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New York Times, Monday, December 14, 2015

Author: Timothy Polin
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4712/11/20119/11/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74952002
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626130
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Terms derived from US PRESIDENTS today; a fun set of colorful answers. So many options to choose from when it comes to BUSHISMs! My ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Terms derived from US PRESIDENTS today; a fun set of colorful answers. So many options to choose from when it comes to BUSHISMs! My favorite will always be:

Originator of infinite BUSHISMs

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Where to even begin ...

Sad that Hoover — the only President to come out of Stanford — is known for 1.) HOOVERVILLEs and 2.) being near the top of many people's "Worst Presidents" list. Sigh.

At first, I thought this puzzle was too much of a listizzle (list + puzzle, akin to a "listicle"), but I was surprised that I couldn't find any other terms akin to these. Sure, there's the NIXONIAN era and the (warning: die-hard Seinfeld fan alert) VAN BUREN BOYS, but nothing that would actually fit in this theme. Nice that it's a complete set.

It felt odd to have PRESIDENT as a "revealer." Perhaps I give Monday solvers too much credit, but getting hit over the head with such an overt explanation felt like too much. Maybe crossword symmetry forced the inclusion of PRESIDENT? But with all entries with odd-numbered lengths (9/11/7/11), it could have employed L-R (mirror) symmetry.

A ton of nice long fill. ITS ON ME is SO much better than the usual ON ME, and FUEL ROD / SOFTBOILED / RED OCTOBER / INFIDELS / SWAGGERS are so swaggery. I even appreciated having GOLEM in there (if you haven't read "The Golem and the Jinni," it's one of my recent favorites). I think this is how much snazzy long fill every puzzle ought to have. Granted, Tim is one of the best grid-designers out there, but nonetheless, adding in good long fill is almost always possible.

As for short fill, a friend of mine in school administration swears that EL-HI is in widespread use throughout the education system, so I give that a pass. So, well executed, and if the puzzle hadn't conked me over the noggin with its revealer, I might have given it the Puzzle of the Week.

1
S
2
H
3
A
4
H
5
A
6
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K
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9
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C
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M
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M
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M
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H
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P
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Y
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A
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F
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25
A
G
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M
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I
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M
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C
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A
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R
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A
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B
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H
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B
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P
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B
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G
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1214 ( 24,142 )
Across Down
1. Exiled leader of Iran : SHAH
5. Queries : ASKS
9. Rugby formation : SCRUM
14. Like early vinyl records : MONO
15. [Kiss!] : MWAH
16. Sonnets, odes and such : POESY
17. National health insurance overhaul : OBAMACARE
19. Range through Peru and Chile : ANDES
20. Clay monster of Jewish folklore : GOLEM
21. Fed. agents : GMEN
23. ___ Lauderdale, Fla. : FORT
24. Supply-side fiscal policy popularized in the 1980s : REAGANOMICS
27. "I'm paying" : ITSONME
30. Commence : START
31. Cat's cry : MEOW
32. Low-level Dungeons & Dragons monster : ORC
34. Puts a protective shield on : ARMORS
37. Dog's bark : ARF
38. Statement such as "They misunderestimated me" : BUSHISM
40. Competition in which the winner always gets the last word? : BEE
41. Winter hand warmer : MITTEN
43. Record producer Brian : ENO
44. Lustful Le Pew : PEPE
45. Benjamin of "Law & Order" : BRATT
47. Nuclear reactor insert : FUELROD
49. Depression-era shantytown : HOOVERVILLE
51. Container in a dairy barn : PAIL
52. Stopped working : DIED
53. Fundamentalist Palestinian group : HAMAS
57. Opposite of empties : FILLS
59. Title held by the people who lent their names to 17-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across : PRESIDENT
61. Naval battle group : FLEET
62. Gaze longingly upon : OGLE
63. "Fare thee well!" : TATA
64. Seductive nightwear : TEDDY
65. Chick's place : NEST
66. Downward force felt on the surface of the earth, informally : ONEG
1. Airborne urban hazard : SMOG
2. Wanderer in search of work : HOBO
3. Rigidly uptight : ANAL
4. A to L and beyond, on a keyboard : HOMEROW
5. Channel for cinephiles : AMC
6. Walks with a brash air : SWAGGERS
7. Buddhist principle of fate : KARMA
8. Lusters : SHEENS
9. Wellness retreat : SPA
10. Verify : CONFIRM
11. Submarine in a Tom Clancy best seller : REDOCTOBER
12. Junkies : USERS
13. Pioneering first-person computer game : MYST
18. "You said it!" : AMEN
22. Nobody at all : NOTASOUL
25. Added up (to) : AMOUNTED
26. Teacher in a one-room schoolhouse : MARM
27. Muslim cleric : IMAM
28. Hatcher who co-starred in "Tomorrow Never Dies" : TERI
29. Sentimental : SOFTBOILED
33. Revolutionary Guevara : CHE
35. Vehicle seized for auction : REPO
36. Tournament front-runner : SEED
38. Wally's kid bro, in 1950s-'60s TV : BEAV
39. Nonbelievers, to believers : INFIDELS
42. Baited with incendiary remarks : TROLLED
44. Accept, as a lesser charge in exchange for admitting guilt : PLEADTO
46. Stumble over : TRIPON
48. K-12 : ELHI
49. ___ Selassie, old Ethiopian leader : HAILE
50. Threshold : VERGE
51. Fizzling sound : PFFT
54. Vicious : MEAN
55. Initial money for the pot : ANTE
56. Going without a date : STAG
58. Room where it looks like a bomb went off : STY
60. Theater décor : SET

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

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