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New York Times, Monday, December 18, 2017

Author: Bruce Haight
Editor: Will Shortz
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1.58032
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 32 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes: I stumbled on INNER DEMONS as a nice revealer (albeit a bit dark), but you need some considerable luck to hide a five letter word ... more
Bruce Haight notes:

I stumbled on INNER DEMONS as a nice revealer (albeit a bit dark), but you need some considerable luck to hide a five letter word in reasonably interesting phrases of matching lengths.

There were very few solid options. I would have never come up with CODE MONKEY without the XWord Info word list, but I needed a matching ten letter entry. I made a blank ten letter entry in a grid and tried shifting the word DEMON around in there and looking at the Wikipedia results ... et voila, I got lucky with PRIDE MONTH.

Will and Joel liked those two theme entries the best — CLAUDE MONET was not bad, but I think MADE MONEY was just decent enough to go along for the ride. Happy holidays!

Jeff Chen notes: Hidden word puzzle, INNER DEMON pointing to theme phrases with DEMON spanning two words. Some colorful ones, CODE MONKEY my favorite. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Hidden word puzzle, INNER DEMON pointing to theme phrases with DEMON spanning two words. Some colorful ones, CODE MONKEY my favorite. Some solvers may not know it, but it's thrown around a lot among my coder friends. Plus, it's so evocative! A million monkeys coding away at a million computers could eventually write this blog post …

And PRIDE MONTH, yay! The Pride Parade is a much bigger term here in Seattle, but PRIDE MONTH is no doubt in the news.

I'd seen CLAUDE MONET and MADE MONEY before — maybe even in this same INNER DEMON concept — but they're still goodies. Well, MADE MONEY ain't MADE BANK or RAKED IT IN, but it does the job.

"Hidden word" themes can get repetitive when it's the same exact word found over and over. One way to make it more interesting is to find different synonyms for the word, in this case, DEVIL, IMP, SATAN, etc.

But another way is to choose a string that's tough to find within phrases. I was surprised at how few I could come up with, given how common the letters in DEMON are. So that tightness does elevate the theme a little.

(As a general rule, if you have a huge list to choose from, your theme probably isn't tight enough.)

Strong execution, love how smooth Bruce got this grid. Not easy to do, given that MADE MONEY cut the grid in the half, top to bottom, forcing four big corners. Some RACE FAN / MAD DASH / IM RICH!, LOVE TAP = nice bonuses, too. I wish more of AT A TIME, ANOINTS, SNOWS IN, SOAPING were of the IM RICH! level of sizzle, but it's better to err on the side of smoothness than showiness for a Monday puzzle.

Bruce's attention to detail has improved so much over the years. Such a smooth grid makes for an excellent novice solving experience — it says a lot that I'd happily give this one to any newer solver. If the theme hadn't felt quite as repetitive to me, and if the bonuses had been a little snazzier, it would have been POW! material.

1
E
2
A
3
S
4
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5
S
6
A
7
L
8
G
9
A
10
E
11
A
12
L
13
B
14
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15
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N
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32
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1218 ( 24,877 )
Across Down
1. Soothes : EASES
6. Aquarium buildup : ALGAE
11. Edmonton's province: Abbr. : ALB
14. TV replay technique : SLOMO
15. Hold power, as a monarch : REIGN
16. Neither's partner : NOR
17. "Water Lilies" painter : CLAUDEMONET
19. Lab eggs : OVA
20. Rock concert blaster : AMP
21. Nerve cell part : AXON
22. Dust Bowl migrants : OKIES
24. Beach toy with a handle : PAIL
26. June, in the L.G.B.T.Q. movement : PRIDEMONTH
29. Pacific source of odd weather : ELNINO
31. Like the paths of satellites : ORBITAL
32. Impressionist Edgar : DEGAS
33. Muslim pilgrim : HAJI
35. Snoop (on) : SPY
36. Profited : MADEMONEY
40. Place for salt on a margarita glass : RIM
43. Yale students : ELIS
44. Opposite of losses : GAINS
48. Simultaneously : ATATIME
51. Negative about : DOWNON
52. Computer programmer, disparagingly : CODEMONKEY
55. Brussels-based defense grp. : NATO
56. Revered one in a tribe : ELDER
57. Indian bread : NAAN
59. "Fancy that!" : WOW
60. Public health org. : FDA
61. Personal struggles ... or, literally, features of 17-, 26-, 36- and 52-Across : INNERDEMONS
65. Sailors' yeses : AYS
66. Deliberately hurtful : CRUEL
67. French thanks : MERCI
68. "Fuhgeddaboutit!" : NAH
69. At one's fingertips : HANDY
70. Poet Nash : OGDEN
1. Flew the coop : ESCAPED
2. Like Chippendales revues : ALLMALE
3. Marking, as windows on Halloween : SOAPING
4. Large egg producer : EMU
5. Cream ___ (beverage) : SODA
6. Knight's wear : ARMOR
7. Téa of "Madam Secretary" : LEONI
8. Tom Collins ingredient : GIN
9. Important datum for Social Security eligibility : AGE
10. Place in a crypt : ENTOMB
11. Ceremonially names : ANOINTS
12. Light, friendly punch : LOVETAP
13. With audacity : BRASHLY
18. Fair with booths : EXPO
23. Fish in an ornamental pond : KOI
25. Neeson of "Taken" : LIAM
27. Martial arts centers : DOJOS
28. "___ go bragh!" : ERIN
30. Covert govt. org. : NSA
33. Mythical beauty whose face "launched a thousand ships" : HELEN
34. French friend : AMI
37. Floor model : DEMO
38. Source of arrogance : EGO
39. Jaw-dropping opening? : YAWN
40. Nascar devotee : RACEFAN
41. "Shoulda listened to me ..." : ITOLDYA
42. Frantic rush : MADDASH
45. "Briefly ..." : INAWORD
46. Never ever : NOTONCE
47. Strands, as at a ski lodge : SNOWSIN
49. Wearable souvenir, informally : TEE
50. Powerball winner's cry : IMRICH
51. Twosome : DYAD
53. Attacked from below the hip : KNEED
54. At the crack of dawn, say : EARLY
58. Jules Verne captain : NEMO
62. Gun lovers' org. : NRA
63. Taker of religious vows : NUN
64. Ryan of "Sleepless in Seattle" : MEG

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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