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New York Times, Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Author:
Dan Schoenholz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
235/5/201012/7/20170
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10244300
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1.64220
Dan Schoenholz

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Schoenholz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Dan Schoenholz notes:
I constructed this puzzle in 2013, shortly after it hit me that early Beatles tunes were approaching their 50th anniversaries. Given ... read more

I constructed this puzzle in 2013, shortly after it hit me that early Beatles tunes were approaching their 50th anniversaries. Given the boatload of memorable Beatles lyrics to choose from, I decided to try to do a quotation puzzle using one of their hits. Happily, "Norwegian Wood" fit the bill.

I constructed two versions: one that included the additional theme entries JOHN/LENNON and RUBBER/SOUL, and one without. The added theme material would have been nice, but ultimately wasn't worth the cost in terms of the quality of the fill, so I'm happy that will chose the puzzle you see today.

Jeff Chen notes:
Tribute puzzle celebrating NORWEGIAN WOOD's 50th anniversary. Well, almost. It's such a shame that this was published two days shy of ... read more

Tribute puzzle celebrating NORWEGIAN WOOD's 50th anniversary. Well, almost. It's such a shame that this was published two days shy of that occasion. Dec. 3, 2015 is a Thursday though, and this theme isn't nearly tricky enough for that day of the week. Rats!

Ravi Shankar inspired the incorporation of the sitar into NORWEGIAN WOOD

I used to be a big Beatles fan, so that first line, I ONCE HAD A GIRL (very waltz-y, sing it in 3/4 time!) came easily. Hoo boy, the rest wasn't so easy. Pretty cool find that the first three lines happen to break so nicely, so as to fit into a crossword grid when NORWEGIAN WOOD is the revealer.

Sometimes people come to me with theme ideas with 12-14 letter themers, and they wonder why I cringe a little. Entries of this length can be so inflexible, causing spacing issues. Usually you want to put your revealer in row 13, which helps you keep two or three rows of space between themers. This gives you so much flexibility in placing blocks as you trying to separate themers.

Check out how Dan's themers are squished toward the center of the puzzle. Pretty tough when OR SHOULD I SAY and SHE ONCE HAD ME have just one line separating them. Dan does quite well given this constraint, although IRES is kind of a wonky word in the present tense verb, and I always wonder if ARTY shouldn't be "artsy."

As tribute puzzles go, I liked the fact that Dan found a fortuitous split of the lyrics. That's much, much better than having a listing of THE BEATLES, something about the song, something else about the song, and NORWEGIAN WOOD. It would have been cool though to aim for the actual anniversary, and figure out a way to add in a Thursday-ish layer (not sure what that is, but it'd be fun to try to riff on NORWEGIAN WOOD somehow). As it is, it felt slightly thin to me, like I wanted a little something more to chew on.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1201 ( 24,129 )

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Across
1
Picked : CHOSE
6
Tech debut of 1998 : IMAC
10
Energizes, with "up" : AMPS
14
One of the Seven Dwarfs : HAPPY
15
Something that might come to light? : MOTH
16
1952 Hope/Crosby "Road" movie destination : BALI
17
Doe follower, in song : ADEER
18
When doubled, a South Pacific isle : BORA
19
Cameo material : ONYX
20
Start of the opening line of 55-Across : IONCEHADAGIRL
23
Wackadoodle : NUT
24
Things bouncers check : IDS
25
Director's cry : ACTION
28
Defeats soundly : STOMPS
31
The Browns, on scoreboards : CLE
32
Squeeze (out) : EKE
33
Opening line, continued : ORSHOULDISAY
37
Radius's neighbor : ULNA
39
___ port : USB
40
Pretentious : ARTY
41
End of the opening line : SHEONCEHADME
44
Dustup : ROW
45
He's no gentleman : CAD
46
Become hardened : OSSIFY
50
[Brrrr!] : SHIVER
52
Gray shade : ASH
54
Sound in a roundup : MOO
55
Beatles song released on 12/3/1965 : NORWEGIANWOOD
59
Long ago, long ago : ERST
61
Feel it the next day, say : ACHE
62
Maker of a famous 1969 landing : EAGLE
63
Do one-third of a triathlon : BIKE
64
Kind of rug : SHAG
65
Staggering : AREEL
66
Word before and after "will be" : BOYS
67
It might have some kinks in it : HOSE
68
Awaits decision : PENDS
Down
1
McDonald's and Burger King : CHAINS
2
Borrowed, as a library book : HADOUT
3
Not rejecting out of hand : OPENTO
4
Design detail : SPEC
5
Jane who said "I can live alone, if self-respect and circumstances require me so to do" : EYRE
6
1987 declaration from Michael Jackson : IMBAD
7
Dispositions : MOODS
8
Mach3 forerunner : ATRA
9
Marc who painted "Russian Village Under the Moon" : CHAGALL
10
Cancel, as a mission : ABORT
11
Exhibiting the most machismo : MANLIEST
12
Wield : PLY
13
Top roll of a die : SIX
21
Radiator sound : HISS
22
They form when water freezes at a roof's edge : ICEDAMS
26
"Fine by me" : OKAY
27
Marshal under Napoleon : NEY
29
Pre-stereo format : MONO
30
Partner of Vixen in "A Visit From St. Nicholas" : PRANCER
31
Guantánamo Bay locale : CUBA
34
Tinged : HUED
35
___Kosh B'Gosh : OSH
36
Angers : IRES
37
"Looks like trouble!" : UHOH
38
The Monica of "Monicagate" : LEWINSKY
41
Soon-to-be grads: Abbr. : SRS
42
Something to roll up your windows for : CARWASH
43
Capital of Qatar : DOHA
47
Daughter of King Cymbeline in Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" : IMOGEN
48
Pulled a fast one on : FOOLED
49
Alpine shouts : YODELS
51
Yea and nay : VOTES
52
Turkish pooh-bahs : AGHAS
53
Prolonged attack : SIEGE
56
Something perfect acoustics eliminate : ECHO
57
Kind of tide : NEAP
58
Ending with metal or mal- : WARE
59
Kind of tide : EBB
60
1947 Hope/Crosby "Road" movie destination : RIO

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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