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New York Times, Monday, October 6, 2014

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
213/28/20115/11/20190
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02320113
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 6 for Ms. Weintraub. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
This puzzle delighted me. Many of you know my idiot-level knowledge of pop music, so I confess I was a bit skeptical when I uncovered ... read more

This puzzle delighted me. Many of you know my idiot-level knowledge of pop music, so I confess I was a bit skeptical when I uncovered LYIN' EYES. Luckily, I knew SINGIN' IN THE RAIN from playing trombone in the pit orchestra of my high school production, and who doesn't know PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ? What pulled it all together for me though, was thinking about MISSING parsed as MISSIN' G. Such a fun moment.

Additionally, Robyn goes the extra mile and reduces her word count to 74. The NE and SW corners add so much meat to the puzzle, with those juicy parallel 9's. Normally I prefer multiple-word colorful phrases, but HERCULEAN pops, and organic CHEMISTRY was one of my favorite subjects in school. Tack on a smile-inducing clue for the latter and I APPLAUDED. (Way to trigger subliminal feelings of appreciation, Robyn!). Great use of cheater squares in the two corners to help smooth out those corners, really just an MCI as a ding.

The one section I was plus/minus on was the north, with Cheri OTERI and ESSEN. I'm perfectly fine with OTERI as an answer; I just wish she were more NYT-worthy. Her friendly alternation of vowel-consonant makes her much more crossword-friendly than her co-SNL-alum Kristen WIIG, who I think has earned it much more so than OTERI.

And ESSEN is definitely a place, but I wish it were historically or culturally more important for all the xw-exposure it gets. Those E's and S's make it crossword gold, but I remember the first time I uncovered it, wondering what other esoteric geography I'd have to know. I'm of the opinion that once a term crosses the threshold of NYT-worthiness, I don't much care how often it gets used (I'm perfectly fine with ONO any time I see it). Before then, I prefer it to be used sparingly. It's unfortunate that the ??E?I pattern at 6-D is so constraining — I might have moved a block around to avoid that pattern.

That's pretty nit-picky stuff though. Overall, this is the type of puzzle I like to show newbies; pointing out 1.) the specific, tight, clever theme and 2.) how doable it is. Really well done.

1
B
2
S
3
A
4
O
5
B
6
O
7
E
8
I
9
S
10
A
11
A
12
C
13
O
A
S
14
N
E
T
S
15
M
O
R
P
H
16
S
17
L
Y
I
18
N
E
Y
E
S
19
P
R
O
P
E
L
20
T
H
A
I
21
O
R
E
22
S
23
B
A
L
M
Y
24
S
I
N
G
25
I
N
I
N
T
26
H
E
R
A
I
N
27
E
T
D
28
R
O
T
29
U
S
E
30
H
31
E
R
E
32
A
33
P
A
R
34
D
T
S
35
R
E
X
36
M
37
I
S
S
I
N
38
G
39
E
R
S
40
A
R
C
41
W
H
I
T
42
E
43
D
D
Y
44
M
C
I
45
G
O
T
46
S
R
A
47
P
U
T
48
T
I
N
O
49
N
50
T
H
E
R
51
I
52
T
53
Z
54
A
L
A
R
M
55
N
Y
R
O
56
I
N
R
E
57
R
E
B
E
L
58
S
59
M
O
V
60
I
N
O
U
T
61
T
A
L
K
E
R
62
E
V
E
R
63
I
M
A
64
N
E
S
T
S
65
T
E
D
S
66
L
P
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1006 ( 23,708 )
Across
1
Org. with merit badges : BSA
4
Cousin of a clarinet : OBOE
8
Sir ___ Newton : ISAAC
13
Western Hemisphere treaty grp. : OAS
14
Earns in the end : NETS
15
Gradually changes (into) : MORPHS
17
1975 Eagles hit about a woman having an affair : LYINEYES
19
Push : PROPEL
20
Bangkok native : THAI
21
Mined rocks : ORES
23
Pleasantly warm : BALMY
24
Title hit of a 1952 Gene Kelly musical : SINGININTHERAIN
27
When an airplane is due to take off, for short : ETD
28
Rubbish : ROT
29
Manipulate : USE
30
"___ goes nothing!" : HERE
32
On ___ with (equal to) : APAR
34
Drunk's condition, for short : DTS
35
Tyrannosaurus ___ : REX
36
Lost ... or, in two words, an apt description of 17-, 24-, 47- and 59-Across : MISSING
39
Hectic hosp. areas : ERS
40
Circle section : ARC
41
Tiniest amount : WHIT
42
Small whirlpool : EDDY
44
Old AT&T rival : MCI
45
Figured out, as a joke : GOT
46
Lady of la casa: Abbr. : SRA
47
1930 Harry Richman hit whose title describes ostentatious living : PUTTINONTHERITZ
54
Feature of a clock radio : ALARM
55
Singer/songwriter Laura : NYRO
56
Memo heading : INRE
57
Antigovernment force : REBELS
59
1978 Billy Joel hit that gave its name to a 2002 Broadway musical : MOVINOUT
61
Yammerer : TALKER
62
"... lived happily ___ after" : EVER
63
"___ changed man!" : IMA
64
Where chicks hang out? : NESTS
65
"Bill & ___ Excellent Adventure" : TEDS
66
Forerunners of CDs : LPS
Down
1
Heavy door locks : BOLTS
2
Give an informal greeting : SAYHI
3
Chinese or 20-Across : ASIAN
4
Start of almost every ZIP code in New York : ONE
5
Farther past : BEYOND
6
Cheri formerly of "S.N.L." : OTERI
7
German industrial city : ESSEN
8
Unruly child : IMP
9
Ice cream alternative : SORBET
10
Loud, as a crowd : AROAR
11
Clapped : APPLAUDED
12
Element-ary school subject? : CHEMISTRY
16
Guile : SLYNESS
18
French-speaking African nation : NIGER
22
Narrow marine passageway : STRAIT
25
List component : ITEM
26
Part of a rhinoceros : HORN
30
Almost impossible, as a task : HERCULEAN
31
Easily enthused : EXCITABLE
32
Kutcher of "Two and a Half Men" : ASHTON
33
Letter before omega : PSI
35
Defensive embankment : RAMPART
37
Victor's cry : IWON
38
Richard of "American Gigolo" : GERE
43
Bobby of 1950s-'60s pop : DARIN
45
Lime-flavored cocktail : GIMLET
46
Pushed hard : SHOVED
48
Arduous journeys : TREKS
49
Citi Field player, for short : NYMET
50
Treasure cache : TROVE
51
How much food is fried : INOIL
52
Card that tops all others : TRUMP
53
Some sorority women : ZETAS
58
Class older than jrs. : SRS
60
Apr. 15 payment recipient : IRS

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?