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New York Times, Monday, October 24, 2016

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2110/9/20122/8/20195
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1322463
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes:
When this idea popped into my mind, I was happy to discover four or five reasonable competing explanations for the etymology of ... read more

When this idea popped into my mind, I was happy to discover four or five reasonable competing explanations for the etymology of Newport News, only one of which has anything to do with "news." So, fingers crossed that this first theme entry uses its base phrase in a different sense than the theme, consistent with the other three.

With that, I just needed an 11-letter revealer that did not itself contain the word "news." Which was harder than it sounds. I hope MORNING SHOW rings true.

I had a 74-word version of this puzzle that opened up the middle top and bottom with LAWNCARE and TELEPORT. But it required two ugly compromises in the fill (such as RETUSE at 49-across). As much as I would have liked to include two more snazzy long downs, I try to keep in mind Jeff's admonition about Monday puzzles and new solvers, and so I decided to focus on clean fill.

Jeff Chen notes:
Wait. Someone actually listened to me? I liked this one a lot. Simple theme — NEWS, TRAFFIC, WEATHER, SPORTS the typical ... read more

Wait. Someone actually listened to me?

I liked this one a lot. Simple theme — NEWS, TRAFFIC, WEATHER, SPORTS the typical parts of a MORNING SHOW — yet I didn't know what was going on until close to the end. On Mondays, I often play a little game, trying to guess as quickly as possibly what the theme is, and I enjoy when I don't immediately figure it out (as long as I actually do figure it out at some point!).

Beautiful northeast corner. Absolutely loved the AL GORE RHYTHM (oh right, ALGORITHM) / TOP SECRET pairing, along with just a TRI / EMTS as very, very minor prices to pay. That "parallel down" structure is so hard to do, so pulling off two great long entries with virtually no crossword glue is dynamite.

Some other bonuses in JET LAG, IN A SECOND, even a SMOKER standing outside a building. Very nice to get these extras, when John already had a toughish task incorporating five longish theme answers.

You have no idea how relieved I was when read John's note about a 74-word layout including RETUSE. I already struggled with ENVOI and HESS crossing BIER (clued as the funeral stand, not the German word for beer).

Why is ENVOI problematic for me in a Monday puzzle? I think of my experience when starting crosswords, and also draw from friends' initial impressions of crosswords. Most anything is fair game when the crosses are easily gettable (the beauty of crosswords!) but shortish entries that smell of "weird word you might never see outside of crosswords in your entire life" tend to leave a bad impression.

Now, I like learning a thing or two. I didn't know what a GOAT RODEO was outside of crosswords, but what a cool term! ENVOI is something I can plunk in now without any letters because I do a lot of crosswords, but it gives me more of a sense of something that crossword constructors rely on, rather than giving solvers much pleasure.

But overall, nice start to the week.

1
C
2
U
3
S
4
P
5
S
6
J
7
A
8
I
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L
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A
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T
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M
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A
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16
L
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U
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N
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W
P
O
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R
T
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S
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G
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K
A
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J
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N
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A
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C
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A
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D
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U
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H
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W
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A
40
T
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M
A
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B
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P
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O
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O
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D
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1024 ( 24,457 )
Across
1
Molars usually have four of these : CUSPS
6
Prisons : JAILS
11
Place to enter a PIN : ATM
14
First-stringers : ATEAM
15
Final stanza of a ballad : ENVOI
16
Musician Reed : LOU
17
Virginia city known for its shipbuilding : NEWPORTNEWS
19
Dashboard-mounted gadget, for short : GPS
20
Mine cart contents : ORE
21
Cabbagelike vegetable : KALE
22
San ___ (Silicon Valley city) : JOSE
23
Manuel ___, former dictator of Panama : NORIEGA
25
Presided over, as a meeting : CHAIRED
28
Flow of narcotics : DRUGTRAFFIC
30
Money in Yemen : RIAL
33
Lash mark : WELT
34
Prefix with -ceratops : TRI
36
Not feeling so hot : UNDERTHEWEATHER
41
China's ___ Zedong : MAO
42
Coffin stand : BIER
43
CPR experts : EMTS
44
Killjoys : SPOILSPORTS
49
Really dislikes : DETESTS
50
Shoe material : LEATHER
54
Anything below 7 on the pH scale : ACID
55
Norse god of war : ODIN
56
"As I see it," in texts : IMO
57
Inhabitant of Kanga's pouch : ROO
58
Breakfast-time TV fare that usually includes the ends of 17-, 28-, 36- and 44-Across : MORNINGSHOW
62
Anderson Cooper's channel : CNN
63
Best of the best : ELITE
64
Speak grandiloquently : ORATE
65
Gridiron gains: Abbr. : YDS
66
Kids' building toys : LEGOS
67
Having eaten enough : SATED
Down
1
Maker of the EOS and PowerShot cameras : CANON
2
In ___ (unborn) : UTERO
3
Waste conduit : SEWER
4
Drivel : PAP
5
One often seen standing just outside a building's entrance : SMOKER
6
Problem after a trans-Atlantic flight : JETLAG
7
Actress Hathaway : ANNE
8
"___ Gotta Be Me" (Sammy Davis Jr. song) : IVE
9
Gentle heat setting : LOW
10
Bro's sibling : SIS
11
Procedure for solving a mathematical problem : ALGORITHM
12
Highly classified : TOPSECRET
13
Ruminated (on) : MUSED
18
Italian-style sauce brand : RAGU
22
Skippy rival : JIF
24
"___ hands are the devil's playthings" : IDLE
25
All hands on deck : CREW
26
Physically fit : HALE
27
Old Spice alternative : AFTA
29
Pipsqueak : TWERP
30
___ and Coke : RUM
31
"Be there soon" : INASECOND
32
Humane Society successes : ADOPTIONS
35
Recipient of many checks dated Apr. 15 : IRS
37
Stats for sluggers : RBIS
38
Feature of the earth's axis that causes the seasons : TILT
39
Gas company selling toy trucks : HESS
40
Trial run : TEST
45
British ref. work : OED
46
Music from the '50s or '60s, say : OLDIES
47
Bridle strap : REIN
48
Argentine dances : TANGOS
49
Mr. ___ of "Pride and Prejudice" : DARCY
51
Pair of cymbals operated by a foot pedal : HIHAT
52
Overact : EMOTE
53
Used oars : ROWED
55
Aware of : ONTO
58
Gibson who directed "The Passion of the Christ" : MEL
59
Cheer for a torero : OLE
60
Oil-drilling apparatus : RIG
61
Spanish Mrs. : SRA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?