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New York Times, Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Author: Damon Gulczynski
Editor: Will Shortz
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3511/8/20048/10/20180
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14507810
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1.65320
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 84, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JZ} This is puzzle # 33 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes: Letters-as-words puzzles have been done before, so I wanted to distinguish this one in two ways: 1) Spell a longish word with fun, ... more
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:

Letters-as-words puzzles have been done before, so I wanted to distinguish this one in two ways: 1) Spell a longish word with fun, Scrabbly letters; 2) make the revealer clue a dual-meaning instruction to the solver. I came up with THINK QUICKLY rather quickly, but it took me a while to flesh out the details. Since there are so many theme answers (8), most of them had to be short, and I was stuck on ‘L' for a long time. Once I thought of KAL-EL everything was super, man. (For more of my crossword-puzzling thoughts, visit my blog.)

Jeff Chen notes: Think fast! Er, THINK QUICKLY — Damon ends seven phrases with letter homophones spelling out Q U I C K L Y. I've seen many letter ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Think fast! Er, THINK QUICKLY — Damon ends seven phrases with letter homophones spelling out Q U I C K L Y. I've seen many letter homophone puzzles before, but I can't remember this exact take. Enjoyable concept.

I put Damon in rarefied air these days, one of the few constructors with the skills to construct solid puzzles across the full range, from easy early-weekers to tough themelesses. Many people can develop the skills necessary to construct one type of puzzle but aren't able to successfully stretch themselves like Damon.

However, this Tuesday puzzle wasn't as smooth as I'd like. Any time you have to call upon ABOU early in the week is not so good. I don't mind some ALS / SYS or ERN, but toss in some toughies like YOST and LASSE, and the puzzle left me with an overall sense of esoterica.

Of course, it's super tough to work with eight (!) themers in a 15x15 puzzle. Even tougher when you have to work with the X and Q in NETFLIX QUEUE. And it's no surprise some of the quirkier answers like YOST crop up in between themers (MARY KAY / BUT WHY). Overall, I think it's a reasonable result given the very high theme density.

I wanted to give this one the POW! I enjoyed piecing together the letters, a delightful idea. If only THINK QUICKLY had been as snazzy a phrase as THINK FAST, or QUICK THINKING, I probably would have swept the grid glue under the rug and declared this the POW!

Also, with just Q U I C K in QUICK THINKING, the grid would probably have been a lot smoother.

Overall, a strong idea executed almost to POW! territory. But not quite.

1
T
2
I
3
T
4
H
5
E
6
F
7
U
8
S
9
S
10
E
11
S
12
A
13
R
14
R
15
A
R
I
E
L
16
I
N
T
H
A
T
17
L
E
O
18
N
E
T
F
L
19
I
X
Q
U
E
U
E
20
G
A
G
21
G
N
U
22
I
C
E
U
P
23
X
A
24
N
A
D
U
25
Y
E
S
26
Y
O
U
27
O
O
28
F
29
M
Y
E
Y
E
30
A
T
S
31
T
R
O
32
P
I
C
33
A
34
V
35
E
R
36
L
E
S
A
G
E
37
A
38
L
39
S
40
D
E
A
D
41
S
42
E
A
43
M
A
R
44
Y
K
A
Y
45
S
E
T
46
C
R
U
47
S
48
T
Y
49
O
A
T
S
50
S
U
N
D
E
W
51
A
52
B
S
53
K
54
A
55
L
E
L
56
E
M
I
57
B
U
T
58
W
59
H
60
Y
61
A
L
E
P
P
62
O
63
A
N
64
D
O
R
65
A
A
A
66
Y
O
N
67
T
H
68
I
N
K
Q
U
I
69
C
K
L
Y
70
A
N
N
71
O
N
S
A
L
E
72
A
T
E
A
M
73
K
E
Y
74
R
O
U
S
E
D
75
L
A
S
S
E
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0403 ( 24,983 )
Across Down
1. 10% donation : TITHE
6. Makes a to-do about this and that : FUSSES
12. Air ticket abbr. : ARR
15. Disney mermaid : ARIEL
16. Because : INTHAT
17. "Seinfeld" uncle : LEO
18. *List for some binge watchers : NETFLIXQUEUE
20. Bit of a comic : GAG
21. Bearded beast : GNU
22. Freeze over : ICEUP
23. Setting of Kubla Khan's palace : XANADU
25. *Response to "Who, me?" : YESYOU
27. Body blow reaction : OOF
29. *"Balderdash!" : MYEYE
30. Much-used Twitter symbols : ATS
31. Line around the globe : TROPIC
33. State firmly : AVER
36. "Gil Blas" writer : LESAGE
37. Lou Gehrig's disease, for short : ALS
40. *Lowest point on the earth's surface : DEADSEA
43. *Avon competitor : MARYKAY
45. Move low toward the horizon : SET
46. Like a curmudgeon : CRUSTY
49. Quaker ___ : OATS
50. Sticky-leaved plant that feeds on insects : SUNDEW
51. "Six-pack" : ABS
53. *Superman's alien name : KALEL
56. Longtime U.K. record label : EMI
57. *"For what reason, though?" : BUTWHY
61. War-torn Syrian city : ALEPPO
63. Flexible conjunction : ANDOR
65. Tow job provider, in brief : AAA
66. Thither : YON
67. To understand this puzzle's theme, read the ends of the answers to the starred clues and ... : THINKQUICKLY
70. ___ Dunham, mother of Barack Obama : ANN
71. Marked down : ONSALE
72. First-stringers : ATEAM
73. Crucial : KEY
74. Excited, as a crowd : ROUSED
75. "Chocolat" director Hallström : LASSE
1. Having a zesty taste : TANGY
2. Cara who sang "Flashdance ... What a Feeling" : IRENE
3. Emperor who finished the Colosseum : TITUS
4. Mag mogul with a mansion : HEF
5. Mama Cass : ELLIOT
6. Prix ___ : FIXE
7. Ending " : UNQUOTE
8. Drunken dazes : STUPORS
9. Ship's pronoun : SHE
10. French waters : EAUX
11. More passionate : STEAMIER
12. Fish tank buildup : ALGAE
13. Having bags all packed, say : READY
14. Animal that has strayed from the herd : ROGUE
19. Hosp. areas : ICUS
24. Big Apple inits. : NYC
26. Almost a meter : YARD
28. Like whitecaps : FOAMY
32. Org. concerned with eagles and birdies : PGA
33. First few minutes of many podcasts : ADS
34. Geese formation : VEE
35. Sup : EAT
36. Summa cum ___ : LAUDE
37. Rap sheet letters : AKA
38. Muscle below a delt : LAT
39. Lead-in to "ops" : SYS
41. Rodin, for one : SCULPTOR
42. Suffix with north or south : ERN
44. World Series-winning manager Ned : YOST
47. Spanish weeks : SEMANAS
48. When repeated, what little stars do : TWINKLE
50. Equinox mo. : SEP
51. "___ Ben Adhem" (Leigh Hunt poem) : ABOU
52. Interment : BURIAL
53. Alternative to Travelocity or Orbitz : KAYAK
54. Without assistance : ALONE
55. Comedian Bruce : LENNY
58. Boat trailers? : WAKES
59. Papa Bear of Chicago Bears history : HALAS
60. "I rule!" : YAYME
62. "Egads!" : OHNO
64. Tossed out of the game, informally : DQED
68. The Cyclones of the Big 12 Conf. : ISU
69. Windy City rail inits. : CTA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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