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New York Times, Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Author:
Jeffrey Wechsler
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
207/17/19698/12/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0246710
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.581201
Jeffrey Wechsler

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Wechsler. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I thought I was so smart. As soon as I uncovered HITTING STREAK, I raced down to 62-Across to enter one of the greatest hitters of all ... read more

I thought I was so smart. As soon as I uncovered HITTING STREAK, I raced down to 62-Across to enter one of the greatest hitters of all time … TED WILLIAMS. As it turns out, TED WILLIAMS was not only a left fielder (not a CENTER FIELDer), but he wasn't a YANKEE.

It's amazing that anyone actually listens to me.

Tribute puzzle today, lauding one of the greatest accomplishments in all of sports, a record likely never to be broken, the historic HITTING STREAK of the great TED WILLIAMS. Gah! JOE DIMAGGIO had such a place in the forefront of American culture back then, not only being one of the premier sports stars of his time, but gaining even more notoriety with his tumultuous relationship with Marilyn Monroe. Definitely a crossworthy guy.

A tough grid today, forced by the plethora of short themers. A 11/7/6/13/6/7/11 pattern … that string of seven numbers looks just crazy, doesn't it? Four black squares must get deployed right off the bat to split up HITTING / STREAK and YANKEE / CLIPPER, and spending your black squares early usually makes things difficult. Often, that sort of segmentation leads to excessive three-letter words or necessitates unsightly glue bits to hold sections together. I also find that having so many little themers makes things feel choppy, having to jump around from one themer to the next to the next.

Themers connected

It's technically possible to do a 11/13/13/13/11 arrangement, which would help the flow of the solve (a rough skeleton sketched out to the right). But that'd call for some ugly chunks of black squares on the side — not really visually appealing, is it? Hardly ever easy; always the trade-offs.

As with most straight-up tribute puzzles, I finished wanting a little more. It would have been incredible if JOE DIMAGGIO had somehow crossed MARILYN MONROE, yeah? Or maybe FIFTY SIX GAMES had appropriately come at 56-Across? How about featuring his other great nickname, JOLTIN JOE? I like a tribute puzzle every once in a while, especially if it's around a timely anniversary, but the best ones usually have that je ne sais quoi that make them stand out.

Finally, some really nice pieces of fill in the NE and SW. Those themeless-like stacks can be really rough to fill when one themer runs through them — it's way more than twice as difficult when two themers constrain them. With STREAK and FIFTY SIX GAMES handcuffing that corner, getting SUSPENSE / ON HIATUS / SHOCKER with very little price to pay is a treat.

1
M
2
A
3
S
4
T
5
S
6
B
7
A
8
D
9
G
10
E
11
S
12
O
13
S
14
I
C
O
N
S
15
E
V
I
A
N
16
U
N
H
17
C
E
N
T
E
18
R
F
I
E
L
D
19
S
H
O
20
A
T
A
21
M
O
A
T
22
A
23
S
P
I
C
24
H
I
T
25
T
26
I
N
G
27
S
T
R
E
A
K
28
C
A
I
N
29
S
30
A
31
L
T
32
A
N
T
E
33
F
I
34
T
35
L
O
A
36
F
37
S
U
R
38
F
39
I
F
T
Y
40
S
I
X
G
A
41
M
E
S
42
L
I
C
43
S
P
A
N
44
E
R
E
45
A
N
A
46
T
47
E
W
E
48
S
49
S
U
50
S
51
S
52
Y
A
N
K
53
E
E
54
C
55
L
I
P
P
E
56
R
57
A
L
T
O
N
58
F
59
I
R
E
60
I
M
O
61
W
I
N
62
J
63
O
E
D
I
M
64
A
65
G
G
I
O
66
A
Z
O
67
O
N
T
O
P
68
R
O
O
T
S
69
Y
E
W
70
Y
E
A
S
T
71
M
O
T
E
T
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1125 ( 23,758 )
Across
1
Sights in marinas : MASTS
6
Conventioneer's ID : BADGE
11
Emergency signal : SOS
14
Computer screen array : ICONS
15
Bottled water with three mountain peaks in its logo : EVIAN
16
Granite State sch. : UNH
17
Position of 62-Across : CENTERFIELD
19
"Masters of Sex" channel, in TV listings : SHO
20
___ loss : ATA
21
Castle defense : MOAT
22
Savory gelatin-based dish : ASPIC
24
With 27-Across, record-setting achievement of 62-Across : HITTING
27
See 24-Across : STREAK
28
"Am I my brother's keeper?" speaker : CAIN
29
Morton product : SALT
32
Prefix with bellum : ANTE
33
In good physical shape : FIT
35
Avoid work : LOAF
37
California's Big ___ : SUR
38
Duration of 62-Across's 24-/27-Across : FIFTYSIXGAMES
42
Necessity for a doctor or taxi driver: Abbr. : LIC
43
Bridge : SPAN
44
Before, to the Bard : ERE
45
Med. school course : ANAT
47
Ovine mothers : EWES
49
Figure (out) : SUSS
52
With 54-Across, moniker of 62-Across : YANKEE
54
See 52-Across : CLIPPER
57
___ Brown, host of "Iron Chef America" : ALTON
58
Pink-slip : FIRE
60
Texter's "Here's what I think" : IMO
61
Take the gold : WIN
62
American athlete born 11/25/1914 : JOEDIMAGGIO
66
___ dye : AZO
67
In first place : ONTOP
68
Carrots and turnips, basically : ROOTS
69
Conifer with toxic seeds : YEW
70
Baker's supply : YEAST
71
Sacred choral composition : MOTET
Down
1
Bible book after Jonah : MICAH
2
___ acid : ACETIC
3
Hyundai model with a musical name : SONATA
4
Explosive stuff : TNT
5
Seattle-to-Phoenix dir. : SSE
6
Enshrouds in a mist : BEFOGS
7
Sports shoe brand : AVIA
8
Insects and seeds, for many birds : DIET
9
Guy's partner : GAL
10
Have as a terminus : ENDAT
11
Mood suffusing "Psycho" : SUSPENSE
12
Temporarily not airing, as a TV show : ONHIATUS
13
The shower scene in "Psycho," e.g. : SHOCKER
18
D.D.E.'s running mate : RMN
23
Paris : Mme. :: Madrid : ___ : SRA
25
Petty quarrel : TIFF
26
D.D.E. or J.F.K. : INITS
27
The boards, to an actor : STAGE
30
Dress style introduced by Dior : ALINE
31
Bagel go-with : LOX
34
Melville's first book : TYPEE
36
Language of Iran : FARSI
38
Complete, as arrangements : FINALIZE
39
"Sorry, ask me later" : ICANTNOW
40
Glimpsed : SAW
41
Pick-___ (refreshing drink) : MEUP
42
Purchasing plan : LAYAWAY
46
Ruling from a boxing ref : TKO
48
Lines to be memorized : SCRIPT
50
Faucet : SPIGOT
51
Jew or Arab : SEMITE
53
Relish : ENJOY
55
Early moon lander, for short : LEM
56
Sleep in a vertical position? : ROOST
58
Greek salad component : FETA
59
Vows made "for better or worse" : IDOS
63
Single : ONE
64
Sleeve : ARM
65
Melted chocolate, e.g. : GOO

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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