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New York Times, Monday, December 15, 2014

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel and Dennis Ryall
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6611/13/201210/28/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
622187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutCollabs
112/15/20141
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62000
Dennis Ryall

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 14 for Ms. Burnikel. This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Ryall. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
C.C.: Dennis and I made this puzzle in the spring of 2012 when he finally settled down in Florida. Will changed the middle & ... read more

C.C.:

Original grid

Dennis and I made this puzzle in the spring of 2012 when he finally settled down in Florida. Will changed the middle & lower right corners and removed a few icky entries (see right). He also changed most of the clues and cleared up our vague reveal entry clue.

DENNIS:

As most new constructors collaborating with Zhouqin will tell you, she does most of the heavy lifting. I'm shocked and grateful that our first submission of an NYT puzzle was accepted, albeit with Will's deft "adjustments."

Jeff Chen notes:
Easy breezy start to the week, and we welcome another debut constructor to the mix! Some really nice 'S to P' themers today, ... read more

Easy breezy start to the week, and we welcome another debut constructor to the mix! Some really nice "S to P" themers today, highlighted by STANLEY CUP and its brilliant clue. Way to repurpose the word "goal" in a way that's both accessible to early-week solvers and still amusing for more experienced solvers. SKINNY DIP, SKI TRIP, STEEL TRAP, SUMMER CAMP, they're all solid to great entries. Well chosen.

Themes built around a word parsed into pieces (ALADDIN goes to "AL add in," for example) have been done quite a bit, so I like to see either a clever parse or a tough constraint. S to P isn't bad on the former, a nice and unexpected separation that has the added benefit of not giving the idea away until the very end. Pretty tough to see what's in common between STANLEY CUP, SKINNY DIP, etc. without knowing what you're looking for. So a pretty good reveal.

Sure would have been nice to have a tighter set of themers, though. Not essential as the current themers work fine of course, but there are so many phrases starting with S and ending with P, it feels a bit too easy to me. What if the revealer had been STOOP, for example? A much harder constraint, perhaps resulting in more of a "hey, that's really cool!" moment. (If it's actually possible.)

Alfa's "badge"

Smart grid design, spreading out the five themers and revealer well. Adding that final revealer makes things challenging when you already have five themers, so kudos for adding in a set of nice long downs. ALFA ROMEO is a nice colorful one. RACE AHEAD is good, too, and even ties in with ALFA ROMEO for a little fill echo. I like the thoughtful touch.

I did notice an excess of esoteric(ish) proper names, though. I don't mind at all to get a bunch of BETTE, EURO, EROS, ATKINS, ELAINE, EMMA, as they're all well-known and beloved by many. It's the pile-up of ESAI, OAKIE, MEHTA, ERL, ARTIE that I feel hurts the puzzle. Any one of those by itself is perfectly fine, as they're all valid (albeit a bit esoteric) entries. Even two or three of them = no problem. But I'm much rather see a few of them changed into partials, abbrs., acronyms, etc. — having so much of one type of glue makes it more noticeable.

Congrats to C.C. on another one, and to Dennis for the debut. Hoping the two of you will SADDLE UP (or SET UP SHOP) to do more.

1
S
2
L
3
A
4
P
5
B
6
E
7
T
8
T
9
E
10
C
11
R
12
A
13
W
14
E
U
R
O
15
U
S
H
E
R
16
R
A
G
E
17
A
C
T
I
18
S
T
A
N
L
19
E
Y
C
U
P
20
S
K
I
N
21
N
Y
D
I
P
22
S
P
E
N
T
23
Y
E
T
I
24
M
25
E
H
T
A
26
A
L
27
A
28
E
29
L
A
S
H
30
E
31
S
32
B
33
R
34
A
T
35
T
V
36
S
37
T
A
R
38
E
M
U
39
L
I
L
40
S
K
I
T
R
I
P
41
A
M
P
42
O
F
F
43
O
I
L
P
A
N
44
P
D
A
S
45
W
E
A
46
P
O
N
47
M
E
48
M
O
49
R
A
T
S
50
O
51
E
R
52
O
53
S
54
E
55
P
O
C
H
56
S
57
T
58
E
59
E
L
T
R
A
60
P
61
S
U
M
M
E
62
R
C
A
M
P
63
A
B
L
E
64
A
R
E
A
65
O
A
K
I
E
66
L
I
V
E
67
I
R
O
N
68
C
R
E
T
E
69
S
T
O
P
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1215 ( 23,778 )
Across
1
*Obstetrician's action on a newborn's behind : SLAP
5
Actress Davis of "Now, Voyager" : BETTE
10
Stick in one's ___ : CRAW
14
Successor to the mark and franc : EURO
15
Guide down an aisle : USHER
16
Fury : RAGE
17
Play opener : ACTI
18
*Goal an N.H.L.'er shoots for? : STANLEYCUP
20
*Go swimming in one's birthday suit : SKINNYDIP
22
Exhausted : SPENT
23
Himalayan legend : YETI
24
Maestro Zubin : MEHTA
26
Wings: Lat. : ALAE
29
Punishment for a mutineer : LASHES
32
Spoiled kid : BRAT
35
Emmy winner, say : TVSTAR
38
Relative of an ostrich : EMU
39
Rap's ___ Wayne : LIL
40
*Visit to Vail, maybe : SKITRIP
41
Piece of concert equipment : AMP
42
Down, on a light switch : OFF
43
Crankcase base : OILPAN
44
Palm Pilots and such, for short : PDAS
45
One-third of a Clue accusation : WEAPON
47
Office message : MEMO
49
"Midnight Cowboy" nickname : RATSO
51
God with a bow and arrow : EROS
54
Historical period : EPOCH
56
*Sharp mind, figuratively : STEELTRAP
61
*Setting for "Meatballs" or "Friday the 13th" : SUMMERCAMP
63
Up to the job : ABLE
64
Domain : AREA
65
Actor Jack of "The Great Dictator" : OAKIE
66
The "L" of "S.N.L." : LIVE
67
Its symbol is Fe : IRON
68
Island home of the Minotaur : CRETE
69
"Freeze!" ... or, when broken into three parts, how the answer for each of the six starred clues goes : STOP
Down
1
Caribbean and others : SEAS
2
Like lottery winners : LUCKY
3
Shaw of 1930s-'40s swing : ARTIE
4
Indicate with a finger : POINTAT
5
Tied up, as a phone line : BUSY
6
Abbr. before a cornerstone date : ESTD
7
Bangkok native : THAI
8
When prime time ends on most Fox stations : TENPM
9
Schubert's "The ___ King" : ERL
10
Burial vaults : CRYPTS
11
Quickly take the lead : RACEAHEAD
12
"Son of ___!" : AGUN
13
Cried : WEPT
19
F equivalent, musically : ESHARP
21
It's nothing in soccer : NIL
25
Seinfeld's ex on "Seinfeld" : ELAINE
27
___ diet (early 2000s fad) : ATKINS
28
Bad to the bone : EVIL
30
Austen title heroine : EMMA
31
Has dinner : SUPS
32
Squander : BLOW
33
Teeming (with) : RIFE
34
Sports car with a Spider model : ALFAROMEO
36
Indy letters : STP
37
Streetcar : TRAM
40
Relieve of pain : SOOTHE
44
Doors : PORTALS
46
Game with four ghosts : PACMAN
48
Gibson of "Braveheart" : MEL
50
Trash-talking Muppet? : OSCAR
52
Circle the Earth : ORBIT
53
Round of gunfire : SALVO
54
Morales of "La Bamba" : ESAI
55
Contented cat sound : PURR
57
Give's opposite : TAKE
58
Send out : EMIT
59
Fencing implement : EPEE
60
"Not a ___ out of you!" : PEEP
62
Bird of Arabian myth : ROC

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?