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New York Times, Monday, November 27, 2017

Author:
Kevin Christian
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
105/22/20133/25/20194
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0522010
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!

Jim Horne notes:

Be sure to view the PDF to see what this puzzle looks like in print.

1
C
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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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