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New York Times, Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Author:
Paul Hunsberger
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
82/16/20105/17/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1042100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54120
Paul Hunsberger

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 39 Missing: {FJPX} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Hunsberger. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Neat idea, trying to form the shape of a shoe by using shoe components: HEEL, SOLE, ARCH, SOLE, TOE, TONGUE, and LACES. I especially ... read more

Neat idea, trying to form the shape of a shoe by using shoe components: HEEL, SOLE, ARCH, SOLE, TOE, TONGUE, and LACES. I especially liked the ARCH forming the shape of an arch — a beautiful little touch.

Diagonal theme entries are notorious for being difficult to pull off. Fixing two of them in place — and right next to each other! — is usually a recipe for disaster. One of them constrains the across and down fill so much, and two of them wreak havoc on your flexibility and freedom. But Paul does quite a nice job here, even working in the NBA's D-LEAGUE into the mix. EERS is an ugly piece of glue to be sure, but to get away with only that in the center is not bad at all. DEUCEDly good, I might even say.

Visual puzzles are tough to pull off, especially in a 15x puzzle where the canvas is very limited. Even after finishing, I wasn't sure what I was looking at. It's sort of shoe-like. The TONGUE and LACES are both sort of in the direction they usually are, perhaps in a hiking boot or something. But both of them together made the picture awfully busy. I wonder if just having the LACES would have made for a convincing pic? Perhaps it would have been better to use shaded squares instead of circles to form the shoe?

Ah, what about the GUM, you might ask? That quirky little finish to the puzzle was simultaneously fun and icky. Not a huge fan of being reminded about all the times I've stepped in gum. But why not reverse the shading and circles? Might have been fun to have the GUM in circles; a sort of bubble(d) GUM, if you will.

Not sure I buy the partialish IN THE EVENT or the "have I heard that before?" COLLEGE MEN, and I didn't care for the shared etymology of OVO and EGG CELL. I can understand the difficulties in the first two, trying to come up with anything that would fit into those slots given the constraints. The last one felt eminently preventable.

So some hitches here and there, but I like the pushing of the boundaries to do something different.

Jim Horne notes:

The constraints here are huge — 33 different squares have letters that are part of 3 different words.

1
T
2
W
3
I
4
S
5
T
6
O
7
D
8
D
9
S
10
E
11
T
12
T
13
U
14
M
O
N
T
H
15
B
L
U
E
16
Q
U
I
Z
17
I
N
T
R
O
18
L
E
N
T
19
U
G
L
I
20
H
E
R
21
N
I
A
22
O
A
S
T
S
23
A
24
S
E
A
25
E
G
G
26
C
27
E
L
L
28
T
H
E
M
29
D
E
U
C
E
D
30
C
31
O
32
T
33
H
O
V
E
34
R
35
E
E
R
S
36
O
D
O
37
E
V
E
R
E
38
S
39
T
40
D
O
O
41
D
L
E
R
42
E
E
N
43
S
H
E
44
A
45
D
E
L
T
S
46
L
S
T
47
A
I
R
C
48
O
49
N
50
V
E
T
O
51
B
L
A
N
C
H
E
52
A
G
E
S
53
O
54
S
55
O
L
E
56
R
E
S
57
O
L
E
58
A
H
S
O
59
N
60
O
U
N
61
G
U
M
62
B
63
O
64
T
A
L
K
65
A
V
E
R
66
L
E
E
R
Y
67
S
H
O
E
68
B
O
D
Y
69
E
D
N
A
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1209 ( 23,772 )
Across
1
Craze started by Chubby Checker : TWIST
6
They're about 1 in 650,000 for drawing a royal flush : ODDS
10
Caesar's last gasp? : ETTU
14
One was renamed in Caesar's honor : MONTH
15
Word before cheese or chip : BLUE
16
Question : QUIZ
17
Emcee's assignment : INTRO
18
Not given permanently : LENT
19
Fruit hybrid : UGLI
20
Medical rupture : HERNIA
22
Hops dryers : OASTS
23
Not at port : ASEA
25
Fallopian tube traveler : EGGCELL
28
Us vs. ___ : THEM
29
Doggone, quaintly : DEUCED
30
Space-saving bed : COT
33
Hang like a hummingbird : HOVER
35
Plural suffix with musket : EERS
36
Lead-in to meter : ODO
37
Subject of the 1997 best seller "Into Thin Air" : EVEREST
40
Quick sketch artist? : DOODLER
42
Poet's twilight : EEN
43
Stadium demolished in 2009 : SHEA
45
Shoulder muscles, for short : DELTS
46
D-Day craft: Abbr. : LST
47
House cooler, for short : AIRCON
50
Presidential prerogative : VETO
51
One of the "Golden Girls" girls : BLANCHE
52
"___ 8 and up" : AGES
53
"___ Mio" : OSOLE
56
Fix, as a cobbler might : RESOLE
58
"Gotcha," facetiously : AHSO
59
Mad Libs label : NOUN
61
Cajun staple : GUMBO
64
Popular AM radio format : TALK
65
Swear : AVER
66
Distrustful : LEERY
67
Item depicted by this puzzle's circled letters : SHOE
68
Partner of soul : BODY
69
Authors Ferber and Millay : EDNAS
Down
1
"You've overshared," in modern lingo : TMI
2
Took gold : WON
3
Supposing (that) : INTHEEVENT
4
Bit of party décor : STREAMER
5
2011 Marvel Comics film : THOR
6
Accommodate : OBLIGE
7
N.B.A. farm system, informally : DLEAGUE
8
___ & Bradstreet (credit-rating firm) : DUN
9
"Ready, ___, go!" : SET
10
The same : EQUAL
11
Pulls : TUGS
12
Pinball no-no : TILT
13
Guns first used in the Suez Crisis : UZIS
21
Springfield's Flanders : NED
22
Ireland, with "the" : OLDSOD
23
Doggedly pursuing? : ATHEEL
24
Some basketball fouls : SHOVES
26
Included via email : CCED
27
Architect Saarinen : EERO
30
Fraternity members, e.g. : COLLEGEMEN
31
"Black Swan" role : ODETTE
32
Some ruined statues, now : TORSOS
34
"Gently used" transaction : RESALE
38
Branch of Islam : SHIA
39
Fork-tailed bird : TERN
41
Like weak currencies : DEVALUED
44
Increased, as debts : ACCRUED
48
William Sydney Porter's pen name : OHENRY
49
Super ___ (Sega Genesis rival) : NES
51
British fellow : BLOKE
53
Quaker ___ : OATS
54
Pre-ayatollah leader : SHAH
55
Capital NNW of Copenhagen : OSLO
57
Look up and down : OGLE
59
Pinch : NAB
60
Egg: Prefix : OVO
62
Something kept close to the chest? : BRA
63
Kvetchers' cries : OYS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?