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New York Times, Thursday, November 5, 2015

Author:
Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3310/2/20088/21/20199
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
7257516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63130
Samuel A. Donaldson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {KQ} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Donaldson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Samuel A. Donaldson notes:
Three things: (1) The final grid I submitted had NEW SHOOTER instead of PEA SHOOTER at 11-Down (and RENT at 13-Down, in case you're ... read more

Three things:

(1) The final grid I submitted had NEW SHOOTER instead of PEA SHOOTER at 11-Down (and RENT at 13-Down, in case you're wondering). My clue for NEW SHOOTER was [Croupier cry as dice are passed]. I still like NEW SHOOTER, but I agree that PEA SHOOTER is the better entry.

(2) Only 33 of my original clues made the final cut. (Happily, that includes [Column that's beside the point?] for TENTHS.) Another nine had to be edited for length or clarification, but poor Will and company had to completely re-write 31 of the clues (plus the clues for the revised entries discussed above). I'll try to do better.

(3) Did you notice that the NTH breaks at a different point in each of the three theme entries? ALL IN THE FAMILY breaks after the N, EVENT HORIZON breaks after the T, and ELEVENTH HOUR breaks after the H (well, okay, it doesn't really "break" there, but you get the idea). That was intentional, since I worried that if two entries broke at the same point it would look inconsistent for the third to break at a different point. Maybe I overthink these things.

Jeff Chen notes:
I always enjoy hearing Sam's voice come through in his puzzles. Today brings us such nice colloquial clues: ['I'm right here, you ... read more

I always enjoy hearing Sam's voice come through in his puzzles. Today brings us such nice colloquial clues: ["I'm right here, you know"] for AHEM and ["Am I the only one …"] for IS IT ME. Also great to get OH FUN, something I can imagine Sam saying.

ALL IN THE FAMILY cast

Onto the puzzle! Sam interprets HIGHER POWER as "phrases containing NTH; those three letters get raised above the answer." The bizarre-looking ALLIEFAMILY is actually ALL IN THE FAMILY, with the answer turning up, heading right, jogging back SW, and finishing out. Some nice themers, with ELEVENTH HOUR and EVENT HORIZON both strong.

(Minor ding for NTH and ELEVENTH being too similar for my taste.)

Pretty good execution considering the difficulties of filling around those themers. When you fold answers up like this, it creates many constraints in the crossings. The area around ELEVENTH HOUR is actually quite good, with the snappy PEA SHOOTER (I do like NEW SHOOTER as well) and CRIES UNCLE worked in there. Including those parallel long downs makes that region even tougher to fill cleanly and zestily, so only a NEG and an ATCO (and the arbitrary-ish AGE ONE) is a win.

The areas around the other two themers didn't come out quite as well, with the odd ENISLE up top and STOL (short take-off and landing) down below. Still, that's not bad considering how tough it is to work with these folded types of answers.

Some great clues:

  • The TENTHS column is indeed beside the (decimal) point! Gold star for this one.
  • [Beast of Borden] is ELSIE, Borden's "spokescow."
  • FLAGs get waved at the Olympics, but EPEEs do as well. Nice deception.

I did like seeing those NTHs raised one row, but I didn't quite buy HIGHER POWER as a solid rationale for the serpentine path each themer took. I'm probably taking it too literally, but to me, HIGHER POWER might have been NTH sitting on top of SQUARE and CUBE — powers of two and three — or FIRE, WILL, SOLAR and other different types of powers. It was fun to scratch my head as I tried to figure out the trick, though.

1
M
2
A
3
N
4
E
5
R
6
O
7
C
8
I
9
T
10
Y
11
P
12
C
13
T
14
P
L
I
N
T
H
15
A
S
I
A
16
E
R
A
17
A
L
L
I
E
F
18
A
M
I
L
Y
19
A
I
R
20
A
Y
E
S
21
U
N
I
T
22
S
E
T
23
L
24
O
N
G
25
M
26
O
27
N
28
T
H
S
29
H
30
O
E
D
31
E
32
L
E
V
E
H
O
U
33
R
34
D
O
Z
35
D
36
E
L
I
37
A
G
E
O
N
E
38
A
M
O
39
S
40
L
A
M
41
A
R
42
A
T
C
O
43
T
E
N
T
44
H
S
45
B
U
Y
46
S
47
E
L
S
48
E
V
E
O
R
I
49
Z
O
N
50
O
51
G
R
E
52
I
L
L
S
E
E
53
T
54
A
X
I
55
P
D
A
56
N
57
A
I
F
58
J
59
A
60
P
61
E
62
F
E
Y
63
H
64
I
G
H
E
R
65
P
O
W
E
R
66
F
O
E
67
E
P
E
E
68
O
T
E
L
L
O
69
T
S
R
70
F
O
R
M
71
S
A
S
S
E
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1105 ( 24,103 )

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Across
1
Travolta's "Saturday Night Fever" role : MANERO
7
Word following Kansas or Oklahoma : CITY
11
Election night abbr. : PCT
14
Column base : PLINTH
15
Where many emerging markets can be found : ASIA
16
Part of B.C.E. : ERA
17
Groundbreaking 1970s sitcom : ALLINTHEFAMILY
19
Put on : AIR
20
For people? : AYES
21
Company, e.g. : UNIT
22
Three of a kind, in Texas hold'em : SET
23
Protracted : LONG
25
Threesome in a quarter : MONTHS
29
Was anti-weed? : HOED
31
Just before the deadline : ELEVENTHHOUR
34
Baker's qty. : DOZ
35
Supermarket section : DELI
37
Time to start walking, maybe : AGEONE
38
Book after Joel : AMOS
40
Missouri birthplace of Harry Truman : LAMAR
42
Big record label in 1960s pop : ATCO
43
Column that's beside the point? : TENTHS
45
Accepts : BUYS
47
Logical extremes? : ELS
48
Point beyond which light cannot escape from a black hole : EVENTHORIZON
50
People eater, perhaps : OGRE
52
"Maybe" : ILLSEE
53
Move on or off the runway : TAXI
55
Address book replacer, for short : PDA
56
Ingenuous one : NAIF
58
Practical joke : JAPE
62
Effeminate : FEY
63
Divine being ... or a hint to 17-, 31- and 48-Across : HIGHERPOWER
66
"Them" : FOE
67
It may be waved at the Olympics : EPEE
68
Opera with the "Willow Song" : OTELLO
69
Original D&D co. : TSR
70
Application to fill out : FORM
71
Gets smart with : SASSES
Down
1
Org. associated with filmratings.com : MPAA
2
One of "us" : ALLY
3
Locale in Exodus : NILE
4
Strand, in a way : ENISLE
5
Mail abbr. : RTE
6
Sarcastic response to a dreaded task : OHFUN
7
Short negligee, for short : CAMI
8
"Am I the only one ...?" : ISITME
9
Up to, informally : TIL
10
Triumphant shout : YAY
11
Toy gun : PEASHOOTER
12
Admits defeat : CRIESUNCLE
13
Lemonlike : TART
18
First name in German politics : ANGELA
24
"How ___!" : ODD
26
Egg container : OVARY
27
-: Abbr. : NEG
28
Mother of Selene : THEA
29
Many camcorder recordings : HOMEVIDEOS
30
It's found all around the world : OZONELAYER
32
Bar entertainment? : LIMBO
33
Classic cars : REOS
34
Go with : DATE
36
Beast of Borden : ELSIE
39
Small-runway craft, in brief : STOL
41
___ Anne's (pretzel company) : AUNTIE
44
Big hits: Abbr. : HRS
46
Pride of Boston, informally : SOX
49
John Peter ___, early American publisher and free press champion : ZENGER
51
U.S. soldiers, in slang : GIJOES
54
Heads of the black community? : AFROS
55
How a dud goes : PFFT
57
"I'm right here, you know" : AHEM
59
Punchers for a belt : AWLS
60
Scorer of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games : PELE
61
Greek matchmaker : EROS
63
Bunny's beau : HEF
64
Opening on Wall St. : IPO
65
Grp. concerned with class struggles? : PTA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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