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New York Times, Monday, April 27, 2015

Author: Johanna Fenimore
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
37/5/20114/27/20152
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0210000
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1.68000
Johanna Fenimore

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 3 for Ms. Fenimore. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Johanna Fenimore notes: I fell in love with the word GOBSMACKED, thus this puzzle. As it turns out there are some really fun phrases that mean the ... more
Johanna Fenimore notes:

I fell in love with the word GOBSMACKED, thus this puzzle. As it turns out there are some really fun phrases that mean the same thing. I was just lucky that BLEW and AWAY match lengths to give me the perfect reveal.

This puzzle was accepted a while back, but just recently when looking at the grid, I decided I could do better so I asked Will if he'd consider a revision. Happily he said yes and with his input the end result is much improved over my original submission.

I really didn't know how to clue the theme answers as they all mean the same thing. My idea was to leave those clues blank, like they've been blown away, and use BLEW/AWAY as the definition for all. I like what Will came up with much, much better.

This is my third puzzle for the NYT and what's really exciting for me is that it's my solo debut. I hope that, while maybe not mind-blowing, it'll bring a smile or two.

Jeff Chen notes: Synonyms for [Left speechless]; DUMBSTRUCK and GOBSMACKED are really lively words. I hadn't heard of KICKED IN THE HEAD in this ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Synonyms for [Left speechless]; DUMBSTRUCK and GOBSMACKED are really lively words. I hadn't heard of KICKED IN THE HEAD in this sense, but apparently it was a phrase that came into widespread use back in Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.'s day. Nice throwback.

For me, BLEW AWAY and KNOCKED FOR A LOOP weren't as colorful as the others, as they both felt slightly off — BLOWN AWAY and THROWN FOR A LOOP, yeah? If only the latter options has worked for crossword symmetry.

Egyptian hookah

People often ask me what I mean by "colorful." It's a completely subjective term, but for me, Johanna's upper right corner exemplifies the word. TAKE THAT! / HOOKAH / HECK YES! are all entries I'd be happy to see in a themelesses. They're fun to say, and they evoke vivid images in my mind. (Although smoking flavored tobacco out of a HOOKAH was much more fun in idea than in taste. And aftertaste.)

That corner also exemplifies the Constructor's Dilemma. On one side of the spectrum, you can make part of your grid perfectly smooth, but it comes out with no zing. On the other side, you can jam-pack it with great material, but that usually requires some gluey entries to hold it together. Is all the great fill up there worth TRA and CIEL/TIA crossing? I think so, but there's merit to the argument that the intersection of two foreign words — one requiring a pretty good background in French — isn't desirable.

Finally, really nice job with filling the west and east sections. Typically those are the hardest spots to get smooth in this configuration (two 15-letter entries in the middle of the grid). Having three consecutive down answers that intersect two themers, i.e. 25-D, 26-D, 27-D, is tough. Excellent work to escape both areas with only an ECONO prefix.

1
B
2
L
3
E
4
W
5
D
6
O
7
I
8
T
9
H
10
A
11
S
12
H
13
V
O
L
E
14
S
O
R
T
A
15
O
H
I
O
16
D
U
M
B
17
S
T
R
U
C
K
18
O
O
Z
E
19
S
T
S
20
I
R
E
21
H
E
22
C
K
Y
E
S
23
T
R
A
M
24
T
I
A
25
K
26
I
27
C
K
E
D
I
28
N
29
T
H
E
H
30
E
31
A
32
D
33
N
O
R
T
E
34
O
R
A
L
35
C
P
R
36
A
W
E
S
37
G
38
O
T
A
T
39
M
O
T
O
40
C
A
D
41
O
R
E
O
42
C
A
N
T
O
43
K
N
O
44
C
K
E
D
F
45
O
46
R
A
L
O
O
P
47
A
R
E
48
N
O
P
E
49
S
50
T
51
R
E
A
K
52
S
53
E
A
R
54
S
55
H
56
E
57
F
R
O
S
58
G
O
59
B
S
M
A
60
C
K
E
D
61
P
E
T
A
62
O
A
S
E
S
63
H
E
R
D
64
D
E
E
R
65
D
R
A
C
66
A
W
A
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0427 ( 23,911 )
Across Down
1. With 66-Across, left speechless : BLEW
5. "Just ___" (Nike slogan) : DOIT
9. ___ mark (# symbol) : HASH
13. Mouselike animal : VOLE
14. Kinda maybe : SORTA
15. Cincinnati's home : OHIO
16. Left speechless : DUMBSTRUCK
18. Seep : OOZE
19. Aves. and blvds. : STS
20. Anger : IRE
21. "You betcha!" : HECKYES
23. Trolley : TRAM
24. Aunt, in Acapulco : TIA
25. Left speechless : KICKEDINTHEHEAD
33. Direction opposite from sur : NORTE
34. Spoken : ORAL
35. E.M.T.'s specialty : CPR
36. Fills with wonder : AWES
37. Reached : GOTAT
39. Mr. ___ (Peter Lorre role) : MOTO
40. Heel : CAD
41. Cookie with white filling : OREO
42. Division of a long poem : CANTO
43. Left speechless : KNOCKEDFORALOOP
47. "___ you out of your mind?!" : ARE
48. "Uh-uh!" : NOPE
49. Some hair highlights : STREAKS
53. Big part of an elephant : EAR
54. Preceder of "loves me" and "loves me not" : SHE
57. Hairdos that are hard to wear hats with, familiarly : FROS
58. Left speechless : GOBSMACKED
61. Org. that loves fur ... but not on humans : PETA
62. Desert green spots : OASES
63. Group of buffalo : HERD
64. Does and bucks : DEER
65. Transylvanian count, informally : DRAC
66. See 1-Across : AWAY
1. Some men's underwear : BVDS
2. Boor : LOUT
3. State symbols of Massachusetts and North Dakota : ELMS
4. The third "w" of www : WEB
5. Start of the musical scale : DOREMI
6. Tulsa sch. : ORU
7. Poison ivy annoyance : ITCH
8. "So there!" : TAKETHAT
9. Hashish pipe : HOOKAH
10. Sailor's call : AHOY
11. Small, medium or large : SIZE
12. Tools for weeding : HOES
14. Precious stringed instrument, informally : STRAD
17. "No ___, Bob!" : SIREE
22. Sky: Fr. : CIEL
23. B'way booth in Times Square : TKTS
25. Talent : KNACK
26. Hawkeye State native : IOWAN
27. Words to live by : CREDO
28. ___ this world : NOTOF
29. La-la preceder : TRA
30. Commercial lead-in to Lodge : ECONO
31. Is ___ (probably will) : APTTO
32. Sag : DROOP
37. Hermes or Hades : GREEKGOD
38. British ref. work : OED
39. Having X and Y chromosomes : MALE
41. Gumbo ingredient : OKRA
42. Frank who directed "It's a Wonderful Life" : CAPRA
44. Roman ruler who said "The die is cast" : CAESAR
45. "Hold on ...!" : ONESEC
46. Wanders : ROAMS
49. Bay Area force: Abbr. : SFPD
50. Beech or birch : TREE
51. Repetitive learning : ROTE
52. Fly high : SOAR
54. Distort : SKEW
55. Wife of Zeus : HERA
56. Small whirlpool : EDDY
59. Troop grp. : BSA
60. "___-ching!" : CHA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

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