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New York Times, Thursday, December 17, 2015

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
194/1/20062/17/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3234421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59332
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QVZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Kwong. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Kwong notes:
I'm proud of the trick in this one, but I think I'm even prouder of the fill. I tried very hard to have very little crosswordese ... read more

I'm proud of the trick in this one, but I think I'm even prouder of the fill. I tried very hard to have very little crosswordese — did I succeed? You be the judge =) I originally submitted this puzzle with no partial phrases. Will since changed the clue to ASA from "Botanist Gray" to "__ whole ..." Totally understandable.

I'm always fascinated by the unwritten rules of crossword making: not too many 3-letter words, nice looking patterns of black squares etc. In this case, I learned that even though 78-words is the limit for a daily puzzle, Shortz prefers not to run 78-ers on Thursdays.

So I got the word count down to 76, which was not an easy task! And I'm pleased how it turned out. I think the long themers are fun, and I'm glad LONGISLANDICEDTEA breaks up the letters between two words. RUSHDIE was a must-have for me, and I am so glad I was able to get that word to span two of the long themers.

Hope you enjoy it!

Jeff Chen notes:
There seem to be two camps when it comes to rebuses — the haters and the lovers. Given that there have been SO many rebuses, I ... read more

There seem to be two camps when it comes to rebuses — the haters and the lovers. Given that there have been SO many rebuses, I lean slightly toward the former side, but I really like when a rebus is not just a rebus. David's interpretation of DIE + DIE = DICE made for a highly entertaining solve.

It is a truth universally acknowledged ...

Not only was the concept really fun, but I loved David's selection of themers. BO(DICE) RIPPERS was my favorite, evoking images of Harlequin Romance covers. PRIDE AND PREJU(DICE), CAN(DICE) BERGEN, and LONG ISLAN(D ICE)D TEA are all great picks, too. It would have been nice to get one more where DICE was broken — perhaps COME(DIC E)FFECT or NOMA(DIC EMPIRE)? — but there are a very limited number of phrases breaking like that. And a second D / ICE break would be tough since not much starts with ICE that wouldn't have the same etymology as ICED.

I also liked how David only used DIE once by itself in the fill, in DIE OUT. Hiding the rebuses in RUSH(DIE), (DIE)TS, GRENA(DIE)R avoids duplications. With so rebus-filled entries required for this puzzle, it's impressive to not dupe DIE.

I also liked the big, open corners in the NE / SW. Sometimes this sort of thing is optional, but today David used so many black squares in the middle of his grid — necessary to partition all the various DIE entries — that he was forced to keep the corners wide open. They came out well, with some nice long stuff like INCENSED and ABROGATE, with very few gluey entries like ASSOC.

I wasn't a fan of the lower right corner. Yes, there's a lot to work around with two DIE answers and a relatively big corner, but HEIL … yikes. Maybe I've grown too sensitive over the years. At least clue it to "The Producers" or something? And A DUE / ASA / CTRL / TSURIS are all fine(ish) on their own, but they sure pile up in that corner.

Perhaps a little too easy for a Thursday puzzle, but it sure provided me with a lot of entertainment. Well done.

1
T
2
W
3
A
4
N
5
G
6
Y
7
A
8
B
9
R
10
O
11
G
12
A
13
T
14
E
15
S
E
C
U
R
E
16
N
O
N
R
I
G
I
D
17
P
R
I
D
E
A
18
N
D
P
R
E
J
U
DIE
DIE
19
E
D
E
N
20
O
Y
S
21
G
O
A
D
S
22
A
23
A
S
24
F
O
E
25
C
26
A
27
N
28
DIE
DIE
B
E
29
R
30
G
E
N
31
M
32
A
33
W
34
A
R
B
O
R
S
35
U
R
N
36
C
O
D
E
37
L
U
A
U
38
A
39
S
S
O
C
40
A
X
L
E
41
I
B
E
T
42
L
A
H
43
E
44
S
P
I
E
D
45
F
A
R
46
B
O
DIE
DIE
47
R
I
P
P
E
R
S
48
A
I
M
49
O
N
E
50
S
51
T
52
I
N
K
53
P
54
D
A
55
E
56
A
57
C
58
H
59
L
O
N
G
I
60
S
L
A
N
61
DIE
DIE
D
T
E
62
A
63
I
N
C
E
N
S
E
D
64
T
S
U
R
I
S
65
T
S
A
R
I
N
A
S
66
S
T
E
L
L
A
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1217 ( 24,145 )
Across
1
Like a banjo : TWANGY
7
Annul : ABROGATE
15
Make fast : SECURE
16
Flexible : NONRIGID
17
1813 novel made into a 2005 film : PRIDEANDPREJUDICE
19
Successor to Churchill : EDEN
20
Exclamations of exasperation : OYS
21
Drives : GOADS
22
More than half of all batteries sold : AAS
24
Moriarty, to Holmes : FOE
25
Five-time Emmy-winning actress : CANDICEBERGEN
31
A monster may have a big one : MAW
34
Places that may have beeches and benches : ARBORS
35
Something to dispense with : URN
36
Word that can be followed by any of several colors : CODE
37
Outdoor feast : LUAU
38
Piece of the N.R.A.?: Abbr. : ASSOC
40
One making a lot of turns on the road? : AXLE
41
"Oh yeah ... uh-huh" : IBET
42
___-di-dah : LAH
43
Made out : ESPIED
45
Word repeated at the start of every "Star Wars" film : FAR
46
Racy books named after a Victorian garment : BODICERIPPERS
48
Biathlon need : AIM
49
Five fifths : ONE
50
Perform lousily : STINK
53
Calendar keeper, for short : PDA
55
A head : EACH
59
Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content : LONGISLANDICEDTEA
63
Boiling : INCENSED
64
Trouble, in Yiddish : TSURIS
65
Bygone royals : TSARINAS
66
Blanche DuBois's sister : STELLA
Down
1
It's about 5 mL : TSP
2
Lived : WERE
3
Biting : ACID
4
In the altogether : NUDE
5
Certain foot soldier : GRENADIER
6
House support? : YEA
7
Roddick who won the 2003 U.S. Open : ANDY
8
Conks : BOPS
9
Time off, in mil. slang : RNR
10
Where Nike is headquartered : OREGON
11
Boy toy? : GIJOE
12
Quito quaff : AGUA
13
Cleaned (up) : TIDIED
14
Things going down the drain? : EDDIES
18
Oenophile's concern : NOSE
23
Son of David : ABSALOM
24
Enclose : FENCEIN
25
10-Down neighbor: Abbr. : CALIF
26
Caribbean vacation destination : ARUBA
27
Hawk or Hornet : NBAER
28
Go extinct : DIEOUT
29
Indian-born writer of the 1981 Booker Prize : RUSHDIE
30
Miracle-___ : GRO
31
Chutzpah : MOXIE
32
Chicago's ___ Planetarium : ADLER
33
Bed intruders? : WEEDS
36
Dogpatch creator : CAPP
39
Beatles title girl : SADIE
44
First to break the tape : SPEEDIEST
46
Beach attraction : BIKINI
47
Multihued horse : ROAN
48
Inflame : ANGER
50
Pupil of a snake's eye, often : SLIT
51
Plenty : TONS
52
Worshiper of Inti : INCA
53
Answer to a judge : PLEA
54
Pops : DADS
56
In unison, in a way : ADUE
57
PC key : CTRL
58
Greeting with a salute : HEIL
60
W-4 entry: Abbr. : SSN
61
Topics of many self-help books : DIETS
62
"___ whole ..." : ASA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?