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New York Times, Monday, April 20, 2015

Author:
Tom McCoy
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3211/14/201310/7/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
17815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61362
Tom McCoy

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 42 Missing: {QVXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. McCoy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes:

I originally made this puzzle for my parents, whose names are in adjacent theme answers. (You guessed it — I am the son of Gretel and Romeo.)

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun start to the week, LADIES FIRST applied to common '(man) AND (woman)' phrases for a role reversal. Nice construction too, very ... read more

Sleipnir, Odin's steed Fun start to the week, LADIES FIRST applied to common "(man) AND (woman)" phrases for a role reversal. Nice construction too, very little glue required — keeping a five-themer puzzle to just MTG is impressive.

What I liked the best about this one was some of the unusual cluing. It's tough to come up with fresh clues for 3-, 4-, and 5-letter words that have been used hundreds of times before. But several stand out today:

  • "Mr. Jock, TV quiz Ph.D., bags few lynx" is a new pangram to me. Bizarrely fun.
  • Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew that Odin's steed had an unusual quality. Eight legs!
  • I would have sworn OPEC's O stood for OIL. (It's actually "Organization.") Great way to add sizzle to an otherwise neutral word.

Now that's one awesome tribal symbol!

A few weeks ago, Joel suggested to me that I could better use 5-7 letter entries for flavor. This puzzle is a good example of that. It's not often you see OJIBWA in a puzzle due to its J and weird consonant pattern. Paul BUNYAN doesn't get a lot of play. Even COUSIN is relatively rare within crosswords.

The six-letter entries often get underutilized. Every crossword depends on the short stuff to hold a grid together, and most constructors lean heavily on 8+ letter entries for color. The 6-7 letter entries are a potential gold mine.

Finally, I understand the desire to make a Monday puzzle as accessible to novice solvers, but I think the "(hint: 59-Across") takes away from the whimsy of the theme. I would have liked solvers to be given more credit for their ability to hold out until the revealer to figure out what's going on.

Then again, Doug Peterson told me a few weeks ago that many solvers often give up if they can't figure out … 1-Across. Such a difficult tightrope act, balancing cleverness with simplicity.

1
T
2
S
3
K
4
T
5
S
6
K
7
P
8
L
9
O
10
Y
11
C
12
B
13
S
14
A
P
I
E
C
E
15
H
E
R
O
16
O
U
T
17
J
A
N
E
A
N
18
D
D
I
C
K
19
U
N
E
20
L
Y
E
21
E
22
A
S
Y
A
23
M
24
A
25
R
Y
A
N
26
D
27
W
28
I
L
L
I
A
M
29
M
O
D
E
30
T
O
A
D
31
I
N
N
S
32
T
O
U
S
33
L
34
E
35
W
R
A
36
P
37
G
R
E
T
E
L
38
A
N
D
H
A
39
N
40
S
41
E
42
L
43
G
I
L
T
44
O
T
O
O
L
E
45
O
46
R
47
E
48
O
49
O
B
O
50
E
51
A
M
M
O
52
J
U
L
I
53
E
T
A
N
D
54
R
55
O
M
E
O
56
I
N
A
L
L
57
G
A
H
58
B
L
T
59
L
60
A
61
D
62
I
E
S
F
63
I
64
R
65
S
66
T
67
W
O
E
68
E
C
O
N
69
P
U
R
I
N
A
70
A
W
S
71
N
E
C
K
72
S
N
A
P
O
N
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0420 ( 23,904 )
Across
1
"You should know better!" : TSKTSK
7
Scheme : PLOY
11
Network with an eye logo : CBS
14
Each : APIECE
15
Submarine sandwich : HERO
16
Eliminated : OUT
17
Classic learning-to-read series (hint: 59-Across) : JANEANDDICK
19
French "a" : UNE
20
Caustic compound : LYE
21
Course that's a walk in the park : EASYA
23
Virginia university (hint: 59-Across) : MARYANDWILLIAM
29
Pie à la ___ : MODE
30
Horned ___ (certain lizard) : TOAD
31
Overnight lodgings : INNS
32
Mess up, as the hair : TOUSLE
35
Bundle up : WRAP
37
Grimm fairy tale (hint: 59-Across) : GRETELANDHANSEL
43
Gold-coated : GILT
44
Peter who played Lawrence of Arabia : OTOOLE
45
Cookie in cookies-and-cream ice cream : OREO
49
Relative of a clarinet : OBOE
51
Rounds of bullets : AMMO
52
Shakespeare play (hint: 59-Across) : JULIETANDROMEO
56
As a whole : INALL
57
Cry of frustration : GAH
58
Sandwich that's usually toasted, for short : BLT
59
Chivalrous rule obeyed in this puzzle : LADIESFIRST
67
Sorrow : WOE
68
Subject for Karl Marx, for short : ECON
69
Big name in pet food : PURINA
70
Sounds made around puppies : AWS
71
Canoodle : NECK
72
Affix with a click : SNAPON
Down
1
___ Mahal : TAJ
2
Resort with hot springs : SPA
3
Relatives : KIN
4
Golf ball support : TEE
5
Like a dragon's skin : SCALY
6
Home of Obama's father : KENYA
7
"Mr. Jock, TV quiz ___, bags few lynx" (classic pangram) : PHD
8
Hawaiian garland : LEI
9
"The Lord of the Rings" baddie : ORC
10
Bumpkin : YOKEL
11
"Kissing" relative : COUSIN
12
Tall Paul : BUNYAN
13
Prepares in a wok, as vegetables : STEAMS
18
Make an impression on? : DENT
22
___ Baba : ALI
23
"The Hound of the Baskervilles" setting : MOOR
24
Together, in music : ADUE
25
One "R" in R&R : REST
26
"___ Abbey" : DOWNTON
27
Fend (off) : WARD
28
Boise's state : IDAHO
29
Business appt., often : MTG
33
One of eight on Odin's horse : LEG
34
Writer T. S. ___ : ELIOT
36
Butter serving : PAT
38
Jessica of "Good Luck Chuck" : ALBA
39
Linguist Chomsky : NOAM
40
"___ help you are!" : SOME
41
"Tickle Me" toy : ELMO
42
DiCaprio, in tabloids : LEO
45
Tribe traditionally living around Lake Superior : OJIBWA
46
Be almost gone, as supplies : RUNLOW
47
Delights : ELATES
48
What the "O" in OPEC does not stand for, surprisingly : OIL
50
Perimeter : EDGE
53
DeGeneres of afternoon TV : ELLEN
54
Talks with a very sore throat : RASPS
55
Sarcastic comment about the task ahead : OHFUN
60
Hotshot : ACE
61
"What's up, ___?" : DOC
62
What print books have that Kindles don't : INK
63
Savings plan, for short : IRA
64
Abbr. on a tombstone : RIP
65
___-cone : SNO
66
Light brown : TAN

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?