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New York Times, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Author: Timothy Polin
Editor: Will Shortz
Timothy Polin
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4212/11/201110/23/20172
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64841802
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.634120

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 ... more
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 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.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1220 ( 24,514 )
Across Down
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
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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