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New York Times, Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Author: Herre Schouwerwou
Editor: Will Shortz
Herre Schouwerwou
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
71/15/201511/1/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0113200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Schouwerwou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Herre Schouwerwou notes: The story began with a warm 'Welcome' from Will. My first accepted crossword now yours to fill! After 30 months in the ... more
Herre Schouwerwou notes:

The story began with a warm "Welcome" from Will.
My first accepted crossword now yours to fill!

After 30 months in the queue this grid is now here
To celebrate words and provide holiday cheer.

This festive poem is for the solver in you.
Happy Holidays to all even those without a clue!

The seasonal TASKS finished. ADS a thing of the past.
Santa's AGENT, SUPERMOM received guests at last.

She in her A-LINE. DANTE in his NIKEs.
There was ERICA and RYHS, JOSH, LOLITA, 2 Mikeys.

They did a DOUBLE TAKE. The buffet was so large.
Good SCENTs and sweet treats and no COVER CHARGE!

Green HAM AVEC OVA, her best DOWN-HOME dish.
TOSSed salads with OREOS, and even STARfish.

There were WEE plastic EPEES in WEDGEs of cheese.
EGGnog and MOO DEW, an assortment of teas.

We couldn't BACK AWAY. We noshed on and on.
Even then the ACRE of food was only HALF-GONE*.

"See we FOUND another way to clue that *word.
AGING folks ARE to be respected," mom politely DEMURred.

The BINGE was over. The AFTER EFFECT was felt.
ASAP as he could, SMART ALEC loosened his belt.

MOI, I read OGDEN NASH. Our LAB at my feet.
The children AGOG from too much to eat.

"EGAD! Holy COW!" Do BEHAVE ERE I GO APE!"
I gave them a smile and made a HEART SHAPE.

Then ENNUI set in as I stifled a yawn.
Neither RAGA music nor NAS rap helped me HANG on.

So up the STEPS I went, not a BEDBUG in sight,
To LIE ON A cot and sleep through the night.

When a gorgeous SUNDOG appeared on New Year's DAY
Everyone knew that 2017 would be A-OKAY!

Jeff Chen notes: 'Both words can follow X' type theme, Herre using DOUBLE TAKE to indicate that X = TAKE. HEART SHAPE = TAKE HEART and TAKE SHAPE, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

"Both words can follow X" type theme, Herre using DOUBLE TAKE to indicate that X = TAKE. HEART SHAPE = TAKE HEART and TAKE SHAPE, COVER CHARGE = TAKE COVER and TAKE CHARGE, etc.

I think Will has been spacing out his remaining examples of this theme type, which is a good thing because we've seen a lot of them over the years. Considering that this one has been sitting in the queue about two years now, it stands up decently. It's tough to incorporate six themers in any 15x puzzle, so to end with just a few gluey entries ain't half bad. Nothing egregious, just some minor ERE, AMARE (if only AMAR'E Stoudemire had become a Hall-of-Famer — his alternating consonant-vowel pattern is so useful!), IS NOT, DST.

And some nice bonuses! Many constructors working with six themers would simply settle for a reasonably smooth product, no bonuses. So SUPERMOM (shout out to my wife!), LOLITA (my wife's favorite book!), SMART ALEC (my wife's husband!) and OGDEN NASH were awfully nice.

One common knock on these theme types is that the themers can often be dull. Not the case for COVER CHARGE, which works so beautifully to create TAKE COVER and TAKE CHARGE. Herre does have the advantage that there are a ton of "TAKE ___" phrases out there to sift through, but COVER CHARGE is a great example of a themer that stands out within this theme trope.

HEART SHAPE … hmm. It is a thing, but HEART SHAPED sounds so much better to my ear. Too bad TAKE SHAPED isn't a thing! And BACK AWAY, DOWN HOME, AFTER EFFECT are decent, but I wouldn't go out of my way to work them into a puzzle, at least not nearly to the extent as COVER CHARGE.

Apparently, AGING is the preferred spelling in the US, and AGEING is used outside. Learn something new every day.

I'm a bit oversaturated with this theme type, so it was a disappointment to get to the revealer. But overall, a nice job of execution.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1227 ( 24,521 )
Across Down
1. Tease good-naturedly : JOSH
5. Knock down a notch : ABASE
10. Old-fashioned outburst : EGAD
14. ___ Bunt, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" henchwoman : IRMA
15. Gently protest : DEMUR
16. Some music in Mumbai : RAGA
17. *Valentine outline : HEARTSHAPE
19. Cry at the start of a poker game : IMIN
20. Blood line : AORTA
21. "___ you nuts?" : ARE
22. Trail for a dog : SCENT
23. Summer clock setting: Abbr. : DST
24. *Cost to enter a bar, maybe : COVERCHARGE
27. Dress style : ALINE
29. "Excusez-___" : MOI
30. Controversial novel of 1955 : LOLITA
32. *Folksy : DOWNHOME
37. With: Fr. : AVEC
38. Nonkosher entree : HAM
39. Excited and then some : AGOG
40. *What to do when coming face to face with a bear : BACKAWAY
43. Partial rainbow near the horizon : SUNDOG
45. What framed Roger Rabbit? : CEL
46. Watch a season's worth of episodes in one sitting, say : BINGE
47. *Delayed consequence : AFTEREFFECT
52. "Illmatic" rapper : NAS
55. Lose it completely : GOAPE
56. Thor or Loki : GOD
57. "All ___ lost" : ISNOT
59. Follower of anything and everything : ELSE
60. Surprised reaction ... or a hint to what can precede both halves of the answers to the starred clues : DOUBLETAKE
62. "Just do it" sloganeer : NIKE
63. Doldrums feeling : ENNUI
64. Forthwith, on a memo : ASAP
65. Throw in the trash : TOSS
66. Club in a sand trap : WEDGE
67. Actor Ifans of "The Amazing Spider-Man" : RHYS
1. Crusade against "infidels" : JIHAD
2. Stackable cookies : OREOS
3. Know-it-all : SMARTALEC
4. N.H.L.'s ___ Memorial Trophy : HART
5. Billboards, e.g. : ADS
6. Babysitter's request : BEHAVE
7. Verb that's conjugated "amo, amas, amat ..." : AMARE
8. Parent who "does it all" : SUPERMOM
9. Before, poetically : ERE
10. ___ Kane, resident of soap TV's Pine Valley : ERICA
11. Devotee of eSports : GAMER
12. Ripening, as cheese : AGING
13. "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" poet : DANTE
18. Silent, as an agreement : TACIT
22. Clamber up, as a pole : SHIN
25. Go ___ diet : ONA
26. Dairy animal : COW
28. Spank : LICK
30. Research site : LAB
31. Ingredients in a Caesar salad, to Caesar? : OVA
32. New Year's ___ : DAY
33. Chill (with) : HANG
34. Humorist who wrote "Candy / Is dandy / But liquor / Is quicker" : OGDENNASH
35. Sound from a 26-Down : MOO
36. Ingredient in a Caesar salad : EGG
38. Suffering from senility, say : HALFGONE
41. Pastoral piece? : ACRE
42. Tiny : WEE
43. "___ 'em!" (canine command) : SIC
44. Loosen, as a bow : UNTIE
46. One getting a bite at night? : BEDBUG
47. 007, e.g. : AGENT
48. Leaf of a book : FOLIO
49. Jobs to do : TASKS
50. Swords in modern pentathlons : EPEES
51. Lost's opposite : FOUND
53. "Good to go" : AOKAY
54. Staircase parts : STEPS
58. Symbol to the left of a zero on a phone : STAR
60. Mountain ___ (soda) : DEW
61. More than a fib : LIE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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