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New York Times, Thursday, December 15, 2016

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3449640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.597100
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Stulberg. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
Special thanks to constructors Byron Walden, Robin Schulman, and Daniel Landman, whose 'IDOIDOIDOIDOIDO' and 'ITSAMADMADMADMADWORLD' ... read more

Special thanks to constructors Byron Walden, Robin Schulman, and Daniel Landman, whose "IDOIDOIDOIDOIDO" and "ITSAMADMADMADMADWORLD" puzzles inspired today's theme and revealer. A few answers that didn't make the cut: INFANTFORMULA, FASHIONABLYLATE, and FLAGSOFOURFATHERS. I also considered LALALAND for 50-Down, but 13 LAs in one puzzle would just be silly.

Jeff Chen notes:
Sam 'S Diddy' Donaldson told me a long time ago that he was over rebuses; that they were so far overdone that he couldn't take them ... read more

Sam "S Diddy" Donaldson told me a long time ago that he was over rebuses; that they were so far overdone that he couldn't take them anymore. I tend to agree with him, although when they have a little somethin' extra, I still really enjoy them. That was the case for me today, grinning at Jacob's neat FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA entry as an entire row of rebi.

I quickly figured out that there was a rebus element when SP(LA)SH didn't fit in, and that triggered my usual sad trombone feeling. But when a FA popped up, I perked up. Could it be related to FDR's super-cute dog, FALA?

What a neat moment when I got to the FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA finale. Maybe I'm just a sucker for holiday songs and feelings, but I enjoyed that discovery.

From a constructor's standpoint, it's tough to work around so many rebus squares, so I enjoyed the craftsmanship, Jacob giving us a super-smooth grid. I mean, only a bit of IND / RDS around that very tough lower right corner? Great work. And some EASY RIDER, REGULAR GUY, FAJITA, LAPLAND, GRAPPA bonuses, only needing some minor crossword glue (RRS, old-timey SOTS) to make it all happen? That's the type of master craftsmanship I've come to expect from Jacob.

And from a solver's standpoint, it's rare to get an entire long entry made out of rebus squares, so that was a cool surprise. Again, something so pleasing about having that ubiquitous Christmas carol line so tidily packed in.

I'm still not totally sure why most of the themers have exactly one FA and one LA — I liked the consistency of each themer having a FA and a LA, but felt like it might have been better if they had contained the FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA sequence in order or something? Or if the song went, "Deck the halls with boughs of holly, FA LA FA LA FA LA FA LA, FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA" that would have made more sense to me.

The puzzle gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling, however, that I shrugged off my doubt. Off to find some gay apparel!

1
D
2
E
3
B
4
U
5
T
6
T
7
S
8
K
9
G
10
R
11
A
12
F
13
E
L
I
Z
A
14
U
P
I
15
C
R
E
D
O
16
FA
L
L
I
N
17
G
F
LA
T
18
R
A
G
E
S
19
C
E
L
20
S
O
T
S
21
P
O
P
U
P
S
22
E
N
Y
23
A
24
FA
S
H
25
I
O
N
P
LA
T
E
26
M
27
A
R
28
S
W
E
A
R
29
P
30
R
31
E
E
N
32
S
33
O
L
E
34
G
35
U
36
M
37
G
R
A
N
D
38
FA
T
H
E
R
39
C
40
LA
U
S
E
41
A
S
S
42
J
I
M
S
43
A
S
Y
E
T
44
Y
45
O
46
W
I
E
47
A
B
S
48
P
49
A
R
FA
I
T
G
50
LA
51
S
S
52
O
53
M
54
A
55
R
56
A
R
I
S
T
A
57
P
A
Y
58
S
59
A
T
E
60
G
O
D
O
T
61
FA
LA
LA
LA
LA
62
LA
LA
LA
LA
63
E
M
E
R
Y
64
I
N
D
65
T
R
Y
S
T
66
D
A
R
T
67
R
D
S
68
S
K
A
T
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1215 ( 24,509 )
Across
1
Kickoff : DEBUT
6
"For shame!" : TSK
9
Only tennis player to have won each Grand Slam event at least four times : GRAF
13
Mrs. Alexander Hamilton : ELIZA
14
Reuters competitor : UPI
15
Words to live by : CREDO
16
Bombing, as a joke : FALLINGFLAT
18
Parties hard, in modern lingo : RAGES
19
Doc's image, e.g.? : CEL
20
Drunks : SOTS
21
Windows that are usually closed : POPUPS
22
Singer with the 2008 album "And Winter Came ..." : ENYA
24
Trendy type : FASHIONPLATE
26
Spoil : MAR
28
Say with a raised hand : SWEAR
29
Tidy oneself : PREEN
32
Slipper part : SOLE
34
It's not allowed in many classrooms : GUM
37
Discriminatory part of post-Reconstruction legislation : GRANDFATHERCLAUSE
41
Biblical beast : ASS
42
Slim ___ (snack sticks) : JIMS
43
To date : ASYET
44
"That hurts!" : YOWIE
47
Chippendales dancers have nice ones : ABS
48
Short-stemmed vessel : PARFAITGLASS
52
Actor Epps : OMAR
56
Bygone record label : ARISTA
57
Is worth doing : PAYS
59
Had something : ATE
60
Title character who never appears : GODOT
61
Christmastime refrain : FALALALALALALALALA
63
___ paper (abrasive) : EMERY
64
Ill. neighbor : IND
65
Plot feature of Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida" : TRYST
66
Bolt : DART
67
Lines on some maps: Abbr. : RDS
68
Glide : SKATE
Down
1
Cover with graffiti, say : DEFACE
2
1990s sitcom about a bookstore owner : ELLEN
3
Kid's father : BILLY
4
Mideastern heat? : UZI
5
Whups : TANS
6
School whose mascot is Jumbo the elephant : TUFTS
7
Juicy front-page story : SPLASH
8
___ bag : KIT
9
Fragrant Italian brandy : GRAPPA
10
Joe Six-Pack : REGULARGUY
11
Crack : ADEPT
12
Bob who directed the 1966 musical "Sweet Charity" : FOSSE
15
Witch : CRONE
17
Be successful : GOFAR
21
Word with trip or strip : POWER
23
"You said it!" : AMEN
25
British ___ : ISLES
27
"So what?" : AND
29
Sports org. with pitching : PGA
30
Lines on some maps: Abbr. : RRS
31
1969 film whose working title was "The Loners" : EASYRIDER
32
Larsson who wrote "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" : STIEG
33
Volt per ampere : OHM
35
"I will speak daggers to her, but ___ none": Hamlet : USE
36
Came together : MET
38
Dish in a tortilla : FAJITA
39
Part of a truck : CAB
40
Rope : LASSO
45
To some degree : OFASORT
46
Like bon mots : WITTY
47
Safe spaces : ASYLA
48
Summoned : PAGED
49
Factor in a wine rating : AROMA
50
Home to the Sami people : LAPLAND
51
Green sides : SALADS
53
British protectorate until 1957 : MALAYA
54
"Finally!" : ATLAST
55
Tell : RELATE
58
Window coverings : SLATS
61
Middling : FAIR
62
Escapade : LARK

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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