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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
S
65
R
O
T
S
66
G
I
B
B
67
G
I
N
O
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1216 ( 23,779 )

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Students & seniors
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.

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