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New York Times, Monday, February 1, 2016

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
365/28/20091/1/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
11198421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56021
Gary Cee

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 31 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
ROAD MOVIES today, i.e. movies with an synonym for 'road' in their title. Gary found three perfect examples, WALL STREET, SUNSET ... read more

ROAD MOVIES today, i.e. movies with an synonym for "road" in their title. Gary found three perfect examples, WALL STREET, SUNSET BOULEVARD, and MULHOLLAND DRIVE — movies famous enough that even this pop culture idiot recognized them. I also like that the revealer came as a surprise — I was expecting it to be a loose collection of four "movies with a synonym for street," which felt kind of random. Nice to have something tying everything together.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE

I wasn't familiar with the ROAD MOVIES term, but it seems to be legit, sort of like "buddy movies" or a "cop movies." Perhaps ROAD MOVIES will have a stronger impact on others, especially those who have watched the many "Road to ___" Crosby/Hope films.

I enjoyed the extras in FREE ON BAIL and ALL NIGHTER — both colorful answers. Working in long downs can be tough though, what with long(-ish) themers. What with FREE ON BAIL and two grid-spanning themers framing the west section, that area becomes very restricted. I don't mind a little ESE, BSA, URU crossword glue in one puzzle, but I tend to notice more when it's concentrated in one area. And the addition of LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) puts it over the top for me. Some may think BSA (Boy Scouts of America) is perfectly fine, but having two tough(-ish) acronyms in an early-week puzzle isn't something I like to see, much less in close proximity.

It's a tough call. These days I expect at least a little bonus fill in most any puzzle. But adding in long downs can often cause problems, requiring crossword glue to hold the grid together. This is what makes the early-week puzzle one of the more difficult constructions.

But overall, a really nice idea that will likely work perfectly for people more familiar with the ROAD MOVIES term.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0201 ( 24,191 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
Switch that changes bands on the radio : AMFM
5
Memo : NOTE
9
Frequently : OFTEN
14
___ Crawley, countess on "Downton Abbey" : CORA
15
One of the Great Lakes : ERIE
16
Cut, as a pumpkin : CARVE
17
Like most college dorms nowadays : COED
18
Title locale in a 1987 Oliver Stone drama : WALLSTREET
20
U-turn from WNW : ESE
21
Animal hide : PELT
22
Four-baggers : HOMERS
23
Sandbars : SHOALS
25
Any old Joe : BUB
26
Title locale in a 1950 Billy Wilder film noir : SUNSETBOULEVARD
33
Youth org. since 1910 : BSA
34
Make a selection : OPT
35
Longtime N.B.A. coach Pat : RILEY
36
Hawaiian shindig : LUAU
38
"$500 on the roan nag," e.g. : BET
39
"You and who ___?" (fighting words) : ELSE
40
"Love Story" author Segal : ERICH
42
"Hey ___, what's up?" : BRO
43
A, in Berlin : EIN
44
Title locale in a 2001 David Lynch thriller : MULHOLLANDDRIVE
49
Doctor's charge : FEE
50
"Time is money" and "Knowledge is power" : ADAGES
51
Floating aimlessly : ADRIFT
55
"Well, what do we have here!" : MYMY
57
F.D.R.'s successor : HST
58
"Bonnie and Clyde" and "Thelma & Louise" ... or a hint to 18-, 26- and 44-Across : ROADMOVIES
60
Lead-in to boy or girl : ATTA
61
Sleep disorder : APNEA
62
Dot on an ocean map : ISLE
63
Trounce : BEAT
64
Started : BEGAN
65
Topic of a pre-election news story : POLL
66
Detective fiction writer ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
Down
1
Means of entry : ACCESS
2
Kind of pork at a Chinese restaurant : MOOSHU
3
Conditionally released from custody : FREEONBAIL
4
Seeing red : MAD
5
Most modern : NEWEST
6
Spoken, not written : ORAL
7
___ at windmills : TILT
8
Sushi selection : EEL
9
Month with Columbus Day : OCTOBER
10
Old MacDonald's place : FARM
11
Arborist's focus : TREE
12
"Have I ___ told you ...?" : EVER
13
Brooklyn hoopsters : NETS
19
Jewish house of worship : SHUL
21
Earnest request : PLEA
24
In that capacity : ASSUCH
25
Campaign giveaway : BUTTON
27
Move up and down, as a doll's head : BOBBLE
28
"Carmen" or "Rigoletto" : OPERA
29
Meredith of daytime TV : VIEIRA
30
Crammer's last chance : ALLNIGHTER
31
Hi-___ image : RES
32
Easter egg coating : DYE
36
Moon landing craft, for short : LEM
37
Neighbor of Arg. and Braz. : URU
41
Dustin who won an Oscar for "Rain Man" : HOFFMAN
43
Mini-whirlpool : EDDY
45
Actor Jared of "Dallas Buyers Club" : LETO
46
Distressed maiden, in fairy tales : DAMSEL
47
___ virgin : VESTAL
48
Home for a Rockefeller or a Vanderbilt : ESTATE
51
Mideast native : ARAB
52
Narcotize : DOPE
53
Tolled, as a bell : RANG
54
Notion : IDEA
55
Japanese soup : MISO
56
Scream : YELL
59
Big cheese : VIP
60
Face on a fiver : ABE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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