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New York Times, Monday, October 16, 2017

Author: Jennifer Nutt
Editor: Will Shortz
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54/17/200710/3/20181
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0311000
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1.59000
Jennifer Nutt

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Ms. Nutt. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jennifer Nutt notes: This puzzle was inspired by Paula Gamache's 3/8/17 crossword, which included the entry 'indoor cat.' I noticed the hidden 'orca' ... more
Jennifer Nutt notes:

This puzzle was inspired by Paula Gamache's 3/8/17 crossword, which included the entry "indoor cat." I noticed the hidden "orca" and started looking for other "orca" phrases. There aren't many, but it turns out that six (including five orcas plus the "killer whale" revealer) is enough for a small pod. And, luckily, both "radiator cap" and "killer whale" contain eleven letters.

Jeff Chen notes: I enjoy seeing how different constructors approach a similar idea, appreciating how the same seed of an idea sprouts into two ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I enjoy seeing how different constructors approach a similar idea, appreciating how the same seed of an idea sprouts into two different grids. I did this same concept for CrosSynergy back in 2015. It wasn't a surprise to me that Jennifer used mostly the same themers — I remember the search space not being very big, and only a select few phrases being snazzy, like LIQUOR CABINET.

I liked Jennifer's revealer, KILLER WHALE, better than my oblique one (a POD of orcas). I used POD because I wanted to prioritize smooth and colorful fill rather than pack in too many themers, at the risk of straining the grid. But KILLER WHALE is a more direct revealer, making the concept very apparent, a good thing in general for newer Monday solvers.

Jennifer packed in a whole lot more themers than me, and still managed to make the grid colorful. MS DEGREE, CODEWORDS, RACETRACK crossing DERBY — that's a lot of great bonuses, especially considering that it's hard to work in ANY bonuses when you have six themers to work around.

She did have to pay some prices, though. The top of the grid was so smooth, but then I hit NGO (non-governmental organization). I've wondered if educated solvers should be expected to know this? And then the bottom of the grid suffered more, with ALEE, AGUE, and BIER.

These weren't surprising to me — look how many answers have to work through that white space between LIQUOR CABINET and KILLER WHALE, after all. But BIER or AGUE alone might be a turn-off for some newer solvers, reinforcing the idea that you need to know weird trivia to do crosswords.

All in all, I liked Jennifer's execution. I think I would have given it the POW! if those pesky gluey bits had been cleaned up, even if that came at the price of one of the themers, or some of the juicy bonus entries. I know I'm awfully tough on Monday crosswords, but it's so important for them to be welcoming to newer solvers.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1016 ( 24,814 )
Across Down
1. Fancy neckwear : ASCOT
6. "Zip your lip!" : HUSH
10. Something that might be said with fingers crossed behind the back : FIB
13. Classroom item that spins : GLOBE
14. Kind of diet replicating that of early humans : PALEO
15. Wedding vow : IDO
16. It must be removed before pouring coolant into an engine : RADIATORCAP
18. Writer Tolstoy : LEO
19. Bedazzle : AWE
20. Lower's opposite : UPPER
21. Unkind : MEAN
22. Elizabeth II's home outside London : WINDSORCASTLE
26. Hand drum : BONGO
27. Secreted : HID
28. Quaint train amenity : PARLORCAR
32. Churchill Downs event : DERBY
36. Ye ___ Shoppe : OLDE
37. Less outgoing : SHYER
39. Big wind : GALE
40. Documents shown at border checkpoints : VISAS
42. Feline that doesn't stray : INDOORCAT
44. Test for seekers of a 21-Down, for short : GRE
46. Sugary : SWEET
47. Where rum and rye may be stored : LIQUORCABINET
53. Feverish chills : AGUE
54. Nerve : MOXIE
55. Fink : RAT
58. ___-de-France : ILE
59. Creature found "swimming" in 16-, 22-, 28-, 42- and 47-Across : KILLERWHALE
62. ___ v. Wade : ROE
63. Maze marking next to an arrow : ENTER
64. Show host : EMCEE
65. ___ of a gun : SON
66. Famed loch : NESS
67. Penguin or T. rex in the modern version of Monopoly : TOKEN
1. Taj Mahal city : AGRA
2. BBQ side dish : SLAW
3. Substitute terms for sensitive subjects : CODEWORDS
4. Kimono tie : OBI
5. Afternoon repast : TEA
6. Marx brother who never spoke : HARPO
7. Stomach trouble : ULCER
8. Google.com function : SEARCH
9. Partner of skip and jump : HOP
10. Serving of sole : FILET
11. Like a five-star Yelp review : IDEAL
12. Frontiersman Daniel : BOONE
14. Bursts, as a balloon : POPS
17. Elizabeth I was the last of them : TUDORS
21. Common grad sch. credential : MSDEGREE
23. Joined (with) : INLEAGUE
24. Doctors Without Borders, e.g., in brief : NGO
25. What Doctors Without Borders provides : AID
26. "___ Ha'i" ("South Pacific" song) : BALI
28. Long-running PBS film series : POV
29. Home of the Cubs, for short : CHI
30. Firebrand Rand : AYN
31. Color in sunsets : RED
33. Churchill Downs, e.g. : RACETRACK
34. Trombone honk, e.g. : BLAT
35. "Are we there ___?" : YET
38. More optimistic : ROSIER
41. Sold-out box-office sign : SRO
43. The "O" of B.Y.O.B. : OWN
45. Valuable white fur : ERMINE
47. Bears' retreats : LAIRS
48. Probably not a summer home : IGLOO
49. "Bohemian Rhapsody" band : QUEEN
50. Indianapolis team : COLTS
51. Highway tolls may be based on the number of them : AXLES
52. Casket stand : BIER
56. Away from the wind : ALEE
57. One under 20 : TEEN
59. Documentarian Burns : KEN
60. Sopping ___ : WET
61. Wellness grp. : HMO

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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