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New York Times, Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Author:
Harry Smith and Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
112/5/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0010000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59000
Harry Smith
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6411/13/20126/26/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
620187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {FJQVXZ} Spans: 2 Grid has mirror symmetry. This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Smith. This is puzzle # 50 for Ms. Burnikel. See all the celebrity crosswords. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted in 1942, we are publishing a series of puzzles co-created by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors.
This collaboration is by the television journalist Harry Smith, a correspondent for NBC News, and previously a host of CBS's "The Early Show," working together with Zhouqin Burnikel, of Brooklyn Park, Minn. This is Zhouqin's 50th crossword for The Times.
More information about the making of today's puzzle appears in the Times's daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Constructor notes:
C.C.: This puzzle was made last April. Immediately after Will introduced us, Harry sent me a few ideas. We eventually settled on ... read more

C.C.: This puzzle was made last April. Immediately after Will introduced us, Harry sent me a few ideas. We eventually settled on today's theme set, with Will's help.

Harry was so warm, quick and creative. I was also surprised that he speaks some Chinese. He knows pijiu (beer), mei wen ti (no problem), etc. It's such an honor to work with a news legend.

Jeff Chen notes:
It's so much fun when the Celeb Constructor series puts out a theme related to that celeb! Today, Harry Smith, a journalist, gives us ... read more

It's so much fun when the Celeb Constructor series puts out a theme related to that celeb! Today, Harry Smith, a journalist, gives us a kooky news team, anchored by an [Anchor man?] — POPEYE THE SAILOR. (Think about that tattoo he sports.)

It took me half a minute to grok how a MARINE BIOLOGIST was a [Sound technician?]. I'll give you a little time to think about it … *

ALLEN GINSBERG is pretty good [Beat reporter?] — he's of the Beat Generation. As to being a reporter, though … hmm. But one definition of "report" is "to give a spoken or written account of something that one has observed." Contrary to my first impression, that describes GINSBERG surprisingly well.

And the best for last, the [Executive producer?]. WHARTON is one of the most famous b-schools, i.e., a place that produces execs! Great way to cap it off.

C.C. is such a PRO. Look how expertly she uses mirror symmetry to her advantage today. It's such a great option when your themers are unpairable but all odd-numbered in length. She spaces the four themers to the max, giving room to breathe, and uses her black squares to separate them wisely.

The only tiny section that needed some crossword glue was the south, not a surprise considering it has to work with two themers. A bit of SYN and ANO … but look at what bonuses she and Harry were able to work in. HAT TIPS and OH HENRY are delightful. A hat tip to both of you for fitting those in with such minor prices to pay!

A lot of construction is iterating little sections over and over until the balance is right. This grid came out so smooth, while even incorporating some bonuses in ROAD CLOSED, IM NOT READY. Not a ton of extras, but with HAT TIPS and OH HENRY, it was enough to keep me happy.

So smooth and engaging a solve. If all the themers had been as spot-on and funny as WHARTON, it would have been the POW! for me.

(*Think about Puget Sound. As in, the place I live. D'oh!)

1
A
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B
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C
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S
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S
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A
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N
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A
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C
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H
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P
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H
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P
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M
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D
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B
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W
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Y
A
K
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1205 ( 24,864 )

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Across
1
Kindergarten learning : ABCS
5
Place with hot rocks : SAUNA
10
Golf shot near a green : CHIP
14
Cemetery purchase : PLOT
15
Tells to "Do it!" : URGES
16
Long-eared hopper : HARE
17
Anchor man? : POPEYETHESAILOR
20
Sacred Egyptian bug : SCARAB
21
Southern drawl, e.g. : ACCENT
22
Snack you might bite or lick : OREO
24
"Lovely ___" (Beatles song) : RITA
25
Sound technician? : MARINEBIOLOGIST
32
They come with buds : IPODS
33
Space ball : ORB
34
Star-crossed lover of literature : ROMEO
35
Secretive org. : CIA
36
Bare minimum : LEAST
38
Tennis barrier : NET
39
What dropping off a last child at college is, to many parents : SADDAY
42
Star of "An Inconvenient Truth" : ALGORE
45
Giant in health plans : CIGNA
47
Cancel, as a rocket launch : ABORT
48
Beat reporter? : ALLENGINSBERG
51
One not reporting for duty, maybe : AWOL
52
2017, por ejemplo : ANO
53
Cartoon "Ouch!" : YEOW
55
Suffers from : HAS
56
Quaint gestures of gratitude : HATTIPS
60
Noshed : ATE
61
"Right you ___!" : ARE
62
Sister brand of Baby Ruth : OHHENRY
63
It stains : DYE
64
Resting place : BED
65
Executive producer? : WHARTON
66
Blab : YAK
Down
1
Smartphone downloads : APPS
2
Congress's Freedom Caucus, e.g. : BLOC
3
Nightclub in a Manilow song : COPA
4
Olympics no-no : STEROID
5
Honey brand since 1921 : SUEBEE
6
"The creation of beauty," per Ralph Waldo Emerson : ART
7
"Yuck!" : UGH
8
Maiden name intro : NEE
9
Batter, e.g. : ASSAIL
10
City said to have big shoulders : CHICAGO
11
In great shape : HALE
12
Resource in the Mesabi Range : IRON
13
Cheeky : PERT
18
Hard-to-believe stories : YARNS
19
One in a cast : ACTOR
23
Instrument with cane blades : OBOE
24
Steals : ROBS
25
Hot ones can cause trouble : MICS
26
Capital of Samoa : APIA
27
Sign akin to "Bridge Out" : ROADCLOSED
28
One of the Gershwins : IRA
29
"Hold on, give me a second" : IMNOTREADY
30
Future predictor : SEER
31
Many a pledge drive gift : TOTE
36
Loretta who was the subject of "Coal Miner's Daughter" : LYNN
37
Word document settings : TABS
40
___ pickle : DILL
41
5 or 6, for a kindergartner, typically : AGE
43
High toss : LOB
44
___ Goose (vodka brand) : GREY
46
Dame of mystery : AGATHA
47
Consecrate : ANOINT
48
Cognizant : AWARE
49
Bury : INTER
50
Successful prankster's cry : GOTYA
51
Melville monomaniac : AHAB
54
Span for The New Yorker : WEEK
56
Know-___ : HOW
57
Appropriate rhyme for "spa" : AHH
58
For : PRO
59
Roget's entry: Abbr. : SYN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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