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New York Times, Monday, February 1, 2016

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
355/28/20097/30/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
11188421
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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