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HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

New York Times, Sunday, October 25, 2015

Author:
Bill Zais
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1512/1/199910/25/20155
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
10022100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64240
Bill Zais

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 67 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Zais. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Fun Halloween theme, famous people 'in costume.' I dug the image of BUSTER KEATON in his porkpie hat … and proton pack! Also amusing to visualize Wolf Blitzer doing the 'Werewolf ... read more

Fun Halloween theme, famous people "in costume." I dug the image of BUSTER KEATON in his porkpie hat … and proton pack! Also amusing to visualize Wolf Blitzer doing the "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah." EYE OF NEWT GINGRICH stuck out a little since it was the only themer with two words appended to the person, but it was a funny enough answer that I didn't mind. Six solid themers.

Into the containment unit with you, GHOSTBUSTER KEATON!

Bill's long fill worked well for me, too. I tend to get a little bored doing a 21x21 puzzle, so uncovering juicy fill is a real treat. LAST TO LEAVE was really fun — so amusing to think about that last clueless guy who doesn't know he's supposed to git. LAID AN EGG, SALT MINE, GOOD GAME, even CERTITUDE are all colorful entries. It's not often that we get so much good long fill in a Sunday puzzle.

As with most anything good, there is a price to pay. I hitched several times when solving Bill's mid-length stuff. I did like looking up COZENER, PITMEN, and TINHORN, but I scratched my head at these during the solve. A little cocking of one's head in confusion is fine, but it can easily get to be too much for me.

And the short fill — if you choose to include a lot of long entries, it often comes at the price of a lot of super-short stuff. The usual minor gluey bits like ETE and ESTA and TO A are negligible. Adding UP TO right over TO A, the awkward plural LOLAS, ILL GOT(TEN?), and the hard-for-me-to-process CMD (command) crossing GUCK (not GUNK?), the ancient Hebrew measure HIN …

Generally, you need some minor gluey bits to hold a 140-word Sunday puzzle together. I personally find it's best when you stick to the lesser offenders and steer clear away from the Maleskan-era ones.

A very fun Halloween theme, with some hiccups in execution. Going up to 142 words, or breaking up some of those nice long pieces of fill, would have been a better trade-off for me.

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V
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G
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G
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D
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L
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H
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B
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L
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L
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I
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1025 ( 24,092 )
Across
1
Church leaders : VICARS
7
Torn asunder : INPIECES
15
In sufficient quantity : AMPLY
20
Collier's transport : ORECAR
21
Fact addition : FOOTNOTE
22
"Truly" : NOLIE
23
Halloween costume for ... a CNN anchor? : WEREWOLFBLITZER
25
Net results? : GOALS
26
Three times daily, in Rx's : TID
27
Yiddish cries : OYS
28
Scand. country : SWE
29
Bank abbr. : APR
31
Side dish that's sometimes mashed : YAM
32
"Do we have approval?" : ISITAGO
35
Misdeed : SIN
36
Is a buttinsky : PRIES
38
7-5, e.g. : SET
39
... a former "Dateline" host? : TOMBSTONEPHILLIPS
46
No one says his art was pointless : SEURAT
48
Head, for short : LAV
49
"Lord, We Ask Thee ___ We Part" (hymn) : ERE
50
Turbaned sort : MYSTIC
51
Beehive hairstyle, e.g. : UPDO
52
Brewer Coors : ADOLPH
55
Info for an airport run : ETA
57
"Cómo ___ usted?" : ESTA
58
... a onetime House speaker? : EYEOFNEWTGINGRICH
63
Fender product : AMP
64
Winter Olympics event : SLALOM
65
Who said "In waking a tiger, use a long stick" : MAO
66
Eastern sch. with a noted film program : NYU
67
Tuition, e.g. : FEE
68
Longtime Chicago Symphony conductor : SOLTI
71
One of three for J. R. R. Tolkien: Abbr. : INIT
73
"Tush!" : POOH
75
Aspects : MIENS
77
___ fault : TOA
78
Goose egg : NIL
80
Sports org. with 25-Across : NHL
82
Resembles week-old flowers, say : DROOPS
84
Hotel capacity: Abbr. : RMS
85
... an old Notre Dame basketball coach? : GRAVEDIGGERPHELPS
91
Doing : UPTO
93
Cry of surprise : OHO
94
Like the expression "Sakes alive!" : QUAINT
95
Execute perfectly : NAIL
96
Eponym of a hot dog chain : NATHAN
98
Letters before many a state's name : USS
101
Mil. authority : CMD
102
First-aid supply : IODINE
104
... a silent film star? : GHOSTBUSTERKEATON
108
It never goes off : DUD
109
Singer Falana and others : LOLAS
110
___ mission : ONA
111
Snares : ENTRAPS
113
Caviar : ROE
115
The George W. Bush years, e.g. : ERA
116
Stimpy's TV pal : REN
117
Be unsatisfied with, say : RUE
119
Ancient Hebrew liquid measure : HIN
120
Insouciant syllables : TRALA
122
... a pop/folk singer with numerous 1970s hits? : BLACKCATSTEVENS
128
Gutter locales : EAVES
129
Majority : LEGALAGE
130
"Time heals all wounds" and others : ADAGES
131
Forecast that might call for gloves and galoshes : SLEET
132
Tied : EVENEDUP
133
Like a pirate's treasure : ILLGOT
Down
1
One of two at a wedding : VOW
2
Wrath : IRE
3
You can't predict the weather with this : CERTITUDE
4
Do really well on a test : ACEIT
5
Spreadsheet input : RAWDATA
6
Theater sign : SRO
7
Doubtful : IFFY
8
Cribbage one-pointers : NOBS
9
One running races for a living? : POL
10
"True" : ITISSO
11
Lace : ENTWINE
12
Con man : COZENER
13
When the French toast? : ETE
14
Figure above God's throne, in Isaiah : SERAPH
15
How a phone may be slammed down : ANGRILY
16
___ juice (milk) : MOO
17
Doesn't take any chances : PLAYSITSAFE
18
Actress Kedrova who won an Oscar for "Zorba the Greek" : LILA
19
Polite rural reply : YESM
24
Impend : LOOM
30
Position of greatest importance : PRIMACY
32
Children, in legalese : ISSUE
33
Like ooze : SEEPY
34
Scored between 90 and 100, say : GOTANA
37
Besides : ELSE
40
Cool, as soup : BLOWON
41
Hard labor spot : SALTMINE
42
Common sitcom rating : TVPG
43
Equal : PEER
44
Coal extractors : PITMEN
45
Vistas : SCAPES
47
Sleep on it : ROOST
53
Noted remover of locks : DELILAH
54
"Run to ___" (1961 hit) : HIM
56
Petty braggart : TINHORN
59
Summer romance, maybe : FLING
60
Carpet fuzz : NAP
61
Comment made with a handshake : GOODGAME
62
"Be that way!" : HUMPH
68
Like Christmas lights : STRUNG
69
Tuba sound : OOMPAH
70
Party straggler : LASTTOLEAVE
72
Religious deg. : THD
74
Tater Tots maker : OREIDA
76
"Where should ___ the check?" : ISEND
79
Cell part : IRONBAR
81
Water, e.g.: Abbr. : LIQ
83
"Trick" or "treat," e.g. : OPTION
86
The "V" of R.S.V.P. : VOUS
87
Slimy stuff : GUCK
88
Flopped : LAIDANEGG
89
Maxim tear-out : PINUP
90
Winter Olympics equipment : SLEDS
92
Too, too : OHSO
97
Start of a rationalization : ATLEAST
99
Attic function : STORAGE
100
Like some Roman aphorisms : SENECAN
103
Out of action, in baseball lingo : ONTHEDL
105
Functional : USABLE
106
Really get to : RANKLE
107
Tic-tac-toe starters? : TEES
112
Coke, to Pepsi : RIVAL
113
Hwys. : RTES
114
Mouthy? : ORAL
117
Sauce brand since 1937 : RAGU
118
Conference USA sch. : UTEP
121
Actor Marvin : LEE
123
Book after Exodus: Abbr. : LEV
124
Guy whose face might get slapped : CAD
125
Mai ___ : TAI
126
Gamer's prefix with pets : NEO
127
Retired boomer : SST

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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