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New York Times, Monday, April 2, 2018

Author:
Jason Mueller
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
69/20/20157/21/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2400000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55111
Jason Mueller

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Mueller. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jason Mueller notes:
I wanted to get a good number and variety of landmarks in this puzzle, and with five well-known places plus a revealer, I think I did ... read more

I wanted to get a good number and variety of landmarks in this puzzle, and with five well-known places plus a revealer, I think I did just that. The fill is solid, with SAFETY NET, KING MINOS, and NERF GUN providing some pizzazz. Also, I've never been to Paris.

Jeff Chen notes:
Tribute to PARIS, a listing of its famous landmarks. I visited Paris maybe 30 years ago — so much to see. THE LOUVRE and NOTRE ... read more

Tribute to PARIS, a listing of its famous landmarks. I visited Paris maybe 30 years ago — so much to see. THE LOUVRE and NOTRE DAME were amazing. I missed PONT NEUF, but apparently, it's quite beautiful as well.

It's hard to make a list puzzle stand out. More often than not, it comes across like reading a Wikipedia article — not super interesting. An extra level, whether it be theme tightness, a visual element, or a novel twist, can help it become memorable.

Tightness? That would be if there were a famous tourist term called "the five French landmarks," and all five were included. In today's puzzle, why PONT NEUF and not the ARC DE TRIOMPHE? Why the SORBONNE (without THE, like in THE LOUVRE, too) and not MONTMARTRE? These feel like arbitrary choices based solely on the need for crossword symmetry.

Visual element? Perhaps if the EIFFEL TOWEL had been oriented vertically? Or each monument was in the same geographical location as in a map of PARIS?

Novel twist? You tell me! Ideas?

I don't totally agree with Jason on the fill being solid. Granted, I have a very high bar for Monday puzzles. I think they need to be warm and welcoming to newcomers, allowing for a beautiful feeling of HELL YEAH, I CONQUERED A NYT CROSSWORD! Ultimately, everything in the grid is fair, but I can imagine newer solvers staring at FES, simultaneously at PONT NEUF, and wondering what the heck they had gotten themselves into.

SSR is a gluey bit I might move to "puzzle-killer" status. USSR, sure, but SSR feels like something constructors use when desperate. DES, ENE, ESTD, TOR are much more minor to me, but still, too much in one Monday puzzle. Yes, six themers is a feat, but a feat that usually comes with too many compromises.

Ending with just PARIS, instead of PARIS FRANCE, could have helped. Probably not many people thinking about Paris, Idaho after they uncover the EIFFEL TOWER.

But, I hope everyone gets a chance to see PARIS one day. I liked how the puzzle reminded me of my short time there.

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D
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0402 ( 24,982 )
Across
1
Arnaz of "I Love Lucy" : DESI
5
Skewered meat dishes : KEBABS
11
Col. Sanders's restaurant : KFC
14
Muscat's land : OMAN
15
Battery terminals : ANODES
16
Not feeling well : ILL
17
62-Across landmark : EIFFELTOWER
19
Siegfried's partner in Vegas : ROY
20
Laurence who wrote "Tristram Shandy" : STERNE
21
Vietnamese holiday : TET
22
What's thrown in a cafeteria fight : FOOD
23
Blue Jays' home, for short : TOR
24
62-Across museum : THELOUVRE
26
Turn down, as an offer : SAYNOTO
29
N.B.A. coach Steve : KERR
30
62-Across bridge : PONTNEUF
32
"I know! I know!" : ASKME
36
Opposite of WSW : ENE
37
Basketball venue : ARENA
40
Roadside bomb, for short : IED
41
Artoo-___ of "Star Wars" : DETOO
44
62-Across school : SORBONNE
47
Clutch : GRIP
50
Toy that shoots foam darts : NERFGUN
51
62-Across cathedral : NOTREDAME
55
"... or so ___ told" : IAM
56
___ vera : ALOE
57
Airport guess, for short : ETA
58
Exile : BANISH
61
Family members : KIN
62
World capital that's the theme of this puzzle : PARISFRANCE
64
She tasted the forbidden fruit : EVE
65
Many : ATONOF
66
One of three in a hat trick : GOAL
67
Dôme ___ Invalides (historic church) : DES
68
Extends, as a lease : RENEWS
69
Abbr. on many a cornerstone : ESTD
Down
1
Bucks' mates : DOES
2
Let out : EMIT
3
Social Security, Medicare, etc., collectively : SAFETYNET
4
Leading the pack : INFRONT
5
Green vegetable with tightly curled leaves : KALE
6
Suffix with differ : ENT
7
Diner seating option : BOOTH
8
Trade publication read along Madison Avenue : ADWEEK
9
Ladybug or scarab : BEETLE
10
Ukr., e.g., once : SSR
11
Big name in Russian ballet : KIROV
12
Elevator stop : FLOOR
13
Bonnie's partner in crime : CLYDE
18
Scandal-ridden company of the early 2000s : ENRON
22
Pelts : FURS
24
Grand ___ (cultural trip around Europe) : TOUR
25
"... man ___ mouse?" : ORA
26
Zoomed : SPED
27
Top-notch : AONE
28
Drink that's often iced : TEA
31
Second-largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca : FES
33
Mythical ruler of Crete : KINGMINOS
34
List of options : MENU
35
Genesis garden : EDEN
38
___ of the above : NONE
39
"Vous êtes ici" ("You ___ here") : ARE
42
Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
43
Galena or bauxite : ORE
45
Hide-out for Br'er Rabbit : BRIAR
46
At the point in one's life : OFANAGE
48
Think up : IDEATE
49
St. Genevieve, for 62-Across : PATRON
51
Like a jaybird, in an idiom : NAKED
52
Shade of green : OLIVE
53
Shades of color : TONES
54
State formed as part of the Missouri Compromise : MAINE
58
Bosom buddies, in modern lingo : BFFS
59
Sing like Ella Fitzgerald : SCAT
60
Clutched : HELD
62
Golf course standard : PAR
63
Strew, as seed : SOW

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

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