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New York Times, Thursday, December 11, 2014

Author:
Joe DiPietro
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1318/26/19957/12/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
281072242283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59326
Joe DiPietro

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 121 for Mr. DiPietro. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
X through Y phrases, visually represented by two crossing answers. CUTS (through) THE CLUTTER, PULLS (through) IN THE CLUTCH, SLIP ... read more

X through Y phrases, visually represented by two crossing answers. CUTS (through) THE CLUTTER, PULLS (through) IN THE CLUTCH, SLIP (through) ONES FINGERS, GOING (through) THE MOTIONS. Fun to get the a-ha moment of what was going on.

Having a good memory for crosswords sometimes interferes with my enjoyment of puzzles. Here, my initial thoughts turned back to an earlier puzzle as soon as I figured out the concept. It's no problem at all to have two puzzles with a similar (or the same) trick, but I would have liked to have more time separating the two; a year at least. Could also have been different if they hadn't both been Thursday puzzles. If one had been a Wednesday and one a Thursday, people who never attempt a Thursday puzzle wouldn't have even noticed.

Beethoven, looking slightly ... constipated?

Putting all that aside, it's very nicely executed. Joe does a great job of inserting strong long fill without much or a price to pay. I particularly liked the SE corner, with DINGBAT and CLUB SODA straddling the themers down there. And ODE TO JOY along with GROOVES (and a gold star clue!) in the opposite corner? Yes please! It's not easy to stick the landing like this when you're working with crossing themers (even if one of them is short), so Joe does well to keep it to really, really minor stuff like ANON, PEI, ISR.

I would have liked more symmetry (both the long answers and the shorts answers), but having the pairs intersect is really cool. Perhaps it's too much to ask that the short ones be paired in symmetry as well. I do remember sifting THROUGH the total solution space and noticing that it was smaller than I would have thought.

Finally, I love the extra touches. The clue echo of SMUT and SKY, both "blue" things but in very different ways — that's the kind of "clue echo" that works perfectly for me. IQ TEST and its [Measure of brightness]. HOE being something that could loosen up a lot (of land). Excellent stuff adding pleasure to my solve. I really enjoyed it, and likely would have absolutely loved it if it had run six months from now.

1
A
2
C
3
T
4
G
5
R
6
A
7
N
8
O
9
B
10
L
11
I
12
G
13
E
14
N
O
H
15
R
A
V
E
16
N
O
I
D
E
A
17
O
D
E
18
T
O
J
O
Y
19
E
X
P
E
L
S
20
N
A
C
H
O
21
W
O
22
R
S
T
23
S
T
Y
24
L
E
V
25
I
S
26
U
F
O
27
R
28
E
U
B
E
N
29
S
L
I
P
30
T
31
B
32
S
33
I
Q
T
E
S
T
34
P
E
N
S
35
H
O
E
36
C
U
T
S
37
H
38
A
R
D
G
39
T
E
R
N
40
C
U
E
41
R
E
N
E
42
E
43
D
A
M
E
S
44
I
S
R
45
A
C
N
E
46
R
I
B
O
S
E
47
P
L
U
48
I
S
N
O
T
49
C
50
P
51
A
52
P
U
L
53
L
S
54
G
O
I
55
N
56
G
57
H
O
T
58
P
O
T
59
C
L
60
U
B
S
O
D
A
61
E
S
T
E
R
C
62
D
A
N
A
63
N
A
M
64
Z
E
N
I
T
H
65
S
M
U
T
66
S
K
Y
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1211 ( 23,774 )
Across
1
Have a role to play : ACT
4
Part of GTO : GRAN
8
Make indebted : OBLIGE
14
Tokyo stage shows : NOH
15
Hoped-for review : RAVE
16
"Beats me" : NOIDEA
17
Highlight of Beethoven's Ninth : ODETOJOY
19
Throws out : EXPELS
20
Chip variety : NACHO
21
Defeat : WORST
23
Cleanup target : STY
24
Togs with red tags : LEVIS
26
Aerial anomaly : UFO
27
Lunch order with sauerkraut : REUBEN
29
Elude a person's grasp : SLIP
30
USA competitor : TBS
33
Measure of brightness : IQTEST
34
Digs for pigs : PENS
35
What could loosen up a lot? : HOE
36
Has an ad that really stands out : CUTS
37
What Germany's leader lacks? : HARDG
39
Arctic ___ : TERN
40
Stick on a table? : CUE
41
Lacoste of tennis : RENE
42
One of a group of singing brothers : EDAMES
44
Medit. country : ISR
45
Retin-A treats it : ACNE
46
Biochemical sugar : RIBOSE
47
Like arts and crafts: Abbr. : PLU
48
Ain't spelled out? : ISNOT
49
Expert with books, for short : CPA
52
Succeeds when it matters most : PULLS
54
Making a feeble effort : GOING
57
East Asian stew : HOTPOT
59
Gin fizz ingredient : CLUBSODA
61
Brand name in immunity boosting : ESTERC
62
Fox's partner on "The X-Files" : DANA
63
Old service site, informally : NAM
64
Top : ZENITH
65
It's blue : SMUT
66
It's blue : SKY
Down
1
Before long, quaintly : ANON
2
Opus ending : CODA
3
See 36-Across : THECLUTTER
4
They're on the record : GROOVES
5
British rule in India : RAJ
6
Says for certain : AVOWS
7
R&B artist with the hits "So Sick" and "Because of You" : NEYO
8
See 29-Across : ONESFINGERS
9
Some proofs of purchase : BOXTOPS
10
Fat ___ : LIP
11
Each month has one : IDES
12
Loot : GELT
13
"Whoa now!" : EASY
18
Ancient site of the Luxor Temple : THEBES
22
Like notepaper and kingdoms : RULED
25
See 52-Across : INTHECLUTCH
27
Christina of "Sleepy Hollow" : RICCI
28
1975 Tony-winning play with a Latin name : EQUUS
29
Bender : SPREE
30
See 54-Across : THEMOTIONS
31
Yawn inducers : BORES
32
Touch, for one : SENSE
38
Invalidate : ANNUL
39
Many of the Ten Commandments : TABOOS
41
Bond : RAPPORT
43
Ditz : DINGBAT
48
Cat Stevens's surname, now : ISLAM
49
Bistro name starter : CHEZ
50
It may be struck : POSE
51
Memo abbr. : ATTN
53
Some HDTV screens : LCDS
55
State bordering Can. : NDAK
56
Like wild boar : GAMY
58
Can. province not bordering the U.S. : PEI
60
Longtime Burmese P.M. : UNU

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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