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New York Times, Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Author: James Mulhern
Editor: Will Shortz
James Mulhern
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2411/16/20096/23/20176
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1.60000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQWXZ} This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
James Mulhern notes: This is my first themed puzzle in five years, almost to the day. Although my main focus is the themeless form, I really enjoy ... more
James Mulhern notes: This is my first themed puzzle in five years, almost to the day. Although my main focus is the themeless form, I really enjoy making themed puzzles when the inspiration strikes. The challenges are different, but the reward is equally satisfying. I hope to make more in the future.

I'm a big poker player, and somehow DOUBLE UP revealed itself as a neat revealer in my mind. The reason I went for it with this theme is not so much that the core concept is overly thrilling, but rather that the resulting phrases are all fun. Combined with some cool fill, I hope this makes for an enjoyable Tuesday!

Jeff Chen notes: Cool find today, phrases with two UP instances in each. I like when I'm surprised by puzzles, and it was a nice aha moment when I got ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Cool find today, phrases with two UP instances in each. I like when I'm surprised by puzzles, and it was a nice aha moment when I got to the revealer. I had no idea what all the themers had in common, and finding the simple UP / UP pattern gave me a smile. Chupa Chups logo

Simple pattern… or was it? Out of curiosity, I went back to see if this was actually a task difficult enough to required the odd CHUPA CHUPS (which I now realize is pretty commonplace, especially outside the US — James said he remembered the brand from his time in London). To my surprise, all I could find was CUP OF SOUP (which sounds better to me, but CUP A SOUP is clearly a thing), SUPER DUPER, and SUPPORT GROUP(S). Sometimes I have a theme concept and I just can't figure out that fourth themer and have to let it go. Kudos for digging deep to uncover both CHUPA CHUPS and its culturally interesting clue. (He mentioned to me that he tried to keep all the crosses very fair because many solvers might have trouble with it, and I think he did well in that regard.)

I liked a lot of the longer fill, too. LOUIS CK isn't my thing, but he's definitely crossworthy. And as much as I liked AFTER DARK, LOVE CHILD, APPLE TV, and ALL CAPS with its appropriate clue, I loved MACULA. (Bruce Haight, who constructed yesterday's puzzle and is an ophthalmologist, got scooped on this one.) I know, you're thinking, "What the what?" The company I helped a friend start, Acucela Inc., the one we built from two people to now a public company, is focused on addressing dry form age-related macular degeneration, which affects more than 10 million Americans. Seeing MACULA brings me back to those days, and keeps me crossing my fingers for emuxistat's potential. I like when a crossword leaves one a good feeling, and so many entries can do that.

The shorter fill suffered a bit, but only with minor offenders like EST, NCO, ON AN, OISE, etc. And I'm mixed on "SOO…?" Feels a bit arbitrary. Overall, it seemed like a tad much, but I was okay with it because of all the nice longer fill it enabled.

Overall, a fun solve, tinged with a bit of "what is this" when I got to CUP A SOUP and CHUPA CHUPS. But considering those were needed to round out the theme, I can overlook my personal feelings of ambivalence around those two answers, and appreciate all the other aspects this puzzle has to offer.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1111 ( 23,744 )
Across Down
1. And so forth: Abbr. : ETC
4. Halfway decent : OKAY
8. Home of Plato's Academy : ATHENS
14. "Your point being ...?" : SOO
15. Ancient South American : INCA
16. Complete mess : FIASCO
17. Powdered lunch product from Lipton : CUPASOUP
19. Moon of Neptune : TRITON
20. Digital device used to access Hulu and Netflix : APPLETV
21. Bird bill : BEAK
22. Fishing device : REEL
23. Just marvelous : SUPERDUPER
28. Birdcage swing, e.g. : PERCH
30. Skip, as a sound : ELIDE
31. Poet's "before" : ERE
32. Former Time Warner partner : AOL
34. Commercial suffix with Tropic : ANA
35. Mouth, slangily : TRAP
36. Alcoholics Anonymous and others : SUPPORTGROUPS
40. Seamen : TARS
41. Contend (for) : VIE
42. When repeated, a popular puzzle : KEN
43. Acid : LSD
44. "The Hangover" setting : VEGAS
46. Hollywood director Sam : RAIMI
50. Confectionery brand with a logo designed by Salvador Dalí : CHUPACHUPS
53. "Chestnuts roasting ___ open fire" : ONAN
54. Eight, to Dieter : ACHT
55. Stand-up comedian with multiple Emmys : LOUISCK
57. Drink that gets its name from the Tahitian word for "good" : MAITAI
60. Share a single bed ... or a hidden feature of 17-, 23-, 36- and 50-Across : DOUBLEUP
61. Town with Yiddish speakers : SHTETL
62. In ___ (actually) : ESSE
63. In the style of : ALA
64. Pooped : GASSED
65. Blacken on a grill : CHAR
66. "Spy vs. Spy" magazine : MAD
1. Steep slope around a rampart : ESCARP
2. "Rug" : TOUPEE
3. Statue of Liberty material : COPPER
4. River to the Seine : OISE
5. Units of nautical speed : KNOTS
6. Contact lens brand : ACUVUE
7. Annoying bark : YAP
8. Under the cloak of night : AFTERDARK
9. Angry rant : TIRADE
10. Three-line verse : HAIKU
11. N.H. winter setting : EST
12. Sarge, e.g. : NCO
13. Junior : SON
18. WHAT THIS IS IN : ALLCAPS
21. Existence : BEING
24. Stop getting any higher : PLATEAU
25. One chased in a car chase, for short : PERP
26. Parts of history : ERAS
27. John Boehner, e.g., in two ways: Abbr. : REP
29. Use a pogo stick : HOP
33. 1968 #1 hit for Diana Ross & the Supremes : LOVECHILD
35. Good source of omega-3 fatty acids : TUNAOIL
36. Where a Brownie's merit badges are attached : SASH
37. Language of Pakistan : URDU
38. "I know, ___?" : RIGHT
39. "___ the land of the free ..." : OER
40. Nurse's focus, in brief : TLC
44. Move out : VACATE
45. Quiet sound of water on the side of a pail, say : SPLOSH
47. Clothes line? : INSEAM
48. Eye part subject to degeneration : MACULA
49. What gets rubber-stamped? : INKPAD
51. Hors d'oeuvres toppings : PATES
52. "Minnesota March" composer : SOUSA
56. Modern cab service alternative : UBER
57. Asian food additive : MSG
58. "Got it!" : AHA
59. "___ your call" : ITS
60. Kwanzaa time: Abbr. : DEC

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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