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New York Times, Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
375/28/20094/16/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
111108421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56021
Gary Cee

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 30 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Gary Cee notes:
Will accepted this crossword back in April of 2012. My heart sank a bit when I saw Byron Walden's excellent RINSE CYCLE on March 26th ... read more

Will accepted this crossword back in April of 2012. My heart sank a bit when I saw Byron Walden's excellent RINSE CYCLE on March 26th of this year. The theme is so similar, and Byron's puzzle was certainly superior to what I have here today. Timing really is everything, isn't it?

"House of Cards" was not yet on Netflix in 2012, so my clue for 23-Across referenced "American Beauty." I was surprised that mine made the cut, as "‘House of Cards' star" might be more Tuesday-worthy in 2015.

I appreciate what Will and Joel did with 38-Across, as my original clue was the inferior "Hollywood's most commercially successful filmmaker of all time."

Crosswords are wonderful diversions, and I love making them. Aren't they great?

Jeff Chen notes:
Gary gives us the SPIN CYCLE to accompany Byron's recent RINSE CYCLE puzzle. A strong choice of themers, UP IN SMOKE and HMS PINAFORE ... read more

Gary gives us the SPIN CYCLE to accompany Byron's recent RINSE CYCLE puzzle. A strong choice of themers, UP IN SMOKE and HMS PINAFORE my favorites. The latter makes me smile, thinking about Bart Simpson tricking Sideshow Bob into singing the entirety of HMS PINAFORE in order to stall for time.

Sideshow Bob singing HMS PINAFORE

Given how easy it is to find phrases with INSP and NSPI somewhere within them, I might have liked a bit more diversity rather than two Hollywood men. A bit of searching turned up such fun ones as SHIN SPLINTS, HUMAN SPIDER, GOLDEN SPIKE, or my favorite, THE GOLDEN SPIRAL.

I really appreciated some of the longer stuff like LAY A TRAP, PET SCAN, ARSENAL, OVER HERE. MASH NOTE felt a bit fusty, but even that was kind of fun.

And in general, I think Gary did a very nice job with his short fill … with one glaring exception. Now, I debated whether or not this is way too picky, but I'm a steadfast believer in making early-week puzzles accessible to all kinds of solvers. I'm a huge jazz fan, but OLETA Adams only vaguely tickled my brain. Crossing that with "It's ___ Thing" got me hung up. "It's A MOVE Thing" sounded like it could be a pop/dance song just as much as "It's A LOVE Thing."

On one hand, it's only one square. On the other, I think a puzzle should ultimately set up the solver to beat it for a feeling of euphoric satisfaction. Just one square can leave such a bad taste.

That said, the rest of the puzzle is really well executed. Impressive to have so much theme material, plus a few longer pieces of fill, and only require A TIE to hold things together.

As Gary humbly mentioned, I liked the elegance of Byron's execution better — neat to see the cycling all in a column like it was in a washing machine — but Gary's puzzle still entertained me.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1124 ( 24,122 )
Across
1
___ Games : PANAM
6
Part of a plant or a wineglass : STEM
10
Colony dwellers : ANTS
14
Soul singer Adams : OLETA
15
Cy Young Award winner Sparky : LYLE
16
Thief's bagful : LOOT
17
Memorable "Animal House" costumes : TOGAS
18
1978 Cheech & Chong comedy : UPINSMOKE
20
Helpful cry during a rescue mission : OVERHERE
22
Lopsided : ASKEW
23
Academy Award winner for "American Beauty" : KEVINSPACEY
26
Black ___ (some military missions) : OPS
27
Weapons stockpile : ARSENAL
32
Morocco's capital : RABAT
36
Who said "It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am" : ALI
37
___ Raton, Fla. : BOCA
38
Besides Charlie Chaplin, only film director on Time's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century : STEVENSPIELBERG
42
Repulsive : VILE
43
Kellogg's Cracklin' ___ Bran : OAT
44
Biblical beasts : ASSES
45
3-D image in medical diagnoses : PETSCAN
47
Tina who won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor : FEY
49
Gilbert and Sullivan operetta set on a ship : HMSPINAFORE
55
Very, in music : ASSAI
59
Days of yore : OLDTIMES
60
Washer action ... or a hint to four consecutive letters inside 18-, 23-, 38- and 49-Across : SPINCYCLE
63
Certain Comedy Central production : ROAST
64
Wan : PALE
65
Word after beauty or blind : SPOT
66
Markswoman Oakley : ANNIE
67
White icing on a gingerbread house, possibly : SNOW
68
Lad's partner : LASS
69
"Common Sense" writer : PAINE
Down
1
Chaim who wrote "The Chosen" : POTOK
2
"It's ___ Thing" (1981 hit by the Whispers) : ALOVE
3
Israel's ___ Desert : NEGEV
4
Arcade game pioneer : ATARI
5
Love letter : MASHNOTE
6
Eats noisily : SLURPS
7
High-strung, as a personality : TYPEA
8
Whitney who invented the cotton gin : ELI
9
Baritones, typically : MEN
10
Charitable donations : ALMS
11
___ and cranny : NOOK
12
Puff on a joint : TOKE
13
Meat-and-vegetables dish : STEW
19
Verbalizes : SAYS
21
Paranormal ability, for short : ESP
24
Colombian metropolis : CALI
25
Ontario border lake : ERIE
28
Recedes : EBBS
29
Dissents : NOES
30
Piece of land : ACRE
31
Tarries : LAGS
32
Click yes or no on an e-vite, say : RSVP
33
"___ is like kissing your sister" (sports adage) : ATIE
34
Heavyweight's prize : BELT
35
Fifth and Park, in N.Y.C. : AVES
36
Perceptive, as a pupil : APT
39
Linguist Chomsky : NOAM
40
___-serif typeface : SANS
41
Show some guile : LAYATRAP
46
Stylish : CHIC
47
Steakhouse offerings : FILETS
48
Call it a day : END
50
Pullover shirts : POLOS
51
Grammy winner Apple : FIONA
52
Native of Muscat : OMANI
53
Pine exudation : RESIN
54
___ Lauder : ESTEE
55
Nile vipers : ASPS
56
Extend across : SPAN
57
Structure with a rounded top : SILO
58
All over again : ANEW
61
Designer's monogram : YSL
62
Tax time busy bee : CPA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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