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New York Times, Monday, February 22, 2016

Author:
Ed Sessa
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
389/10/20077/15/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
41067452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64251
Edward Sessa

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 30 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I like these types of themes, where a revealer describes a few examples in very different ways — it's a great way for a ... read more

I like these types of themes, where a revealer describes a few examples in very different ways — it's a great way for a constructor to show creative thinking, linking seemingly disparate things. I think it works best when 1.) all the examples are perfectly apt and 2.) when the examples are VERY disparate.

Going up?

So how does DOWN AND DIRTY fare with the first criteria? A CHIMNEY SWEEP is indeed dirty, but my first inclination was to think about CHIMNEY SWEEPs going up a chimney, not down it. (A few sources seem to agree, but upon further thought, wouldn't it be smarter to go down, so the soot doesn't fall in your face? Hmm.) SUCKER PUNCH was nearly perfect for me, with the caveat that SUCKER PUNCHes aren't always below the belt. X-RATED MOVIE … yes, it's dirty, but "down" doesn't quite hit. Even the obvious vulgar interpretation doesn't feel perfect, since there's a huge range of adult films.

On the second criteria though, I think Ed does quite well. It was fun to think about these three very different things connected in an unexpected way. Bravo there.

Also nice was the longer fill Ed worked in. It's not often you see long across fill like POKING FUN AT and UNITED FRONT, but today's vertical arrangement of themers allows for these bonuses.

A puzzle's NW corner is so important, giving the solver a sense for what's to come. I did like APACHE and HENSON, but ASK A and ERG (it's used much more frequently in crosswords than in engineering) aren't great. Those 6x4 chunks are so tough to fill well — I wonder if shifting the black squares above FREELY to the HE of HENSON would have helped, along with placing a black square at the R of FREELY. That would have knocked out HENSON, but I think Monday puzzles are best served by erring on the side of smooth fill.

ADDED NOTE: Dani Raymon made me realize I had interpreted the puzzle incorrectly — it's simply that all three are "dirty," and they all run in the down (vertical) direction. That does make more sense — hopefully solvers in general were more astute than me!

1
A
2
P
3
A
4
C
5
H
6
E
7
F
8
I
9
X
10
E
11
M
12
E
13
H
14
P
O
S
H
E
R
15
L
O
R
D
16
A
L
I
17
P
O
K
I
N
G
18
F
U
N
A
T
19
O
P
T
20
S
H
A
M
S
21
R
E
S
T
22
D
R
A
M
23
N
O
24
S
E
S
25
E
26
L
O
I
S
E
27
R
28
E
29
V
E
N
U
E
30
D
A
W
S
O
N
31
A
W
A
Y
32
C
L
33
V
34
M
O
N
35
J
E
T
S
36
K
Y
O
37
T
O
38
A
39
S
40
A
41
P
42
W
43
E
E
44
N
E
V
45
N
O
P
E
46
A
47
P
48
P
E
A
R
49
M
I
50
N
D
S
E
T
51
M
A
D
E
U
P
52
S
P
E
E
D
53
T
R
I
P
54
U
55
R
A
L
56
T
I
57
B
58
I
59
A
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R
A
D
61
U
N
I
T
E
62
D
F
R
O
N
T
63
A
D
D
64
A
C
T
I
65
O
U
T
A
G
E
66
K
E
Y
67
W
H
E
N
68
E
L
Y
S
E
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0222 ( 24,212 )
Across
1
Indian in many an old western : APACHE
7
Prix ___ (restaurant offering) : FIXE
11
"Who cares" : MEH
14
More ritzy : POSHER
15
The Almighty : LORD
16
"___ Baba and the 40 Thieves" : ALI
17
Teasing : POKINGFUNAT
19
Decide not to join, with "out" : OPT
20
Put-ons : SHAMS
21
The first "R" of R&R : REST
22
1/8 fluid ounce : DRAM
23
Things "counted" when taking attendance : NOSES
25
Fictional Plaza Hotel girl : ELOISE
27
The "R" of I.R.S. : REVENUE
30
Former "Family Feud" host Richard : DAWSON
31
Like a game that's played on the road : AWAY
32
155, in ancient Rome : CLV
34
When Presidents' Day is always celebrated: Abbr. : MON
35
747s, e.g. : JETS
36
Japan's so-called "City of Ten Thousand Shrines" : KYOTO
38
Immediately, on an order : ASAP
42
Like Willie Winkie : WEE
44
Las Vegas's home: Abbr. : NEV
45
"Uh-uh" : NOPE
46
Come into view : APPEAR
49
State of thinking : MINDSET
51
Fabricated : MADEUP
52
Miles per hour, e.g. : SPEED
53
Fall over one's feet : TRIP
54
Russia's ___ Mountains : URAL
56
Bone below the knee : TIBIA
60
"Cool, man!" : RAD
61
Coalition with no infighting : UNITEDFRONT
63
Interject : ADD
64
Start of a play : ACTI
65
Power failure : OUTAGE
66
C minor, for Beethoven's Fifth : KEY
67
Word following "If not now" : WHEN
68
Presidential palace in Paris : ELYSEE
Down
1
iTunes Store purchases : APPS
2
Winnie-the-___ : POOH
3
"___ silly question ..." : ASKA
4
*One "as lucky as lucky can be," in "Mary Poppins" : CHIMNEYSWEEP
5
Kermit creator Jim : HENSON
6
Unit of work : ERG
7
Fireplace smoke escapes through them : FLUES
8
+ and - particles : IONS
9
*Showing at an adult film theater : XRATEDMOVIE
10
Summer hours in N.Y.C. : EDT
11
Native New Zealanders : MAORIS
12
Texas city on the Mexican border : ELPASO
13
Ones used by the Mafia : HITMEN
18
Without restraint : FREELY
22
Done in a quick but effective manner ... or like the answers to the three starred clues? : DOWNANDDIRTY
24
*Sudden, unprovoked slug : SUCKERPUNCH
26
Mekong native : LAO
27
Period of British rule in India : RAJ
28
Mother sheep : EWE
29
Winery container : VAT
33
___ Trapp family ("The Sound of Music" group) : VON
37
The Parthenon, for one : TEMPLE
39
Emergency transmission : SOS
40
Gorilla : APE
41
Animal with a collar : PET
43
Water: Fr. : EAU
46
Northeast Corridor service : AMTRAK
47
Veterans Day event : PARADE
48
Onetime stage name for Sean Combs : PDIDDY
50
Shrimper's catch : NETFUL
52
Smooth sheet material : SATIN
55
Bar mitzvah or communion : RITE
57
Constrictors : BOAS
58
Playwright William : INGE
59
Suit to ___ : ATEE
61
Detroit labor org. : UAW
62
Buck's mate : DOE

Answer summary: 2 debuted here and reused later.

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