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New York Times, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Author:
David Alfred Bywaters
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
312/13/20162/19/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1020000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63000
David Alfred Bywaters

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 42 Missing: {JQZ} Grid has repeated answers This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Bywaters. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Alfred Bywaters notes:
For me, the best crosswords are those with the most entertaining theme answers, involving the most ridiculous images, the most absurd ... read more

For me, the best crosswords are those with the most entertaining theme answers, involving the most ridiculous images, the most absurd incongruities. Mechanical consistency, such as might result from a simple computer algorithm, doesn't interest me. I want a puzzle obviously created by a human being, preferably one with a sense of humor.

The more answers a theme generates, the more a constructor has to work with. In this puzzle, for instance, COB SALAD (Side dish with extreme roughage?) would also fit the theme, as would the similarly salad-related BIB LETTUCE (Consequence of infant salad consumption?), the bilingual HONEST ABBE (Trustworthy French cleric?), the grim RUSSIAN RUBBLE (Crimean war consequence?), the grimmer BOMB BAY DUCK (Weaponized waterfowl?) — and no doubt there are others. I chose what seemed to me the best symmetrically fitting possibilities consistent with my groan-worthy pun revealer, and I'm delighted that the Times has published the result.

If you want more such puzzles, try my website, where I post a new one every Saturday.

Jeff Chen notes:
Embarrassing how long I stared at COLD SOBBER, trying to figure out what the base phrase was. (Before I hit the revealer, mind you.) I ... read more

Embarrassing how long I stared at COLD SOBBER, trying to figure out what the base phrase was. (Before I hit the revealer, mind you.) I took it as a personal challenge to decrypt the theme, from a single themer!

Fail.

COLD SHOULDER was my first thought.

Then COLD SLOBBER. (Can you tell I have a two-year-old?)

In the interest of full disclosure, I even considered OLD SOBBER. Wasn't that a sad movie where the dog dies?

Even sadder, when I hit the revealer, it still took a minute to figure it out — my mind went back to COLD SLOBBER. (GET YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR SLOBBERY MOUTH, JAKE!)

TO BE OR NOT TO BE has been played upon many a time for crosswords, including a clever rebus that came immediately to my mind, but I can't remember one exactly like this. There aren't that many double-B words that form other words when single-B-ified, so it's a tidy theme set.

I did find it odd that CHINESE CAB AGE was the only one that required parsing, but that's a minor ding.

Another interesting aspect of this puzzle is that it's one of the few containing repeated words. TO BE / OR NOT / TO BE – the question is, how many other puzzles have had repeats?

Not many.

I didn't find this one as interesting as other repeated word themes since this is more a by-product of a decision that facilitated easier crossword gridding. TO BE OR NOT TO BE could have been placed as one entry in the middle row, which would have been more elegant. But a central 13 is tough to work with, especially what with two other 13s to work around too.

Given that there's already a good amount of crossword glue needed – note AMAT squeezed in a tough section between themers, for example – I'm okay with the splitification, considering that keeping the full revealer together would have made things even messier.

Curious to see the next novel implementation of the famous quote!

1
C
2
A
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P
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E
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D
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C
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A
8
L
9
L
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B
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R
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A
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T
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O
V
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E
15
O
M
I
T
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R
E
D
O
17
C
O
L
D
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18
O
B
B
E
R
19
O
H
O
K
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A
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E
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S
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A
W
A
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D
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I
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Y
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F
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M
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G
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D
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E
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O
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N
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T
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M
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U
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M
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B
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R
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O
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A
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W
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Y
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0219 ( 25,305 )
Across
1
Attired like a movie vampire : CAPED
6
Summon : CALL
10
Unruly kid : BRAT
14
Equine : horses :: ___ : sheep : OVINE
15
Leave out : OMIT
16
Second chance : REDO
17
One who's taking a polar vortex pretty hard? : COLDSOBBER
19
"Ah, now I see" : OHOK
20
Wonder : AWE
21
"Whatever you say" : SURE
22
Conscious : AWARE
23
One who cheats on a weight-reduction plan? : DIETARYFIBBER
27
Marital abbr. that's rarely spelled out : MRS
28
Like a shoppe, perhaps : OLDE
29
Turn from a book into a movie, say : ADAPT
32
Painter of a maja both "desnuda" and "vestida" : GOYA
34
"There will come ___ ..." : ADAY
38
With 39- and 40-Across, classic Shakespearean question phonetically suggested by 17-, 23-, 47- and 59-Across : TOBE
39
See 38-Across : ORNOT
40
See 38-Across : TOBE
41
Catchall abbr. : MISC
42
Cats' catches : RATS
43
Prometheus or Epimetheus : TITAN
44
Not new : USED
46
"All ___ are created equal" : MEN
47
Heyday of taxis in Beijing? : CHINESECABAGE
53
D.J.'s version of a song : REMIX
54
He loves, she loves, or it loves: Lat. : AMAT
55
Place for a baby : LAP
58
Too : ALSO
59
Defense against a charge of public nudity? : WEWASROBED
62
Cordon ___ : BLEU
63
Is indebted to : OWES
64
Socially disengaged : ALOOF
65
Drunkards : SOTS
66
Joins : WEDS
67
They might precede "Well, we must be going" : YAWNS
Down
1
Lucrative South American crop : COCA
2
Own up to : AVOW
3
Heaped : PILED
4
Player close to a linebacker : END
5
"Life is short -- eat ___ first" : DESSERT
6
Deadly snake : COBRA
7
Insect-preserving resin : AMBER
8
Recline : LIE
9
Paper size: Abbr. : LTR
10
Blustery bullying : BROWBEATING
11
Fix up, as a building : REHAB
12
Idolize : ADORE
13
Joint enjoyer : TOKER
18
Possibilities for escape : OUTS
22
Word after first or foreign : AID
24
Lacking money : IMPECUNIOUS
25
Goes back and forth quickly : YOYOS
26
Down a half step, say : FLAT
29
Producer of the Jacksons? : ATM
30
"Is that true about me?" : DOI
31
Midriff muscles, for short : ABS
32
A+ or B- : GRADE
33
Province between Man. and Que. : ONT
35
Part of a web address : DOT
36
Lawyers' org. : ABA
37
Hankering : YEN
39
Valuable rocks : ORES
43
Carrier of a steaming pot and cups : TEATRAY
45
Subtext of many an innuendo : SEX
46
Many corp. hirees have them : MBAS
47
Grouches : CRABS
48
Stereotypical cry into a canyon : HELLO
49
"No more for me" : IMSET
50
Sounded like a crow : CAWED
51
Collect : AMASS
52
Something a rude person uses in a crowd : ELBOW
56
Long, long time : AEON
57
Some email attachments, for short : PDFS
59
"Holy smokes!" : WOW
60
Lamb's mother : EWE
61
Rock-___ (classic jukebox brand) : OLA

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?