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New York Times, Monday, December 15, 2014

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel and Dennis Ryall
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4911/13/201211/17/201717
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
517135342
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Dennis Ryall
TotalDebutCollabs
112/15/20141
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62000

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 & ... more
Constructor notes:

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, ... more
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, 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
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E
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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
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N
68
C
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69
S
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P
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1215 ( 23,778 )
Across Down
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
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.

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