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HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

New York Times, Sunday, October 25, 2015

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

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 Bar Mitzvah.' EYE OF NEWT ... more
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 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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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1025 ( 24,092 )
Across Down
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
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, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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