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New York Times, Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Author:
Ron and Nancy Byron
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
66/16/20082/16/20166
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0231000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60010
Ron Byron
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
66/16/20082/16/20166
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0231000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60010
Nancy Byron

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Byron. This is puzzle # 6 for Ms. Byron. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
A 'words that can follow' theme is a rare sighting these days. Will (among other editors) has said he won't be taking many (any?) of ... read more

A "words that can follow" theme is a rare sighting these days. Will (among other editors) has said he won't be taking many (any?) of these in the future, as they've run their course — I imagine this one must have been sitting in the queue for a while.

The FIGUREHEAD of the HMS Warrior. Cool!

If you're going to do a "words that can follow" puzzle, it's so important to execute perfectly. FIGURE HEAD does make for a very nice revealer, i.e. a description of FULL (FIGURE), ACTION (FIGURE), etc. And I do like the themers, all colorful entries. GO FOR BROKE is great, plus "go figure" is such a nice phrase as well.

There's some nice bonus fill in CUL DE SAC, GAME SHOW, SHERPA, and AWKWARD. Even DON HO helps spice up the puzzle. These help so much, especially when I realized the puzzle was employing a theme type that's fallen by the wayside.

The grid unfortunately feels stressed in many places, with AT NO, DORIA (only one real way to clue it), OVO (prefix), etc. strewn about. The toughest one to stomach is the HODS / EDINA crossing. I do like SHERPA a lot, as it adds nice color to the puzzle, and the V in EVIL/HOVEL makes for a nice rare(-ish) letter, but I bet that crossing will be a killer for some. I think it will set up some solvers to fail, and that's no good. The last thing I want to do is give friends an early-week puzzle and have them get turned off by something like this.

This is one of the issues we're trying to address with our new XWord Info Word List. I spent about a hundred hours scoring all the short entries, so it's much easier to avoid the gluey bits. It doesn't do all the work for you of course, but I think it's a great start for people looking to make cleaner, snazzier puzzles.

So, a good revealer and a nice choice of themers, with some rough patches in execution.

1
D
2
E
3
C
4
C
5
A
6
R
7
H
8
O
9
S
10
S
11
H
12
E
13
A
14
I
M
O
U
T
15
E
A
V
E
16
H
O
D
S
17
F
U
L
L
N
18
E
L
S
O
N
19
E
V
I
L
20
D
O
R
I
A
21
A
R
E
N
A
22
A
23
D
24
U
E
25
A
C
T
26
I
27
O
N
P
L
A
N
28
K
A
N
S
29
A
S
30
S
A
D
A
31
I
N
L
A
W
32
D
33
O
N
H
O
34
T
35
S
36
A
37
S
T
I
C
K
38
T
O
Y
O
U
R
39
G
U
N
S
40
S
E
T
41
W
R
E
S
T
42
R
A
T
E
S
43
F
A
I
R
44
P
A
M
E
L
A
45
G
46
O
47
F
O
R
B
R
48
O
49
K
E
50
E
E
L
Y
51
A
W
A
R
D
52
B
A
T
53
H
S
54
B
L
U
E
55
F
56
I
G
U
R
E
H
57
E
58
A
59
D
60
L
E
N
S
61
E
N
Y
A
62
F
O
R
C
E
63
E
T
A
T
64
R
A
N
I
65
T
W
E
E
N
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0216 ( 24,206 )
Across
1
Record label for Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" : DECCA
6
Greek R's : RHOS
10
Mets' home before Citi Field : SHEA
14
"Too rich for my blood" : IMOUT
15
Ice dam site : EAVE
16
Brick carriers : HODS
17
Banned wrestling hold : FULLNELSON
19
Dr. ___, Austin Powers's foe : EVIL
20
Andrea ___, ship that sank in 1956 : DORIA
21
Big concert venue : ARENA
22
Together, musically : ADUE
25
Aid in accomplishing a goal : ACTIONPLAN
28
The Sunflower State : KANSAS
30
Actress Thompson of "Family" : SADA
31
Guest you might not want to stay for too long : INLAW
32
Pop singer from 27-Down : DONHO
34
Inits. on an airport uniform : TSA
37
"Don't give up the fight!" : STICKTOYOURGUNS
40
Workplace often surrounded by trailers : SET
41
Seize (from) : WREST
42
Gives stars to, say : RATES
43
___ to middling : FAIR
44
Actress Anderson of "Baywatch" : PAMELA
45
Risk everything : GOFORBROKE
50
Slippery : EELY
51
Gold star or silver medal : AWARD
52
Realty listing data : BATHS
54
The "B" in Roy G. Biv : BLUE
55
Carved decoration on a ship's prow ... or a hint to the first word of 17-, 25-, 37- and 45-Across : FIGUREHEAD
60
Something you can see through : LENS
61
"Dark Sky Island" singer, 2015 : ENYA
62
"May the ___ be with you" : FORCE
63
Coup d'___ : ETAT
64
Indian royal : RANI
65
Many a middle-schooler : TWEEN
Down
1
"What's the ___?" : DIF
2
Bird that can run up to 30 m.p.h. : EMU
3
One of 15 in a typical weekday crossword: Abbr. : COL
4
Dead-end street : CULDESAC
5
1 for hydrogen or 2 for helium: Abbr. : ATNO
6
Linotype machine, nowadays : RELIC
7
Starts, as a big job : HASAT
8
Egg: Prefix : OVO
9
Rand Paul or Marco Rubio: Abbr. : SEN
10
Everest guide : SHERPA
11
Homely home : HOVEL
12
Minneapolis suburb : EDINA
13
Symbol of Jesus Christ in the "Narnia" series : ASLAN
18
Historical periods : ERAS
21
Only country in which Catalan is the official language : ANDORRA
22
Half of S.W.A.K. : AKISS
23
Who wrote "Let us not speak of them, but look, and pass on" : DANTE
24
Dark : UNLIT
26
"All ___ lost" : ISNOT
27
Honolulu's island : OAHU
29
All thumbs : AWKWARD
32
Red Sox Hall-of-Famer Bobby : DOERR
33
Yiddish cries : OYS
34
Private pupil : TUTEE
35
Part of a fishing line to which a hook is attached : SNELL
36
Analyze, as ore : ASSAY
38
Oakland paper, for short : TRIB
39
Where you might hear "Ding ding ding!" : GAMESHOW
43
Setting for "Little Red Riding Hood" : FOREST
44
Czech form of the French "Pierre" : PETR
45
One of seven in a Hawthorne title : GABLE
46
Small hooter : OWLET
47
Animals, collectively : FAUNA
48
Delivery person? : OBGYN
49
Island neighbor of 27-Down : KAUAI
53
Test by lifting : HEFT
55
"Oh, ___ cryin' out loud!" : FER
56
"___ perfect world ..." : INA
57
Before, poetically : ERE
58
Star pitcher : ACE
59
Cub Scout group : DEN

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?