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New York Times, Monday, February 22, 2016

Author: Ed Sessa
Editor: Will Shortz
Edward Sessa
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
369/10/200711/12/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4957452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64251

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 30 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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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 ... more
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 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
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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
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B
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I
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A
60
R
A
D
61
U
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E
62
D
F
R
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N
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63
A
D
D
64
A
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O
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K
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W
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0222 ( 24,212 )
Across Down
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
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: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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