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New York Times, Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Author: Paula Gamache
Editor: Will Shortz
Paula Gamache
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1075/21/20023/8/20174
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
81318151217618
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58431

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJQV} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 107 for Ms. Gamache. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Three-letter words get their middle letter removed, giving kooky results. I got a smile out of WHAT'S UP DC? — anything Bugs ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Three-letter words get their middle letter removed, giving kooky results. I got a smile out of WHAT'S UP DC? — anything Bugs Bunny-related makes this kid happy — and I loved TYRANNOSAURUS RX. Something so amusing about those "sad T. Rex" cartoons.

The others didn't do much for me. HOPPING MD was neither good nor bad. ZIP YOUR LP didn't make much sense. CHEW THE CD … not only does chewing a CD feel too over-the-top kooky, but CHEW THE CUD doesn't feel like a phrase in use. CHEW THE FAT, sure. CHEW ONES CUD ... maybe?

Some nice extras in the fill. Much appreciated that Paula went the extra mile to include four long downs, a tough task especially since she had to weave them through her five themers. INDOOR CAT, SOAP OPERA and AS WE SPEAK are quite good. MILLIBARS … if this mechanical engineer (who has his MS in ME) needed most letters to piece it together, it's going to be rough for others, methinks. Still, I liked it pretty well.

With five themers and so many long downs, it'd be hard to avoid using some crossword glue to hold everything together. All in all, though, Paula does a pretty good job of it. There's a NSW (New South Wales), UKE (who calls a ukulele a UKE?), ARTY (artsy, yeah?), and the tough IN REM, but this OLD SOUL felt like these prices were acceptable given all the goodies they made possible.

Themewise, I so badly wanted the removed vowels to go in A E I O U order. That would have been an interesting take on the "vowel progression" theme type. I did like that Paula removed each vowel exactly once. But to get them in O A E I U order felt inelegant.

If it were me, I'd have to include the hilarious TYRANNOSAURUS RX. But if the A E I O U order were to be followed, that one would need to be the second themer, requiring a 15-letter fourth themer using the O. That might be tough.

Ah, how often doth the gods of crossword symmetry rain on a constructor's parade …

1
N
2
A
3
S
4
T
5
G
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R
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A
8
D
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M
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E
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D
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A
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S
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O
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L
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A
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I
R
O
N
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W
H
A
T
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U
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D
C
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L
A
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P
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O
M
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A
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W
L
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N
E
A
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S
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K
O
A
L
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H
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O
P
P
I
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N
G
M
D
29
L
A
P
D
30
C
O
L
O
M
B
O
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O
N
E
32
I
N
H
D
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A
B
34
A
35
T
36
E
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T
Y
R
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A
N
N
O
S
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A
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U
R
U
S
R
X
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H
E
A
R
D
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O
A
K
S
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W
A
X
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T
O
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R
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T
U
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D
E
C
O
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Z
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P
Y
O
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R
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O
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G
A
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O
S
R
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C
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C
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H
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E
W
T
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C
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D
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M
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K
A
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0308 ( 24,592 )
Across Down
1. Condé ___ (magazine publisher) : NAST
5. Ending with Lenin or Stalin : GRAD
9. Mixed ___ : MEDIA
14. Wedge or pump : SHOE
15. Princess of Alderaan : LEIA
16. Shackles : IRONS
17. "How's it goin', Washington?" : WHATSUPDC
19. Retreats : LAIRS
20. Event presided over by a king and queen : PROM
21. Cobbler's tool : AWL
23. Museum-funding org. : NEA
24. "To your health!" : SKOAL
26. E.R. worker who sprained an ankle? : HOPPINGMD
29. Sgt. Friday's org. : LAPD
30. Sri Lanka's capital : COLOMBO
31. Inseparable : ONE
32. How many TV movies can be seen : INHD
33. Diminish : ABATE
37. Prescription for a prehistoric carnivore? : TYRANNOSAURUSRX
41. Got wind of : HEARD
42. Many wine barrels come from them : OAKS
43. Car wash option : WAX
44. The Geneva Conventions prohibit it : TORTURE
47. Empire State Building style, informally : DECO
48. "Keep that record in its case!"? : ZIPYOURLP
51. Out of bed : RISEN
52. Sean ___ Lennon : ONO
53. Slugger's stat : RBI
54. [Shocking!] : GASP
55. "Hamlet" courtier : OSRIC
57. Mistake a shiny disc for a cookie? : CHEWTHECD
62. Mental bloc? : MENSA
63. Vegetable with curly leaves : KALE
64. Loosen : EASE
65. Pub selection : STOUT
66. A knee sock covers it : SHIN
67. Scrape, as the knee : SKIN
1. Sydney's state: Abbr. : NSW
2. "___, that feels good!" : AHH
3. Endless melodrama : SOAPOPERA
4. Group of four : TETRAD
5. Down in the dumps : GLUM
6. Good name, for short : REP
7. A helping hand : AID
8. From the beginning, in music : DACAPO
9. Atmospheric pressure units : MILLIBARS
10. Competitor of Tide : ERA
11. "Nothing ___!" : DOING
12. Against a thing, legally : INREM
13. Syrian strongman : ASSAD
18. Roman counterpart of the Greek Helios : SOL
22. Typist's stat : WPM
24. A deadly sin : SLOTH
25. West with Roc-A-Fella records : KANYE
26. Christmas cheer? : HOHO
27. One who leads a quiet, measured life : OLDSOUL
28. Celebrity chef Matsuhisa : NOBU
30. Anderson Cooper's TV home : CNN
32. Animal that might be found curled up on a windowsill : INDOORCAT
34. Right now : ASWESPEAK
35. Tiniest bit : TRACE
36. Competitor of BP : EXXON
38. Pretentious : ARTY
39. Advocate for seniors : AARP
40. Maui music maker, informally : UKE
45. Chafe : RUB
46. Bridge units : TRICKS
47. Gossips : DISHES
48. Some camera lenses : ZOOMS
49. Map feature : INSET
50. XXX stuff : PORNO
51. Maze runner : RAT
54. Rocker Stefani : GWEN
56. The Cyclones of the N.C.A.A., for short : ISU
58. "As if!" : HAH
59. QB Manning : ELI
60. Sin City forensic drama : CSI
61. Place for a trophy cabinet : DEN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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