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New York Times, Monday, December 21, 2015

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
461/3/20131/16/20194
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
312139450
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58042
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {FKQVXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
I was not very optimistic about this puzzle when I was constructing it, because I could not find a way to work DOOHICKEY or GIZMO into ... read more

I was not very optimistic about this puzzle when I was constructing it, because I could not find a way to work DOOHICKEY or GIZMO into it. However, Will and Joel liked the seven theme entries and said they liked the way the words are "fun to say." I had this mental image of the two of them saying these theme entries back and forth to each other as part of the decision process, and that pretty much made my day!

I had options to get rid of some of the crosswordese (ALOE, EMU, IDA, etc.) but I wanted to stick to solid Monday vocab. It was not long ago that I was a Monday solver myself, and I was not at ALL irritated to run across the occasional overused entry or clue. My first grandson (Nolan) was born as I'm writing this — December 9 — the first thing they did when he popped out is clip a thingamajig on his whatchamacallit!

If you are a constructor and you feel like you are not getting enough of your clues accepted I have a suggestion for you: list more than one clue for the entries you really care about! The editors I have discussed that with like the idea, and I can't see any downside to it. Just put a slash/mark between them and try to pick options of varying difficulty. In this puzzle, I listed more than one clue for about half of the entries, and my "success" rate was higher on those than on the ones I only submitted one clue for. I listed two clues for MONA LISA — "Da Vinci masterpiece" and "Art subject with a famous smile" — the actual clue used was an "intriguing" blend of both those options!

By the way, those two odd clumps of blocks in the middle of the puzzle might look like cheater squares but they are actually subtle (Easter egg) grid art! The top one is a standard DOOHICKEY, and the bottom one is, of course, your classic GIZMO..... ;)

Hope you liked the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
List of terms people use to mean 'thingie' = fun for me, as we mechanical engineers love our specific terms for doohickeys — ... read more

List of terms people use to mean "thingie" = fun for me, as we mechanical engineers love our specific terms for doohickeys — ratchets, pawls, involute spline gear teeth, four-bar mechanisms, you've already nodded off. (We Mechanical Engineers are delights at parties.)

Chevron's chevrons

Glad that Bruce mentioned the lack of DOOHICKEY, which I was searching for as I solved. But I was impressed to see such a wide variety of terms — getting seven of them was pretty cool. THINGAMAJIGGY and THINGAMABOB are more highly scientific terms than THINGAMAJIG, but we'll let that one slide. I wasn't sure what a DINGUS was, but it checks out fine as a synonym for "thingie." Just don't look it up on Urban Dictionary. Ahem.

Impressive execution given so many themers. Yes, many of the themers are short, which makes this task easier, but seven themers of any length is a challenge. Bruce did a good job of keeping his fill clean. The places that would typically be the hardest — around MONA LISA and CREDITOR, which pass through three themers — are pretty darn good. IN RED usually sticks out like a sore thumb as a partial, but given the Santa clue, I give it a holiday pass.

Since some themers are very short, just six letters, it would have been nice to lay out the grid so that the longest across answers (including fill) are only six letters. DEADEYE and STUDIOS make for nice bonus material, but they do make it harder to pick out where the theme answers are. (I highlighted them below in blue, to make them easier to see.)

Great clue for LOGOS! I had to read [Shell's shell and Chevron's chevron] a few times before getting that. I forgot that Chevron's logo is a set of "chevrons"!

So, a good grid execution with just a ONE (A) - TWO (EGG) punch of gluey bits. (And TWO EGG is (mostly) fine; I just couldn't resist the joke.)

1
U
2
P
3
D
4
O
5
S
6
A
7
T
8
E
9
A
10
M
11
T
12
H
13
O
14
S
L
E
P
T
15
M
E
N
L
O
16
W
E
B
17
C
O
N
T
R
18
A
P
T
I
O
N
19
O
Y
S
20
E
E
L
S
21
D
E
A
22
D
E
Y
E
23
D
24
O
25
O
D
A
D
26
L
O
G
O
S
27
R
U
N
28
M
A
29
S
30
S
31
D
I
N
G
U
S
32
A
C
E
33
S
34
T
E
35
R
E
S
A
36
W
H
A
T
37
C
38
H
A
M
A
C
A
L
39
L
40
I
41
T
42
A
R
A
B
I
C
43
D
O
S
E
44
W
45
I
46
D
G
E
T
47
S
E
48
A
49
M
50
N
E
S
51
I
N
R
E
D
52
G
A
53
D
G
E
T
54
S
T
U
D
I
55
O
56
S
57
A
U
D
I
58
H
I
M
59
T
H
I
60
N
G
A
M
A
61
J
62
I
63
G
64
E
M
U
65
O
N
R
Y
E
66
A
N
O
D
E
67
S
E
P
68
R
O
S
E
S
69
N
A
G
A
T
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1221 ( 24,149 )
Across
1
Raised hairstyles : UPDOS
6
TV group featuring Mr. T, with "the" : ATEAM
11
However, informally : THO
14
Caught some Z's : SLEPT
15
___ Park (Thomas Edison's home) : MENLO
16
Arachnid's snare : WEB
17
Unnamed object #1 : CONTRAPTION
19
Yiddish laments : OYS
20
Slithery fishes : EELS
21
Sharpshooter : DEADEYE
23
... #2 : DOODAD
26
Shell's shell and Chevron's chevron : LOGOS
27
Declare one's candidacy : RUN
28
The "m" of E = mc2 : MASS
31
... #3 : DINGUS
32
Cards that top kings : ACES
34
Mother ___ (nun who won a Nobel Peace Prize) : TERESA
36
... #4 : WHATCHAMACALLIT
42
Language of Egypt : ARABIC
43
Amount of medicine : DOSE
44
... #5 : WIDGET
47
Stitched line on a baseball : SEAM
50
Nintendo's Super ___ : NES
51
How Santa dresses, mostly : INRED
52
... #6 : GADGET
54
Paramount and Universal : STUDIOS
57
BMW rival : AUDI
58
"THAT guy!" : HIM
59
... #7 : THINGAMAJIG
64
Big bird of Australia : EMU
65
How pastrami might be served : ONRYE
66
One end of a battery : ANODE
67
Aug. follower : SEP
68
Romantic dozen : ROSES
69
Henpeck : NAGAT
Down
1
The Trojans of the N.C.A.A. : USC
2
Gaza grp. : PLO
3
Locale for bears or thieves : DEN
4
Chose (to) : OPTED
5
Transmit continuously, as video : STREAM
6
Rock band boosters : AMPS
7
Asian New Year : TET
8
Woman's name that means "eat" backward : ENID
9
Succulent healer : ALOE
10
Da Vinci masterpiece with an intriguing smile : MONALISA
11
Like a medium-size omelet : TWOEGG
12
"Psst!" : HEYYOU
13
Worry compulsively : OBSESS
18
He played Hawkeye on "M*A*S*H" : ALDA
22
Ivana's ex, with "the" : DONALD
23
Make a cartoon, e.g. : DRAW
24
"That hurt!" : OUCH
25
Prime draft status : ONEA
29
Wild guess : STAB
30
Matches before the finals : SEMIS
31
Christmas mo. : DEC
33
Presented, as a play : STAGED
35
Marathon, e.g. : RACE
37
Debtor's opposite : CREDITOR
38
Panama or bowler : HAT
39
New York's ___ Island : LONG
40
"Aha!" : ISEE
41
Big quiz : TEST
44
Trio from a genie : WISHES
45
By the deadline : INTIME
46
Work to increase, as business : DRUMUP
48
Water, to Juanita : AGUA
49
Lunatic : MADMAN
53
Prince William's mother : DIANA
55
"Horrors!" : OHNO
56
"Dear ___" (letter starter) : SIRS
57
___ 8 and up (game specification) : AGES
60
"Science Guy" Bill : NYE
61
Nudge, as one's memory : JOG
62
Boise's state: Abbr. : IDA
63
Understand, as a joke : GET

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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