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New York Times, Monday, February 11, 2019

Author:
Howard Barkin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
77/23/20142/11/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1202101
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64100
Howard Barkin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Barkin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Howard Barkin notes:
The simple things in life can inspire a puzzle theme. This one arose from watching my daughters pick out flavors from the ice cream container ... read more

The simple things in life can inspire a puzzle theme. This one arose from watching my daughters pick out flavors from the ice cream container (strawberry for one, vanilla/chocolate for the other).

From there it was just a matter of seeing if the concept was done before, then filling the puzzle with verbal toppings. Enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
Basketball nicknames are awesome. Whoever thought up Dr. Dunkenstein was a genius. But my favorite is for an entire college team that featured ... read more

Basketball nicknames are awesome. Whoever thought up Dr. Dunkenstein was a genius. But my favorite is for an entire college team that featured Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon and "Clyde the Glide" Drexler. How could you not want to be a member of Phi Slama Jama? CHOCOLATE THUNDER is right up there – Darryl Dawkins was a dunking machine. If only I could get a MONIKER featuring my hops!

(It would have to be a very short nickname.)

Straightforward Monday theme, VANILLA SKY, CHOCOLATE THUNDER, STRAWBERRY BLONDE making up NEAPOLITAN ice cream. The second and third themers are snazzy choices, spicing up the joint with some highlight-reel jams. Too bad VANILLA SKY was such a terrible movie. Tough to pick anything else that features VANILLA though, without going right at the flavor of vanilla, i.e., VANILLA BEAN, VANILLA SHAKE, etc.

Jason Williams' nickname of "White Chocolate" is close, but no cigar. Ah well.

Solid gridwork, for the most part. Loved getting some extras in OLYMPICS, BIG BANG, TAPIOCA, MONIKER — jazzing up a straightforward theme can elevate a puzzle mightily.

Howard did a nice job separating his themers will wise black square placements. But it's hard to work with two central 16s. The west and east sections are usually trouble, what with so many down answers having to work through them. See IAL in the west, and ELAND / LAN in the east. I don't mind the former, but the latter feels like a trap for newer solvers. Esoteric animal crossing a tough initialism = no bueno!

What could have helped: separating the west and east from the rest of the puzzle a little more, by shifting black squares around. See how the east has to work with BIG BANG, ARGYLE and MONIKER? That's asking for trouble. If the price is just an IAL, it's passable. Not so much for that ELAND / LAN pair.

Nominations for Jeff's nickname are now open. Please, no "Yellow Chocolate."

1
S
2
H
3
U
4
T
5
S
6
N
7
A
8
S
9
A
10
L
11
B
12
Y
13
O
14
B
15
H
A
D
A
T
16
O
V
I
N
E
17
I
O
W
A
18
I
H
O
P
E
19
T
I
L
D
E
20
G
R
E
Y
21
V
A
N
I
L
22
L
A
S
K
Y
23
U
B
E
R
S
24
O
M
I
T
25
E
26
T
T
A
27
C
28
H
29
O
C
O
L
A
30
T
31
E
T
H
U
N
32
D
33
E
34
R
35
L
E
I
A
36
L
I
N
37
A
R
G
Y
L
E
38
I
A
L
39
C
40
A
L
M
D
41
O
W
N
42
L
A
N
43
P
R
E
44
F
A
B
45
E
E
L
46
M
A
N
E
47
S
T
R
A
W
B
48
E
R
R
Y
49
B
50
L
O
N
D
E
51
R
E
A
L
52
M
O
A
N
53
S
54
O
55
S
A
D
56
N
57
E
58
A
P
O
L
I
59
T
60
A
61
N
62
A
V
O
W
63
M
I
A
M
I
64
A
K
I
T
A
65
T
A
D
A
66
A
N
T
I
C
67
L
E
D
O
N
68
S
L
A
Y
69
P
O
S
E
S
70
A
R
E
N
A
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0211 ( 25,297 )
Across
1
Closes : SHUTS
6
Like the voice of someone who's stuffed up : NASAL
11
[Guests must provide their drinks] : BYOB
15
Went after : HADAT
16
Sheep-related : OVINE
17
Where the first presidential caucuses are held : IOWA
18
"Crossing my fingers!" : IHOPE
19
Squiggly mark in "piñata" : TILDE
20
Earl ___ tea : GREY
21
2001 Tom Cruise thriller : VANILLASKY
23
Some rides from the airport, nowadays : UBERS
24
Leave out : OMIT
25
James who sang "At Last" : ETTA
27
Nickname for former N.B.A. star Darryl Dawkins : CHOCOLATETHUNDER
35
"Star Wars" princess : LEIA
36
Maya who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial : LIN
37
Diamond pattern : ARGYLE
38
Suffix with different or confident : IAL
39
"Chill out!" : CALMDOWN
42
Connected PC system : LAN
43
Ready to assemble, as a home : PREFAB
45
Reef predator : EEL
46
Flowy hair : MANE
47
Amy Adams or Emma Stone, hairwise : STRAWBERRYBLONDE
51
Keep it ___ (be honest) : REAL
52
Sound from a ghost : MOAN
53
"What a shame" : SOSAD
56
Kind of ice cream suggested by the starts of 21-, 27- and 47-Across : NEAPOLITAN
62
Swear : AVOW
63
Largest city in South Florida : MIAMI
64
Japanese dog breed : AKITA
65
"Look how great I did!" : TADA
66
Shenanigan : ANTIC
67
Enticed : LEDON
68
Kill, as a dragon : SLAY
69
Sits for a photo : POSES
70
Venue often named for its sponsor : ARENA
Down
1
Makeshift knife : SHIV
2
Funny (or sarcastic) joke response : HAHA
3
Japanese noodle type : UDON
4
Pudding ingredient : TAPIOCA
5
Patron for sailors : STELMO
6
Friendly response to "Do you mind?" : NOTATALL
7
Hertz rival : AVIS
8
___ Road, route for Marco Polo : SILK
9
"Still ..." : ANDYET
10
Director Spike : LEE
11
Beginning of the universe : BIGBANG
12
Days of ___ : YORE
13
One with a debt : OWER
14
Large inlets : BAYS
22
Rapper ___ Wayne : LIL
23
Maneuver upon missing a GPS instruction : UTURN
26
Take out of the freezer : THAW
27
Video excerpts : CLIPS
28
Symbol on a valentine : HEART
29
Floating fuel carrier : OILER
30
Race official : TIMER
31
Rear-___ (auto accident) : ENDER
32
"The Times They Are a-Changin'" singer : DYLAN
33
African antelope : ELAND
34
Opera singer Fleming : RENEE
39
Made the sound of a crow : CAWED
40
Group that inspired "Mamma Mia!" : ABBA
41
The first modern one was held in Athens in 1896 : OLYMPICS
44
Off in the distance : FARAWAY
46
Nickname : MONIKER
48
Pacific weather phenomenon : ELNINO
49
Unfortunate crowd reaction to a performer : BOO
50
[I don't know the words to this part] : LALALA
53
College entrance exams : SATS
54
Egg-shaped : OVAL
55
Mr. Pibb or Dr Pepper : SODA
57
Has a nosh : EATS
58
French female friend : AMIE
59
Ocean motion : TIDE
60
Heaps : ATON
61
Nickname for grandma : NANA
63
It may include the words "You are here" : MAP

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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