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New York Times, Monday, March 16, 2015

Author: Ian Livengood
Editor: Will Shortz
Ian Livengood
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554/12/20109/15/20164
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617667112
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1.64371

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 46 for Mr. Livengood. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes: I filled the grid around the 'Q' and 22- / 26-Down (running through three theme answers). Usually 3x7 corners don't really do it ... more
Ian Livengood notes:

I filled the grid around the "Q" and 22- / 26-Down (running through three theme answers). Usually 3x7 corners don't really do it for me, but I'm happy how this one turned out.

Oh, and I grew up watching 39-Across. But that was before Travolta turned into whatever creepy hug monster he is today.

Jeff Chen notes: Ian puts on his usual clinic today, four themers hiding diminutive nicknames, plus the SMALL TALK revealer. All themers are two(ish) ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Ian puts on his usual clinic today, four themers hiding diminutive nicknames, plus the SMALL TALK revealer. All themers are two(ish) words, and he chooses half of them with the key word in front — SQUIRT GUN and PEE WEE — and half in the back. Nice consistency and balance, with colorful themers.

I like Ian's style, as he puts a lot of emphasis on including both quantity and quality of long fill. This philosophy leads to a lot of three and four-letter answers, but I don't really mind that in an early-week puzzle. I did notice that there seemed to be a lot of short(y) answers in the grid, but getting an arsenal of great fill — ROOT BEER, ARMY MAN, BLUE LAW, GORILLA, etc. — more than makes up for it.

Eddie Gaedel, number 1/8 (really!)

Ian's comment about 3x7 corners is well-taken. I try to avoid them whenever possible, too. Working with 8s has so much more potential for lively fill compared to working with 7s, as the former has the potential for many more multi-word entries (as well as not-as-often seen single word entries). Ian does great with his corners though, keeping them nice and clean, and 12 out of 12 of the 7s in those corners are above average to great 7s. Takes a huge deal of perseverance and hard work to achieve.

I really liked how SQUIRT, SHRIMP, and SHORTY hid the diminutive pretty well. It would have been a near-perfect theme set if PEE WEE had equally been camouflaged. Although PEE WEE REESE wasn't nearly as short as, say, Eddie Gaedel, at 5'9" he was smallish for a baseball player and was also nicknamed "The Little Colonel."

All in all though, another strong offering from Ian.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0316 ( 23,869 )
Across Down
1. Streisand, familiarly : BABS
5. "Planet of the ___" : APES
9. Banana split or fudge brownie : TREAT
14. Pac-12 hoops giant : UCLA
15. Depend (on) : RELY
16. Grand Canyon pack animal : BURRO
17. Toy in a water fight : SQUIRTGUN
19. Urban renewal areas : SLUMS
20. High-end leather variety : SUEDE
21. ___ good job : DOA
23. Breyers rival : EDYS
24. "Shop ___ you drop" : TIL
25. Crispy seafood dish : FRIEDSHRIMP
29. ___ pro nobis : ORA
30. III, to Jr. : SON
31. That woman : SHE
32. Chinese path of enlightenment : TAO
33. Worshipers' seats : PEWS
35. Carry-___ (airplane totes) : ONS
37. Singing, juggling or performing magic : TALENT
39. 1995 crime caper based on an Elmore Leonard novel : GETSHORTY
42. PC key combo : ALTTAB
45. Garden tool : HOE
46. "Grade A" purchase : EGGS
50. Reason to play overtime : TIE
51. One thanked in the statement "Thank you for your service" : VET
53. Japanese path of enlightenment : ZEN
55. Over there, to a poet : YON
56. Hall-of-Fame Dodger nicknamed "The Little Colonel" : PEEWEEREESE
59. Hosp. body scan : MRI
60. This: Sp. : ESTA
61. Basketball net holder : RIM
62. Greek column variety : IONIC
64. Still kicking : ALIVE
66. Chitchat ... or an apt title for this puzzle? : SMALLTALK
69. Heavenly body with a tail : COMET
70. Overly promote : HYPE
71. Tahiti, for one : ISLE
72. Big-mouthed pitchers : EWERS
73. Venomous Nile dwellers : ASPS
74. * : STAR
1. Spot about every two blocks on a major city street : BUSSTOP
2. Obtain : ACQUIRE
3. Sunday liquor prohibition : BLUELAW
4. "You ___ it, brother!" : SAID
5. Field for Robert Indiana or Georgia O'Keeffe : ART
6. Hatrack piece : PEG
7. Avoid, as capture : ELUDE
8. Clerical gatherings : SYNODS
9. "Conan" network : TBS
10. Aid in drawing straight lines : RULER
11. Well-educated : ERUDITE
12. Every West Point graduate until 1980 : ARMYMAN
13. Drunkard : TOSSPOT
18. Gridiron officials, in brief : REFS
22. Wood sources for baseball bats : ASHTREES
26. Barq's or Mug : ROOTBEER
27. Overnight stops on road trips : INNS
28. Furnace output : HEAT
34. ___ Pepper : SGT
36. "Quiet!" : SHH
38. Potent cleaning solution : LYE
40. Roof overhang : EAVE
41. Trickle (through) : OOZE
42. In a calm state : ATPEACE
43. Stays off the grid, say : LIESLOW
44. When a golf round starts : TEETIME
47. Pommel horse user : GYMNAST
48. Thug : GORILLA
49. Tee-hee : SNICKER
52. Yearwood of country music : TRISHA
54. Simon who won a Tony for writing "The Odd Couple" : NEIL
57. Vacillate : WAVER
58. Top TV honors : EMMYS
63. Soul singer Redding : OTIS
65. U.F.O. crew, supposedly : ETS
67. Words With Friends, e.g. : APP
68. TV exec Moonves : LES

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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