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New York Times, Monday, November 27, 2017

Author:
Kevin Christian
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
95/22/201311/27/20173
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0422010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64011
Kevin Christian

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Christian. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The print version of this puzzle contains a visual element that the software cannot reproduce. However, it is equally solvable either way.
Kevin Christian notes:
The mullet is the greatest hairstyle ever invented. It is the greatest hairstyle ever invented because it makes a man look like a ... read more

The mullet is the greatest hairstyle ever invented. It is the greatest hairstyle ever invented because it makes a man look like a lion. What man wouldn't want to look like a lion? Lions are awesome. They're the kings of the jungle. That's why mullets are awesome.

I used to have a mullet. I'm 53 years old. That means I was born in 1964. That means I was between the ages of 16 and 26 during the 80's. Of course, I rocked a mullet. In fact, I have a photo of myself from 1987 where I have a mullet and a giant ZZ Top beard. Top that. I shaved it when I returned from 4-1/2 months in Europe and had to get a real job.

I remember when my mullet disappeared. It was not of my choosing. I would go to get my hair cut, and I would say, "I want it short on the sides and long in the back." How hard is that to understand? Not very hard. However, I noticed as the years went by, the hairstylists ignored me. They didn't leave it long in the back. It kept getting shorter and shorter in the back. I was so sad. Perhaps the hairstylists were trying to save me from myself.

On a crossword note … I have a version of this grid that has JOE DIRT and CHAPPIE across the middle instead of RAMBO. That's one more theme answer and nine more theme letters. I went with the RAMBO version instead because it has cleaner fill. Plus, I didn't want to lose RAMBO. Who doesn't love Sylvester Stallone in a mullet? We all love Sylvester Stallone in a mullet. All other mullets pale in comparison.

Jeff Chen notes:
Business in the front, party in the back! A celebration of movie MULLETs today. Usually, I'm not fond of listicle-like puzzles, but ... read more

Business in the front, party in the back! A celebration of movie MULLETs today. Usually, I'm not fond of listicle-like puzzles, but what a neat visual element, adding pics of the six stars right on the pdf file. Hilarious!

Normally I like to see a bit of variety in genders, ethnicities, etc. But today is probably one where women and minorities can rejoice that they weren't included. Huzzah!

I have a strong image in my head of what a MULLET looks like. Sly and Travolta are perfect, neat up front, letting it all hang out in the rear. Mel … not so much. And Nic, well, Nic just looks ridiculous. So, not exactly the spot-on MULLET-mania I was hoping for.

Especially given that, it felt like too much theme material, needlessly overtaxing the grid. Right up top, THE LOST BOYS over DIRTY DANCING — there's not a ton of choices for the ??B?Y pattern. I don't mind a short duplicated word here or there — THE or I or AN, whatever — but BOY crossing BOYS? That's no bueno. Felt so so so so so inelegant.

All over, there are too many spots that are overstressed with too many themers fixed into place, requiring NSEC, ISO, EREI, TOR/CLE, ACCTS, etc. No bueno again!

And I can't condone PACA (and ENO to a much lesser extent) on a Monday. Those poor Monday solvers!

I did appreciate some of the bonuses, DOGFIGHT and SCORPION especially, helping to keep MULLET-hating solvers engaged. But these put yet more strain on the grid (see: PACA). Oofa.

Getting rid of CONAIR — which doesn't feel as memorable as the others to me — would at least have helped Kevin present a solid NW corner.

Overall, I love seeing something a little different, and the actual pics in the pdf are awesome! Execution, though … BOYs OH BOY.

I did very much enjoy Kevin's note — such funny MULLET love!

JimH notes:
Be sure to view the PDF to see what this puzzle looks like in print.
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1127 ( 24,856 )
Across
1. 1997 Nicolas Cage film : CONAIR
7. Took too much of a drug, briefly : ODED
11. Biblical symbol of patience : JOB
14. St. Francis of ___ : ASSISI
15. ___-Hoop (toy) : HULA
16. Address beginning "http" : URL
17. 1987 Kiefer Sutherland film : THELOSTBOYS
19. Item for a T-bar user : SKI
20. ___ fly (certain baseball out, informally) : SAC
21. Music producer Brian : ENO
22. Actor John or his actor son Sean : ASTIN
24. 1987 Patrick Swayze film : DIRTYDANCING
28. ___ salts (bath supply) : EPSOM
31. Marriage : UNION
32. Release : LETGO
33. Yemeni port : ADEN
35. Some TVs : RCAS
38. Lowly worker : SERF
39. 1982, 1985, 1988 and 2008 Sylvester Stallone film franchise : RAMBO
40. Amazon rodent : PACA
41. "... ___ saw Elba" : EREI
42. Sin associated with the color green : ENVY
43. Things you put up when you "put 'em up" : FISTS
44. Vandalized, in a way, as on Halloween : EGGED
46. Fertile soil : LOESS
47. 1987 Mel Gibson film : LETHALWEAPON
52. Things opened at banks: Abbr. : ACCTS
53. 35mm camera inits. : SLR
54. ___ Beta Kappa : PHI
57. The Blue Jays, on scoreboards : TOR
58. 1994 John Travolta film : PULPFICTION
63. The Cavaliers, on scoreboards : CLE
64. Handmade products website : ETSY
65. Environmental messes from tankers : SPILLS
66. Concealed : HID
67. Root beer brand : DADS
68. Much-derided hairstyle seen in 1-, 17-, 24-, 39-, 47- and 58-Across : MULLET
Down
1. Pets that purr : CATS
2. Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA
3. Tiny amount of time: Abbr. : NSEC
4. Be laid up in bed : AIL
5. Prefix with propyl : ISO
6. Early ___ (night owl's opposite) : RISER
7. "We're in trouble now!" : OHBOY
8. Hall & Oates, for example : DUO
9. Tarzan player Ron : ELY
10. Evian competitor : DASANI
11. Because you never know, it might be needed : JUSTINCASE
12. Big name in pest control : ORKIN
13. Flashy jewelry : BLING
18. Stuff that blows up other stuff : TNT
23. Zodiac symbol between scales and an archer : SCORPION
24. Pilots' combat : DOGFIGHT
25. Texter's "I believe ..." : IMO
26. Library book words : DUEBY
27. Part of A.D. : ANNO
28. Otherwise : ELSE
29. One of 12 on a jury : PEER
30. Rep : STREETCRED
33. Root beer brand : AANDW
34. Driver's license issuer, for short : DMV
36. Lion taming and tightrope walking, for two : ACTS
37. Talk back to : SASS
39. Rod and ___ : REEL
43. Woman in Progressive ads : FLO
45. Expressed shock : GASPED
47. Lock fastener : LATCH
48. Sometimes-bad bacterium : ECOLI
49. Some athletic awards : ESPYS
50. Governor Landon who ran for president in 1936 : ALF
51. Cover image on Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" : PRISM
54. Bit of medicine : PILL
55. Ozone layer problem : HOLE
56. The "I" of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST
59. Actress Hagen : UTA
60. Trip inducer, in brief : LSD
61. PC "brain" : CPU
62. Up to, informally : TIL

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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