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New York Times, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Author: Patrick Blindauer
Editor: Will Shortz
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647/21/20057/2/201720
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14561217118
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1.59252
Patrick Blindauer

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 61 for Mr. Blindauer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Patrick Blindauer notes: This was submitted 7/7/2009 and accepted the following December, so I'm thrilled to see it finally make the paper. It was ... more
Patrick Blindauer notes: This was submitted 7/7/2009 and accepted the following December, so I'm thrilled to see it finally make the paper. It was submitted as a Thursday, though the theme is on the simple side so using it as a Wednesday makes sense. If I were to redo it today, I'd try to avoid the partial ITHOT and the abbr. SAS, but otherwise the fill seems pretty clean. I'm glad my EPA clue and a couple of my punny clues made the cut.
Jeff Chen notes: Fastball straight down the middle, a tried and true theme type but executed well. Initialisms have been done over and over again, ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Baby panda squee! Fastball straight down the middle, a tried and true theme type but executed well. Initialisms have been done over and over again, so I think it's important to add another level of complexity to gain interest. Patrick uses a nice revealer, PANDA parsed as P AND A, to tie together four themers starting with P and A. This was familiar to me, since Mel Taub regularly constructs "Puns and Anagrams," also known as PANDA, so there wasn't much of a surprise factor.

I liked how clean the puzzle was. There were few, if any, moments where I slowed down to note gluey bits. Exactly what I'd expect from a veteran constructor with Patrick's chops. Even going back over it with a fine-toothed comb, all I could see in addition to the aforementioned IT HOT was SSNS, and I personally think that's a fine answer, as it's such a common abbreviation in high usage for HR and tax filing purpose. So smooth, like butter.

I could have used a little more snazz in the fill, though. I loved UNLEADED because of its clue referring to decaf coffee — what a colorful use of the English language — but there wasn't as much snappy material as I would have liked. BASE PATH is probably the best piece of fill in the grid, but its clue left me shrugging. "Separate" certainly can take the meaning of "a big space separated first and second base," but the clue felt like a real stretch. A BASE PATH connecting first and second feels accurate, a BASE PATH separating first and second feels like the wordplay / misdirection was awfully strained. It's too bad, it's such a nice entry in the grid.

I enjoy when constructors go for interlock. It's pretty neat how Patrick intersected PARK AVENUE and PARTY ANIMAL — and not at a dead-easy crossing like the A starting the second word, which will already be present given the theme. I didn't notice the interlock until I had finished, and it definitely added a little bit to my appreciation. Based on some comments over the years, I think Will values interlock more than I do, but still, it's kind of a neat little feature.

1
P
2
A
3
P
4
A
5
A
6
L
7
P
8
H
9
A
10
S
11
J
12
A
13
M
14
U
L
A
N
15
G
I
A
M
B
I
16
U
F
O
17
P
A
R
T
18
Y
A
N
I
M
A
L
19
M
R
S
20
A
S
K
S
O
V
E
R
21
T
E
22
A
P
O
T
23
A
I
K
E
N
24
G
E
N
T
25
L
26
E
V
E
E
27
S
28
A
L
29
T
O
30
P
31
I
32
C
33
A
V
E
R
S
34
E
35
B
A
36
S
E
P
A
T
H
37
P
E
N
38
P
39
A
N
D
A
40
T
H
E
41
I
N
U
42
N
43
D
A
T
E
44
S
45
U
46
C
C
O
R
47
S
T
E
E
R
48
I
R
49
S
50
L
A
H
T
I
51
C
O
52
S
T
53
A
54
C
C
R
A
55
K
56
R
57
A
K
O
W
58
U
N
L
E
A
D
59
E
60
D
61
E
E
L
62
P
E
63
N
N
Y
A
R
C
A
D
E
64
Y
E
S
65
E
D
I
T
O
R
66
A
M
E
N
67
S
L
O
68
D
E
P
O
S
E
69
S
S
N
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1203 ( 23,766 )
Across Down
1. "___ Don't Preach" (#1 Madonna hit) : PAPA
5. Intimidating sorts : ALPHAS
11. Many a jazz session : JAM
14. Mongolian for "red" : ULAN
15. Jason who was the 2000 A.L. M.V.P. : GIAMBI
16. Subject of certain amateur vids : UFO
17. *One who goes out seven nights a week, say : PARTYANIMAL
19. Virginia Woolf's "___ Dalloway" : MRS
20. Invites to one's home : ASKSOVER
21. Bag holder? : TEAPOT
23. Singer-turned-politician Clay : AIKEN
24. Lady's man : GENT
25. Breaking point? : LEVEE
27. ___ soda : SAL
29. Issue to discuss : TOPIC
33. Loath : AVERSE
35. What separates first from second : BASEPATH
37. Contract requirement : PEN
38. World Wildlife Fund logo ... or a three-word hint to the answers to the four starred clues : PANDA
40. A cousin? : THE
41. Overwhelm : INUNDATE
44. Support : SUCCOR
47. Ones rounded up in a roundup : STEER
48. Part of a return address? : IRS
50. "Swing Shift" actress Christine : LAHTI
51. Go for : COST
53. Ghana's capital : ACCRA
55. Polish city that's home to John Paul II International Airport : KRAKOW
58. Decaffeinated coffee, slangily : UNLEADED
61. Slippery sort : EEL
62. *Old coin-op locale : PENNYARCADE
64. "Indubitably" : YES
65. People person : EDITOR
66. "Couldn't agree with you more" : AMEN
67. Street caution : SLO
68. Examine under oath : DEPOSE
69. W-9 fields: Abbr. : SSNS
1. Part of a life transformation : PUPA
2. "I wish it weren't so" : ALAS
3. *Manhattan boulevard : PARKAVENUE
4. More fidgety : ANTSIER
5. Tequila source : AGAVE
6. Ones coming out of the closet? : LINENS
7. Nonpolygamous grouping : PAIR
8. "Very interesting ..." : HMM
9. Ease up : ABATE
10. Chorale's end? : SILENTE
11. Word with seat or suit : JUMP
12. Cause of bigheadedness? : AFRO
13. "It's the ___ Wonderful Time of the Year" : MOST
18. Gets the team together? : YOKES
22. On : ATOP
24. Tickled : GLAD
25. Deep blue stone : LAPIS
26. Happening : EVENT
28. Daisy Mae's love, in the funnies : ABNER
30. *1998 Robin Williams title role : PATCHADAMS
31. "Some Like ___" : ITHOT
32. Suisse sweetheart : CHERI
34. Org. employing Walter Peck in "Ghostbusters" : EPA
36. Copenhagen carrier : SAS
39. Toiling away : ATIT
42. Make out : NECK
43. Wilted : DROOPED
45. Cause of a gut feeling? : ULCER
46. South American capital : CARACAS
49. Some TVs and digital cameras : SANYOS
52. Anders Celsius, for one : SWEDE
54. St. ___ of Assisi : CLARE
55. Unfortunate items to lock in a car : KEYS
56. React to terrible news, say : REEL
57. As well : ALSO
58. "Make a joyful noise ___ the Lord" : UNTO
59. Paradise lost : EDEN
60. Entertainment centers, maybe : DENS
63. Edge out : NIP

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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