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New York Times, Monday, February 29, 2016

Author:
Joel Fagliano
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6210/22/200911/18/20186
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
15811810325
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65351
Joel Fagliano

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJQ} This is puzzle # 46 for Mr. Fagliano. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
LEAP DAY commemoration, four holidays ending in DAY 'leaping' over a black square: MOT/HERS (day), LA/BOR (day), VETE/RANS (day), and ... read more

LEAP DAY commemoration, four holidays ending in DAY "leaping" over a black square: MOT/HERS (day), LA/BOR (day), VETE/RANS (day), and BOX/ING (day). It's tough to make long entries work in this fashion, so NAI(VETE) next to (RANS)OM is a great find. BON (MOT) next to (HERS)TORY is also nice. I wondered if HERSTORY is still in usage, as I haven't seen it in print in a while, but I like the concept (history as seen from a feminist perspective) a lot.

Did you know his first name is "Norville"? Zoinks!

BOXING (day) = "one of these is not like the others," as it's the only non-American holiday. I wasn't sure exactly what it was, so it was interesting to read up on — cool that it's a "second Christmas" in certain countries! When I was a kid, the day after Christmas was such a letdown, so every year my brother's family and mine celebrate a Second Christmas shortly after (first) Christmas. Almost better than Festivus!

I wondered why Joel would include an odd fourth "day," and it was easy to see that INDEPENDENCE, COLUMBUS, and PRESIDENTS would be tough (impossible?) to break in keeping with this theme. MEMO/RIAL is the only one that fit with the others — you could have TAKE A MEMO and RIALTO (or RIALS), but the RIALTO would be pretty unfamiliar to some Monday solvers. Always the trade-offs.

Cross-referenced clues often annoy me, breaking up the flow of my solve, but I really liked WAXES / WANE crossing, echoing each other. It's tough to make those kinds of things works so perfectly.

And I often dislike when a corner is isolated from the rest of the grid — note how the NW has only word connecting it to everything else — but that sort of layout often brings wonderful flexibility. Here, Joel uses it to great effect, with a beautiful triplet in SIMIAN / ICE AGE / BON MOT. And the opposite corner is even better, with SHAGGY running through IN GEAR / BIG EGO / MAYDAY! I'd take that trade-off any day.

Nice idea, well executed except for the inconsistency of BOXING (day). If only America would open its eyes to the joys of Second Christmas!

Jim Horne notes:

This is the sixth Leap Day puzzle in the Shortz Era.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0229 ( 24,219 )
Across
1. Apelike : SIMIAN
7. "Ah, gotcha" : ISEE
11. 4.0 is a great one, in brief : GPA
14. Frigid time, climatically speaking : ICEAGE
15. Repair : MEND
16. Male sheep : RAM
17. Witty remark : BONMOT
18. The past, from a feminist standpoint : HERSTORY
20. Social slight : SNUB
21. Crafty Norse god : LOKI
22. Loud laughs : YUKS
23. "No more for me, thanks" : IMSET
26. ___ Crunch (Quaker cereal) : CAPN
28. Milan opera house : LASCALA
31. Reason to stare off into space : BOREDOM
34. Mine find : ORE
35. Finnish telecom giant : NOKIA
37. Auto with the slogan "Zoom-zoom" : MAZDA
38. ___ populi : VOX
39. 2/29/16, e.g. ... or a hint to the circled squares in this puzzle : LEAPDAY
41. German article : EIN
42. Louvre pyramid architect : IMPEI
44. "Well, I ___ hand it to you ..." : GOTTA
45. Regret : RUE
46. Gullibility : NAIVETE
48. Kidnappers' demands : RANSOMS
50. How to address a king : SIRE
51. Area of a rectangle = length x ___ : WIDTH
52. Tiny bit : IOTA
54. "Quickly!," in an order : ASAP
56. Helper: Abbr. : ASST
60. Once-ubiquitous red fixture seen along London streets : PHONEBOX
62. Out of neutral : INGEAR
64. Feel sick : AIL
65. Become less full, as the moon : WANE
66. Quality of a diva : BIGEGO
67. ___ Equis (Mexican beer) : DOS
68. Things dyed for Easter : EGGS
69. Call for help : MAYDAY
Down
1. Kids in the fam : SIBS
2. Clickable image : ICON
3. Waiter's handout : MENU
4. ___ pentameter : IAMBIC
5. Long, long ___ : AGO
6. Ping-Pong table divider : NET
7. "Can we turn on the A/C in here?!" : IMHOT
8. Look for : SEEK
9. Fermi of physics : ENRICO
10. Newspaper staffers, in brief : EDS
11. Where the 9/11 Memorial is : GROUNDZERO
12. The "P" of PRNDL : PARK
13. Schumer and Poehler : AMYS
19. Highly competitive, as a personality : TYPEA
21. Possible result of a cracked pipe : LEAKAGE
24. More macho : MANLIER
25. ___ gin fizz : SLOE
27. Tropical insect that "marches" : ARMYANT
28. "I'm ___ it" (McDonald's slogan) : LOVIN
29. Scent : AROMA
30. Johnny Rotten's punk band, with "the" : SEXPISTOLS
31. Scary experience for an LSD user : BADTRIP
32. Intense hatred : ODIUM
33. What male lions have that lionesses lack : MANES
36. Wall St. debut : IPO
40. Somewhat : ATAD
43. Aquafina rival : EVIAN
47. Lipton item attached to a string : TEABAG
49. Scooby-Doo's pal : SHAGGY
51. Becomes fuller, as the moon : WAXES
52. Apple tablet : IPAD
53. Its postal abbreviation is also an exclamation : OHIO
55. Ballad, e.g. : SONG
57. Edible part of a sunflower : SEED
58. "Iliad," e.g. : SAGA
59. "Iliad" locale : TROY
61. Female sheep : EWE
62. Tech giant with a striped blue logo : IBM
63. Actress Vardalos : NIA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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