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New York Times, Monday, March 18, 2019

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6811/13/20123/5/202019
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
622187582
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVXZ} This is puzzle # 61 for Ms. Burnikel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:
I sent in this puzzle last April without much hope. I feared the theme might be too light for Will and his team, with only 38 squares, ... read more

I sent in this puzzle last April without much hope. I feared the theme might be too light for Will and his team, with only 38 squares, but I could not find one more workable theme entry. I was so happily surprised to get an email with a "Crossword — Yes" subject line.

Jeff Chen notes:
A Monday theme that's accessible to newer solvers and interesting for more experienced ones? I say YES! That was too easy. Well ... read more

A Monday theme that's accessible to newer solvers and interesting for more experienced ones? I say YES!

That was too easy. Well played, C.C., well played.

It's one thing to use "foreign words for YES" — I've seen that a couple of times before — but to disguise them using homophones is a great way to target both sides of the solving spectrum.

The theme is tight, too. How many other foreign languages would YES be obvious in? SI (Spanish or Italian), HAI (Japanese), DA (Russian), and OUI (French). My inner nerd wishes that Dothraki or Klingon were included, but in both of those languages, YES loosely translates to "I shall excise your gizzard and use it to kill the ghosts of your ancestors." Probably wouldn't pass the breakfast test.

C.C. did well in her themer choices, LAH DI DAH, AIMS HIGH, and especially THE ROYAL WE. I liked PLAIN TO SEE, but it was a bit, well, plain. I'd have preferred THE DEAD SEA. Perhaps that's my inner Dothraki speaking.

As always, C.C. is a star when it comes to bonus fill. So much greatness in CARPE DIEM, SAN MARINO, PIT STOP, SLEUTHS. I liked FAN ART, too, great way to use a mid-length slot.

My solve was slow. Not because the short fill was gluey — on the contrary, just an LTS = top-notch craftsmanship. But there was so much novelty in the shorties: AP LIT, GO BAGS, KTOWN, even DEETS and DCON. As much as I enjoy a feeling of freshness — and I do like each of these entries on their own — this verged on too fresh. I wonder how it affected newer solvers. I could imagine it being a turn-off.

But overall, an entertaining, creative theme with a solid a-ha moment doesn't come around very often on Mondays. Along with a solid grid that aimed high, it's a slam-dunk POW!

NOTE: Thanks to some sharp-eyed readers, mistranslations in the original post have been corrected.

1
S
2
A
3
I
4
N
5
T
6
K
7
E
8
D
9
S
10
I
11
C
12
E
13
D
14
A
P
N
E
A
15
T
A
I
L
16
M
A
R
A
17
P
L
A
I
N
18
T
O
S
E
E
19
P
R
I
M
20
S
I
N
G
21
E
W
E
22
U
23
S
O
P
E
N
24
T
E
H
25
R
A
N
26
S
T
A
L
E
27
S
A
M
28
L
A
H
D
I
D
29
A
30
H
31
L
32
T
33
S
34
G
O
35
B
A
G
S
36
T
I
N
A
37
O
H
A
38
R
E
39
E
R
A
40
D
E
E
T
S
41
L
A
N
E
42
P
I
C
N
43
I
C
44
M
E
H
45
A
I
M
S
46
H
I
G
H
47
D
O
48
T
49
A
C
U
T
E
50
F
A
N
A
51
R
52
T
53
S
54
P
R
I
G
S
55
D
O
H
56
M
O
O
57
D
58
O
L
I
N
59
T
60
H
E
R
O
61
Y
A
L
W
E
62
F
O
N
D
63
O
U
S
T
64
E
L
L
E
N
65
T
W
O
S
66
P
E
K
E
67
S
E
E
D
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0318 ( 25,332 )
Across
1
Preceder of Kitts, Lucia and Vincent in country names : SAINT
6
Inexpensive sneakers brand : KEDS
10
___ tea : ICED
14
Sleeping problem : APNEA
15
Showy peacock feature : TAIL
16
___-Lago (presidential retreat) : MARA
17
Clearly visible : PLAINTOSEE
19
Overly proper : PRIM
20
Belt out a tune : SING
21
Mother sheep : EWE
22
Major event in golf or tennis : USOPEN
24
Iran's capital : TEHRAN
26
Like two-week-old bread : STALE
27
Uncle in patriotic posters : SAM
28
Hoity-toity : LAHDIDAH
31
Sgts.' superiors : LTS
34
Holders for emergency supplies : GOBAGS
36
Fey of "Baby Mama" : TINA
37
Alternative to Chicago's Midway : OHARE
39
Reagan ___ (1981-89) : ERA
40
Particulars, in slang : DEETS
41
Follower of Lovers' or Lois : LANE
42
Eating outing : PICNIC
44
"Not impressed" : MEH
45
Sets lofty goals : AIMSHIGH
47
Preceder of com or org : DOT
49
Sharp, as pain : ACUTE
50
Unauthorized drawings of favorite characters : FANART
53
Bits of parsley : SPRIGS
55
"That was stupid of me!" : DOH
56
What an emoji depicts : MOOD
58
Lena of "Chocolat" : OLIN
59
What egotists use instead of "I" : THEROYALWE
62
Affectionate, as a farewell : FOND
63
Force from office : OUST
64
Funny DeGeneres : ELLEN
65
"Terrible" years for kids : TWOS
66
Chinese lap dog, informally : PEKE
67
What strawberries have on the outside that most fruits have on the inside : SEEDS
Down
1
Gullible sorts : SAPS
2
High-level H.S. English subject : APLIT
3
Totally silly : INANE
4
Sounds from a stable : NEIGHS
5
Light brown : TAN
6
Neighborhood to get kimchi and bibimbap, informally : KTOWN
7
Simplicity : EASE
8
Go "pfft" : DIE
9
Detectives : SLEUTHS
10
Ill-mannered : IMPOLITE
11
Latin motto for a go-getter : CARPEDIEM
12
Lake that feeds the Niagara River : ERIE
13
"___ the torpedoes ...!" : DAMN
18
Sentiment from a Latino lover : TEAMO
23
Melancholy : SAD
25
Rant and rave : RAGE
26
"Cosmos" co-creator Carl : SAGAN
28
Conifer that loses its needles in the autumn : LARCH
29
Poker stake : ANTE
30
___ browns (side dish) : HASH
31
1970 hit for the Kinks : LOLA
32
Person from Bangkok : THAI
33
Country completely surrounded by Italy : SANMARINO
35
Light, light brown : BEIGE
38
Takes back, as an offer : RESCINDS
40
Popular rodent control brand : DCON
42
Break at the Indy 500 : PITSTOP
43
Boise's state : IDAHO
46
Greeting from Grandma : HUG
48
Husk-wrapped food item : TAMALE
50
Strong suit : FORTE
51
Esther of "Good Times" : ROLLE
52
Hauled to the impound lot, say : TOWED
53
Pillowy : SOFT
54
Ground breaker : PLOW
55
Office furniture : DESK
57
Scout groups : DENS
60
Shade : HUE
61
"That's correct" ... or a hint to the ends of 17-, 28-, 45- and 59-Across, in different languages : YES

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

See NYT Crosswords for info.