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New York Times, Monday, December 24, 2018

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1838/7/19964/28/201916
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
365152018482615
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?