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New York Times, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Author:
Patrick Blindauer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
657/21/200510/17/201821
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14561317118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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 submitted as ... read more

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, so ... read more

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
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
Down
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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