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New York Times, Monday, November 16, 2015

Author:
Jim Holland
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
311/16/20159/25/20161
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1110000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55000
Jim Holland

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQV} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Holland. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jim Holland notes:
This is my first puzzle for NYT. I am a graduate of Syracuse University with a major in English. I have been a crossword puzzle solver ... read more

This is my first puzzle for NYT. I am a graduate of Syracuse University with a major in English. I have been a crossword puzzle solver all my life, so it was only natural, I guess, that sooner or later I should try my hand at constructing as well.

My first puzzle was published some time ago in USA TODAY, and some of my other appearances have been in the Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Simon & Schuster's MEGA 13 and 14. I am married with two children and four grandchildren, and some of my favorite recreations are golf, bowling, and cribbage, none of which I am particularly good at!

Jeff Chen notes:
Answers starting with THREE IN A ROW letters, i.e. a run of ABC, KLM, and XYZ. Thomas Jefferson was one of my childhood heroes, so ... read more

Answers starting with THREE IN A ROW letters, i.e. a run of ABC, KLM, and XYZ. Thomas Jefferson was one of my childhood heroes, so I've always been fascinated with the XYZ AFFAIR. Code named diplomats + a quasi-war between the US and France = why hasn't anyone made a movie about this? Big opportunity there!

KLM plane

KLM AIRLINES is a solid answer, albeit not as flashy as the XYZ AFFAIR. But ABC ANCHOR … that feels too arbitrary to me. NEWS ANCHOR, yes. ABC NEWS, yes. These both get Google hits in the millions (when entered in quotes). ABC ANCHOR gets less than 100K, and it opens up a Pandora's box to ABC CAMERAMAN, ABC STORY, etc. Granted, it's tough to find something to match length with XYZ AFFAIR, but ABC SPORTS might have been more in the language.

Not a lot of long fill in this puzzle, but I did appreciate the mid-length MANSION, SCONCES, UNTRUTH, and BAZAAR. No multi-word entries there, but all four are pretty interesting to me.

With only four themers and not much long fill, I would have liked the puzzle to be a little smoother. Starting with I GOT in the upper left isn't great. It does make for an easy fill-in-the-blank clue for the beginning solver, but partials in a grid feel so inelegant to me. There's a reason why editors specify that these gluey partials be kept to a minimum.

I don't mind IS TO as much, as it's almost a stand-alone phrase when used with respect to analogies (remember those X : Y :: ___ : Z SAT questions?).

Nice concept, but it would have been so cool to find another themer, as three examples of THREE IN A ROW felt a bit thin. Unfortunately, the only other one I could think of was the QRS COMPLEX, part of an electrocardiogram. Well-established medical term, but it sure would have pushed the puzzle into very late-week territory!

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M
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1116 ( 24,114 )
Across
1
Alternatives to PCs : MACS
5
When a flight is due in, for short : ETA
8
Intended : MEANT
13
"___ You Babe" (Sonny & Cher hit) : IGOT
14
Bond girl Adams : MAUD
15
Edward ___, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" playwright : ALBEE
16
One of the two flavors in Sprite : LIME
17
The good dinosaur in Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" : ARLO
18
Specialized market : NICHE
19
*Carrier to Amsterdam : KLMAIRLINES
22
Order between "ready" and "fire" : AIM
23
Lines of stitching : SEAMS
24
Court rendering : OPINION
26
Remainder of a used ticket : STUB
28
Candle holders : SCONCES
31
Calif.'s largest airport : LAX
34
Many bills in tips : ONES
36
"O Canada," for one : ANTHEM
37
"___ day now" ("I'm waiting") : ANY
38
Old Russian rulers : TSARS
40
Bullfight cheer : OLE
41
Place to buy a Persian rug : BAZAAR
44
Ownership document : DEED
46
Ham on ___ : RYE
47
Doesn't go to bed : STAYSUP
49
6/6/1944 : DDAY
51
Full-length movie : FEATURE
53
What old movies came on : REELS
57
Not working : OFF
59
Tic-tac-toe win ... or hint to the starts of the answers to the starred clues : THREEINAROW
61
Furious : IRATE
63
Adorable "Sesame Street" monster : ELMO
64
Dish that may be "sticky" : RICE
65
German camera brand : LEICA
66
Observed : SEEN
67
Org. overseeing the Big Ten and Big 12 : NCAA
68
Play a guitar casually : STRUM
69
Title bear in a 2012 Seth MacFarlane comedy : TED
70
Pepper's counterpart : SALT
Down
1
Uses for all it's worth : MILKS
2
Light on one's feet : AGILE
3
Middle of 100,000? : COMMA
4
Makes furious : STEAMS
5
Places to put diamond studs : EARLOBES
6
Dutch bloom : TULIP
7
Good-looking guy : ADONIS
8
Millionaire's home, say : MANSION
9
Inventor Whitney : ELI
10
*David Muir ... or Peter Jennings, once : ABCANCHOR
11
Soda pop brand : NEHI
12
Overflow (with) : TEEM
14
Deface : MAR
20
"It ___ die for!" ("Yum!") : ISTO
21
Completely covered : ENCASED
25
Toronto's prov. : ONT
27
Lie : UNTRUTH
29
Slippery as a fish : EELY
30
Captain Hook's henchman : SMEE
31
Experiment sites : LABS
32
Med school subj. : ANAT
33
*Diplomatic contretemps during John Adams's administration : XYZAFFAIR
35
What this means: :-( : SAD
39
Turned in for cash : REDEEMED
42
Vote in favor : AYE
43
Together, like workers : ASATEAM
45
Mend, as socks : DARN
48
Most unsullied : PUREST
50
Is filled with longing : YEARNS
52
Confederate genl.'s signature : RELEE
54
Jong who wrote "Fear of Flying" : ERICA
55
Kind of call that didn't used to need an area code : LOCAL
56
What you do in a sauna : SWEAT
57
Classical paintings : OILS
58
Worry : FRET
60
Charged particle : ION
62
Horned Frogs of the Big 12 Conf. : TCU

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?