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New York Times, Monday, March 12, 2018

Author: John R. O'Brien
Editor: Will Shortz
John R. O'Brien
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
36/4/20123/12/20180
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0210000
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1.65010

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. O'Brien. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John R. O'Brien notes: This is my 3rd acceptance by the NYT, with enough rejections to give me a batting average below Bob Uecker. I am grateful to ... more
John R. O'Brien notes:

This is my 3rd acceptance by the NYT, with enough rejections to give me a batting average below Bob Uecker.

I am grateful to Joel Fagliano for his patience in getting me through this. My academic background was the Classics and I always wanted to do a "one eye" theme about the cyclops. One theme answer was "sewing needle" but that was not acceptable, and I was lucky to see a deck of cards with a one eyed jack.

Jeff Chen notes: What, no PURPLE PEOPLE EATER in this ONE-EYEd puzzle? Oh ye malevolent crossword grids and your 15-letter constraints! Both ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

What, no PURPLE PEOPLE EATER in this ONE-EYEd puzzle? Oh ye malevolent crossword grids and your 15-letter constraints!

Both the JACK OF SPADES and the JACK of hearts are ONE-EYEd. True fact! Maybe that's why spades and hearts are considered "majors" in contract bridge, while diamonds and clubs are "minors"? I always did wonder why ...

I love me some Greek mythology, but POLYPHEMUS sure didn't come back easily. CYCLOPS, sure. A specific cyclops … that's a tough ask for us mere mortals.

SAMMY DAVIS JR has two eyes, doesn't he? Sure, one is glass. Although, he did refer to himself in this awesome quote: "Talk about handicap. I'm a one-eyed Negro Jew." So he seems fine to include.

BAZOOKA JOE is ONE-EYEd? He has an eye patch, but don't lots of kids wear eye patches for lazy eye or whatever?

You know what would have been awesome? To have just one (letter) I in the puzzle! Maybe dead center, like the eye of the cyclops. Creepy good!

I would have also liked a smoother product for a Monday. Using POLYPHEMUS is tough enough on newer solvers. Crossing it with SEEGER – SEAGER might look fine to some – is asking a lot. And you should be able to figure out HEMAL from HEME, but in my 125+ blood donations, I've never heard someone say or write HEMAL.

I don't mind a little toughness in a Monday puzzle. You don't want to make it TOO easy, with zero challenge. But things like HADJI crossing ESAI crossing VERSO, and RANI … that's a recipe for turning off newer solvers. No bueno!

It's a fine concept, people with ONE EYE (ish). And bonuses like SUPERMAN and I CAN HELP (nice pairing!) helped keep my attention. But the execution needed several more rounds of smoothifying — no reason not to have a better final product, given the average-ish theme density.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0312 ( 24,961 )
Across Down
1. Parts missing from the Venus de Milo : ARMS
5. Ancient Greek market : AGORA
10. What hairy dogs do in the spring : SHED
14. Boyfriend : BEAU
15. Toilet paper layers, e.g. : PLIES
16. Architect Saarinen : EERO
17. Complain querulously : CARP
18. *Monster outsmarted by Odysseus : POLYPHEMUS
20. Drivers doing 90, say : SPEEDERS
22. With mouth wide open : AGAPE
23. Indian queen : RANI
24. Tin lizzies : MODELTS
26. *Rat Pack member who sang and danced : SAMMYDAVISJR
30. Parts with irises : UVEAS
31. Actor Morales of "La Bamba" : ESAI
32. See 39-Across : EYE
35. Dawn, to Donne : MORN
36. Like clothes in the hamper : DIRTY
38. Servant in "Young Frankenstein" : IGOR
39. With 32-Across, what the answers to the starred clues each have : ONE
40. Brief moments, briefly : SECS
41. Frighten : SCARE
42. *Black face card whose face is seen in profile : JACKOFSPADES
45. Indy or Daytona : RACEWAY
48. What two fives are change for : ATEN
49. Cancel at Cape Canaveral : ABORT
50. "Star Wars Episode IV" subtitle : ANEWHOPE
54. *Comic character on a gum wrapper : BAZOOKAJOE
57. Satanic : EVIL
58. Part of a list with bullets : ITEM
59. Scam : FRAUD
60. Swimmers' units : LAPS
61. Hawaiian goose : NENE
62. "Two mints in one" sloganeer : CERTS
63. Nolo contendere, e.g. : PLEA
1. Things learned in "The Alphabet Song" : ABCS
2. Harvest : REAP
3. Stallion's mate : MARE
4. Hero who's neither a bird nor a plane : SUPERMAN
5. Tack on : APPEND
6. Steinem who co-founded Ms. magazine : GLORIA
7. Classic paintings : OILS
8. Spanish king : REY
9. Biter of Cleopatra : ASP
10. Folk legend Pete : SEEGER
11. Blood-related : HEMAL
12. Blow, as a volcano : ERUPT
13. Amounts in a hypodermic needle : DOSES
19. Pilgrim to Mecca : HADJI
21. February has the fewest of them : DAYS
24. Aerosol spray : MIST
25. Start of "The Star-Spangled Banner" : OSAY
26. Sport originally part of a Shinto ritual : SUMO
27. Shakespeare's stream : AVON
28. Parisian mother : MERE
29. Left page in a book : VERSO
32. "Heavens to Betsy!" : EGAD
33. Bygone times : YORE
34. "___ Tú" (1974 song) : ERES
36. Ten: Prefix : DECA
37. Highly off-putting : ICKY
38. "Allow me" : ICANHELP
40. Handled, as a task : SAWTO
41. Blow, as from a volcano : SPEW
42. Saint known for translating the Bible into Latin : JEROME
43. Spread, as people in a search party : FANOUT
44. The Lone Ranger's Silver and others : STEEDS
45. Former Israeli P.M. Yitzhak : RABIN
46. Lessen : ABATE
47. Cheat : COZEN
50. "When it's ___" (answer to an old riddle) : AJAR
51. Squished circle : OVAL
52. Prop for Sherlock Holmes : PIPE
53. Two-time Oscar-nominated actress Lanchester : ELSA
55. The Colonel's restaurant : KFC
56. "I am, you ___, he is" : ARE

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

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