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New York Times, Monday, May 1, 2017

Author: Ed Sessa
Editor: Will Shortz
Edward Sessa
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369/10/200711/12/20170
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4957452
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1.64251

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVZ} This is puzzle # 35 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Edward Sessa notes: I've tossed a lot of puzzle ideas in the past because the theme letter numbers just didn't add up. The main entries in this puzzle ... more
Edward Sessa notes:

I've tossed a lot of puzzle ideas in the past because the theme letter numbers just didn't add up. The main entries in this puzzle needed to follow in sequential order to work, and as I went down the list and counted to 14 four times it was quite a surprise. This'll work. The fact that the first three entries each had an even number of letters dictated that there would be a fourth, a kicker to add another twist to the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes: I've seen MARIE ANTOINETTE many times in crosswords, so it was baffling to fill it in automatically … but have it not fit. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I've seen MARIE ANTOINETTE many times in crosswords, so it was baffling to fill it in automatically … but have it not fit. Amusing to get a version of the Queen of Heart's famous line, OFF WITH HER HEAD!, in the puzzle as well, literalizing it so the grid only contains ARIE ANTOINETTE (the M is lopped off).

CAPITAL OFFENSE didn't quite work for me. I think the clue is getting at "cutting off the capital letter," but wouldn't that mean the A of ANTOINETTE should be removed, too? Maybe that's too picky, but having just NTOINETTE in the grid would have made the CAPITAL OFFENSE punchline work better for me.

I would have also liked to get ARIE ANTOINETTE at the very end of the puzzle. Felt like when someone tells a funny joke … and then explains it to you. Better to leave on a high note.

Ed features some nice long fill, BRACERS and SALES ROOM, and even uses his mid-length fill well in ESPRIT and EXEMPT. HATTERAS didn't do much for this left coaster, but I'm sure North Carolinians sure will disagree.

A couple of rough spots in the grid, notably the OHAIR / LIS crossing (sometimes the latter is spelled "lys"). Along with ASTA, BROMO giving a fusty feel, and the odd ONE K (not a common race distance, and never written this way), I could have used a little more finesse in the short fill. I like the attempt to give solvers some longish bonus entries, but I'm not sure it was worth these prices, especially given how important smoothness is for a novice-friendly Monday puzzle.

MARIE ANTOINETTE has been played upon in many crosswords, including one of my favorites from recent memory. Still, I enjoyed the a-ha I got from figuring out that she was literally missing her "head." And it was clever to link in (something close to) the Queen of Heart's famous saying as well.

1
J
2
A
3
G
4
S
5
P
6
E
7
P
8
E
9
B
10
R
11
O
12
M
13
O
14
A
C
U
P
15
E
X
I
T
16
R
E
N
E
W
17
I
N
S
I
18
S
T
E
N
T
19
A
H
E
M
S
20
L
E
T
T
H
E
M
E
A
21
T
C
A
K
E
22
E
A
R
P
23
R
E
S
24
O
25
F
F
W
I
T
26
H
27
H
E
R
H
28
E
29
A
30
D
31
U
H
A
U
L
32
Y
U
K
S
33
B
E
E
34
C
A
R
L
35
D
36
O
P
E
S
37
H
E
R
B
38
L
I
S
39
L
O
A
N
40
S
A
R
I
S
41
A
R
I
42
E
A
N
T
O
43
I
44
N
E
T
T
E
45
S
T
U
46
S
O
R
T
47
C
48
A
P
I
T
49
A
50
L
O
F
F
E
51
N
52
S
53
E
54
M
O
U
R
N
55
S
A
L
E
S
R
O
O
M
56
C
U
R
I
O
57
T
I
D
E
58
A
D
A
M
59
S
P
A
T
S
60
A
C
E
S
61
S
E
R
A
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0501 ( 24,646 )
Across Down
1. Bouts, as of crying : JAGS
5. ___ Le Pew (cartoon skunk) : PEPE
9. Fizzy headache remedy, informally : BROMO
14. Bra size smaller than a "B" : ACUP
15. Highway sign next to an off-ramp : EXIT
16. Extend, as a subscription : RENEW
17. Not giving up on an argument, say : INSISTENT
19. Throat-clearing sounds : AHEMS
20. Words attributed to 41-Across : LETTHEMEATCAKE
22. Wyatt of the Old West : EARP
23. Hi-___ monitor : RES
24. Apt cry for 41-Across : OFFWITHHERHEAD
31. Moving day rental : UHAUL
32. Big laughs, slangily : YUKS
33. Symbol of busyness : BEE
34. Cosmologist Sagan : CARL
35. Ninnies : DOPES
37. Parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme : HERB
38. Fleur-de-___ : LIS
39. Money that needs to be repaid : LOAN
40. Dresses in Delhi : SARIS
41. Famous queen, depicted literally : ARIEANTOINETTE
45. Early Beatle ___ Sutcliffe : STU
46. Put into piles, say : SORT
47. Something committed by 41-Across ... or by this puzzle's creator? : CAPITALOFFENSE
54. Attend a funeral, say : MOURN
55. Merchandise location : SALESROOM
56. Keepsake in a cabinet, perhaps : CURIO
57. Competitor of Wisk : TIDE
58. First among men : ADAM
59. Minor fights : SPATS
60. Cards sometimes hidden up sleeves : ACES
61. Blood components : SERA
1. Monopoly space with the words "Just Visiting" : JAIL
2. Pimples : ACNE
3. Wind that might blow one's hat off : GUST
4. Malicious : SPITEFUL
5. Czar called "the Great" : PETERI
6. Not taxable, e.g. : EXEMPT
7. Wood for many a mountain cabin : PINE
8. Grammy-winning James : ETTA
9. Pick-me-up drinks : BRACERS
10. It's nothing new : REHASH
11. Short race spec : ONEK
12. Bit of viral web content : MEME
13. Cries of pain : OWS
18. Article thrown over the shoulders : SHAWL
21. Long, hard journeys : TREKS
24. Atheist Madalyn Murray ___ : OHAIR
25. Persian tongue : FARSI
26. Prefix relating to sleep : HYPNO
27. Shade of color : HUE
28. Fellow film critic of Siskel : EBERT
29. Eagle's home : AERIE
30. Belles of the ball : DEBS
31. The Bruins of the Pac-12 : UCLA
35. Krispy Kreme product : DONUT
36. Grain used in making Alpha-Bits : OAT
37. North Carolina's Cape ___ : HATTERAS
39. Many Americans whose names end in -ez : LATINOS
40. Feudal workers : SERFS
42. ___ de corps (fellowship) : ESPRIT
43. Tristan's beloved : ISOLDE
44. Certain bank policy for A.T.M. withdrawals and wire transfers : NOFEES
47. Brilliant move : COUP
48. Ambient quality : AURA
49. "The Thin Man" canine : ASTA
50. Of the flock : LAIC
51. Point where lines meet : NODE
52. Fly high : SOAR
53. Jane Austen heroine : EMMA
54. Roast hosts, for short : MCS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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