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New York Times, Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Author:
Jim Peredo
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
71/7/201311/16/20160
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1203100
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1.60120
Jim Peredo

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQWXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Peredo. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jim Peredo notes:
This puzzle started more traditionally with theme entries GODSEND, BLESS THIS MESS, US AND THEM, EVERY TIME, and ONE LIFE TO LIVE with ... read more

This puzzle started more traditionally with theme entries GODSEND, BLESS THIS MESS, US AND THEM, EVERY TIME, and ONE LIFE TO LIVE with the revealer TINY TIM (no rebus). But I wanted to rebusize (is that a word?) the TIM in TINY TIM, 'cuz he's such a cute li'l guy! So that meant aiming this puzzle at a Wednesday or Thursday.

Will has run a one-square rebus on a Wednesday before, so I thought this might be a good candidate for that type of treatment. But that meant hiding the words better. It wasn't possible to span them across multiple words (thanks to BLESS) so it was a matter of finding interesting ways to hide my words within other words. I came up with a pretty good grid, but I wanted to add one more layer — the novella's title as the central grid-spanning themer. The result is what you see today.

A lot of theme material means some compromising fill. I built this puzzle two years ago when my threshold for gunk was lower. I wish I had taken the time to come up with something better, even after it was accepted.

Jeff Chen notes:
GOD / BLESS / US / EVERY / ONE = the last words of A CHRISTMAS CAROL = an excellent way to put solvers into the holiday spirit. Very ... read more

GOD / BLESS / US / EVERY / ONE = the last words of A CHRISTMAS CAROL = an excellent way to put solvers into the holiday spirit. Very fun to get the bonus of TINY TIM, the speaker of the quote … as a (TIM) rebus! That's a ton of theme material.

Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit

I enjoyed finding those five hidden words. BLESS inside NO(BLESS)E is a good one — tough to hide that letter pattern. EVERY in TH(E VERY) IDEA too. PUSSY GALORE was hilarious to me as a kid, and I do still find it somewhat funny. But it felt somewhat out of place in such a Christmas-y puzzle.

I normally am not a big fan of circled letters / shaded letters puzzles unless the hidden words aren't obvious. Here, uncovering GOD BLESS US made it pretty clear what the last two words would be. Also, given that these are the last words of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, I really wanted GOD / BLESS / US / EVERY / ONE to be the last words of the five themers. I don't think that would have been possible, since what phrase ends in EVERY? Or BLESS? But how cool would that have been! Given the constraints, I like Jim's choice to "hide" the five words.

I really liked the single rebus square idea — getting TINY TIM worked in, with TIM as the "tiny" rebus square is a great idea. IT would have been spot-on perfect to have that TIM square at the very bottom corner, but that certainly would have made for a harder grid arrangement. The only thing I could think of is TINY (TIM) crossing VIC(TIM), but that would make for a bigger SE corner, much harder to fill. As it is, there's already a rough crossing in MONA / FRODO — I'm a big LotR fan, but for non-believers (infidels!), I could see how MENA/FREDO or MINA/FRIDO would seem equally likely.

Fun concept, with not that much gluey fill (I LEFT, MGMT, ECTO, etc.) given the high theme density. Nice, uplifting puzzle.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1223 ( 24,151 )
Across
1. Singer Williams of the Temptations : OTIS
5. "Toy Story" dog that shares its name with a missile : SCUD
9. Outer: Prefix : ECTO
13. Samuel Beckett's "En attendant ___" : GODOT
15. Actress Anderson : LONI
16. + : PLUS
17. Spacious : ROOMY
18. 1977 film described by Leonard Maltin as "For undiscriminating action fans whose idea of entertainment is watching Bo [Derek] getting her leg bitten off" : ORCA
19. Owneth : HATH
20. ___ Queen : ELLERY
22. French upper crust : NOBLESSE
24. Set of sheets? : REAM
26. West Coast capital : OLYMPIA
27. "Goldfinger" temptress : PUSSYGALORE
30. "I ___ to differ" : BEG
31. Bon ___ : AMI
32. "The woman," to Sherlock Holmes : IRENE
36. Novella whose final words are found in the shaded squares : ACHRISTMASCAROL
41. Indian state known for its tea : ASSAM
42. Sup : EAT
43. Tick off : IRK
44. "Nonsense!" : THEVERYIDEA
49. Big, big, big : MASSIVE
52. National hero of Brazil : PELE
53. Complexion : SKINTONE
55. All hands on deck? : SEAMEN
59. Title river in a Christie mystery : NILE
60. Toy behind several international theme parks : LEGO
62. Nine-fingered hobbit : FRODO
63. They're measured in cups : BRAS
64. Suzanne with the 1987 hit "Luka" : VEGA
65. Speaker of the words in the shaded squares, expressed literally : TINYTIM
66. Throw, as a shadow : CAST
67. Sexual love : EROS
68. Lessen, with "off" : EASE
Down
1. Man-eater : OGRE
2. Jack, hammer or jackhammer : TOOL
3. Revered one : IDOL
4. Suzanne of "Three's Company" : SOMERS
5. ___-pitch softball : SLO
6. Ears you may bite on : CORN
7. Like wearing socks with sandals, say : UNCOOL
8. Dios's enemy : DIABLO
9. Things meant to be used and then thrown away : EPHEMERA
10. Necklace feature : CLASP
11. People of Rwanda : TUTSI
12. "Ulysses" actor Milo : OSHEA
14. They roll around in London : TYRES
21. "Get Yer ___ Out!" (Rolling Stones album) : YAYAS
23. "I can't get no satisfaction," e.g. : LYRIC
25. Corp. leadership : MGMT
27. They're between delts and abs : PECS
28. Not music to a chef's ears : UGHS
29. Musical Mann : AIMEE
30. Ovine cry : BAA
33. Buffalo's county : ERIE
34. Writer/director Ephron : NORA
35. Yellowstone herd : ELK
37. Total mess : RATSNEST
38. Call preceding "Medic!" : IMHIT
39. Org. promoting Social Security solvency : AARP
40. Eye sores : STYES
45. Change over time : EVOLVE
46. Facade : VENEER
47. "___ My Heart in San Francisco" : ILEFT
48. Sweetie pie : DEARIE
49. "All In With Chris Hayes" network : MSNBC
50. Director Kurosawa : AKIRA
51. Uncle on "Duck Dynasty" : SILAS
54. Freezer section brand : EGGO
56. Poet ___ Van Duyn : MONA
57. Freezer section brand : EDYS
58. "Sorry, gotta run!" : NOTIME
61. Western Hemisphere grp. : OAS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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