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New York Times, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Author:
Michael J. Doran
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
79/16/200311/8/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1141000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.50100
Michael J. Doran

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Doran. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael J. Doran notes:
This puzzle was accepted back in January 2013. I was pleasantly surprised last week when I got an email saying the puzzle would run ... read more

This puzzle was accepted back in January 2013. I was pleasantly surprised last week when I got an email saying the puzzle would run today, as I'd completely forgotten about it being in the queue.

It's hard to give too much insight into the construction since I made this puzzle about four years ago. I do remember I got this theme idea while driving to work and passing a realtor's sign for an OPEN HOUSE. I spent the rest of the ride thinking of prefixes for HOUSE, and luckily for me there were lots of options to make common phrases from. I then got fortunate to include a few extra of these theme entries from my list when the stacks worked at 17/20 and 55/61-across.

Will and Joel did change a good amount of clues for this puzzle (for the better!), but I'm glad they left my opening clue at 1-across, as "She's Leaving Home" has always been one of my favorite Beatles songs.

The Election Day crossword has big shoes to fill after the famous CLINTON/BOB DOLE puzzle, so despite not being as clever as that puzzle, I hope solvers nonetheless enjoyed this one today. If nothing else, I hope it served as a nice diversion from this year's polarizing election.

Jeff Chen notes:
OPEN HOUSE used as a revealer today, indicating that both words in the theme entries can follow HOUSE: STATE BIRD = STATE HOUSE / BIRD ... read more

OPEN HOUSE used as a revealer today, indicating that both words in the theme entries can follow HOUSE: STATE BIRD = STATE HOUSE / BIRD HOUSE, TOLL ROAD = TOLLHOUSE / ROADHOUSE, etc. Interesting that Mike stacked pairs of themers like STATE BIRD over TOLL ROAD — rarely an easy task. And working in eight (!) themers is never easy.

I met Mike a few years back at the ACPT, and a conversation we had made me rethink some things. I had commented on ROTA in one of his puzzles, and he said that it actually was a really common term in golf. Sure enough, he was right.

That made me realize I was seeing "crossword glue" in very black-and-white terms, when gray was more appropriate. I still don't think ROTA is great in a mass-market puzzle, but ever since then, I've internally debated these questions much harder.

Some crossword glue is clear-cut, i.e. listings on editors' spec sheets: abbreviations (ATT, SESS, ONT, NSEC), esoteric-ish foreign words (SETTE, LITRE), old-school crosswordese (OLIO), etc. But something like ROILY? Hmm ...

A while back, SKYEY made a rare appearance, and I was on the fence about that one too. Brad Wilber, who edits the Chronicle of Higher Education, made a case that 1.) it's listed in all his dictionaries, not even as a variant and 2.) it gives variety that's potentially nice for solvers used to seeing the same short words all the time. After much thought, I still wouldn't use it or ROILY in one of my puzzles, but I like Brad's perspective.

Nice bonuses in PT BOAT, POTLUCK, NAME ONE, BIG CATS. Very hard to work in extras with so many themers, so that was appreciated.

Overall, I've seen this theme type enough that I think there has to be something extra for a puzzle of this genre to stand out. HOUSE is a little too easy to work with for my taste, and some of the themers (TOLL ROAD and ART STORE especially) were a little dry for my taste. But given that very few 15x crosswords ever go to eight themers, I like seeing an outlier every once in a while.

1
H
2
A
3
R
4
P
5
P
6
A
7
C
8
E
9
W
10
A
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T
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T
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S
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O
L
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N
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H
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A
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K
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A
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U
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S
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H
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A
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B
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I
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G
C
A
T
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S
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A
T
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N
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A
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B
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L
A
R
K
34
C
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O
N
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I
V
E
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O
M
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A
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R
A
L
S
E
A
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M
A
E
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A
B
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R
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M
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N
A
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F
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T
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T
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P
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N
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A
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S
A
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Y
49
L
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E
S
L
I
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E
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T
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M
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G
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A
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Y
55
S
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M
O
K
E
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O
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U
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T
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A
N
G
L
O
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O
P
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N
H
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E
T
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N
Y
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N
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1108 ( 24,472 )
Across
1
First instrument heard in the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" : HARP
5
Marathoner's concern : PACE
9
Bulb units : WATTS
14
Miscellany : OLIO
15
1982 sci-fi film with a 2010 sequel : TRON
16
One who's new on board : HIREE
17
*Carolina wren, for South Carolina : STATEBIRD
19
Places to buy furniture to assemble : IKEAS
20
*Turnpike : TOLLROAD
21
Has control of the wheel : STEERS
22
Actress Thurman : UMA
23
Queen of the Jungle, in comics : SHEENA
25
Pumas and panthers : BIGCATS
29
Lawyer: Abbr. : ATT
30
Collar : NAB
33
Carefree adventure : LARK
34
Tale of adventure : CONTE
36
"___ had enough!" : IVE
37
Kipling's "Follow Me ___" : OME
38
Asian body of water that's now largely dried up : ARALSEA
40
Sallie ___ : MAE
41
Cent gent? : ABE
42
Name repeated before "Wherefore art thou" : ROMEO
43
Innocent sort : NAIF
44
Gift on a 10th anniversary : TIN
45
Something worth waiting for? : TIP
46
How people with colds may speak : NASALLY
49
Nielsen of "Airplane!" : LESLIE
52
Rice or Curry : TIM
53
High spirits : GAIETY
55
*Force from a hiding place : SMOKEOUT
60
___-Saxon : ANGLO
61
Realtor's big day ... or what each word in the answers to the starred clues can do : OPENHOUSE
62
Surgeon's supply in the old days : ETHER
63
Wall Street inits. : NYSE
64
Minuscule div. of a minute : NSEC
65
Petrol unit : LITRE
66
Winter Palace resident : TSAR
67
SFO postings : ETDS
Down
1
Deer, to a tick : HOST
2
Member of a mixed quartet : ALTO
3
Capital of Iran : RIAL
4
Dinner at which everyone does the dishes? : POTLUCK
5
W.W. II naval craft : PTBOAT
6
Las Vegas casino with a musical name : ARIA
7
Ribbed pants, informally : CORDS
8
Adjourn : END
9
*Highly antioxidant beverage : WHITETEA
10
Pulitzer-winning poet Conrad : AIKEN
11
*Sloth, for one : TREEANIMAL
12
Sign of sadness : TEAR
13
Meeting of Congress: Abbr. : SESS
18
Humorist Bombeck : ERMA
21
Number of hills in Roma : SETTE
24
"MMMBop" band : HANSON
25
Cause to swell : BLOAT
26
"Whose woods these are I think I know" has four : IAMBI
27
*Approve : GREENLIGHT
28
Garlic lover's dish, maybe : SCAMPI
31
Be of use : AVAIL
32
Like many bar bouncers : BEEFY
35
"Bravo!" : OLE
38
*Place to buy paint : ARTSTORE
39
Turbulent : ROILY
43
"Give me an example" : NAMEONE
47
Penitent person : ATONER
48
Many a Punjabi : SIKH
50
Conger catcher : EELER
51
Annual sports prizes : ESPYS
53
Erse speaker : GAEL
54
Voting against : ANTI
56
Grand Canyon sight : MESA
57
Send packing : OUST
58
Like many Craigslist items : USED
59
Private eyes, in slang : TECS
61
Neighbor of Mich. : ONT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?