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New York Times, Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 170 for Mr. Quigley. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brendan Emmett Quigley notes:

I'm a fan of the team mentioned in the 47-Across clue.

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a fun idea, THE CARPENTERS potentially made up of people with carpentry-sounding names: ELIJAH WOOD, STUDS TERKEL, BRAD STEVENS, ... read more

Such a fun idea, THE CARPENTERS potentially made up of people with carpentry-sounding names: ELIJAH WOOD, STUDS TERKEL, BRAD STEVENS, and MIKE HAMMER. Nice touch to use two first names and two last names.

Five themers of length 10/11/13/11/10 is tough to build around, especially since that middle 13 tends to force big, wide-open corners. I wasn't surprised that the old pro BEQ had no problem filling those corners with panache and cleanliness — a ton of great fill everywhere I looked. OIL RIG, STIGMA, CUJO in the upper left. SLINKIER, PATTERNS, and SPOOLED are pretty good in the upper right. And my favorite = WHAMMO, SAVE IT, and the hilarious-sounding PLOTZ! That is a fantastic use of mid-length slots, which too often get filled with blah entries.

BEQ's puzzles often have a very fresh, contemporary feel — sometimes too much so for my taste. I wasn't sure whether I loved HOWRU = HOW R U, or hated it (probably more the former). SOO I've seen before as in the SOO locks in the Great Lakes. That's minor-ish for me in terms of crossword glue, but SOO… as ["Your point being…?"] left me with a groan. It seems like that opens up a Pandora's Box of WELLL and NOOO and OOOOPS.

VIKES looks odd, but it does appear to be the term the Minnesota Vikings' fans use.

A couple of standout clues = a real treat on a Wednesday. For me, the best was [There might be a spat about this]. Mystifying, until I realized "spat" was talking about decorative spats worn about shoes, not quarrel-type spats. Beautiful how it didn't require a telltale question mark.

I initially wondered why BEQ chose BRAD STEVENS out of all the BRADs out there (BRAD PITT the obvious choice), but his commentary makes sense of the decision. I like it when constructors inject some of their personal tastes into a puzzle, just as long as it doesn't result in too esoteric entries. BRAD STEVENS is relatively new as a coach, and I wouldn't feature him as a theme entry, but I can see BEQ's rationale.

An entertaining concept with standout execution.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1228 ( 24,522 )

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Across
1
Some pears : BOSCS
6
Joyous wedding dance : HORA
10
Lethal injection providers? : ASPS
14
Electrified, as a Christmas tree : LITUP
15
Poet who wrote "If you want to be loved, be lovable" : OVID
16
Many a hockey shot : SLAP
17
Player of Frodo in "The Lord of the Rings" : ELIJAHWOOD
19
Nickname for baseball manager Terry Francona : TITO
20
Hence : ERGO
21
New England state sch. : URI
22
Really enjoys : ISINTO
24
Thickheaded : DIM
25
"The Good War" Pulitzer Prize winner : STUDSTERKEL
27
[Surely you can't mean ...!] : GASP
29
Runner-advancing action : HIT
30
Land west of Eng. : IRE
31
"Yo!" : HEY
33
"Your point being ...?" : SOO
34
Beat (off) : FEND
35
Pop group suggested by 17-, 25-, 47- and 58-Across : THECARPENTERS
39
Renaissance Faire quaff : MEAD
40
Playfully obtuse, maybe : COY
41
Dog command : SIT
42
Real heel : CAD
43
Hesitating sounds : UHS
44
Part of a Facebook feed : NEWS
47
Boston Celtics coach beginning in 2013 : BRADSTEVENS
52
"Like I'm supposed to believe THAT!" : HAH
54
Worry after a raccoon attack : RABIES
55
Vehicle for the later years, for short? : IRA
56
Gutter cleaner's work area : EAVE
57
"Game over!" : IWIN
58
Detective whose first book was "I, the Jury" : MIKEHAMMER
61
Word with blind or expiration : DATE
62
"___ plaisir" : AVEC
63
Maximum : LIMIT
64
Looked over : EYED
65
Home in the forest : NEST
66
Collapse in frustration : PLOTZ
Down
1
Run, as colors : BLEED
2
Pumping station : OILRIG
3
Bad mark : STIGMA
4
1981 thriller whose title character is a St. Bernard : CUJO
5
Where you might get rubbed the right way : SPA
6
Text to which one might respond "im gr8" : HOWRU
7
Egg-shaped : OVOID
8
Where gymnast Simone Biles won Olympic gold : RIO
9
Housing expansions : ADDITIONS
10
Moving about : ASTIR
11
More sinuous and graceful : SLINKIER
12
Dressmaking aids : PATTERNS
13
Wound, as thread : SPOOLED
18
Hiking signal : HUT
23
Ready to go : SET
25
Guideline for a freelancer, for short : SPEC
26
There might be a spat about this : SHOE
28
Lose, as a coat : SHED
32
America's Cup competitor : YACHTSMAN
33
One with a phony passport, maybe : SPY
34
Big party : FETE
35
Quickly detachable : TEARAWAY
36
Ate something : HADABITE
37
Tudor symbol : ROSE
38
Some decorative containers : TINS
39
Country singer Martina : MCBRIDE
43
It can decrease value : USE
45
"Kapow!" : WHAMMO
46
"I don't want to hear any of your excuses" : SAVEIT
48
Ate by candlelight, say : DINED
49
Minnesota team, for short : VIKES
50
Upright : ERECT
51
"Skip it" : NAH
53
Dollar alternative : HERTZ
56
Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
59
"Now ___ heard everything" : IVE
60
Finsteraarhorn, e.g. : ALP

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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