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New York Times, Monday, February 8, 2016

Author:
Paolo Pasco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
127/17/20151/22/20182
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1300053
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1.63011
Paolo Pasco

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Pasco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Paolo Pasco notes:
This puzzle came from the urge to put FITBIT in a crossword (This was back in my early construction stages, when if I found an entry I ... read more

This puzzle came from the urge to put FITBIT in a crossword (This was back in my early construction stages, when if I found an entry I liked, I built a theme around it, instead of, y'know, putting it in a themeless). After noticing the duplicated ITs and stumbling upon the IT COUPLES revealer, it was off to the races. The first effort was rejected because of unfamiliarity with themers LITE BRITE and… wait for it… FITBIT. After some theme re-brainstorming, I sent out the version you see here in July 2015, and it was accepted in October 2015.

Not much to say about the construction process, except that it was a major pain to avoid IT anywhere else in the puzzle (Heck, while I was writing the cover letter, I noticed a stray IT in a corner and had to redo the thing). And, as usual, I love the edits Will and Joel made to the puzzle (especially the meta clue for 71A and the quote in 9D).

Hope solving this puzzle wasn't a bITter activITy (hey, they can't all be winners).

Jeff Chen notes:
Apt revealer, IT COUPLE interpreted as 'two-word entries, both words containing IT.' I liked the fake-out of uncovering ITSY-BITSY and ... read more

Apt revealer, IT COUPLE interpreted as "two-word entries, both words containing IT." I liked the fake-out of uncovering ITSY-BITSY and NITTY-GRITTY first ... and then hitting SWIMSUIT EDITION. I enjoy when a theme lulls me into thinking I know what's going on (a play on rhyming words) and then throws me off guard.

The great Vince LOMBARDI

A very nice grid, Paolo tossing in such nice bonus fill as GOLF CLAP, I MISS YOU, DOES GOOD, and even CATALYST. LOMBARDI and SNICKERS too! He's had a couple of great themelesses over at Buzzfeed — all clean and colorful — so it didn't surprise me to see that his grid is not just filled with goodies, but it's squeaky clean. It's exactly what I think a Monday grid ought to be. Great work there.

The theme wasn't mind-blowing to me, as there are plenty of phrases with two ITs: CREDIT LIMIT, POSITIVE ATTITUDE, SWITCH HITTER, etc., but it works well enough for both novices and experienced solvers. And it's consistent, never resorting to a three-word phrase like A LITTLE BIT or something.

One aspect that kept me from picking it as the POW — it's unusual to find a Monday grid as colorful and clean as this — is that I would have liked the themers to all be in the across direction. I love the great long entries Paolo added in, but they muddied up what was fill and what was theme. Putting all the themers horizontally might have made starring their clues unnecessary, as they would have all stood out better.

Great quote by Vince LOMBARDI: "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work." Totally old-school, nose to the grindstone attitude that helped the Packers win the first two Super Bowls. It also applies to Paolo — it's clear to me how much work he's put into his crossword-making skills. Very well done.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0208 ( 24,198 )
Across
1. Gift tag word : FROM
5. Golden calf, e.g. : IDOL
9. Comes to earth : LANDS
14. Use the oven : BAKE
15. Goya's "The Naked ___" : MAJA
16. Mythical hunter : ORION
17. *Like a nursery rhyme spider : ITSYBITSY
19. Paris transport system : METRO
20. Queen in "Frozen" : ELSA
21. Setting for much of "Breaking Bad" : LAB
23. Boxing decision, for short : TKO
24. Typists' timesavers : MACROS
27. What sets things in motion : CATALYST
29. Palindromic girl's name : AVA
30. Host Banks of TV's "America's Next Top Model" : TYRA
32. Fussy sort : PRIG
33. Daddy-o : POPS
35. Galley propellers : OARS
37. Laura of "The Fault in Our Stars" : DERN
39. *Big seller for Sports Illustrated : SWIMSUITEDITION
43. Sci-fi phaser setting : STUN
44. 1962 007 villain : DRNO
45. Palindromic boy's name : OTTO
46. Diva's delivery : ARIA
48. Brainstorm : IDEA
50. "No one wants to hear about that!" : TMI
51. Gesture of sarcastic support : GOLFCLAP
54. Buffy, to vampires : SLAYER
56. Duke's athletic grp. : ACC
57. "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" sister : KIM
58. Psych 101 subjects : EGOS
59. Fixture at a subway entrance : STILE
61. Tabloid twosomes ... or a hint to the answers to the starred clues : ITCOUPLES
66. Name repeated before "pumpkin eater" : PETER
67. Manhattan neighborhood next to TriBeCa : SOHO
68. Boater's haven : COVE
69. Eye sores : STYES
70. Part of the Grim Reaper's getup : HOOD
71. "I'd like 'The New York Times Crossword' for $200, ___" : ALEX
Down
1. Org. with a Most Wanted list : FBI
2. Pied Piper's follower : RAT
3. Gives the go-ahead : OKS
4. "Twilight" author Stephenie : MEYER
5. Long-distance lover's lament : IMISSYOU
6. Figures to be processed : DATA
7. Breakfast drinks, briefly : OJS
8. 1972 hit for Eric Clapton : LAYLA
9. Coach who said "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work" : LOMBARDI
10. "Gone ___ the days ..." : ARE
11. *Basics, informally : NITTYGRITTY
12. Dweebs : DORKS
13. Stuck-up sort : SNOOT
18. Rorschach test element : BLOT
22. Org. for Nadal and Federer : ATP
24. Atlas contents : MAPS
25. Boldly states : AVOWS
26. *Place often marked with a star on 24-Down : CAPITALCITY
27. Something to pack up the trunk for : CARTRIP
28. Intentionally mislead : LIETO
31. "Kills bugs dead!" brand : RAID
34. Blue creature of old Saturday morning TV : SMURF
36. Transmit : SEND
38. "You're looking at the wrong guy" : NOTME
40. 3 Musketeers alternative : SNICKERS
41. Volunteers, gives to charity, etc. : DOESGOOD
42. Dark film genre : NOIR
47. Boxer Muhammad : ALI
49. Baseball's Moises or Jesus : ALOU
51. "Oh no you didn't!" sounds : GASPS
52. Singing eightsome : OCTET
53. Barn-raising group : AMISH
55. Pet-protecting org. : ASPCA
58. Talk back? : ECHO
60. Gen. Robert E. ___ : LEE
62. When repeated, pretentious : TOO
63. [That is so funny] : LOL
64. New Year's ___ : EVE
65. Possible reason for an R rating : SEX

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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