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New York Times, Monday, December 17, 2018

Author:
Brian Thomas and Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
611/21/20173/7/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0320100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.74010
Brian Thomas
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
656/12/20003/25/201937
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74592200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63217
Andrea Carla Michaels

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Thomas. This is puzzle # 62 for Ms. Michaels. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
ACME: This fun idea was all Brian's! I just talked him into making the theme phrases horizontal rather than vertical. He was going ... read more

ACME: This fun idea was all Brian's! I just talked him into making the theme phrases horizontal rather than vertical. He was going vertical to emphasize the idea of "High" jacks, whereas I thought horizontal would be easier to spot the theme (especially as it would probably be a Monday)... We put HIJACKS across the center, so we could emphasize that the "JACKS" were "Hijacked" from the answers. I love that the word HIJACKS has HIJ..K all in a row. Subtle extra layer of wordplay/letter fun!

Three of his four original JACKS made it intact (LONDON, RUBY, and BLACK), I just helped shore up a fourth for consistency, as Brian's initial idea of JACK FROST was more a thing, not a person.

Very pleased with his initial grid that had the LATIN LOVER and EXTRA EXTRA, as I am a sucker for both Italian men and extra Xs. This all came together very quickly and easily, considering we've never met. I had a lot of fun with Brian and look forward to another collaboration soon!

BRIAN: I needed some help fleshing out an idea, and who better to turn to for an early week puzzle than Andrea? Working with her was a blast - once she ironed out the theme the grid, came together nicely (at least we think so)!

I was very happy to work LATIN LOVER and EXTRA EXTRA in as bonus downs. SURE CAN is a personal fave, and with some scrabbly letters also sprinkled throughout I'm hoping there's something for all to love. Filling the grid is my favorite part of construction, and overall I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. The big north and south areas were toughest to fill — but escaping with just a couple dabs of glue isn't too shabby.

Most of the clues are hers too — they've just got a fun, creative spirit to them that really adds to the puzzle. Hope all enjoy! We've got a few other ideas simmering so keep an eye out for that in the future.

Jeff Chen notes:
Now, this is what I call a gateway puzzle! Interesting and easy to comprehend theme + nice extras + smooth fill = oh so accessible to ... read more

Now, this is what I call a gateway puzzle! Interesting and easy to comprehend theme + nice extras + smooth fill = oh so accessible to newer solvers. I'd happily give this one to people just getting started doing the NYT crossword.

I've seen the JACKS theme done in other venues, but I couldn't find it in the NYT archives. Plus, the HIJACKS – or HI, JACKS! – revealer is so much fun. It elevates the concept from the other implementations I've seen.

Hopefully, you aren't doing this crossword on a plane, though …

I had a slight pause with Jack RUBY, given his notorious place in history. But I couldn't find any other JACKs whose last names are so easily disguisable. Like Brian, I might have gone with Jack FROST – Jack SPARROW is a fictional character so there's no perfect consistency with Jack LONDON and Jack BLACK anyway – perhaps FROST / NIXON as a fourth themer?

Ultimately though, I respect their theme set choice. Plus, who doesn't like RUBY SLIPPERS!

I like what Brian and Andrea did with the grid. It's at 78 words, the max allowable, but they still managed to work in LATIN LOVER, EXTRA EXTRA, SURE CAN, ATHLETE, without making the grid feel chock full of short answers or too sectioned off.

Superb work. It's nearly everything I want out of a Monday puzzle.

1
C
2
A
3
L
4
S
5
C
6
O
7
R
8
E
9
S
10
A
11
B
12
I
13
T
14
A
L
A
15
I
S
R
A
E
L
16
T
R
O
Y
17
B
A
T
18
S
P
A
R
R
O
19
W
H
A
W
K
20
A
M
I
21
E
22
A
L
E
23
A
L
G
A
E
24
L
O
N
D
25
O
N
B
R
26
I
27
D
G
E
28
L
I
U
29
M
U
S
T
30
E
31
R
32
S
33
S
34
C
O
T
C
35
H
36
Z
A
C
37
E
X
I
T
38
T
O
V
39
H
I
40
J
A
C
K
41
S
42
T
S
A
43
E
K
E
44
S
45
J
U
G
46
S
U
47
R
R
E
Y
48
P
E
R
U
49
S
A
L
50
M
I
A
51
R
U
B
Y
52
S
53
L
54
I
P
P
E
55
R
56
S
57
A
58
S
59
H
E
N
60
P
A
N
61
E
X
E
C
62
B
L
A
C
K
63
F
64
R
I
D
A
65
Y
66
T
H
E
67
L
A
V
A
68
R
E
C
E
N
T
69
R
A
N
70
E
V
E
N
71
O
P
E
N
E
D
72
A
B
E
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1217 ( 25,241 )
Across
1
Baseball's record-setting Ripken : CAL
4
Catches a touchdown pass, e.g. : SCORES
10
Not much : ABIT
14
Lead-in to carte or mode : ALA
15
Tel Aviv's land : ISRAEL
16
Helen of ___ (mythical beauty) : TROY
17
Flier that may carry rabies : BAT
18
Small bird of prey : SPARROWHAWK
20
French girlfriend : AMIE
22
Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE
23
Seaweed, e.g. : ALGAE
24
Something falling down, in a children's song : LONDONBRIDGE
28
Lucy of 2000's "Charlie's Angels" : LIU
29
Summons, as strength : MUSTERS
33
Put the kibosh on : SCOTCH
36
Actor Efron of "High School Musical" : ZAC
37
Sign by a fire escape : EXIT
38
"Mazel ___!" : TOV
39
Commandeers ... or a friendly hello to the people starting 18-, 24-, 51- and 62-Across? : HIJACKS
42
Inits. on an airport uniform : TSA
43
___ out a living (barely gets by) : EKES
45
Moonshine container : JUG
46
Carriage named for an English county : SURREY
48
Careful reading : PERUSAL
50
Farrow of "Hannah and Her Sisters" : MIA
51
Dorothy's footwear in "The Wizard of Oz" : RUBYSLIPPERS
57
White-faced : ASHEN
60
Bit of cookware : PAN
61
Biz bigwig : EXEC
62
What follows Thanksgiving : BLACKFRIDAY
66
"What ___?!" (cry of surprise) : THE
67
Volcanic flow : LAVA
68
From not long ago : RECENT
69
Was in charge of : RAN
70
In a dead heat : EVEN
71
No longer shrink-wrapped : OPENED
72
First Republican prez : ABE
Down
1
Group of schemers : CABAL
2
Mission where Davy Crockett was killed : ALAMO
3
Don Juan sort : LATINLOVER
4
Bro's sibling : SIS
5
Network for political junkies : CSPAN
6
Big name in toothbrushes : ORALB
7
Pinker in the middle, say : RARER
8
Always, in poetry : EER
9
___-mo (replay option) : SLO
10
Olympics competitor : ATHLETE
11
Toot one's own horn : BRAG
12
Sioux City's state : IOWA
13
Young 'un : TYKE
19
Goes back and forth, as a tail : WAGS
21
Revise copy : EDIT
25
"That's gotta hurt!" : OUCH
26
Big name in desktops : IMAC
27
Teals and mallards : DUCKS
30
Start of a newsboy's cry : EXTRAEXTRA
31
Move skyward : RISE
32
Obedience school command : STAY
33
"Watch your ____!" : STEP
34
Soft drink choice : COKE
35
Muslim woman's head cover : HIJAB
36
Make a sharp turn back : ZAG
40
Bastille Day's month : JULY
41
Kind of pump : SUMP
44
"I'm up for doing the job!" : SURECAN
47
Like thumped watermelons making a deep sound : RIPE
49
Like ships on the ocean floor : SUNK
52
Pizazz : SPICE
53
Filled with cargo : LADEN
54
Harebrained : INANE
55
2007's Record of the Year by Amy Winehouse : REHAB
56
Big public display : SCENE
57
Up to the task : ABLE
58
Czech or Croat : SLAV
59
"Girls Just Want to ___ Fun" : HAVE
63
Jimi Hendrix's do, informally : FRO
64
Sen.'s counterpart : REP
65
Paycheck stub abbr. : YTD

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

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