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New York Times, Monday, October 26, 2015

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
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1.58042
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QV} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
I live in San Diego, but I've always felt that San Francisco is the most interesting city west of the Mississippi. I wouldn't call myself a ... read more

I live in San Diego, but I've always felt that San Francisco is the most interesting city west of the Mississippi. I wouldn't call myself a liberal but you have to be impressed with San Francisco's role in the hippie counterculture, the sexual revolution, the anti-Vietnam-war peace movement, and the gay rights movement. It was certainly fortuitous that CITY BY THE BAY exactly matches SAN FRANCISCO, and the two biggest tourist attractions match also.

I knew the puzzle had to have the bridge, so I worked out a suspension to the 15x16 size. I spent quite a bit of time trying to design some grid art that looked like a bridge, but that proved to be more difficult than dogs, fish, and birds. I considered trying to work Haight-Ashbury in there somewhere, but my heart wasn't in it.

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
SAN FRANCISCO honored today, the CITY BY THE BAY near where I grew up. Nice to see additional theme around iconic SF CABLE CARs, ALCATRAZ, and ... read more

SAN FRANCISCO honored today, the CITY BY THE BAY near where I grew up. Nice to see additional theme around iconic SF CABLE CARs, ALCATRAZ, and the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. Not sure what this puzzle commemorates, considering SF was founded on June 29, 1776. Hooray for ... its 239th anniversary?

The GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

I like Bruce's execution. In some of his earlier work I've seen more gluey fill than I care for, so it was great to run through the solve so smoothly. It's so tough to do this for a Monday puzzle, and even tougher when you have five themers.

The only hitch I had was around the south section, and that's understandable given the overlap of CABLE CAR over SAN FRANCISCO. That type of arrangement, especially leading into a southern section that's six letters wide, can be very tough to fill. So getting ORIG + SSW + ANS isn't too bad. Some may complain about COATI, but I like seeing non-North American animals, when the crossings are all fair. Learn something, people!

Pretty good longer fill, too. POLAR BEARS and SUPERMODEL are nice choices, and even the mid-length YOU WIN, SITCOM, WIZENS are not too SHABBY. With a wider-than-usual puzzle at 16 columns, it's so important to keep the solver's attention, and all these extras did that for me.

So overall, a well-executed puzzle, but I sure would have liked some rationale, some important date in order to justify running a list-like tribute puzzle. Without that, I would have liked something more to push the envelope, especially given how much SF has going for it. With its huge variety of nicknames (Fog City, Frisco, The Paris of the West, etc.), its current significance as the center of the dot com explosion, even its incredible history with the Gold Rush, it's ripe for themes that think bigger.

I would have loved to see a bridge made out of black squares (if it actually looked like a bridge)! That would have called for more trade-offs, I imagine, maybe enough that it couldn't be a Monday puzzle, but I love that idea.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1026 ( 24,093 )
Across
1. "Everything" order on a hot dog, with "the" : WORKS
6. "Not too ___!" : SHABBY
12. Tool with teeth : SAW
15. "Farewell, mon ami" : ADIEU
16. "Va-va voom!" : OOLALA
17. Actress Thurman : UMA
18. Nickname of 67-Across : CITYBYTHEBAY
20. Buddy : PAL
21. Running by itself, as a machine : ONAUTO
22. The yoke's on them : OXEN
23. On its way : SENT
24. Drain stopper : PLUG
26. Island near 67-Across : ALCATRAZ
28. Get-up-and-go : PEP
31. Furry creature from Endor : EWOK
33. Traffic ___ (rush-hour nightmare) : JAM
34. Instrument whose name means "high wood" : OBOE
36. All thumbs : INEPT
39. Cheering loudly : AROAR
42. 67-Across landmark : GOLDENGATEBRIDGE
45. Studio sign : ONAIR
46. Professor of potions at Hogwarts : SNAPE
47. Spongy toy brand : NERF
48. You get one for a sac fly : RBI
49. Sail the seven ___ : SEAS
51. ___ Vegas : LAS
52. Conveyance in 67-Across : CABLECAR
57. Give off : EMIT
59. "Understood" : ISEE
60. Not a copy: Abbr. : ORIG
62. What to "take" in a Duke Ellington song : ATRAIN
66. Jamaican music genre : SKA
67. So-called "Paris of the West" : SANFRANCISCO
69. Junkyard dog : CUR
70. Lenin's successor : STALIN
71. Theater awards : OBIES
72. Special ___ (military unit) : OPS
73. Dries up and shrinks with age : WIZENS
74. Substantial, as an acting role : MEATY
Down
1. Texas home to Baylor University : WACO
2. Norse god of war : ODIN
3. Hayworth who danced with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly : RITA
4. Excite : KEYUP
5. Far from obvious : SUBTLE
6. Boozehound : SOT
7. Santa's favorite snack cake? : HOHO
8. Actress Vega of "Spy Kids" : ALEXA
9. Tower of ___ (site in Genesis) : BABEL
10. Mel ___, voice on Looney Tunes : BLANC
11. "Woo-hoo!" : YAY
12. One charging high runway fees? : SUPERMODEL
13. Big name in kitchen appliances : AMANA
14. "The Blue Danube," e.g. : WALTZ
19. "I concede" : YOUWIN
23. Lead the cast of : STARIN
25. Instruments hit with mallets : GONGS
27. Cracked just slightly : AJAR
28. "We have met the enemy and he is us" comic strip : POGO
29. Black, in poetry : EBON
30. White hunters on a white landscape : POLARBEARS
32. University in Union, N.J. : KEAN
35. Fit for consumption : EDIBLE
37. Grps. known for holding bake sales : PTAS
38. Home with an entrance flap : TEPEE
40. Taj Mahal locale : AGRA
41. Gridiron officials : REFS
43. New York's ___ Canal : ERIE
44. "Toughen up!" : BEAMAN
50. TV show often with a laugh track : SITCOM
52. "The ___ Kid" (long-running 1950s western) : CISCO
53. Invite from a balcony, say : ASKUP
54. Cousin of a raccoon : COATI
55. Desi who said "Lucy, you got some splainin' to do!" : ARNAZ
56. Winchester, e.g. : RIFLE
58. Nickname for baseball's Indians, with "the" : TRIBE
61. Smile : GRIN
63. Home of about 60% of the world's population : ASIA
64. Rapper/actor whose name sounds like a drink : ICET
65. Curious to a fault : NOSY
67. NNE's opposite : SSW
68. The "A" of Q&A: Abbr. : ANS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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