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New York Times, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4912/11/20111/3/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74962102
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JVXYZ} This is puzzle # 31 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
We're PUTTING THINGS ON ICE today … er, ON THE ROCKS. I've heard SCOTCH snobs say that ice destroys single-malts, but I'm an ... read more

We're PUTTING THINGS ON ICE today … er, ON THE ROCKS. I've heard SCOTCH snobs say that ice destroys single-malts, but I'm an infidel. So what if I want to put some cold cubes into my MacAllan? And beer? And red wine?

I really shouldn't be allowed to drink.

Tim gets us not only a SCOTCH on the rocks (ICE), but a BOURBON and a TEQUILA. I liked how he hid SCOTCH and BOURBON — TEQUILA was a bit disappointing in comparison since a TEQUILA SUNRISE (not surprisingly) overtly has TEQUILA in it. Would have been really neat to have some hidden alcohols, like STRING INSTRUMENT and CALENDAR YEAR over ICE. I'm not sure you're supposed to put ICE in those liquors, but I'm-a-gonna try it!

As usual, Tim does a nice job incorporating some bonuses: AMPHIBIOUS, EPHEMERA, and OBSEQUIOUS are colorful, interesting words. EPIPEN is a great mid-length entry, and the pairing of CANTORS and HILLEL is fun too.

Tim had a slightly harder job than usual today, given that he had to place ICE under three words, reducing his filling flexibility. Although those are common letters, they still constrain the grid quite a bit. It's unusual to get a SNERT and an ELOI--both esoteric--in one of Tim's puzzles, but it's understandable.

Also a bit esoteric are SEA CARP and ROARKE. The former is a fine entry, just not as stellar as I would hope for out of a precious seven-letter slot. And although I used to watch "Fantasy Island" (and dream about those tropical drinks — with ICE of course), I'm not sure Mr. ROARKE has stood the test of time.

Overall, I would have liked a little more from the theme, at least disguising TEQUILA in the same way as SCOTCH and BOURBON. But I do like me a refreshing (cold!) drink, so the puzzle gave me a nice visual.

1
P
2
R
3
O
4
M
5
E
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W
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D
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S
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A
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P
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N
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S
C
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T
C
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L
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S
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H
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F
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B
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L
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E
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C
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O
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F
L
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S
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T
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P
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T
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Q
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L
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G
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L
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H
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1220 ( 24,514 )
Across
1
MacBook ___ : PRO
4
Sounded kittenish : MEWED
9
Something controlled by rigging : SAIL
13
Assistance : AID
14
Allergy sufferer's lifesaver : EPIPEN
16
Title heroine who says "I would much rather have been merry than wise" : EMMA
17
Clear adhesive : SCOTCHTAPE
19
Each : APOP
20
Trebly : THRICE
21
Software fix : PATCH
23
Pack (down) : TAMP
25
Backpackers' routes : TRAILS
28
French royal line : HOUSEOFBOURBON
32
Mad ___ : LIBS
33
Omani money : RIAL
34
Cardamom or turmeric : SPICE
35
Ernie in the World Golf Hall of Fame : ELS
36
Synagogue singers : CANTORS
38
Something that fits in a lock : OAR
39
Add details to, with "out" : FLESH
41
Marie Antoinette lost hers in la Révolution française : TETE
42
Get the ball rolling? : PUTT
43
Cocktail usually served with an orange slice and a cherry : TEQUILASUNRISE
46
Sloping water trough : SLUICE
47
Drudge : PEON
48
Start of Caesar's boast : ICAME
50
French cake : GATEAU
54
Surface-dwelling race in "The Time Machine" : ELOI
56
How this puzzle's three drinks have been served? : ONTHEROCKS
59
Booming : LOUD
60
Like some fancy basketball passes : NOLOOK
61
Purge (of) : RID
62
Item in a box in the basement : FUSE
63
Public squabble : SCENE
64
A, in Andalusia : UNA
Down
1
Word repeated in "What's ___ is ___" : PAST
2
Decadent, as cake : RICH
3
"Eww!" inducer : ODOR
4
Pilgrimage destinations : MECCAS
5
Pamphlets, postcards and such : EPHEMERA
6
Mark Twain, notably : WIT
7
Org. concerned with climate change : EPA
8
Johnny of "Sleepy Hollow" : DEPP
9
Bottom-feeding fish known formally as the morwong : SEACARP
10
Like the D-Day assault on Normandy : AMPHIBIOUS
11
Texter's "As I see it ..." : IMO
12
Trip around the track : LAP
15
Cool, quaintly : NEATO
18
"___ Andronicus" : TITUS
22
Bridge support : TRUSS
24
Starting place, on a map : POINTA
26
Find : LOCATE
27
Hägar the Horrible's dog : SNERT
28
Jewish organization on campus : HILLEL
29
Sycophantic : OBSEQUIOUS
30
Fortunes : FATES
31
Remove, as spilled ink : BLOTUP
32
Certain jabs : LEFTS
36
Muchacho's sweetie : CHICA
37
Back out of : RENEGEON
40
"___ Squad" (2016 hit movie) : SUICIDE
42
Two-toned horse : PINTO
44
Bad car to road-trip in : LEMON
45
Mr. ___, host of "Fantasy Island" : ROARKE
49
1961 space chimp : ENOS
51
Color of unbleached silk : ECRU
52
Similar (to) : AKIN
53
Enforcer of the Fed. Meat Inspection Act : USDA
54
North Pole worker : ELF
55
Reed of the Velvet Underground : LOU
57
Spa specialty, briefly : TLC
58
Weed out? : HOE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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