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New York Times, Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Author:
Lynn Lempel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
8512/9/197912/3/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
660132130
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.610812
Lynn Lempel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 73 for Ms. Lempel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Another fun early-week puzzle from Lynn. She takes single-word entries and interprets them as double words for kooky results. Really ... read more

Another fun early-week puzzle from Lynn. She takes single-word entries and interprets them as double words for kooky results. Really neat to start and end with related themers: BOMBS HELL and EYES HADES. Great find! I've seen a lot of puzzles involving a shifting of the letter S, but this one had a fresh feel to it. As I would expect from Lynn, the themers are consistent, all one word splitting into a kooky two-worders.

This painting looks so much like BOMBS HELL, doesn't it?

Bonus to get six themers. With shortish ones (8-9 letters), it's not so bad to pack six of them in, and Lynn shows us a smart method to do so. She takes her shortest answers (8 and 9 letters) and stacks them in rows 3 and 4 — this lets you treat the grid kind of like you're working with four themers, not six. You just have to be careful about those few overlapping letters — in the top case, the LL of BOMBSHELL and the UP of UPSTARTS — but as long as those letter pairs aren't really weird, like XU or JN or something, that little of an overlap isn't usually a problem.

Making the construction akin to one having only four themers also allows for a bit of long fill. Lynn does well to give us PIRATE SHIP (or is that PIRATE'S HIP?) and RED HERRING (ah, I guess not then).

Lynn's grids are usually so impressively clean that see AGUE and ETTE was unusual. These would be minor blips in most anyone else's grids — although some would argue that AGUE is perfectly fine since it's used in historical writing — but I put the bar quite high for Lynn.

Since that north section is somewhat flexible, I think the allure of the Z in ZULU must have been high. As much as I like rare letters in a grid, I would personally have preferred not including AGUE, favoring something like NOSY/TRUE. Given that Lynn has expertly worked in a J (JUDEA/JAB) so cleanly, that would have been enough in terms of rare letters for me.

Consistent, fun theme with grid execution well above average.

1
T
2
A
3
L
4
C
5
H
6
A
7
Z
8
Y
9
A
10
P
11
O
12
L
13
O
14
O
D
I
N
15
A
G
U
E
16
V
I
D
A
L
17
B
O
M
B
18
S
H
E
L
L
19
A
R
O
S
E
20
E
R
E
C
T
21
U
P
22
S
T
A
R
T
S
23
Y
E
S
24
R
25
A
26
H
27
S
E
A
T
28
R
E
S
E
29
T
30
W
R
E
31
C
32
K
33
S
34
T
35
I
36
M
E
S
H
A
R
37
E
S
38
S
H
I
A
39
R
O
A
D
S
40
T
I
M
41
S
H
I
N
S
42
I
T
C
H
43
C
H
O
P
44
S
T
I
C
K
S
45
M
A
K
E
46
D
O
47
S
T
R
A
P
48
R
O
O
49
F
50
Y
O
N
51
J
52
A
53
B
54
B
55
E
56
A
R
S
K
I
57
N
58
C
59
R
U
D
E
60
A
T
R
I
A
61
E
Y
62
E
63
S
H
A
D
E
S
64
S
T
I
N
G
65
N
A
P
A
66
K
E
P
T
67
H
E
D
G
E
68
D
D
A
Y
69
E
A
T
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0209 ( 24,199 )
Across
1. Soapy powder mineral : TALC
5. Vague : HAZY
9. Ohno on skates : APOLO
14. Valhalla's ruling god : ODIN
15. Malarial fever : AGUE
16. Gore who wrote "Lincoln" : VIDAL
17. Detonates a weapon in the underworld? : BOMBSHELL
19. Came about : AROSE
20. Construct : ERECT
21. Raises the price of some pastries? : UPSTARTS
23. "By all means!" : YES
24. Pep rally shout : RAH
27. Candidate's quest : SEAT
28. Adjust, as a watch : RESET
30. Junkyard jalopies : WRECKS
34. Clocks trainees for a fabled race rematch? : TIMESHARES
38. Branch of Islam : SHIA
39. They all lead to Rome, it's said : ROADS
40. With 43-Down, Apple C.E.O. beginning in 2011 : TIM
41. Where some athletes need guards : SHINS
42. Something calamine lotion alleviates : ITCH
43. Cuts up little bloodsuckers? : CHOPSTICKS
45. Get along : MAKEDO
47. Camera attachment, often : STRAP
48. Landing spot for Santa : ROOF
50. Over there, quaintly : YON
51. Poke : JAB
54. Puts up with one's family? : BEARSKIN
58. Vulgar : CRUDE
60. Parts of hearts : ATRIA
61. Scrutinizes the underworld? : EYESHADES
64. Cops' crook-catching hoax : STING
65. Beringer Vineyards' county : NAPA
66. Saved for later : KEPT
67. Equivocate : HEDGE
68. W.W. II turning point : DDAY
69. Vittles : EATS
Down
1. Maguire of "The Great Gatsby" : TOBEY
2. Be nuts about : ADORE
3. Citrus supply at a bar : LIMES
4. Network for market monitors : CNBC
5. "I told ya!" : HAH
6. Wine or cheese concern : AGE
7. Bantu speaker of southern Africa : ZULU
8. Sounds from pounds : YELPS
9. James Cameron megahit of 2009 : AVATAR
10. Transport for William Kidd or Jack Sparrow : PIRATESHIP
11. Skunk's defense : ODOR
12. Hold out : LAST
13. Exuberant flamenco cries : OLES
18. Emphasize : STRESS
22. Takes part in a bee : SEWS
25. Mount Etna emission : ASH
26. Moor : HEATH
28. Purposeful misdirection : REDHERRING
29. Musketeers and blind mice : TRIOS
31. Stylish : CHIC
32. Glitch : KINK
33. Bratty retort : SASS
34. Clip or snip : TRIM
35. Teeny bit : IOTA
36. Big name in trucks : MACK
37. Unoccupied : EMPTY
41. Stop the flow of : STANCH
43. See 40-Across : COOK
44. Unwelcome sign for latecomers : SRO
46. Proper medicine amount : DOSAGE
49. Diabolical sort : FIEND
51. Southern region of ancient Palestine : JUDEA
52. Skilled : ADEPT
53. One-ups : BESTS
54. Shindig : BASH
55. Diminutive suffix : ETTE
56. Unlikely to get rain : ARID
57. Long-distance swimmer Diana : NYAD
59. Tool with teeth : RAKE
62. U.S. asbestos regulator : EPA
63. "You don't ___!" : SAY

Answer summary: 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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