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New York Times, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Author:
David J. Kahn
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1813/15/199412/12/20185
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4451224571326
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5514211
David J. Kahn

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 39 Missing: {PQXZ} This is puzzle # 174 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David J. Kahn notes:
I guess I can say with a smile that this is just an OK puzzle. This worked only because I was able to find four 4-letter synonyms for ... read more

I guess I can say with a smile that this is just an OK puzzle. This worked only because I was able to find four 4-letter synonyms for OK that could be clued otherwise, which is why "so-so", at first an obvious synonym, wasn't included.

I also wanted to include a gunfighter on each side. Fun fact: Kirk Douglas, who played Doc Holliday in the 1957 movie, celebrated his centennial last year.

Jeff Chen notes:
GUNFIGHT AT / THE OK CORRAL visually punned on, with four 'okay' synonyms squaring off in the center(ish) of the puzzle. I always ... read more

GUNFIGHT AT / THE OK CORRAL visually punned on, with four "okay" synonyms squaring off in the center(ish) of the puzzle. I always forget that JAKE can be used as in "everything's Jake" (okay) — probably should remember that since my son's name is Jake!

Was anyone else jarred by the slight off-centering of the "gunfight"? Of course, it's impossible to center a pattern of four-letter words like this in a 15x15 grid. Perhaps it would have been better to look for three-letter or five-letter synonyms (I couldn't find enough, rats!)? Or make the grid 16x16 or 14x14?

I have such OCD when it comes to crossword symmetry. So annoying!

Some nice bonuses in TOEHOLD, REUNIFY, MINNOWS, WILLOWY, MONIKER, BAOBAB. Nothing spectacular, but enough to help hold solvers' attention if they're not Jake with the punny theme.

Not as Jakey (is that a thing? it should be) were SNARLER and SALUTER. I could maybe let one slip by, but I think it's important to not draw attention to any one type of gluiness or oddballity in a single grid.

It is a tough set of themers to constructor around, no doubt. The four long themers are a piece of cake, especially when laid out in the "windmill" pattern. But when you add in the central gunfight square, each side is forced to work with one of the long themers. That's another story completely.

Especially tough when you have to work around a J — not a surprise that the east section came out the roughest, with SALUTER LUI ETE KOD. I think KO'D is probably fine, but it just looks so cringe-worthy inside a crossword grid.

Given how colorful the lore around THE OK CORRAL is, I would have loved something more than a bunch of okay themers squaring off with each other. Seems anticlimactic; like a duel using wet noodles. I did appreciate the impressive finds though, four solid "okay" synonyms that can be defined in misdirecting ways.

1
M
2
A
3
C
4
A
5
O
6
W
7
I
8
L
9
T
10
S
11
I
12
G
13
A
14
I
L
O
S
T
15
I
N
E
R
T
16
K
O
D
17
D
O
C
H
O
18
L
L
I
D
A
Y
19
E
N
D
20
T
O
E
H
O
L
D
21
M
E
22
S
C
A
L
23
B
O
L
24
T
25
S
A
L
V
E
26
A
27
N
28
G
29
S
30
T
31
W
E
L
32
L
33
L
A
Y
S
34
R
E
U
N
I
35
F
Y
36
C
A
37
J
U
N
38
B
A
N
A
N
A
39
R
A
T
T
40
L
41
E
42
F
R
O
I
43
D
44
M
A
K
E
O
U
T
45
B
46
O
I
L
47
R
E
48
M
O
49
E
R
N
I
E
50
A
N
G
E
51
L
52
F
I
N
53
E
54
O
C
H
R
E
55
S
56
M
I
N
57
N
58
O
59
W
60
S
61
B
A
T
62
T
H
63
E
O
K
C
O
R
R
A
64
L
65
A
L
A
66
G
E
E
S
E
67
S
C
E
N
E
68
B
L
T
69
O
S
K
A
R
70
H
A
N
G
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1011 ( 24,809 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
East Asia gambling locale : MACAO
6
Loses strength : WILTS
11
Grocery chain inits. : IGA
14
Start of a dieter's brag : ILOST
15
Like krypton : INERT
16
Down for the count, for short : KOD
17
Deputy marshal at 62-Across : DOCHOLLIDAY
19
Close down : END
20
Initial progress : TOEHOLD
21
Peyote : MESCAL
23
Track star with an apt name : BOLT
25
Healing lotion : SALVE
26
Uneasy sensation : ANGST
31
Wishful place? : WELL
33
Potato chip brand : LAYS
34
Bring together again : REUNIFY
36
Cuisine heavy in rice and spices : CAJUN
38
Kind of republic : BANANA
39
Toy in a crib : RATTLE
42
See 60-Down : FROID
44
Detect : MAKEOUT
45
Be hot under the collar : BOIL
47
San ___, Italy : REMO
49
Banks of Chicago : ERNIE
50
Broadway backer : ANGEL
52
Punishment that might follow a summons : FINE
54
Earthy colors : OCHRES
56
Some fish bait : MINNOWS
61
Club for swingers : BAT
62
See 28-Down ... or a punny description of this puzzle's circled answers? : THEOKCORRAL
65
In the mode of : ALA
66
Silly sorts : GEESE
67
It may be stolen on a movie set : SCENE
68
Crunchy lunch order : BLT
69
Schindler of "Schindler's List" : OSKAR
70
Pends : HANGS
Down
1
Prefix with summer : MID
2
Gazillions : ALOT
3
Designer Chanel : COCO
4
Queens's ___ Stadium : ASHE
5
However, in a tweet : OTOH
6
Tall and supple : WILLOWY
7
Out of gear : INIDLE
8
Commanded : LED
9
Disneyland transport : TRAM
10
Ocular woes : STYES
11
Outlaw at 62-Across : IKECLANTON
12
Cheer before "Beat Army!" : GONAVY
13
Confuses : ADDLES
18
Court setup? : LOB
22
Private, often : SALUTER
24
"Everyone needs a little ___" (cable channel slogan) : TLC
26
Wall St. trader : ARB
27
Grant-making grp. : NEA
28
With 62-Across, renowned 1881 event that lasted about 30 seconds : GUNFIGHTAT
29
Angry boxer, e.g. : SNARLER
30
Baseball's Martinez : TINO
32
Logan of "60 Minutes" : LARA
35
Expo : FAIR
37
Actor Gyllenhaal : JAKE
40
Him, to Henri : LUI
41
Saison sur la Seine : ETE
43
Cool, in dated slang : DEF
44
Handle : MONIKER
45
Thick-trunked tree : BAOBAB
46
Ready at any time : ONCALL
48
Cocktail at brunch : MIMOSA
51
Set loose : LETGO
53
Bottom-of-letter abbr. : ENC
55
"___ Funny That Way" (classic song) : SHES
57
Nibble (on) : NOSH
58
Sea predator : ORCA
59
State bird of Arizona or South Carolina : WREN
60
With 42-Across, coolness of mind : SANG
63
Cartoon cry : EEK
64
Guitarist Paul : LES

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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