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New York Times, Monday, April 6, 2015

Author: Finn Vigeland
Editor: Will Shortz
Finn Vigeland
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1410/20/20109/16/20174
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1.64220
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 35 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Vigeland. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Finn Vigeland notes: When I first started constructing, I gravitated toward the thrill of constructing complicated themes or adventurous themelesses, ... more
Finn Vigeland notes:

When I first started constructing, I gravitated toward the thrill of constructing complicated themes or adventurous themelesses, thinking it was a better test of my constructing skills. But I'd also always heard from veteran puzzlers how difficult it is to make a good Monday puzzle: find a simple theme, but not an overdone one, then fill it with interesting words, but don't make it too hard.

Today is my first foray into "easy" puzzle territory. At first, Will thought it was almost too easy, since you can write in the whole theme once you get one of the sets of circled letters. I'm glad we agreed that the lively fill made it worth your time. Here's hoping that my non-puzzle friends are able to solve this one!

Jeff Chen notes: Great change of pace M ONday puzzle, the seven days of the week 'broken' by black squares a la DAYBREAK. The northwest corner is just ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Great change of pace M ONday puzzle, the seven days of the week "broken" by black squares a la DAYBREAK. The northwest corner is just about my personal ideal — three very nice long entries, some contemporary entries in LIFE OF PI and PRIUS, a touch of James Bond in MARTINIS, higher education represented firmly with FERMI, and a wordplay clue around OTIS' development of the elevator. Beautiful variety.

Seven theme answers — actually, 14 — is rarely easy to implement. Most often it calls for trade-offs, forcing the constructor to choose certain aspects over others. I like Finn's prioritization of getting the seven days equally spaced, in every other row. That felt spot-on, given how the days within a calendar get laid out. Would have been a bit odd to have MON and TUE entries crammed together in adjacent rows, for example.

It would have been nice if the days were all parts of the longest across answers though — darn those pesky trade-offs! THU being part of NEOLITH and UNITARD was much more elegant to me than WED being part of WOW and EDDA, for example. And COLLAPSED and EASY MONEY not being part of the theme felt slightly awkward.

Pimp My Ride, hosted by the awesomely Scrabbly Xzibit!

But you can rarely get everything when you shoot for the moon. I really appreciated Finn's effort to go the extra mile on this difficult construction, decorating the NE corner with the fresh entry, HOT MIC. Totally worth the ONE IN partial.

A final note, regarding PIMP. Will and Joel and I were shooting the breeze at the ACPT last weekend, talking about what types of entries are just fine and which push the line. JAILBAIT was the main one we mulled over, but PIMP also popped up during the discussion. I'm perfectly fine with PIMP, as the "Pimp My Ride" TV show is pretty popular, but I can see how some solvers might be turned off by it. Tricky.

Such a treat to get something different and well-executed on a Monday.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0406 ( 23,890 )
Across Down
1. Ang Lee film about a shipwrecked boy and a tiger : LIFEOFPI
9. Press conference danger for an unguarded comment : HOTMIC
15. Weather phenomenon with freezing rain : ICESTORM
16. New York lake named for an Indian tribe : ONEIDA
17. Drinks for 007 : MARTINIS
18. McCartney's songwriting partner : LENNON
19. "A Nightmare on ___ Street" : ELM
20. Disco ___ of "The Simpsons" : STU
21. Hoity-toity type : ELITIST
22. Narrow opening : SLIT
24. The "S" of WASP : SAXON
26. "It's all about me" trait : EGO
29. "That's amazing!" : WOW
30. Icelandic literary saga : EDDA
34. Fell apart : COLLAPSED
38. Hymn of praise : PAEAN
39. Stone Age tool : NEOLITH
40. Garment for a gymnast or superhero : UNITARD
42. Yellowstone Park grazer : BISON
43. Profit one hardly has to work for : EASYMONEY
45. Figure at the left side of a musical staff : CLEF
46. Brazilian city, familiarly : RIO
47. Computer's "brain," for short : CPU
48. Relatives of violas : CELLI
50. Short-term office worker : TEMP
54. Second-largest city in Kenya : MOMBASA
58. Football six-pointers, for short : TDS
61. Damage : MAR
62. Question at the end of a riddle : WHOAMI
63. Coke Zero or Pepsi One : DIETSODA
65. Boeing rival : AIRBUS
66. Release, as a seatbelt : UNFASTEN
67. "It's true!" : HONEST
68. First light ... or a phenomenon suggested by this puzzle's seven sets of circled letters? : DAYBREAK
1. Fruit slices at a bar : LIMES
2. Challenge to a bluff in poker : ICALL
3. Physicist Enrico : FERMI
4. Approximate no. : EST
5. Inventor whose success went up and down? : OTIS
6. Comic Sans, e.g. : FONT
7. Green car that comes in many colors : PRIUS
8. Chats online, for short : IMS
9. Like jack-o'-lanterns or meaningless victories : HOLLOW
10. ___ a million (slim odds) : ONEIN
11. Something a camper pitches : TENT
12. iPod or iPad variety : MINI
13. Wedding vows : IDOS
14. "Why ___ we be friends?" : CANT
21. Book after Genesis : EXODUS
23. Relate, as in a story : TELLOF
25. Astonishment : AWE
27. Put on, as weight : GAIN
28. Select, with "for" : OPT
30. Dine at a restaurant : EATOUT
31. College bigwig : DEAN
32. "Truth or ___?" : DARE
33. Samberg formerly of "S.N.L." : ANDY
34. Network for business news : CNBC
35. Trompe l'___ : OEIL
36. Take off, as weight : LOSE
37. "The Last of ___" (1973 murder mystery) : SHEILA
38. "___ My Ride" (old MTV series) : PIMP
41. The Big Apple, for short : NYC
44. "You've got mail" co. : AOL
46. Not succumb to : RESIST
48. French author Albert : CAMUS
49. Singer Turner's autobiography : ITINA
51. Be melodramatic : EMOTE
52. Title character of Tyler Perry films : MADEA
53. April fool, e.g. : PRANK
54. "Love ya!" : MWAH
55. Closely watched state on election night : OHIO
56. A.M. hours, in poetry : MORN
57. ___ in the woods : BABE
59. Openly challenge : DEFY
60. Attack with a knife : STAB
63. Defective firecracker : DUD
64. Estonia, once: Abbr. : SSR

Answer summary: 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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