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New York Times, Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Author: Dan Schoenholz
Editor: Will Shortz
Dan Schoenholz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
225/5/20101/22/20170
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10244200
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1.63220

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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.

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P
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A
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0405 ( 24,255 )
Across Down
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
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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