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New York Times, Monday, November 18, 2019

Author:
Alan Arbesfeld
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1268/27/198111/18/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
25824372615
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.595099
Alan Arbesfeld

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {FJQVXZ} This is puzzle # 126 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I completely failed at 'Name that Theme' today. DOGGIE BAG was my first entry, easy enough—probably an animal theme! Except that ... read more

I completely failed at "Name that Theme" today. DOGGIE BAG was my first entry, easy enough—probably an animal theme! Except that it was the odd-looking DOGGY BAGS (not to be confused with DOOGIE BAG, what Doogie Howser, M.D. carried around).

BULLY PULPIT slowed "Guess that Theme" further, then sidetracked it. DOGGY and BULLY … are both animal-based adjectives? I knew that DOGGIE BAGs originated as a container to take home bones and such. BULLY isn't related to bull, though.

Or is my overthinking just a bunch of bull? (As always, yes.)

Etymology online doesn't give a definitive answer, sadly. So the theme couldn't be animal adjectives. Maybe it was a repeated letter pattern theme, words ending with doubled-consonant + Y?

KITTY CORNER … no, CATTY CORNER? Looks like both terms are in use. My daughter, an ardent pleader for us to get a kitty, argues for the former.

No victorious fist-pumping moment, given my struggles to figure out if there was indeed more than just a repeated letter pattern theme.

I *think* maybe perhaps sorta kinda ... it's supposed to be all animal-derived adjectives?

In any case, I do like that Alan came up with a novel set of themers. Sure made me think, and that's rarely a bad thing.

The other big factor in my sadly-non-fist-pumping-Monday was the difficulty baked into the fill. Educated solvers should at least be familiar with world capitals, so LUANDA is 100% fair game. When you force newb solvers to additionally wade through ORONO YORBA plus the tough names ERNO GIAN ALBEE, though, that's a recipe for making people walk away.

I'm a broken record, pounding the bully pulpit that low word-count grids shouldn't be allowed if they punish the solver. As much as I like how MY IT'S LATE and MENTORING / DYNASTY spice up the grid, they're not at all worth potentially losing solvers.

Overall, Will has done a great job of welcoming newb solvers into the fold — it's day and night compared to Maleska, who seemed to delight in the insularity of crosswords. I wish Will Shortz would crack down on grids like these. There are a couple of offenders he keeps letting slide, over and over and over again.

1
M
2
O
3
L
4
D
5
A
6
B
7
E
8
L
9
O
10
M
11
E
12
G
13
A
14
O
R
E
O
15
B
O
R
E
16
L
Y
R
I
C
17
D
O
G
G
18
Y
B
A
G
S
19
D
I
N
A
H
20
E
N
A
M
O
R
S
21
L
22
A
S
T
O
N
E
23
M
O
L
A
R
24
P
E
S
O
S
25
B
26
U
27
L
L
Y
P
U
L
28
P
29
I
30
T
31
T
32
A
33
S
34
M
A
N
I
A
35
E
L
A
I
N
E
36
A
G
E
E
37
L
E
C
38
A
R
39
T
E
R
N
40
L
U
A
N
41
D
A
42
A
N
S
43
W
E
R
E
D
44
C
A
T
T
Y
C
45
O
R
N
E
R
46
O
N
E
N
D
47
Y
48
A
49
P
50
A
51
T
52
C
53
H
54
A
R
A
D
E
55
S
56
E
L
L
E
R
S
57
A
E
G
I
S
58
P
59
I
G
G
Y
B
A
N
K
60
G
A
U
N
T
61
I
N
T
O
62
E
R
I
E
63
E
L
E
G
Y
64
N
E
S
S
65
E
Y
E
D
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1118 ( 25,577 )

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Across
1
Shape, as clay : MOLD
5
Brother of Cain : ABEL
9
Alpha's opposite : OMEGA
14
Cookie that's often pulled apart : OREO
15
___ someone to tears : BORE
16
Song snippet : LYRIC
17
Containers for leftovers : DOGGYBAGS
19
Singer Shore or Washington : DINAH
20
Charms : ENAMORS
21
"I'm finished after this" : LASTONE
23
Tooth in the back of the mouth : MOLAR
24
Mexican moolah : PESOS
25
Prominent position from which to pontificate : BULLYPULPIT
31
Island state of Australia : TASMANIA
35
Jerry's gal pal on "Seinfeld" : ELAINE
36
James who wrote "A Death in the Family" : AGEE
37
Old Renault : LECAR
39
Slender shorebird : TERN
40
Capital of Angola : LUANDA
42
Got back to : ANSWERED
44
In a diagonal position (to) : CATTYCORNER
46
Upright, as a box : ONEND
47
Annoy with endless talk : YAPAT
52
Bit of acting-out in a parlor game : CHARADE
55
Peter of the "Pink Panther" films : SELLERS
57
Sponsorship : AEGIS
58
Savings repository for a kid : PIGGYBANK
60
Thin and bony : GAUNT
61
Excited about : INTO
62
One of the Great Lakes : ERIE
63
Mournful poem : ELEGY
64
"Untouchable" Eliot : NESS
65
Gave the once-over : EYED
Down
1
Internet hookup device : MODEM
2
University of Maine town : ORONO
3
Permissible : LEGAL
4
Accepted doctrine : DOGMA
5
Mon., for Monday : ABBR
6
Fancy items of neckwear : BOAS
7
Unit of work : ERG
8
Stahl of "60 Minutes" : LESLEY
9
King Cole was a "merry" one : OLDSOUL
10
Comment made when itching to leave a dull party : MYITSLATE
11
Rubik with a famous cube : ERNO
12
Composer ___ Carlo Menotti : GIAN
13
Painful throb : ACHE
18
___ Linda, California birthplace of Richard Nixon : YORBA
22
Speak ill of : ASPERSE
24
Protester's sign, e.g. : PLACARD
26
Not tied, as sneakers : UNLACED
27
Falsehood : LIE
28
Santa Monica landmark : PIER
29
Memo opener : INRE
30
Watch, as a bar : TEND
31
Powder in a medicine cabinet : TALC
32
Spanish water : AGUA
33
What an usher ushers you to : SEAT
34
Helping a protégé : MENTORING
38
___ Arbor, Mich. : ANN
41
Ming or Qing, in Chinese history : DYNASTY
43
With tongue in cheek : WRYLY
45
Nearest target for a bowler : ONEPIN
48
Playwright Edward who wrote "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" : ALBEE
49
Arctic explorer Robert : PEARY
50
Nickname for Schwarzenegger : ARNIE
51
Clucked in disapproval : TSKED
52
Home for a pet bird : CAGE
53
Get better : HEAL
54
Fever and chills : AGUE
55
Ones ranked above cpls. : SGTS
56
Things bigheaded people have : EGOS
59
Suffix with nectar or serpent : INE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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