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New York Times, Thursday, October 5, 2017

Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Editor: Will Shortz
Alan Arbesfeld
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1188/27/198110/5/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
25523342515
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.605099

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 118 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Four 'uplifting remakes,' movies with 'average' modifiers upgraded into 'outstanding.' 'Ordinary People' to SPECIAL PEOPLE, 'The Kids ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Four "uplifting remakes," movies with "average" modifiers upgraded into "outstanding." "Ordinary People" to SPECIAL PEOPLE, "The Kids are All Right" to THE KIDS ARE SUPER, etc.

Not sure why this runs on a Thursday. Will has said that all he's aiming for in a Thursday puzzle is ... something harder than a Wednesday. Sure, going down to 72 words made for a tougher solve. But there was no tricksiness to the theme, and it didn't provide me with much of an a-ha moment to warrant the extra work in solving clues made Thursday-tough.

I did enjoy the bizarre "Madly for ADLAI." (Not hard to see why he didn't get elected!)

I didn't enjoy all the crossword glue. For a four-theme puzzle, there shouldn't ever be more than four or five dabs. With ADLAI, AMEBA (variant spelling of AMOEBA), ATTN, ERNO, LTDS, POS, SHEB, etc., it felt unpolished. I can at least understand that if there's enough great fill to balance it out, but I CANT WAIT and MGM LION weren't enough for me to consider it a reasonable trade-off.

My guess is that Alan decided to make it a tougher solve by going down to 72 words, and Will thought this would help him fill out his Thursday slots, which tend to get fewer submissions than most other days of the week. Sometimes the realities of supply and demand are difficult.

I would have much preferred a clean 76- or 78-word grid with four great pieces of bonus fill, run on a Wednesday. Even though the theme didn't tickle me personally, at least I could have enjoyed the grid more that way.

1
W
2
H
3
I
4
P
5
A
6
D
7
L
8
A
9
I
10
B
11
E
12
A
13
N
14
I
O
N
A
15
F
E
I
G
N
16
A
N
N
A
17
T
O
R
N
18
R
A
M
E
N
19
L
T
D
S
20
S
P
E
C
21
I
A
L
P
E
O
22
P
L
E
23
A
L
I
24
C
O
O
R
25
S
26
T
27
H
28
E
K
I
D
29
S
30
A
31
R
E
S
U
P
E
32
R
33
R
E
N
E
E
34
T
M
A
N
35
R
U
E
36
A
R
G
37
D
38
I
R
E
C
T
39
V
40
I
R
E
41
L
E
A
42
C
U
B
E
43
I
44
M
S
A
D
45
A
S
G
46
R
47
E
A
T
A
S
48
I
T
G
E
T
S
49
Y
E
A
R
N
50
N
A
M
51
M
Y
A
W
52
E
53
S
54
O
M
E
L
55
A
56
D
57
Y
58
S
59
H
E
B
60
A
R
O
M
A
61
I
L
I
E
62
K
O
N
A
63
I
N
U
I
T
64
O
P
E
N
65
A
T
T
N
66
T
O
R
T
E
67
N
O
D
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1005 ( 24,803 )
Across Down
1. Blender button : WHIP
5. "Madly for ___" (1952 campaign slogan) : ADLAI
10. Think piece? : BEAN
14. The Gaels of the N.C.A.A. : IONA
15. Pretend : FEIGN
16. Emmy winner Gunn of "Breaking Bad" : ANNA
17. Having trouble deciding : TORN
18. Noodle dish : RAMEN
19. Bygone Fords : LTDS
20. Uplifting remake of a 1980 Donald Sutherland/Mary Tyler Moore film? : SPECIALPEOPLE
23. Foreman foe : ALI
24. Bud rival : COORS
26. Uplifting remake of a 2010 Annette Bening/Julianne Moore film? : THEKIDSARESUPER
33. "Walk Away ___" (1966 top 10 hit) : RENEE
34. Prohibition enforcer, informally : TMAN
35. Have second thoughts about : RUE
36. Birthplace of the tango: Abbr. : ARG
37. Big name in dishes : DIRECTV
40. Spleen : IRE
41. Bucolic setting : LEA
42. Mecca's holy Kaaba, e.g. : CUBE
43. :-( : IMSAD
45. Uplifting remake of a 1997 Jack Nicholson/Helen Hunt film? : ASGREATASITGETS
49. Long : YEARN
50. Subject of a 10-part 2017 Ken Burns documentary on PBS, for short : NAM
51. Uplifting remake of a 1964 Audrey Hepburn/Rex Harrison film? : MYAWESOMELADY
58. Wooley with the 1958 #1 hit "The Purple People Eater" : SHEB
60. Bakery draw : AROMA
61. Nastase of tennis fame : ILIE
62. Big Island coffee : KONA
63. Indigenous Canadian : INUIT
64. Store sign : OPEN
65. Envelope abbr. : ATTN
66. Rich dessert : TORTE
67. "Even Homer ___" (old saying) : NODS
1. Mental acuity : WITS
2. Free throw target : HOOP
3. About : INRE
4. Flatten : PANCAKE
5. Lily-livered : AFRAID
6. "You're on!" : DEAL
7. Like thoroughly cooked pasta : LIMP
8. Jon who wrote and illustrated "Palindromania!" : AGEE
9. Naïf : INNOCENT
10. Cat played by Jane Fonda : BALLOU
11. Fictional ship on a five-year mission : ENTERPRISE
12. "What happened next?" : AND
13. "Hip Hop Is Dead" rapper : NAS
21. Lead-in to "So sue me" : ILIED
22. > 0: Abbr. : POS
25. Artist who went dotty? : SEURAT
26. Carefree syllables : TRALA
27. Inquisition infraction : HERESY
28. Gig : ENGAGEMENT
29. Move like Jagger : STRUT
30. Slide presentation? : AMEBA
31. Beats quickly, in a way : RACES
32. Oboes and such : REEDS
38. "No rush" : ICANWAIT
39. Curriculum ___ : VITAE
44. Iconic movie studio symbol : MGMLION
46. Popular shades brand : RAYBAN
47. A good one is under 3.00, for short : ERA
48. Con : INMATE
52. Puzzlemaker Rubik : ERNO
53. Whiskey drink : SOUR
54. Drop : OMIT
55. Purina One alternative : ALPO
56. Stopped working : DIED
57. Longings : YENS
58. Reggae forerunner : SKA
59. Flying off the shelves : HOT

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?