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New York Times, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Author:
Ed Sessa
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
379/10/200710/16/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4967452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64251
Edward Sessa

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {KQVX} This is puzzle # 33 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Warm fuzzies evoked by this puzzle, a beautiful PA-RUM-PUM-PUM-PUM refrain of 'The Little Drummer Boy,' ending with ME AND MY DRUM. ... read more

Warm fuzzies evoked by this puzzle, a beautiful PA-RUM-PUM-PUM-PUM refrain of "The Little Drummer Boy," ending with ME AND MY DRUM. Love the song, as it reminds me of family, holidays, year-end reflection. Good times, good times. (Mostly.)

My first reaction to the themers was that I would have liked the PUMs incorporated into longer entries, as PUMPER and PUMMEL aren't exactly thrilling. Hmm, PUMP ACTION SHOTGUN isn't terribly holiday-esque, is it? Maybe PUMPKIN PATCH, PUMP IRON, PUMPERNICKEL, etc.

But after thinking about it, I decided I liked how the syllables were all lined up so nicely, sort of how they might be on a musical score. (Sort of. Very loosely.) Using longer themers would have staggered the five syllables, and that might have given them a more haphazard appearance. So although I'm still not wild about PUMPER, the overall grid aesthetic is pleasing to my musician's eye.

Well executed in terms of smoothness, just a few AMS (does anyone use plural AMs in real life?), minor EER and NAE stuff. Negligible.

Not a ton of bonus fill, but RED MEAT and JURY RIG were very good uses of those mid-length slots. And the J in JURY RIG plus the two Zs made for some spice. Each of those Zs carried very slight compromises — AZT crossing PROZAC might be rough for some solvers, and ULTIMA is an odd but certainly inferable word — but since Ed did such a nice job of keeping the rest of his grid smooth, I don't mind these prices at all.

I love when a puzzle gives me a warm, happy feeling inside. If all the themers had been a snazzy as PARTING SHOT, this would have been POW! material for me.

1
C
2
L
3
A
4
W
5
S
6
B
7
I
8
G
9
O
10
T
11
M
12
P
13
G
14
R
A
J
A
H
15
A
L
O
H
A
16
I
R
E
17
O
N
A
I
R
18
N
O
T
I
N
19
Y
O
N
20
P
A
R
T
I
21
N
G
S
H
O
T
22
A
Z
T
23
L
A
S
T
S
24
R
25
E
G
A
L
26
R
27
U
28
M
29
P
L
E
30
P
U
M
I
C
E
31
E
M
E
R
Y
32
A
33
P
34
L
O
M
B
35
P
A
T
E
36
E
M
C
E
E
37
L
38
E
39
A
40
P
41
P
42
R
E
S
T
O
43
J
E
L
L
O
44
P
45
U
46
M
P
E
R
47
P
U
M
M
E
L
48
F
L
O
Y
D
49
S
50
T
51
A
I
R
52
I
T
T
53
M
54
E
A
N
D
M
Y
55
D
56
R
57
U
58
M
59
Z
I
T
60
E
R
R
O
L
61
R
E
E
S
E
62
E
M
O
63
A
G
A
T
E
64
I
M
P
E
L
65
R
A
S
66
T
O
N
E
R
67
G
O
O
D
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1206 ( 24,500 )
Across
1
Parts of a crab that grab : CLAWS
6
Archie Bunker, notably : BIGOT
11
Fig. on an auto sticker : MPG
14
Indian prince : RAJAH
15
Hi in HI : ALOHA
16
Wrath : IRE
17
Broadcasting sign : ONAIR
18
Away from the office : NOTIN
19
Hither's opposite : YON
20
End of a heated exchange, perhaps : PARTINGSHOT
22
H.I.V. drug : AZT
23
Endures : LASTS
24
Kingly : REGAL
26
Make messy, as a blanket : RUMPLE
30
Pedicurist's stone : PUMICE
31
Pedicurist's stick : EMERY
32
Poise : APLOMB
35
Goose liver spread : PATE
36
Game show hire : EMCEE
37
Spring : LEAP
41
Rapid tempo : PRESTO
43
Dessert that jiggles : JELLO
44
Heart, essentially : PUMPER
47
Beat the stuffing out of : PUMMEL
48
Boxer Patterson : FLOYD
49
It'll take you to another level : STAIR
52
Addams Family member : ITT
53
Following the shaded squares, the end to a seasonal song : MEANDMYDRUM
59
Teen blemish : ZIT
60
Filmdom's Flynn : ERROL
61
Witherspoon of "Four Christmases" : REESE
62
Fashion look with long 6-Down and eye liner : EMO
63
Playing marble : AGATE
64
Drive ahead : IMPEL
65
Dorm monitors, for short : RAS
66
Cartridge filler : TONER
67
Criminal evidence, with "the" : GOODS
Down
1
Alfalfa or buckwheat : CROP
2
Pop singer ___ Del Rey : LANA
3
Not completely shut : AJAR
4
"Hold on a sec!" : WAIT
5
In a piercing voice : SHRILLY
6
Hair over the forehead : BANGS
7
Admission of defeat : ILOST
8
Invaders of ancient Rome : GOTHS
9
Home of Wright State University : OHIO
10
Display of bad temper : TANTRUM
11
Mr. ___ of "The Karate Kid" : MIYAGI
12
Mood-enhancing drug : PROZAC
13
Softhearted : GENTLE
21
Not, to a Scot : NAE
25
Maple leaf, for Canada : EMBLEM
26
Exercise segment : REP
27
Thurman of "Kill Bill" : UMA
28
New York City cultural venue, with "the" : MET
29
Like some boarding schools : PREPPY
30
"The Bells" poet : POE
32
Morning hrs. : AMS
33
Sales tax fig. : PCT
34
MGM lion : LEO
36
Always, in verse : EER
38
Street of film fame : ELM
39
Keg contents : ALE
40
Capitol Hill sort, for short : POL
42
What's your beef? : REDMEAT
43
Assemble in a makeshift way : JURYRIG
44
Big pharma company : PFIZER
45
Final syllable of a word : ULTIMA
46
Things seen on many state license plates : MOTTOS
47
Milne's "Mr. ___ Passes By" : PIM
49
Wrap brand : SARAN
50
Historically safe investment, informally : TNOTE
51
Alfred who was a follower of Freud : ADLER
54
Thus, to Gaius : ERGO
55
Car in a showroom : DEMO
56
Car in a tow lot, perhaps : REPO
57
Preowned : USED
58
Diner on TV's "Alice" : MELS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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