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New York Times, Thursday, February 11, 2016

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5611/13/20129/21/201819
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519165452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQXZ} Spans: 1 Grid has mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 27 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
What cool finds, single words parsed as 'person's initials + gender-specific identification'! I had completely filled in MARIE ... read more

What cool finds, single words parsed as "person's initials + gender-specific identification"! I had completely filled in MARIE ANTOINETTE but had no clue why she was a [Malady?]. Parse that word as M. A. LADY = "lady with the initials M. A." — that's so much fun! Great that C. C. (Zhouqin) was able to find four strong examples, "tamale" = T. A. MALE, "Roman" = R. O. MAN, and "legal" = L. E. GAL.

That's one hot T. A. MALE!

I imagine it was difficult to find four perfect themers, and a lesser constructor would have given up after concluding that there was no way to attain crossword symmetry with themers of length 15, 10, 10, 9. Enter mirror symmetry! I find this style aesthetically pleasing, and it sure saves a puzzle now and again.

C. C. runs the matching lengths of ROY ORBISON and LINDA EVANS in the down direction, taking advantage of some of the flexibility mirror symmetry allows. Works great, although it does muddy up what is theme and what is not a bit — ATM INSIDE and TIMESINKS are awfully nice as bonus fill, but since both are of equal length to TOM ARNOLD, the themers don't pop out as much as I would have liked. SPITTAKE and OKEY DOKE work much better for me, since they're shorter than all the themers.

LAYETTE is such an odd word. I ran across it one day as I was searching for what might complete the ???ETTE pattern. Apparently it's a common term for a set of baby's clothing, who knew? Making crosswords has helped me a ton as a solver — entries like this stick in my head.

Loved the clue for TABOO, as it gives the puzzle a C. C. flavor. Apparently "giving you a clock" sounds like "attending your funeral" in Mandarin? Neat trivia.

I've been really impressed with C. C.'s rapid rise as a crossword constructor. Even just a year or two ago, we would have seen more of the EEOC / TRAC kind of entry. But she's really cut the crossword glue down, while still maintaining colorful long fill. Most importantly though, she comes up with some really neat themes. In many other weeks, I would have picked this one as the POW.

1
E
2
B
3
B
4
S
5
P
6
R
7
O
8
N
9
G
10
O
11
I
12
L
13
S
14
R
E
A
P
15
S
A
U
C
E
16
K
N
O
W
17
M
A
R
I
18
E
A
N
T
O
I
19
N
E
T
T
E
20
A
M
S
T
E
L
21
C
O
Y
O
T
E
22
T
O
M
23
A
24
R
25
N
O
L
D
26
T
27
R
A
C
28
N
E
O
29
L
O
30
L
31
A
32
A
M
O
K
33
A
D
M
I
34
T
35
K
I
N
36
K
37
L
A
Y
E
38
T
T
E
39
S
I
40
L
E
N
T
E
41
E
N
O
42
A
M
A
43
E
M
O
44
D
E
N
45
R
46
O
B
I
N
47
S
E
R
48
T
A
49
L
50
E
B
R
O
N
51
S
E
R
E
52
N
53
A
54
O
M
I
G
O
S
55
H
56
M
I
N
I
V
A
N
57
C
O
S
A
58
I
O
59
W
A
N
60
P
A
N
G
61
A
T
O
N
62
D
R
A
N
K
63
U
N
O
S
64
L
E
N
S
65
E
A
S
E
S
66
P
S
S
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0211 ( 24,201 )
Across
1. Undergoes recession : EBBS
5. Dining tip? : PRONG
10. Works at the Guggenheim : OILS
14. Cut crops : REAP
15. Hooch : SAUCE
16. Have the answers : KNOW
17. Malady? : MARIEANTOINETTE
20. 1968 Heineken acquisition : AMSTEL
21. Prairie predator : COYOTE
22. Tamale? : TOMARNOLD
26. ___ II (Gillette razor) : TRAC
28. Con opener? : NEO
29. Popular fragrance that's a girl's name : LOLA
32. One way to run : AMOK
33. Let in : ADMIT
35. Pain in the neck : KINK
37. Outfit for newborns : LAYETTE
39. Adventure's end? : SILENTE
41. Brian who scored "The Lovely Bones" : ENO
42. Reddit Q&A session, briefly : AMA
43. Jimmy Eat World genre : EMO
44. Dragon's locale : DEN
45. Secret identity of Dick Grayson : ROBIN
47. Perfect Elements maker : SERTA
49. James who can jam : LEBRON
51. Sports Illustrated's 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, to fans : SERENA
54. "Wow!!" : OMIGOSH
56. Odyssey, e.g. : MINIVAN
57. ___ Nostra : COSA
58. Dweller on the upper Mississippi : IOWAN
60. Hunger indicator : PANG
61. Oodles : ATON
62. Took a shot, say : DRANK
63. Big pizza chain, informally : UNOS
64. Part of the eye : LENS
65. Dulls, as pain : EASES
66. [You over there!] : PSST
Down
1. First name in home humor : ERMA
2. Put on a happy face : BEAM
3. Monkey ___ : BARS
4. "You did WHAT?" reaction : SPITTAKE
5. Number of churchgoers? : PSALM
6. Appeared (in) : RAN
7. Caught off base : OUT
8. Sgt., for example : NCO
9. Progressive competitor : GEICO
10. "Alrighty then" : OKEYDOKE
11. Keen on : INTO
12. Former senator Trent : LOTT
13. ___'Pea : SWEE
18. Fair-hiring watchdog, for short : EEOC
19. Chuck who won four Super Bowl rings : NOLL
23. Like quinoa growers : ANDEAN
24. Sleep stage : REM
25. Bangs and clangs : NOISES
26. Fake bill tracer : TMAN
27. Roman? : ROYORBISON
30. Legal? : LINDAEVANS
31. Something to give a kitty? : ANTE
32. Belgian red, e.g. : ALE
33. Sign on a convenience store window : ATMINSIDE
34. Mindless but addictive app games, e.g. : TIMESINKS
36. Knowledge range : KEN
38. Gifting someone with a clock in China, e.g. : TABOO
40. "Marriage Italian-Style" actress : LOREN
46. They may have many stops : ORGANS
48. Cause to blunder : TRIPUP
49. Like some subway stops : LOCAL
50. Really act out? : EMOTE
52. Thin iPods : NANOS
53. Teen sensation? : ANGST
55. Romanian wedding dance : HORA
56. Equestrian's handhold : MANE
59. Never-___ (unsuccessful sort) : WAS

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?