
67
Half: Prefix : HEMI
68
No longer in the closet, and not by choice : OUTED
69
Brain or ear part : LOBE
70
Fearsome dino : TREX
71
Must-haves : NEEDS
Down
1
Performer inclined to throw tantrums : DIVA
2
Muscat is its capital : OMAN
3
"Goodness gracious!" : OHMY
4
Tear the wrapping off : RIPOPEN
5
Children's writer R. L. ___ : STINE
6
"___ you kidding me?!" : ARE
7
Quick punches : JABS
8
Banded rock : AGATE
9
Relative of a turnip : RUTABAGA
10
In the beginning stages : EARLYON
11
Bangkok resident : THAI
12
Emperor accused of starting the Great Fire of Rome : NERO
13
"I'll second that, brother!" : AMEN
18
Enjoy a book : READ
22
One of the Jacksons : LATOYA
24
"Ditto" : SODOI
26
Hollywood's Henry or Jane : FONDA
27
"The Little Mermaid" mermaid : ARIEL
28
Swedish car whose name is Latin for "I roll" : VOLVO
30
German artist Max : ERNST
32
Insurer with a duck in its commercials : AFLAC
33
Something to write on with chalk : SLATE
34
Uses a computer keyboard : TYPES
36
Borrowed, as artwork between museums : ONLOAN
38
For one particular purpose, as a committee : ADHOC
41
Subpar performance for a team or musician, say : OFFNIGHT
44
"We've waited long enough" : ITSTIME
46
Ornate architectural style : BAROQUE
49
"___ the heck" : WHAT
52
One going down a slippery slope : SKIER
54
Printer brand : EPSON
55
Cry like a baby : BAWL
56
Canyon rebound : ECHO
57
Very limited range : ATOB
58
"Ditto" : SAME
60
Troubadour's stringed instrument : LUTE
61
Told untruths : LIED
62
10:1 at a racetrack, e.g. : ODDS
65
Veto : NIX

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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