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New York Times, Monday, November 18, 2013

Author:
Edgar Fontaine
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
56/15/200011/18/20130
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0201110
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56000
Edgar R. Fontaine

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Fontaine. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
While this theme is a variation on a familiar one, it has a fresh twist and is consistently done. The vocabulary is easy, too. So ... ... read more

While this theme is a variation on a familiar one, it has a fresh twist and is consistently done. The vocabulary is easy, too. So ... a good Monday. Among the nontheme entries I especially liked AMOUR PROPRE.

Jeff Chen notes:
Amusing start to the week, famous people with an S inserted between their first and last names to make wacky possessives. ARTHURS ... read more

Amusing start to the week, famous people with an S inserted between their first and last names to make wacky possessives. ARTHURS MILLER made me chuckle with the image of Bea Arthur knocking back an MGD. I'm hoping a clever constructor does something funny with BETTY WHITE, because her commercials and cameos as of late crack me up. Challenge issued!

Interesting construction difficulties today, given that each of the four theme answers are what Patrick Berry aptly calls "inconvenient lengths". Typically the first theme entry goes into row 3, but consider what happens if you tried to move GREGORYS PECK up one row: you create a stack of two-letter words in the top of the NE corner. No good! So in row 4 it must go.

Note how that compacts all the themers. HARRISONS FORD and ARTHURS MILLER are separated by just one row, and there are seven down answers that cross them both. I imagine Edgar started his filling process from the center since it's so constrained, and having OSAMA / OGEE / INST is okay (although I'm not a fan of putting OSAMA in crosswords), but starting already burdened with a little subpar stuff puts so much pressure on the constructor to be super clean the rest of the way. It can be harrowing to have that hanging over your head, but sometimes pressure is a good thing. In this case Edgar does all right, escaping with an ELIA and an OBERON crossing EBAN. That's going to be an awfully hard cross for some people.

For a theme like this, my personal preference is to make it more elegant by choosing themers that are tightly related. Gregory Peck, Harrison Ford, and Sharon Stone fit well together, but Arthur Miller sticks out a bit as the lone non-movie star. Minor issue though — it's good to remind myself that I (and much of the online community) am a very small portion of Will's total constituency, and most will never even care about things like this.

Finally, well done today to avoid the use of excessive cheater squares. 13s are extremely awkward, because they often necessitate a chunky pattern of five black squares (at the end of ARTHURS MILLER) but Edgar has done a nice job to avoid that, running long downs of PARENTHETIC and AMOUR PROPRE at the ends of the 13s. This is a tricky thing to do. I'm not a huge fan of AMOUR PROPRE on a Monday, but I did enjoy looking it up.

1
B
2
O
3
P
4
S
5
T
6
S
7
A
8
R
9
S
10
T
11
A
12
R
13
R
14
E
B
A
N
15
E
L
I
A
16
P
A
T
I
O
17
A
E
R
O
18
R
A
M
S
19
E
N
V
O
Y
20
G
R
E
G
21
O
R
Y
S
P
22
E
C
K
23
L
O
N
24
P
I
S
25
V
I
S
26
A
27
G
28
E
29
E
N
T
30
R
E
E
31
O
32
G
E
E
33
M
I
D
34
H
A
R
R
35
I
S
O
N
S
36
F
O
R
D
37
F
38
E
E
S
39
N
A
B
40
R
U
D
Y
41
A
R
T
H
42
U
43
R
S
M
I
44
L
45
L
E
R
46
I
I
I
47
T
A
T
A
48
E
Y
E
P
49
I
50
T
51
R
E
C
52
O
A
T
53
U
S
E
54
R
O
W
55
S
H
A
56
R
57
O
N
S
S
58
T
O
N
E
59
A
60
L
61
O
H
A
62
O
N
C
E
63
O
P
I
E
64
L
O
R
E
N
65
P
Y
L
E
66
D
R
A
T
67
F
L
E
A
S
68
E
X
E
S
69
D
E
N
S
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1118 ( 23,386 )

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Across
1
Conks on the head : BOPS
5
Old Russian ruler : TSAR
9
Drummer Ringo : STARR
14
Israel's Abba : EBAN
15
Charles Lamb's pen name : ELIA
16
Place to keep a hibachi : PATIO
17
Prefix with dynamics : AERO
18
Lambs' fathers : RAMS
19
Diplomatic representative : ENVOY
20
Part of a bushel belonging to Dick? : GREGORYSPECK
23
Chaney who played the hunchback of Notre Dame : LON
24
Greek letters before rhos : PIS
25
Facial expression : VISAGE
29
Serving between appetizer and dessert : ENTREE
31
S-shaped molding : OGEE
33
Prefix with Atlantic : MID
34
Car belonging to Rex? : HARRISONSFORD
37
Professional charges : FEES
39
Catch, as a criminal : NAB
40
New York's Giuliani : RUDY
41
Lite beer belonging to Bea? : ARTHURSMILLER
46
The last King Richard : III
47
"Cheerio!" : TATA
48
Facial socket : EYEPIT
51
Put another layer on, as of paint : RECOAT
53
Exploit : USE
54
Column's counterpart : ROW
55
Rock belonging to Ariel? : SHARONSSTONE
59
Waikiki welcome : ALOHA
62
"___ upon a time ..." : ONCE
63
Taylor boy of Mayberry : OPIE
64
Actress Sophia : LOREN
65
Gomer of Mayberry : PYLE
66
"Darn it all!" : DRAT
67
Doghouse infestation : FLEAS
68
Former spouses : EXES
69
Lairs : DENS
Down
1
Long-eared dog : BEAGLE
2
King of the fairies, in Shakespeare : OBERON
3
Like the end of this clue (in terms of punctuation) : PARENTHETIC
4
Kiss, to Brits : SNOG
5
Wirehaired dog : TERRIER
6
Leaves rolling in the aisles : SLAYS
7
Prepares to shoot a gun : AIMS
8
Filing tool : RASP
9
Homo sapiens, for humans : SPECIES
10
Goes suddenly from success to failure, in slang : TANKS
11
Off-road goer, for short : ATV
12
___ de Janeiro : RIO
13
Artist Lichtenstein : ROY
21
Abbr. above 0 on a phone : OPER
22
Tied, scorewise : EVEN
26
Self-esteem, as the French would have it : AMOURPROPRE
27
Encircle : GIRD
28
Small whirlpool : EDDY
30
Too hasty : RASH
31
___ bin Laden : OSAMA
32
Mongolian desert : GOBI
35
The "I" of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST
36
Center square of a bingo card : FREE
37
Not foul : FAIR
38
Lake ___, source of the Niagara River : ERIE
42
Salt Lake City residents, e.g. : UTAHANS
43
Pro ___ (proportionally) : RATA
44
Tenants : LESSEES
45
Cleaning solutions : LYES
49
___ Sea, body of water south of Italy : IONIAN
50
Messages limited to 140 characters : TWEETS
52
Milo of "The Verdict" : OSHEA
53
"I give up!" : UNCLE
56
1948 Hitchcock thriller : ROPE
57
Cameo gem : ONYX
58
Mrs. Lincoln's maiden name : TODD
59
TV ET : ALF
60
Response to an online joke : LOL
61
Bauxite, e.g. : ORE

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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