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New York Times, Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Author:
Sam Buchbinder
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
48/19/201410/4/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0130000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62020
Sam Buchbinder

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQVZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Buchbinder. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Buchbinder notes:
The idea for the puzzle stemmed from hearing the phrase 'Knuckle Sandwich' (and realizing it was 15 letters...), and I began thinking ... read more

The idea for the puzzle stemmed from hearing the phrase "Knuckle Sandwich" (and realizing it was 15 letters...), and I began thinking about other phrases which included food, but in a non-food context. Since that was too broad of a category, I realized that when I think of sandwiches — as a teacher — I think of school lunch. Thinking about school lunch, got me to the memory of lunch boxes, which I think is a fond memory for many people. So, I hope that this puzzle brings solvers a little smile as they go down memory lane.

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm getting hungry, with a DRINK, CHIPS, SANDWICH, and COOKIE neatly hidden in the grid. Sam did a great job of choosing themers that ... read more

I'm getting hungry, with a DRINK, CHIPS, SANDWICH, and COOKIE neatly hidden in the grid. Sam did a great job of choosing themers that camouflaged what was going on — I particularly liked kicking things off with IN THE DRINK (slang for "overboard"). By the time I hit SMART COOKIE, I knew the theme, but I liked how the puzzle was able to hide its hand until near the end.

I did hitch a little at LUNCHBOXES, though. I wondered at first if it was necessary. Then I tried to imagine how a drink might fit into a lunchbox. Are those little metal boxes big enough to fit cans? Took me a while to remember that kids usually take along … juice boxes? Juice pouches? I wondered if LUNCH would have been a better revealer, if one was necessary.

A lot of fun material in the grid, TACO TRUCKS a favorite lunch destination for me. SNOPES gave the puzzle a fresh feel too, and YOSHI pushed the vibe even younger. I feel for the older generation who might have a rough go with the YOSHI / SNOPES / DYNE intersections, though. The DYNE is a legit unit of force, hinted at in the word "dynamometer" (device to measure engine output), but it's still a toughie.

Curious choice, Sam picking PITCHES WOO for his puzzle. Since Sam's a young guy, I wondered if this term is making a comeback? Sort of an ironic usage among the Gen Y crowd?

I'm rooting for GENO Smith of the Jets to become a Hall-of-Famer. Right now he's riding the bench behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he has so much potential to become a crossword staple, with his beautifully alternating consonant-vowel pattern. I can't upgrade him on the XWord Info Word List quite yet, unfortunately.

Fun idea with great themers hiding what was going on. If the reveal had been punchier somehow, this would have been in POW! contention.

1
O
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B
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A
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M
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A
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C
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A
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T
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T
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P
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H
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D
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P
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W
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1004 ( 24,437 )

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Across
1
President who ended "don't ask, don't tell" : OBAMA
6
Women's suffrage leader Carrie Chapman ___ : CATT
10
Swanky : POSH
14
Fortuneteller's deck : TAROT
15
"Famous" snack maker : AMOS
16
Teeny : ITTY
17
Overboard, to a sailor : INTHEDRINK
19
Maryland athlete, for short : TERP
20
Talk back to : SASS
21
Actress Skye of "Say Anything ..." : IONE
22
Jazz vocalist Carmen ___ : MCRAE
23
Data storage devices : MEMORYCHIPS
25
"Let me take care of that" : IGOTIT
29
Function : USE
30
Kathmandu's land : NEPAL
31
Chicken of the Sea product : TUNA
34
___ team (police unit) : SWAT
38
Punch in the mouth, slangily : KNUCKLESANDWICH
41
Neither good nor bad : SOSO
42
To whom God said "For dust you are and to dust you will return" : ADAM
43
Nintendo character who hatches from an egg : YOSHI
44
Prefix with athlete : TRI
46
Website that investigates urban legends : SNOPES
47
Bright sort : SMARTCOOKIE
53
International court site, with "The" : HAGUE
54
Jagged cliff : CRAG
55
___ fide : BONA
59
With 2-Down, star of 2003's "Hulk" : ERIC
60
Backpack containers where you can find the ends of 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-Across : LUNCHBOXES
62
No-longer-fashionable fur : MINK
63
Common ingredient in lotions : ALOE
64
Dance move added to the O.E.D. in 2015 : TWERK
65
Things to hang coats on : PEGS
66
"What a ___!" ("Too bad!") : PITY
67
Meanders : WENDS
Down
1
Soul singer Redding : OTIS
2
See 59-Across : BANA
3
The "A" of B.A. : ARTS
4
___ scale (measure of hardness) : MOHS
5
Had dinner : ATE
6
Rebound on a pool table : CAROM
7
___ acid (protein builder) : AMINO
8
Photocopier powder : TONER
9
"Naughty!" : TSK
10
Is a romancer, old-style : PITCHESWOO
11
Former "S.N.L." comic Cheri, whose last name rhymes with her first : OTERI
12
Bridle rein, e.g. : STRAP
13
Promotes, with "up" : HYPES
18
Weight-loss program : DIET
22
Show hosts, in brief : MCS
23
Skim or 2% : MILK
24
Chinese money : YUAN
25
Signs, as a contract : INKS
26
Jets quarterback Smith : GENO
27
Grand work : OPUS
28
Street vendors selling Mexican food : TACOTRUCKS
31
Senator Cruz : TED
32
Made in ___ : USA
33
Place of service for John McCain, briefly : NAM
35
Bit of smoke : WISP
36
Aftereffect from working out : ACHE
37
"___ ends here!" (fighting words) : THIS
39
Of the flock : LAIC
40
Unit of force : DYNE
45
GPS calculation: Abbr. : RTE
46
[Ah, me] : SIGH
47
Oldest of the Three Stooges : SHEMP
48
___ Antoinette : MARIE
49
Getting into a gray area? : AGING
50
Eyes: Lat. : OCULI
51
Words after "like it" and "ready" : ORNOT
52
Singer Musgraves who won a 2013 Grammy for Best Country Album : KACEY
55
Heavyweight champ Riddick : BOWE
56
Headstrong animals : OXEN
57
Do 10 crosswords in a row, say, with "out" : NERD
58
Questions : ASKS
60
Once around the track : LAP
61
"Oh, before I forget ...," in a text : BTW

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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