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New York Times, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Author: Ed Sessa
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
369/10/200711/12/20170
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4957452
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

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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. ... more
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. 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
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L
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A
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W
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S
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B
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G
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O
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P
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J
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1206 ( 24,500 )
Across Down
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
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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