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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?