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New York Times, Monday, December 3, 2018

Author:
Lynn Lempel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
8612/9/19796/3/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
661132130
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.610812
Lynn Lempel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 85 for Ms. Lempel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Lynn Lempel notes:
I'm a sucker for quirks of English, so a puzzle was clearly in the cards when I noticed there are several stand-alone, differently ... read more

I'm a sucker for quirks of English, so a puzzle was clearly in the cards when I noticed there are several stand-alone, differently spelled "do" rhymes. I think it was only when starting the grid that I thought of PAS DE DEUX, which purists will complain isn't quite the same pronunciation. For me, close enough. I would have loved to use DERRING-DO, but it just didn't work.

Nothing much to say about clues. They're mostly what I submitted, or at least the gist of what I submitted. Changes seemed generally to make them a bit easier. The 65-Across clue for ONE was definitely Will's. And he must have nixed my attempt to include a Monday question-mark clue at 7-D, with [Person going to court?] for WOOER.

I hope you all DO enjoy the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
Anyone else humming 'Strangers in the Night' right now? Tight set of homophones, DOO DEW DO DUE DEUX. I bet fans of Hüsker ... read more

Anyone else humming "Strangers in the Night" right now?

Tight set of homophones, DOO DEW DO DUE DEUX.

I bet fans of Hüsker Dü (the band) or Hūsker Dū? (the game) will be shouting THAT'S NOT A TIGHT THEME SET YOU JERKY JERK, HOW COULD YOU FORGET TO INCLUDE THE BEST BAND / GAME IN THE HISTORY OF BANDS / GAMES?

(You'd think I was joking, but I do get emails like this every once in a while.)

At the risk of enraging fans more, I like the decision to not include HUSKER DU, as this theme is so straightforward that it had to be run on a Monday. It'd be a rough ask to expect newer solvers to fill in the bizarre-looking HUSKERDU string. Hu skerdu?

It's tough for me to get excited about such a straightforward and simple theme. But the set is tight, the grid is solid, with just a bit of WOOER (is the other person the WOOEE?) and LECID (could be a turnoff for newer solvers). Along with solid bonuses in STONETOOL, STATE REPS, AVENGER, BIMODAL, it's a friendly offering for newbs.

1
G
2
A
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S
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P
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S
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A
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W
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E
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B
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A
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L
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K
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S
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A
S
T
R
O
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D
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E
V
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C
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Y
D
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E
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A
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F
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N
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A
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A
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C
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S
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R
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V
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P
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M
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N
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O
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D
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O
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T
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P
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O
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M
A
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A
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B
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U
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B
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D
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M
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A
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T
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A
M
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O
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B
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P
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D
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E
D
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64
S
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O
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66
C
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T
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68
P
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O
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N
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1203 ( 25,227 )
Across
1
Expressions of amazement : GASPS
6
Amaze : AWE
9
Illegal motions by pitchers : BALKS
14
Houston player : ASTRO
15
Great Dane, e.g. : DOG
16
Notable happening : EVENT
17
Great Dane of animated cartoons : SCOOBYDOO
19
Happen again : RECUR
20
Immensely long stretches : EONS
21
Broke bread : ATE
22
Limited in number : FINITE
23
Escalator feature : STEP
24
Result of overnight condensation : MORNINGDEW
26
Lipton offerings : TEAS
28
"Bus Stop" dramatist William : INGE
29
Nut often squirreled away : ACORN
31
Basic trig ratio : SINE
33
Invitation request, in brief : RSVP
37
Sound on a dairy farm : MOO
38
"Impossible for me!" : NOCANDO
41
Harmful cigarette stuff : TAR
42
Equestrian's sport : POLO
44
Umpteen : MANY
45
Lessen : ABATE
47
Fee payer, often : USER
49
Londoner, e.g., informally : BRIT
50
Words on returned mail : POSTAGEDUE
55
Vegetarian's no-no : MEAT
58
Aviator Earhart : AMELIA
59
Cozy lodging : INN
60
Ricelike pasta : ORZO
61
Bring home, as a runner : BATIN
62
Couple's ballet dance : PASDEDEUX
64
Turn aside : SHUNT
65
Number replaced by "hup" by a drill sergeant : ONE
66
Resort island near Naples : CAPRI
67
Key Watergate evidence : TAPES
68
72, maybe, on a golf course : PAR
69
Twin Mary-Kate or Ashley : OLSEN
Down
1
Oxygen and nitrogen : GASES
2
Racecourse near Windsor Castle : ASCOT
3
Implement for a Neanderthal : STONETOOL
4
Thrive : PROSPER
5
Break down in tears : SOB
6
Make larger : ADDTO
7
Swain : WOOER
8
Conscious self, to Freud : EGO
9
Explorer who lent his name to a strait off Alaska : BERING
10
Member of a Marvel superhero team : AVENGER
11
French play about a storied Spanish soldier : LECID
12
Gridiron legend Rockne : KNUTE
13
Spread here and there : STREW
18
Thanksgiving dishes : YAMS
22
Made to pay as punishment : FINED
25
Dingbat : NINNY
27
TV journalist Curry : ANN
29
Intensify, with "up" : AMP
30
Dove's sound : COO
31
Fright : SCARE
32
Knighted actor McKellen : IAN
34
Some down-ballot electees, informally : STATEREPS
35
Big tub : VAT
36
Lead-in to occupy : PRE
39
From alpha to ___ : OMEGA
40
Rowboat mover : OAR
43
Summary of key points : OUTLINE
46
Like a probability curve with two peaks : BIMODAL
48
New Orleans footballers : SAINTS
49
Flex : BEND
50
"Blue Ribbon" brew : PABST
51
Nebraska's largest city : OMAHA
52
Establish : SETUP
53
Princess mourned in 1997 : DIANA
54
Indy racer Al or Bobby : UNSER
56
Sky-blue : AZURE
57
Snake venom, e.g. : TOXIN
62
Champagne-opening sound : POP
63
Environment-related prefix : ECO

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?