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New York Times, Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Author: Gary Cee
Editor: Will Shortz
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355/28/20097/30/20180
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11188421
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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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 Down
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
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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