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New York Times, Monday, December 28, 2015

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6711/13/201212/20/201919
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622187482
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQYZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 25 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:
This is my oldest puzzle in Will's queue. It was made when the movie 'No Easy Day' was just released, and accepted in Feb. 2013. ... read more

This is my oldest puzzle in Will's queue. It was made when the movie "No Easy Day" was just released, and accepted in Feb. 2013. Thanks to SEAL TEAM SIX, I was able to get five entries with different middle words.

As you can see from my original grid, Will and Joel quietly did their job and removed a few crosswordese entries from a few spots, notably LST (31A), ENARM (43A) and HODS (71A).

Jeff Chen notes:
S T S initialisms, the abbreviation for 'streets' serving as the revealer. We don't see a ton of initialism themes these days — ... read more

S T S initialisms, the abbreviation for "streets" serving as the revealer. We don't see a ton of initialism themes these days — I think it has to do with a combination of factors: there have been a lot of them, it's usually a little too easy to find examples that fit, and after two or three themers, the idea tends to get repetitive.

Dang, that's a cool-looking patch!

I like what C.C. (Zhouqin) has done today, picking a set of three initials (it's usually two) that are a little tricky to find good examples for. I thought of SEE THE SIGHTS, SET THE SCENE, STEAL THE SHOW right off the bat, but if you don't want to repeat "the" within themers, it becomes more difficult. SEAL TEAM SIX is a colorful phrase, and there's something nice about the connection between SINBAD THE SAILOR and STEM TO STERN. (Given that SEAL TEAM SIX is within the US Navy, it would have been cool to have all the phrases relate to the sea!)

Interesting short fill in HOMS. I can't remember seeing that before, in any crossword (it was used in the pre-Shortz era a handful of times). Upon some research, it seems perfectly legit to me, and perhaps even desirable, given its place in current events. I'm very glad C.C. made each of the crossings crystal clear — it's a great way to introduce a "new" proper noun in a way that likely won't irritate solvers, and might even get them to go learn something new.

Nice execution. With five long themers, many constructors would be happy to just come up with a mostly smooth grid. I love C.C.'s efforts to include TELLS TALES and ANNABEL LEE. There's a slight price to be paid in the south — given that this region has to work around two themers and is wider (at six letters) than usual, it's not surprising to get some ELO / OLEOS / OCS. Nothing that objectionable in itself, just a little more concentration than I'd like to see.

Fun clue for ATOM. "Small matter" feels more fun and in the language to me than "little matter," but I really like the idea.

1
S
2
I
3
N
4
S
5
W
6
A
7
L
8
L
9
E
10
T
11
T
12
A
13
P
14
O
B
O
E
15
I
C
E
A
X
E
16
E
R
R
17
S
E
A
L
18
T
E
A
M
S
I
X
19
L
G
A
20
O
T
H
E
R
21
M
E
S
22
G
L
U
T
23
S
I
24
L
25
V
E
R
T
26
E
A
S
E
T
27
I
28
R
29
A
30
B
E
E
31
L
E
T
32
L
A
N
33
A
34
A
T
35
O
36
M
37
S
L
A
38
T
39
E
40
S
I
N
B
41
A
D
T
H
E
42
S
A
I
L
O
R
43
A
L
A
R
M
44
E
S
A
I
45
C
E
N
T
46
B
O
O
47
T
L
48
C
49
S
E
E
50
S
51
P
E
A
K
52
T
53
O
54
O
S
O
O
55
N
56
C
O
L
D
57
E
L
O
58
G
O
59
R
60
G
61
E
62
O
I
L
63
S
T
E
M
64
T
65
O
S
T
E
R
N
66
U
S
E
67
T
R
O
P
I
C
68
C
L
A
D
69
T
E
E
70
S
A
S
H
E
S
71
H
O
M
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1228 ( 24,156 )
Across
1
Breaks the Ten Commandments : SINS
5
Money and ID holder : WALLET
11
Faucet : TAP
14
Slender woodwind : OBOE
15
Aid in climbing a snowy peak : ICEAXE
16
Make a mistake : ERR
17
Navy special force in the bin Laden raid : SEALTEAMSIX
19
Airport alternative to JFK : LGA
20
"___ than that ..." : OTHER
21
Abril or mayo : MES
22
Oversupply : GLUT
23
Sterling service for an afternoon break : SILVERTEASET
27
Money set aside for later years, in brief : IRA
30
Honey maker : BEE
31
Allow : LET
32
Singer Del Rey : LANA
34
Little matter : ATOM
37
Group of candidates running together : SLATE
40
"Arabian Nights" voyager : SINBADTHESAILOR
43
Warner of danger : ALARM
44
Morales of "NYPD Blue" : ESAI
45
Dollar division : CENT
46
Ghost's cry : BOO
47
Mom's forte, briefly : TLC
49
"Told ya!" : SEE
50
Say something before immediately being proven wrong : SPEAKTOOSOON
56
Frigid : COLD
57
"Livin' Thing" band, 1976, informally : ELO
58
Pig out : GORGE
62
___ and vinegar : OIL
63
Completely : STEMTOSTERN
66
Capitalize on : USE
67
___ of Cancer : TROPIC
68
Dressed : CLAD
69
Gym shirt : TEE
70
Window frames : SASHES
71
War-torn Syrian city : HOMS
Down
1
Just O.K. : SOSO
2
"Yeah, right" : IBET
3
Ark builder : NOAH
4
Monica ___, two-time U.S. Open champ : SELES
5
Golfer Michelle : WIE
6
Obama's signature health law, for short : ACA
7
"___ at 'em!" : LEMME
8
Tool with a beam : LASER
9
Live and breathe : EXIST
10
State below Okla. : TEX
11
What a raconteur does : TELLSTALES
12
Bicker : ARGUE
13
Chris of "Jurassic World" : PRATT
18
Chi-town daily : TRIB
22
Irish language family : GAELIC
24
Show the way : LEAD
25
Sporty Chevy : VETTE
26
2013 film queen who sings "Let It Go" : ELSA
27
"Casablanca" woman : ILSA
28
Train transportation : RAIL
29
Poe poem that concludes "In her tomb by the sounding sea" : ANNABELLEE
33
Overseas : ABROAD
35
Excited cries : OHS
36
Turkey and roast beef : MEATS
38
Synonym and anagram of "note" : TONE
39
One-named Art Deco artist : ERTE
41
Run ___ (rampage) : AMOK
42
Farm tower : SILO
48
Gear teeth : COGS
50
One collecting merit badges : SCOUT
51
Aplomb : POISE
52
Four: Prefix : TETRA
53
Butter substitutes : OLEOS
54
Pizazz : OOMPH
55
V-shaped cut : NOTCH
59
Move, for short : RELO
60
Unit of fat : GRAM
61
Two slices of a loaf of bread : ENDS
63
Aves. ... or the initials of 17-, 23-, 40-, 50- and 63-Across : STS
64
Knot : TIE
65
Where Army brass is trained, in brief : OCS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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