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New York Times, Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Author: Jules P. Markey
Editor: Will Shortz
Jules P. Markey
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155/10/201210/25/20170
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0144600
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1.57351

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Markey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jules P. Markey notes: This puzzle was created shortly after Thanksgiving Day of last year, the impetus for it came from SQUASHRACKET, which I had ... more
Jules P. Markey notes: This puzzle was created shortly after Thanksgiving Day of last year, the impetus for it came from SQUASHRACKET, which I had used in an earlier "veggie" themed puzzle that was not selected. I then started thinking of it in terms of Thanksgiving dinner, and tried to find phrases which included other holiday menu items. The fact that the reveal was 15 letters was the whipped cream atop the sweet potato pie.

Thanksgiving Day is my lovely wife's favorite holiday, she says it is a day on which all people of the world can celebrate, regardless of their religious or cultural heritage. We all can be thankful in our own way. She also happens to be an excellent cook and for that I am extremely thankful.

Hope you enjoyed this pre-holiday treat. Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to one and all.

Will Shortz notes: Even though THANKSGIVING DAY is tomorrow, this holiday-themed puzzle feels more Wednesday-ish, so I scheduled it for today. Don't look for another Thanksgiving puzzle tomorrow. This one is it.
Jeff Chen notes: Fun pre-Thanksgiving puzzle from Jules, phrases containing a hidden traditional Thanksgiving dish. If only there were such a thing as ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Fun pre-Thanksgiving puzzle from Jules, phrases containing a hidden traditional Thanksgiving dish. If only there were such a thing as BRUSSEL SPROUT FLAIR or PECAN PIE GEOGRAPHY so my favorite American Thanksgiving foods could have been included*.

Well-constructed puzzle. Five is becoming the new four in terms of theme entries, and it's hard to pull off cleanly. Jules only has two long downs in the puzzle but makes good use of them: CHARLESTON and BUICK SEDAN are both quite nice. And it allows him to fill the puzzle cleanly, with just a smattering of ETTE, OTOS, A LOOP.

Sidebar on A LOOP: there's a surprising disparity among constructors on what the worst type of fill is. I would have guessed that everyone would have a similar hierarchy: old-timey entries like ADIT at the top of the hit list, followed by crossword-friendly words like ERNE/EPEE, esoteric names, and then partials. But it's been eye-opening working with a bevy of different collaborators. Some of them are completely fine with partials and some abhor them, especially five-letter ones. It sure would be nice to have one scale with which to judge what is "good" or "bad", but this serves as a good reminder that so much in crosswords is subjective.

I generally like to see a theme that is both consistent and specific, and this puzzle certainly hits on the former. One might think that it misses on specificity, since there are dozens of traditional Thanksgiving Day foods which could be included. But how many can be hidden within phrases, where the food doesn't mean the food? I couldn't think of any right off the top. So well done there.

This puzzle has made me hungry. Off to fetch my eating pants!

*Food donations can be sent via fax and/or modem to www.xwordinfo.com; just shove it into your USB port and hit "enter".

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1127 ( 23,395 )
Across Down
1. One of the Obama girls : MALIA
6. Like : ALA
9. Kindergarten stuff : ABCS
13. Huskies' sch. : UCONN
14. Heavy work : TOME
16. Word before income or exhaust : DUAL
17. Source of easy money : GRAVYTRAIN
19. Cube ... or certain cubes : DICE
20. Certain : SOME
21. Salon supplies : RINSES
23. "Evita" character : CHE
24. One of a pair in a court : SQUASHRACKET
27. Prickly one : CACTUS
30. Plains Indians : OTOS
31. Suffix meaning "approximately" : ISH
32. Author Calvino : ITALO
36. Hardly Mr. Cool : NERD
39. Setting for the starts of 17-, 24-, 51- and 64-Across : THANKSGIVINGDAY
43. Brontë title heroine : EYRE
44. Cartoon genre : ANIME
45. Not miss a thing on : ACE
46. Lisa with the 1997 hit "I Do" : LOEB
49. Short-sheeting and such : PRANKS
51. Locale for a big mirror : DRESSINGROOM
56. Director Anderson : WES
57. Officers above sarges : LOOIES
58. Noodles in Japanese cookery : SOBA
62. Suffix with Rock : ETTE
64. Old ragtime dance : TURKEYTROT
66. God with a quiver : EROS
67. Stake on a table : ANTE
68. Many an aria singer, informally : MEZZO
69. Fillet : BONE
70. Short : SHY
71. "That threw me for ___" : ALOOP
1. Makes faces : MUGS
2. Onset of phobia? : ACRO
3. Soil sort : LOAM
4. Stockbroker's advice : INVEST
5. "___ news?" : ANY
6. Parts of hearts : ATRIA
7. Bank department : LOANS
8. Plain folk : AMISH
9. Make sense, with "up" : ADD
10. LaCrosse, for one : BUICKSEDAN
11. Hidden store : CACHE
12. Cold fall : SLEET
15. Warm month in South America : ENERO
18. They may be blind : TRUSTS
22. Calendar abbr. : SAT
25. Old Nestlé brand : QUIK
26. Viet ___ : CONG
27. Footnote, perhaps : CITE
28. Wan : ASHY
29. Dance from which the Lindy Hop developed : CHARLESTON
33. Muslim general : AGA
34. Jeremy of the N.B.A. : LIN
35. Egg: Prefix : OVI
37. Pool need : RACK
38. Salon supplies : DYES
40. Modernists, informally : NEOS
41. Obtrude : IMPOSE
42. "I, Claudius" role : NERO
47. Subj. for many newcomers : ESL
48. Fauna and flora : BIOTA
50. Brand from Holland : AMSTEL
51. Hardly Mr. Cool : DWEEB
52. Like the Deco look, now : RETRO
53. Nuts and bolts, e.g. : NOUNS
54. Body measurement : GIRTH
55. Enter again, as text : REKEY
59. Rice-size pasta : ORZO
60. Lamebrain : BOZO
61. Opposite of under : ATOP
63. Charlottesville-to-Richmond dir. : ESE
65. Sumac native to Peru : YMA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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