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New York Times, Monday, November 4, 2013

Author:
John Lieb
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
155/14/20132/16/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0432204
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60110
John Lieb

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQV} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Lieb. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Lieb notes:
This puzzle came about when, for no particular reason, I was considering songs that start with 'It's' (It's Not Unusual, It's So Easy, ... read more

This puzzle came about when, for no particular reason, I was considering songs that start with "It's" (It's Not Unusual, It's So Easy, It's Tricky…). When I got to "It's Raining Men", Finn Vigeland's January 2012 Sunday puzzle "Weather Report" sprang to mind, and I thought it might be fun to have various men's names running vertically in the grid. Of course, "men" is a bit of a broad category, so there had to be something unifying the names. The RAIN/REIGN homophone then hit me and things were off and running.

The word "reign" makes me think of kings and queens, so I wanted to use four well-known historical names, rather than modern rulers like Obama and Putin, and these four rulers fit the bill (and fit symmetrically!). I liked the contrast between a gimmicky 80's song (co-written by Late Night's Paul Shaffer, by the way) and these old-time rulers. In terms of construction, getting two entries to cross through three theme answers was helpful to make what I thought was a fairly open, interconnected grid pattern. I also like how RICHARD III looks vertically in the grid. I enjoy doing and trying to make Monday puzzles, so I hope people have fun with this one.

Will Shortz notes:
I don't usually run punny themes on Mondays, but this one felt simple enough to still be appropriate for the easiest day of the week. ... read more

I don't usually run punny themes on Mondays, but this one felt simple enough to still be appropriate for the easiest day of the week. Apparently, John Lieb expected this puzzle to appear later in the week, because the clues he submitted tended to be on the hard side. As a result, most of the clues here are mine.

The Monday-Thursday puzzles this week appeared last Saturday at the Arlington Puzzle Festival in Arlington, Va. The 2013 results should be posted soon.

Jeff Chen notes:
Hilarious theme today. Took me a while to figure out what was going on, especially for a Monday, but when I finally uncovered ITS ... read more

Hilarious theme today. Took me a while to figure out what was going on, especially for a Monday, but when I finally uncovered ITS RAINING MEN I chuckled. Neat idea and I really appreciate the image of CHARLEMAGNE dancing to the song. Bravo!

Nice change of pace to have theme answers run in the vertical direction, and I really like it when there's a real reason to do so (evoking the image of falling rain). Very cool. This type of arrangement can be tricky because long fill in the across direction can muddy up the theme, making the solver think that any long across answers are thematic. John does well in this regard, only using two long across answers, ALCATRAZ and PARMESAN. Even though there isn't any other long fill, I appreciate how John incorporated the fun KALKAN and DEAR ME. Fun 6's.

In terms of short fill, there's a touch too much crunchiness for my taste. As with every five-theme answer puzzle, smoothness can be an issue, and the inclusion of AROO, OSO, BEI, ESTOP, and ASCAP are a lot of any day of the week. I don't usually mind a smattering of the lesser offenders, but I SHOT, AMER, plus the pile-up of acronyms and abbreviations (MSU, INT, NATO, ECON, MSRP, etc.) detracted from my solving enjoyment.

Finally, although I really liked the cleverness of the theme, I would have loved to see four reigning men who were related in some way. Perhaps it's just having watched The Tudors that made me wonder why HENRY VIII didn't get his props? And apparently dusk has set on the poor Sun King, LOUIS XIV.

Anyway, enjoyable start to the week. I'm still giggling, imagining KING ARTHUR and CHARLEMAGNE prancing about together.

1
O
2
A
3
K
4
B
5
R
6
A
7
S
8
C
9
O
10
F
11
F
12
S
13
B
E
I
14
M
A
X
15
I
16
C
O
L
L
I
E
17
G
I
N
18
W
I
L
T
19
I
N
D
E
N
T
20
Y
O
G
21
I
22
D
E
S
23
K
24
S
E
X
E
S
25
N
U
A
N
26
C
E
27
R
A
28
N
T
S
29
R
U
H
R
30
A
L
C
A
T
31
R
32
A
33
Z
34
L
35
O
T
S
A
36
N
I
K
O
N
37
I
R
E
38
U
S
H
E
R
39
A
N
A
40
T
41
A
C
O
S
42
M
S
U
43
L
44
O
G
I
N
45
I
S
H
O
T
46
P
A
R
47
M
E
S
A
N
48
I
N
C
A
49
A
M
O
N
G
50
D
E
A
R
51
M
52
E
53
M
54
A
55
Z
D
A
56
O
M
57
N
I
58
P
D
A
S
59
S
M
U
D
G
60
E
61
E
C
O
62
N
63
I
N
T
64
R
E
L
E
N
T
65
N
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T
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I
D
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P
R
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68
A
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69
I
M
P
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1104 ( 23,372 )
Across
1
Tree with acorns : OAK
4
Garment under a blouse : BRA
7
Expresses derision : SCOFFS
13
"___ Mir Bist Du Schön" (1938 hit) : BEI
14
Dress that covers the ankles : MAXI
16
Lassie, for one : COLLIE
17
___ and tonic : GIN
18
Droop in the heat : WILT
19
Set off from the margin : INDENT
20
Lead-in to Bear or Berra : YOGI
22
Post-monologue spot for Jay Leno : DESK
24
Male and female : SEXES
25
Shade of meaning : NUANCE
27
Diatribes : RANTS
29
German coal region : RUHR
30
Former penitentiary in San Francisco Bay : ALCATRAZ
34
"___ luck!" : LOTSA
36
Japanese camera : NIKON
37
Anger : IRE
38
One with a leading role? : USHER
39
Santa ___ winds : ANA
40
Tex-Mex fare with shells : TACOS
42
East Lansing sch. : MSU
43
Get access, as to a protected site : LOGIN
45
"___ the Sheriff" (Eric Clapton #1 hit) : ISHOT
46
Grated cheese : PARMESAN
48
Ancient Peruvian : INCA
49
In the midst of : AMONG
50
"Oh my stars!" : DEARME
53
Miata maker : MAZDA
56
Prefix with present : OMNI
58
BlackBerrys and Palms, for short : PDAS
59
Mark that might be left with greasy fingers : SMUDGE
61
Supply-and-demand subj. : ECON
63
Monthly entry on a bank statement: Abbr. : INT
64
Say O.K., begrudgingly : RELENT
65
Western mil. alliance : NATO
66
Wedding words : IDO
67
Dried plums : PRUNES
68
Imbecile : ASS
69
Prankster : IMP
Down
1
Maternity ward doc : OBGYN
2
Group to which "Y" is sometimes added : AEIOU
3
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" protagonist : KINGARTHUR
4
Mini Cooper maker : BMW
5
Oakland N.F.L.'er : RAIDER
6
Wheel turner : AXLE
7
Astron., e.g. : SCI
8
Eponym of the city now known as Istanbul : CONSTANTINE
9
Like St. Augustine vis-à-vis all U.S. cities : OLDEST
10
Show off at Muscle Beach : FLEX
11
Alternative to a jail sentence : FINE
12
Tennis units : SETS
15
Camp classic by the Weather Girls ... or a homophonic hint to 3-, 8-, 26- and 31-Down : ITSRAININGMEN
21
Occupied, as a bathroom : INUSE
23
Alpo alternative : KALKAN
26
So-called "Father of Europe" : CHARLEMAGNE
28
Sgt., e.g. : NCO
31
Shakespeare play that begins "Now is the winter of our discontent" : RICHARDIII
32
Suffix with buck : AROO
33
Joie de vivre : ZEST
34
"One ___ or two?" : LUMP
35
Greece's Mount ___ : OSSA
36
1998 Winter Olympics host : NAGANO
41
Musical alternative to B.M.I. : ASCAP
44
Bear: Sp. : OSO
47
Infuriate : MADDEN
48
Imbeciles : IDIOTS
51
Bit of candy that "melts in your mouth, not in your hand" : MANDM
52
Legally prevent : ESTOP
53
Car showroom sticker inits. : MSRP
54
The "A" in U.S.A.: Abbr. : AMER
55
South African native : ZULU
57
Sweet 16 org. : NCAA
60
Many "Star Trek" extras, for short : ETS
62
1, 2, 3, etc.: Abbr. : NOS

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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