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New York Times, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Author: David J. Kahn
Editor: Will Shortz
David J. Kahn
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1743/15/199410/11/20175
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4351122551226
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5513180

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 )
Across Down
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
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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