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New York Times, Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Author: Adam G. Perl
Editor: Will Shortz
Adam G. Perl
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/28/19984/25/20180
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18108300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.50020

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 25 for Mr. Perl. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Adam G. Perl notes: The inspiration for this puzzle came from the word 'mustache' when I discovered it was a perfect homophone for 'must dash.' I ... more
Adam G. Perl notes: The inspiration for this puzzle came from the word "mustache" when I discovered it was a perfect homophone for "must dash." I needed two more pairs that were homophones and of the same number of letters. I came up with Cry Me a River/Crimea River and go-between/Gobi tween. Will Shortz liked the concept, but since the latter two pairs included a place name, he asked me to try to come up with a similar third pair. So the "Mustache" reluctantly had to go and Parasail/Paris ale emerged as the final pairing. With six themed entries include two pairs which overlap, it was a challenge to keep up the quality of the fill (non-thematic words).

This is my 25th puzzle in the NY Times and it is still a huge thrill to see it in print.

Jeff Chen notes: I really liked the idea here. GOBI TWEEN and GO BETWEEN — what fun! PARIS ALE and PARASAIL were pretty clever as well. Neat ... more
Jeff Chen notes: I really liked the idea here. GOBI TWEEN and GO BETWEEN — what fun! PARIS ALE and PARASAIL were pretty clever as well. Neat concept, taking common phrases / words and pronouncing them as if they were geographical in nature. Extending Will's point, I wish there had been more examples of this. To only get three was a bit of a disappointment, as I really, really enjoyed GOBI TWEEN. Wah wah!

Additionally, I really wish the RIVER in CRY ME A RIVER had been transmogrified like in the other themers. To see it left as is was a letdown. So overall, it felt like I only got really two examples of this neat concept.

It was a relief to uncover GO BETWEEN and see how it related to GOBI TWEEN since I hadn't figured that out. But afterward, part of me wanted to struggle to figure it out. It's a good theme concept, and I would have liked to have earned the a-ha moment, rather than having it spelled out for me.

All that said, Adam does an admirable job of executing with six longish themers. Five themers is hard enough, and six usually requires some overlap. Check out the bottom, where PARIS ALE overlaps with CRIMEA RIVER. That's four overlapping letter pairs, four places fraught with potential danger. But Adam does a nice job of filling in that south section with not just fine words, but an MRI SCAN and SPARTA. I'll pay the NATAL price for that any day.

Of course, if you nail one side of a crossword, you have the other side to contend with due to symmetry requirements. And to me, A RIP and the awkward plural foreign ENEROS without any bonus material is not the best of trade-offs. It definitely works and is fair, but I would have liked more than just that.

Finally, a great clue for ATOMS. Element-ary indeed! The chemistry dork in me approves.

Overall, a strong idea, a great example in GOBI TWEEN, and a pretty good one in PARIS ALE. Two or three more in a similar vein could have made this puzzle great.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1224 ( 23,787 )
Across Down
1. A majority of : MOST
5. They show which way the wind blows : VANES
10. Figs. on a bell curve : IQS
13. Weakish poker holding : APAIR
15. Origami bird : CRANE
16. Once called : NEE
17. 1955 Julie London hit : CRYMEARIVER
19. Org. in "Argo" : CIA
20. For mature audiences : RATEDR
21. Glide, in a way : PARASAIL
23. "Well, what have we here?!" : OHO
24. Round trips, of a sort: Abbr. : HRS
26. Easy gait : LOPE
27. Pays, as the bill : FOOTS
29. Charred : SEARED
33. Intermediary : GOBETWEEN
37. Listerine alternative : SCOPE
38. Othello, for one : MOOR
39. Squelch : SITON
41. More than : OVER
42. Eye-opener? : ALARM
44. 11- or 12-year-old Mongolian desert dweller? : GOBITWEEN
46. 13th-century invaders : TATARS
48. Some sneaks : NIKES
49. Pickable : RIPE
51. It may be original : SIN
52. Not keep up : LAG
55. Left Bank quaff? : PARISALE
59. Elvis's Mississippi birthplace : TUPELO
61. Upstate N.Y. campus : RPI
62. Certain waterway to the Black Sea? : CRIMEARIVER
64. Albany is on it: Abbr. : EST
65. Subject of elementary education? : ATOMS
66. French pupil : ELEVE
67. Candy in a dispenser : PEZ
68. Kind of chart : NATAL
69. Some jeans : LEES
1. Large in scale : MACRO
2. What "O" on a newsstand stands for : OPRAH
3. Tell : SAYTO
4. Cons do it : TIME
5. Device with a programmable clock, for short : VCR
6. Not give ___ (be indifferent) : ARIP
7. N.C.I.S. part : NAVAL
8. Summer months in Santiago : ENEROS
9. Gauchos' wear : SERAPES
10. Conquistador's foe : INCA
11. Royal who's notably a crossword fan, for short : QEII
12. Christmas ___ : SEAL
14. In high demand : REDHOT
18. Four computer keyboard symbols : ARROWS
22. Manatees : SEACOWS
25. Old New Yorker cartoonist William : STEIG
27. Maserati competitor : FERRARI
28. Big East's ___ Hall : SETON
30. Go here, there and everywhere : ROVE
31. Abbé de l'___, pioneer in sign language : EPEE
32. "Nebraska" star, 2013 : DERN
33. M.B.A. hopeful's exam : GMAT
34. "Return of the Jedi" dancing girl : OOLA
35. Gravy holder : BOAT
36. Ora pro ___ : NOBIS
40. Premier Khrushchev : NIKITA
43. Scary experience for a claustrophobe : MRISCAN
45. ___ track : TENURE
47. Athens rival : SPARTA
50. "Silas Marner" author : ELIOT
52. Bank security feature? : LEVEE
53. "All Day Strong. All Day Long" brand : ALEVE
54. Horns in on? : GORES
55. Peeling potatoes or shucking corn, for short : PREP
56. Church section : APSE
57. Classic theater name : RITZ
58. Watson who played Hermione Granger : EMMA
60. Disagreeable person : PILL
63. Common adult ed course : ESL

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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