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New York Times, Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Author: Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2910/2/20086/12/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6146516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64120
Samuel A. Donaldson
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
422/20/20063/9/201823
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
2273112132
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63200
Doug Peterson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. Donaldson. This is puzzle # 40 for Mr. Peterson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: Doug: Sam came up with the theme concept and a great entry in DIRTY CHERRY, but we couldn't find another 11-letter theme entry to ... more
Constructor notes:

Doug: Sam came up with the theme concept and a great entry in DIRTY CHERRY, but we couldn't find another 11-letter theme entry to pair with it. CHEVYWEIGHT was a possibility, but we felt it had a couple of strikes against it.

Sam: One problem, we felt, was that some solvers would give CHEVY the soft, "sh" sound instead of the hard, "ch" sound, even if we clued CHEVY with reference to Chevy Chase instead of the car make. The bigger strike, though, was that it was the only one-word theme entry.

Doug: We considered putting DIRTY CHERRY in the center of the grid, but when I tried squeezing in that 5th theme entry, the fill got fugly. Would it have been worth it? My grids usually end up on the "less theme, better fill" end of the spectrum. Thinking back to my wasted youth in front of the TV, I can envision two groups facing off in the bar at the Stamford Marriott: "More theme!" "Better filling!" "More Theme!" "Better Filling!"

Sam: This is one reason (among many) why I like working with Doug. I probably would have ended up in the "More theme!" camp, but the acceptance email from Will and Joel specifically mentioned that they liked the fill. And what's not like to like with SHAMWOW and...is that, is that HAIR GEL? Doug's craftsmanship with the grid is likely what sold this puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes: Sound-change puzzle, H- to CH- used for kooky effect. I got some smiles from IM OUT OF HERE becoming IM OUT OF CHEER. Funny to think ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Sound-change puzzle, H- to CH- used for kooky effect. I got some smiles from IM OUT OF HERE becoming IM OUT OF CHEER. Funny to think about a cheerleader running out of juice on the sideline. Took me a while to realize that CHEESE SO FINE was derived from HES SO FINE — apparently an oldie from the Chiffons? — but I had a laugh thinking about CHEESE SO FINE as a marketing slogan posted at a deli.

ARTIFICIAL HEART to CHART didn't do as much for me, but humor is subjective. (Perhaps it reminds me too much of a slide presented at one of my wife's old jobs, where this finance guy — no joke — flipped his chart upside down halfway through his presentation when he realized he wasn't making sense.) And HANES UNDERWEAR to CHAINS UNDERWEAR … the base phrase feels slightly contrived in order to fit the puzzle.

I really liked the huge spelling changes though — neat how each of the base words becomes something so different, rather than just tacking on the letter C, i.e. HAT to CHAT.

Sam and Doug are two of my favorite people in the crossworld (Doug was in Seattle a month ago; always a treat to see him in person; somehow we found ourselves way out in Kent, WA at 1 in the morning, don't ask), and their fun spirits usually show up in their puzzles. Today, we get GEEZ / ZILLION, TABLOID, HAIR GEL, and SHAM WOW! Not an OFF DAY at all; great bonuses right in line with their personalities.

A bit of a missed opportunity to clue NOT ME as that ghost Dolly and Jeffy blame on everything in Bil KEANE's "The Family Circus." Ah, Jeffy, that little scamp! (How is it that TFC is still in print?) I'd bet that Sam or Doug, if not both of them, thought of that while cluing.

Nice clue pair in OHIO and PERU both homes of Lima (Lima, Ohio being the lesser-known of the two cities, of course).

All of this executed so smoothly, with just an ANON here and an ASST there. Super minor dabs of crossword glue.

I always look forward to seeing these guys' byline, and today was no exception. Entertaining solve.

1
A
2
L
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H
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W
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A
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B
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D
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F
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1011 ( 24,444 )
Across Down
1. Hawaiian greeting : ALOHA
6. Growth on the forest floor : MOSS
10. Seller of the Söderhamn sofa : IKEA
14. Like three NASA rovers : LUNAR
15. "This is disastrous!" : OHNO
16. Lima's home : PERU
17. PowerPoint slide with fake data? : ARTIFICIALCHART
20. Hershey bar with toffee : SKOR
21. Go to the mall : SHOP
22. "Duty, ___, Country" (West Point motto) : HONOR
23. Fancy affair : GALA
25. Pressing business? : WINERY
26. Sliced serving with ritzy crackers? : CHEESESOFINE
31. Restaurant basketful : ROLLS
32. Stir-fry vessel : WOK
33. Octagonal sign : STOP
37. Everybody : ALL
38. Rag covered in dirt? : TABLOID
42. Pal of Piglet and Pooh : ROO
43. "Holy moly!" : GEEZ
45. Bill ___, the Science Guy : NYE
46. Japanese auto import : ISUZU
48. Pep squad member's lament? : IMOUTOFCHEER
52. Cotton fabric : MUSLIN
55. Flying circus performer? : FLEA
56. ___ Sam : UNCLE
57. Eatery with sidewalk tables, often : CAFE
59. Breckinridge of fiction : MYRA
63. Briefs from Walmart or Target? : CHAINSUNDERWEAR
66. Biggest city on the Big Island : HILO
67. Length x width, for a rectangle : AREA
68. Innocent's reply to "Who did this?" : NOTME
69. Store sign : OPEN
70. Like morning grass : DEWY
71. From Zurich, e.g. : SWISS
1. "Woe is me" : ALAS
2. Stand in the shadows : LURK
3. Not fooled by : ONTO
4. What may keep a mohawk in place : HAIRGEL
5. Dog's yap : ARF
6. Latte alternatives : MOCHAS
7. Lima's home : OHIO
8. "Oh, ___!" ("Good one, girlfriend!") : SNAP
9. Fa follower : SOL
10. Products featuring Siri : IPHONES
11. "The Family Circus" creator Bil : KEANE
12. Goof : ERROR
13. Cowboy singer Gene : AUTRY
18. Capri or Man : ISLE
19. Something a thoughtful person strokes : CHIN
24. Lead-in for prof. or V.P. : ASST
25. Reference page edited by a group : WIKI
26. Steep rock face : CRAG
27. Golfer's target : HOLE
28. Glamour rival : ELLE
29. It gives a little hoot : OWLET
30. Rock's ___ Fighters : FOO
34. "You make a good point" : TRUE
35. Primordial muck : OOZE
36. Rain really hard : POUR
39. Unknown source, informally : ANON
40. School about 40 miles from S.L.C. : BYU
41. "God does not play ___ with the world": Einstein : DICE
44. Ginormous number : ZILLION
47. Cloth made famous by infomercials : SHAMWOW
49. Appearance : MIEN
50. When nothing seems to go right : OFFDAY
51. Escape (from) : FLEE
52. A ton, in Tijuana : MUCHO
53. Square : UNHIP
54. Item on many a bathroom floor : SCALE
57. Successfully treat : CURE
58. From square one : ANEW
60. Supposed sighting in Tibet : YETI
61. Aries animals : RAMS
62. God who sounds like he was mentioned in the preceding clue : ARES
64. ___ sack : SAD
65. E.R. staffers : RNS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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