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New York Times, Monday, December 24, 2018

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1808/7/199612/24/201816
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
355152017472615
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 179 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Day 1 of WTF? Week at XWI! I love having the chance to tell people What I'm Thankful For. What, you were thinking something ... read more

Day 1 of WTF? Week at XWI! I love having the chance to tell people What I'm Thankful For.

What, you were thinking something different?

Puzzles add so much to my life. Sometimes I worry that in my anal desire to microanalyze puzzles from a technical standpoint, I come across as too negative. So I'm going to forgo that this week and simply tell constructors what about their puzzle made me happy.

Today, I loved BEQ's choices of themers. With hidden word themes, especially ones using the same word, you have to do something special to make your puzzle stand out. Three fresh, snazzy theme answers will go a long ways toward that. HYBRID ENGINE, KALAHARI DESERT, GENDER IDENTITY? Yes, yes, and yes!

I also appreciated how BEQ progressively moved the location of his word split. RID/E to RI/DE to R/IDE is beautifully elegant. It even echoes the theme, with the RIDE sort of moving, as if it were hitching a ride.

Great revealer, too. You need to have some entry explaining what's going on. Otherwise, a Monday solver could easily miss the cleverosity. RIDE literally hitching a ride in the themers is perfect.

1
B
2
E
3
S
4
O
5
A
6
L
7
I
8
C
9
E
10
W
11
H
12
E
13
W
14
L
A
I
N
15
V
E
N
O
M
16
H
O
L
E
17
A
S
T
A
18
I
V
A
N
A
19
E
R
I
E
20
H
Y
B
R
21
I
D
E
N
G
I
22
N
E
S
23
S
A
Y
O
K
24
R
E
A
L
I
Z
E
25
S
26
L
E
27
T
28
T
E
M
P
29
E
30
K
31
A
L
A
H
32
A
33
R
34
I
35
D
E
S
E
R
T
36
F
E
N
37
A
L
I
K
E
38
A
A
A
39
G
E
N
40
D
41
E
R
I
D
E
N
42
T
43
I
T
Y
44
S
L
I
E
R
45
Y
U
M
46
S
E
S
S
47
I
48
O
49
N
50
S
51
N
A
52
V
53
A
54
L
55
H
I
T
C
H
I
N
56
G
A
R
I
D
E
57
A
58
J
A
R
59
B
Y
C
A
R
60
E
M
M
A
61
D
A
L
E
62
M
O
O
R
E
63
T
E
E
N
64
O
W
L
S
65
S
U
L
K
Y
66
S
O
N
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1224 ( 25,248 )
Across
1. Kiss, in Spanish : BESO
5. Cooper of hard rock : ALICE
10. "That was a bear!" : WHEW
14. Reclined : LAIN
15. Snake poison : VENOM
16. Shovel's creation : HOLE
17. Dog in "The Thin Man" : ASTA
18. First ex-wife of Donald Trump : IVANA
19. One of the Great Lakes : ERIE
20. Features of some eco-friendly vehicles : HYBRIDENGINES
23. Give the go-ahead : SAYOK
24. Comes to understand : REALIZES
26. ___ the chips fall where they may : LET
28. City near Scottsdale : TEMPE
30. Dry region covering most of Botswana : KALAHARIDESERT
36. Swamp : FEN
37. Similar : ALIKE
38. Battery for a remote : AAA
39. It may or may not correspond with one's birth sex : GENDERIDENTITY
44. More crafty : SLIER
45. "Delicious!" : YUM
46. Former attorney general Jeff : SESSIONS
51. Involving warships : NAVAL
55. Getting picked up by the side of the road ... or what 20-, 30- and 39-Across are literally doing? : HITCHINGARIDE
57. Partly open, as a door : AJAR
59. One way to commute : BYCAR
60. Jane Austen title woman : EMMA
61. Broad valley : DALE
62. Clement C. ___, writer of "A Visit From St. Nicholas" : MOORE
63. One twixt 12 and 20 : TEEN
64. Birds that hoot : OWLS
65. In a pouty mood : SULKY
66. George H. W. Bush had four : SONS
Down
1. Bored feeling, with "the" : BLAHS
2. Course you're almost guaranteed to get a good grade in : EASYA
3. Not get involved while something's happening : SITBY
4. Really cookin' : ONAROLL
5. Rah-rah : AVID
6. Pry bar, e.g. : LEVER
7. Silly : INANE
8. Dance done in a line : CONGA
9. One might end "Sent from my iPhone" : EMAIL
10. Asthmatic noises : WHEEZES
11. Taboo alternative to beef : HORSEMEAT
12. Manning with a good throwing arm : ELI
13. Tiny : WEE
21. Furniture giant founded in Sweden : IKEA
22. Time after dark, in commercials : NITE
25. Apply, as pesticides : SPRAY
27. Them ___ hills : THAR
29. Info on an airline website : ETA
30. Falls (over) : KEELS
31. Woody Allen comedy that won Best Picture : ANNIEHALL
32. Mahershala ___, co-star of 2018's "Green Book" : ALI
33. Cleanse (of) : RID
34. Eisenhower, informally : IKE
35. Say it isn't so : DENY
36. Some fourth down scores: Abbr. : FGS
40. Wishes : DESIRES
41. Once, back in the day : ERST
42. Sandwich fish : TUNA
43. Ottoman inns : IMARETS
47. Parts of a Cold War arsenal, for short : ICBMS
48. Words to a josher : OHYOU
49. Actor Williamson : NICOL
50. Sarcastic comments : SNARK
52. Alternative to YouTube : VIMEO
53. Some jingle writers : ADMEN
54. Favors one side : LEANS
56. ___ Poupon mustard : GREY
57. Hullabaloo : ADO
58. Scary part of a T. rex : JAW

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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