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New York Times, Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Author:
Dan Schoenholz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
245/5/20109/9/20190
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10344300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63220
Dan Schoenholz

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Schoenholz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Dan Schoenholz notes:
I submitted this puzzle to the Times in October 2014; in January 2015, before I 'd heard back on the submission, the Times published a ... read more

I submitted this puzzle to the Times in October 2014; in January 2015, before I 'd heard back on the submission, the Times published a puzzle by Susan Gelfand that also used answers based on comedians' last names. While the themes weren't identical (Susan used phrases anchored by one last name, e.g. CAESARSALAD, whereas I used phrases consisting of two last names, e.g. ROCKCANDY), I feared that they had too much in common for my puzzle to make the cut. So it was a pleasant surprise when Will Shortz accepted my version.

From a construction standpoint, I could only come up with four phrases that fit the theme, so I was extremely fortunate that the theme answers plus the revealer broke out symmetrically. I hope solvers enjoy the result.

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat find, PAIR OF JOKERS describing how each of the themers is made up of two comedians, i.e. CRYSTAL BALL = Billy CRYSTAL and ... read more

Neat find, PAIR OF JOKERS describing how each of the themers is made up of two comedians, i.e. CRYSTAL BALL = Billy CRYSTAL and Lucille BALL. I was impressed that Dan was able to find such nice phrases without dipping into the little-known comedians. I had to think for a second about SHORT (Martin) and WINTERS (Jonathan), but they came back quickly.

Ah, THAT Winters!

Is PAIR OF JOKERS a real phrase, used in real life? I intuitively know it refers to the two jokers that usually come in a standard deck of cards, but it doesn't quite flow off the tip of my tongue. It's too bad — if I hadn't hitched at the revealer, I might have given this one the POW! just based on how cool Dan's finds were. SHORT WINTERS feels more neutral than an asset to me, but the rest of them are such strong phrases, made up perfectly of two well-known comics.

Really enjoyed the long fill today, Dan utilizing an unusual arrangement in placing FENG SHUI / WENT WILD horizontally. I wonder if JOKERS so close to WILD was a shout-out to the old "Joker's Wild" game show? If so, I approve!

I'm usually not one to care for duplicated short words, especially things like TO, ON, IN — they're so minor that I barely notice them. LETS NOT crossing LET GO, though … that was pretty tough to overlook. It's too bad — even with five themers and a bunch of nice long fill, Dan manages to the keep the gluey bits to just some minor RIN, LIC, LAA stuff. If it hadn't been for the LET/LET dupe and EFS, which feels more icky to me (when is that ever written out like that?), it would have been such a beautifully smooth solve.

Still, it was pretty good execution overall, with some great theme finds.

1
P
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A
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D
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Y
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M
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D
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C
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D
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F
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0405 ( 24,255 )

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Across
1
Like the best kind of vacation : PAID
5
Look over : EYE
8
Olympian's achievement : MEDAL
13
First James Bond film : DRNO
14
Crew chief : COX
15
"You think I won't try that?!" : DAREME
16
Pagoda placement consideration, often : FENGSHUI
18
Reddish-brown : RUSSET
19
Climate features of equatorial countries : SHORTWINTERS
21
What a mute button affects : AUDIO
24
Radon regulators, in brief : EPA
25
___ Tin Tin : RIN
26
Savior, in popular parlance : WHITEHOPE
30
Release : LETGO
32
Fluffy trio? : EFS
33
Big name in bandages and hardware : ACE
34
Baked or stoned : ONPOT
35
Prognostication tool : CRYSTALBALL
40
First female Nobelist, 1903 : CURIE
42
LinkedIn profile, e.g. : BIO
43
Band-___ : AID
46
Onetime center of Los Angeles : ONEAL
47
Clumps of sugar on a stick : ROCKCANDY
50
Kind of school : MED
51
Anaheim nine, on scoreboards : LAA
53
Loosen, as a knot : UNTIE
54
Cards #53 and #54 in a deck ... or a hint to the answers to 19-, 26-, 35- and 47-Across : PAIROFJOKERS
59
Home of the National Gallery of Canada : OTTAWA
60
Partied like it was 1999 : WENTWILD
64
Pete who co-wrote "If I Had a Hammer" : SEEGER
65
Home of the Burning Man festival: Abbr. : NEV
66
Rim : EDGE
67
Broke off : ENDED
68
James Bond, e.g. : SPY
69
Speckled steed : ROAN
Down
1
JPEG alternative : PDF
2
"___ we done here?" : ARE
3
It might have a bed icon on a highway sign : INN
4
Doesn't give one's full effort : DOGSIT
5
Reverberate : ECHO
6
B.Y.O.B. part : YOUR
7
Freeway sign : EXIT
8
It last erupted in 1984 : MAUNALOA
9
Once, once : ERST
10
Cactus, for one : DESERTPLANT
11
Explorer Vespucci : AMERIGO
12
Turndown to the suggestion "We should ..." : LETSNOT
15
Sound that can prevent sleeping at night : DRIP
17
Loafer, e.g. : SHOE
20
Itsy-bitsy : WEE
21
Knock the socks off : AWE
22
TV band above channel 13, in brief : UHF
23
Damaged the reputation of : DISCREDITED
27
Dines on : HAS
28
Mo. when the Supreme Court reconvenes : OCT
29
Two-time Grammy winner Bryson : PEABO
31
Photo blowup: Abbr. : ENL
36
Inlet : RIA
37
Like old newspaper clippings : YELLOWED
38
D.M.V. issuance: Abbr. : LIC
39
___ choy : BOK
40
Write music : COMPOSE
41
Like leftovers : UNEATEN
44
Dictator Amin : IDI
45
Bottleful at a salon : DYE
47
Rule Gandhi opposed : RAJ
48
Terse : CURT
49
R.S.V.P. : ANSWER
52
Many miles away : AFAR
55
Road hazard? : RAGE
56
Dominates, informally : OWNS
57
Stay good : KEEP
58
Go green? : ENVY
61
Engagement-ending words : IDO
62
Airport alternative to JFK : LGA
63
___ of iniquity : DEN

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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