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New York Times, Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Author:
Joel D. Lafargue
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
533/1/198212/16/20140
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
457512164
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5200651
Joel D. Lafargue

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQVXZ} This is puzzle # 53 for Mr. Lafargue. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
For those Bee Gees fans out there, I'm sure this one resonated well. Not knowing the names of THE BEE GEES though (I might — ... read more

For those Bee Gees fans out there, I'm sure this one resonated well. Not knowing the names of THE BEE GEES though (I might — ahem — or might not have thought each of their last names was "Beegee"), made it a little confusing for me. Barry White cover

I enjoyed uncovering the themers. Who doesn't like a little BARRY WHITE to get you singing "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," a tribute to ROBIN WILLIAMS, and a nod to one of the most beloved children's book authors of all time, MAURICE SENDAK? I had trouble figuring out why THE BEE GEES were related to these three, and I got especially confused by the final GIBB revealer (are you sure "Robin Beegee" doesn't sound familiar?), but a quick search made sense of things. A head-scratcher for me, but 1.) I liked learning a little about THE BEE GEES, and 2.) I found it a nice discovery, that three famous people shared THE BEE GEES' first names, even though they're not exactly Tom, Dick, and Harry kind of everyday names.

Joel does quite well with his construction, placing GIBB in a reasonable position. It would have been nice for it to be at the final across answer, but those terminal Bs can cause all sorts of problems given the additional constraints. I appreciated the effort to get in BULL MARKET and TAKE A STAND, two lovely long answers.

Alternate grid

One nit to pick, I feel like the puzzle could have been structurally strengthened by moving some black squares around. Check out the BULL MARKET / HARD TASK region — having two crossing pieces of long fill usually causes some difficulties by itself. Given the CRADLE 6-letter slot in there too, that's bound to result in trade-offs. Not a huge fan of HARD TASK (I put in HARD WORK, and convincing myself that HARD TASK was actually a thing felt like hard work), and ULT isn't great. It would be a different story if HARD TASK had been a strong answer, worth a piece of glue like ULT. I might have shifted the blocks around as seen to the left, and there are dozens of other arrangements that could work as well. 76-worders are so much easier than 74-worders in terms of packing in a few more nice long downs.

I'll likely still mix up whether the more famous ANDY GIBB was a BEE GEE, but now I can say that it's ridiculous to think ANDY BEEGEE was one of the quartet. Er, trio. Hard work, indeed.

Jim Horne notes:

Mr. Lafargue is an experienced constructor with 53 NYT crosswords dating back to 1982. This is only his second puzzle for Will Shortz.

1
H
2
U
3
N
4
T
5
G
6
L
7
E
8
E
9
A
10
T
11
A
12
D
13
O
R
E
O
14
E
A
R
T
15
H
16
N
A
M
E
17
B
A
R
R
18
Y
W
H
I
T
E
19
S
K
I
N
20
O
L
D
N
A
G
21
C
A
N
22
T
E
E
N
S
23
W
A
24
H
25
R
E
L
A
T
E
26
R
27
O
28
B
29
I
N
W
I
30
L
31
L
I
A
M
S
32
E
D
U
C
E
33
D
O
O
K
34
T
35
A
36
B
37
A
I
L
E
D
38
E
G
O
39
T
40
I
A
R
A
41
M
E
L
42
T
H
I
S
43
R
O
N
I
N
44
M
45
A
46
U
R
I
C
E
47
S
E
N
D
A
K
48
C
49
R
A
D
L
E
50
R
U
B
51
H
A
R
D
T
A
52
S
53
K
54
P
L
55
A
56
T
57
T
58
E
59
A
N
K
A
60
T
H
E
61
B
E
E
G
E
E
S
62
I
T
E
M
63
S
A
P
O
R
64
O
R
E
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65
R
O
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66
G
I
B
B
67
G
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N
O
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1216 ( 23,779 )
Across
1. Event with foxhounds : HUNT
5. Lottery winner's feeling : GLEE
9. Somewhat : ATAD
13. Cookie involved in a licking race : OREO
14. Word after Mother or Google : EARTH
16. Appoint to office : NAME
17. R&B singer backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra : BARRYWHITE
19. Banana discard : SKIN
20. Unlikely derby winner : OLDNAG
21. Thermos alternatives : CANTEENS
23. When repeated, kind of pedal : WAH
25. "I can ___" ("Been there") : RELATE
26. Late comic genius : ROBINWILLIAMS
32. Draw out : EDUCE
33. Scrape by : DOOK
34. It might say "A-C" or "2013-14" : TAB
37. Was sick : AILED
38. Bigheadedness : EGO
39. Sparkly topper : TIARA
41. TV diner boss : MEL
42. "___ American Life" : THIS
43. Robert De Niro spy thriller : RONIN
44. Children's author/illustrator with a National Medal of Arts : MAURICESENDAK
48. Hold protectively : CRADLE
50. Massage : RUB
51. No easy chore : HARDTASK
54. Missouri feeder : PLATTE
59. Paul who sang "Diana" : ANKA
60. Trio whose members start 17-, 26- and 44-Across : THEBEEGEES
62. Agenda part : ITEM
63. Flavor : SAPOR
64. Metalliferous rocks : ORES
65. Decomposes : ROTS
66. Last name of 60-Across : GIBB
67. Vocalist Vannelli : GINO
Down
1. Vagabond : HOBO
2. ___ Mountains (continent separator) : URAL
3. One whose favorite website is Sporcle, say : NERD
4. Not intact : TORN
5. Showy trinket : GEWGAW
6. ___-di-dah : LAH
7. Football Hall-of-Famer Dickerson : ERIC
8. ___ Place, Butch Cassidy companion : ETTA
9. Canterbury saint : ANSELM
10. Declare something boldly : TAKEASTAND
11. Make ___ (get rich) : AMINT
12. Thickheaded : DENSE
15. Playwright Ibsen : HENRIK
18. Expressed boredom, in a way : YAWNED
22. Event with crumpets : TEA
24. Cab Calloway phrase : HIDEHI
26. Bawl (out) : REAM
27. Cartoon dog with a big tongue : ODIE
28. Something you won't see many bears in : BULLMARKET
29. "Rocks" : ICE
30. Sound reasoning : LOGIC
31. Less literal : LOOSER
35. Puccini's "Un bel di," e.g. : ARIA
36. Carom : BANK
39. ___ clef : TREBLE
40. TV network once called Pax : ION
42. Tasty rewards : TREATS
45. Jane who won a 1931 Nobel Peace Prize : ADDAMS
46. Last: Abbr. : ULT
47. Top-notch : SUPERB
48. Committee head : CHAIR
49. Totaled : RANTO
52. Friend of Scoob : SHAG
53. French army headwear : KEPI
55. Open-mouthed : AGOG
56. Actress Garr : TERI
57. High schooler : TEEN
58. Canadian fuel name : ESSO
61. Partner of weave : BOB

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?