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New York Times, Monday, February 8, 2016

Author:
Paolo Pasco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
137/17/20151/19/20193
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1300054
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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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