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New York Times, Monday, December 1, 2014

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2510/9/201211/5/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1342483
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63120
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVX} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes:
Hello all! Landing in a Monday slot has been a personal goal for a while, with more failures than I care to admit. I really appreciate ... read more

Hello all! Landing in a Monday slot has been a personal goal for a while, with more failures than I care to admit. I really appreciate those who do it better than I do, with a near-perfect balance of smoothness and snappiness. REATA still irks me, but it permitted STIR FRY, ZEPHYRS, LIP SYNC, and SITCOM, so I went with it. Anyway, I hope the final product suits your fancy!

By the way, I still have a lot to learn about clues, because Mr. Shortz changed most of them. The only one I wished he had kept was 25 down — I had a pyrotechnician instead of an arsonist.

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a nice way to start off the week, colorful phrases akin to 'enthrall me' getting wacky connections to careers. My favorite was ... read more

Such a nice way to start off the week, colorful phrases akin to "enthrall me" getting wacky connections to careers. My favorite was ROCK MY WORLD, perfectly tied to a seismologist. (Also very nice would have been a diamond seller, using the slangy meaning of "rock" in an engagement ring.) Love the consistency; each of the four themers having a (verb) MY (noun) structure.

Typically the "pinwheel" arrangement doesn't allow for a lot of great long fill, as it's too easy for the theme to get muddied up. After seeing the grid, I girded myself to get theme and not much more, but boy, was I pleasantly surprised. John gives us a clinic in how to wisely use your moderate-length fill. I thought I was lucky to get CAMP OUT, ALL TOLD, and PAIR UP right off the bat, and the goodness kept coming. ZEPHYRS and LIP SYNC anchor the other corner, and STIR FRY puts the exclamation point on the end with its fantastic clue, playing on the "walk" and "wok" homonyms. Newer constructors — heck, all constructors — ought to study how carefully John picked his moderate-length fill, maximizing the sizzle.

Drawing of a redoubt

I didn't know what REDOUBT was, but I liked learning about it. This is the right way, in my eyes, to introduce a new term to people's vocabulary — 1.) all of the crossings are perfectly fair, none of them even remotely possible to get wrong, and 2.) having it be the only odd duck in the grid. I like learning a thing or two, but like most lazy folks, one is better than two for me on a Monday.

I might have given it the POW! if it hadn't been for a few things. LIGHT MY FIRE clued to an arsonist … that's not really a career, is it? (Don't tell any of the kids I work with if it is.) I like John's pyrotechnician, which could have also been candlemaker. LED designer? Cinematographer? I understand the difficulty of not being able to use "light" in the clue — lighting expert, light designer — but this one inconsistency sticks out in a big way to me.

It would have been nice to see a couple of longer bits of fill, too. (If the square between BUILT and FAB had been taken out, for example.) This theme is so overt that it'd be tough to confuse long fill and themers. That may have not allowed for all the fantastic mid-length fill, but given how well John executed on it at 78 words, I bet he'd do just fine at 76 words too.

Very fun solve, a pleasure to write about.

1
O
2
P
3
T
4
I
5
C
6
U
7
D
8
D
9
E
10
R
11
S
12
A
13
C
14
A
R
E
N
A
15
N
O
I
S
E
16
U
G
H
17
R
O
C
K
M
18
Y
W
O
R
L
D
19
I
R
A
20
P
E
E
R
21
O
22
F
T
E
N
23
A
24
L
25
L
26
T
O
L
D
27
G
28
O
U
R
M
E
T
29
P
A
I
R
U
P
30
B
U
S
B
O
Y
31
I
N
G
O
T
32
B
U
I
L
T
33
F
34
A
35
B
36
A
C
H
Y
37
C
E
L
L
O
38
P
A
R
E
39
N
E
T
40
S
H
A
L
E
41
L
I
N
D
A
42
M
43
U
T
I
N
Y
44
S
I
T
C
O
M
45
P
46
H
Y
S
I
C
S
47
Z
E
P
H
Y
R
S
48
L
I
F
E
R
49
F
E
E
S
50
U
R
I
51
F
52
L
53
O
A
T
M
Y
54
B
55
O
56
A
57
T
58
M
E
R
59
R
E
A
T
A
60
N
O
B
L
E
61
P
E
E
62
Y
I
K
E
S
63
C
A
S
E
D
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1201 ( 23,764 )
Across
1
Sight-related : OPTIC
6
Pink part of a cow, in cartoons : UDDER
11
Cul-de-___ : SAC
14
Coliseum : ARENA
15
Din : NOISE
16
"Gross!" : UGH
17
"You really ___!," said the adoring seismologist : ROCKMYWORLD
19
Investment option for old age, in brief : IRA
20
Jury member : PEER
21
Frequently : OFTEN
23
In sum : ALLTOLD
27
Connoisseur of fine food : GOURMET
29
Take part in a buddy system, say : PAIRUP
30
Starting restaurant employee, maybe : BUSBOY
31
Gold bar : INGOT
32
Constructed : BUILT
33
Groovy : FAB
36
Sore : ACHY
37
Larger cousin of a violin : CELLO
38
Whittle down : PARE
39
Ping-Pong table divider : NET
40
Mineral layer involved in fracking : SHALE
41
Loma ___, Calif. : LINDA
42
Event on the Bounty : MUTINY
44
"Modern Family" or "All in the Family" : SITCOM
45
Field for Newton or Einstein : PHYSICS
47
Gentle winds : ZEPHYRS
48
One with a long, long sentence : LIFER
49
"___ and restrictions may apply" : FEES
50
Spoon-bending Geller : URI
51
"You really ___!," said the adoring ship captain : FLOATMYBOAT
58
French sea : MER
59
Rodeo rope : REATA
60
Having high moral principles : NOBLE
61
Letter before cue, ar, ess ... : PEE
62
"Oh no!" : YIKES
63
Examined before robbing : CASED
Down
1
Relative of a paddle : OAR
2
Con's opposite : PRO
3
Sleuth, in old crime fiction : TEC
4
Quill fluid : INK
5
Activity with a tent and s'mores : CAMPOUT
6
Single : UNWED
7
One of three on "Let's Make a Deal" : DOOR
8
Northwest by north, e.g.: Abbr. : DIR
9
Class for some immigrants, for short : ESL
10
Fortress : REDOUBT
11
"You really ___!," said the adoring tailor : SUITMYFANCY
12
Coincide : AGREE
13
"U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!," e.g. : CHANT
18
Website for customer reviews : YELP
22
To's opposite : FRO
23
Beelike : APIAN
24
Knight's weapon : LANCE
25
"You really ___!," said the adoring arsonist : LIGHTMYFIRE
26
"Iliad" locale : TROY
27
Trickery : GUILE
28
Norway's capital : OSLO
30
One who might steal a classmate's lunch money : BULLY
32
Garbanzos, e.g. : BEANS
34
Zeal : ARDOR
35
Grins from ear to ear : BEAMS
37
Fashionable : CHIC
38
Essence : PITH
40
Go for a wok, say? : STIRFRY
41
Mouth the words : LIPSYNC
43
Take advantage of : USE
44
Appear : SEEM
45
Ready for market, as a chicken : PLUMP
46
One landing a job : HIREE
47
Z Z Z, to Greeks : ZETAS
49
Destiny : FATE
52
Hawaiian necklace : LEI
53
Tree with lobed leaves : OAK
54
Cousin of a python : BOA
55
Delivery room docs : OBS
56
Ginger ___ : ALE
57
Sen. Cruz : TED

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

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