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New York Times, Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1788/7/19965/6/201816
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
354152017472614
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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Students & seniors
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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