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New York Times, Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
194/1/20062/17/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3234421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59332
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Kwong. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Kwong notes:
My frequent collaborator Kevan Choset had a similar theme back in 2006, so I have to give a shoutout to him. But after BIRDMAN won the ... read more

My frequent collaborator Kevan Choset had a similar theme back in 2006, so I have to give a shoutout to him. But after BIRDMAN won the Oscar for Best Picture I couldn't resist. Sorry Kevan!

I wanted to stay away from his entries and put in new ones. Had to overlap with FINCH, but 5 new ones ain't bad. Was pleased that I got 7 themers in there, but at the expense of some fill.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Jeff Chen notes:
BIRDMAN hinting at 'men with last names that are birds.' I've seen this type of theme before, but I like the freshness of using the ... read more

BIRDMAN hinting at "men with last names that are birds." I've seen this type of theme before, but I like the freshness of using the 2014 movie as a revealer.

Not too shabby a superhero costume ...

Most of the guys I had seen before in this last name = bird capacity, although EARL WEAVER made me scratch my head. I sort of follow baseball, just like I sort of follow most everything to keep up (sort of), but this one was a mystery to me — not only his name, but that a WEAVER is a bird. Apparently it is!

David finds an amazing six examples, which is pretty cool. I did find it odd that BIRDMAN wasn't the last themer though — its placement as number six out of seven is curious. It is true that using a seven-letter theme revealer in row 13 is tough — that creates big corners, hard to fill — but it would have avoided the inelegance of hitting the revealer … and then getting one single more themer.

Seven themers is tough to work with. Gluey fill in almost inevitable where themers overlap. David does quite well in the center of the puzzle, with STUF being the only even slightly wonky answer (it can only be clued one way, really). But he does this by using a ton of black squares to section it off, which chokes down puzzle flow.

Given that the theme quickly became apparent, I appreciated David's efforts to include bonus fill to hold my interest. There's not much room to work in long fill, but SEESAWS, EARDRUMS, SAVANNAH, even BALCONY adds to the feeling of a satisfying solve.

This is a prime example of trade-offs in construction. Seven themers can be hugely impactful and impressive, but it's so difficult to avoid a slew of IN SO, SADO, ILEA, INANER, ROI, ANO/DIAS, etc. All minor, nothing glaring, but as a whole, it's quite a bit.

1
A
2
B
3
C
4
S
5
C
6
L
7
O
8
W
9
N
10
I
11
N
12
S
13
O
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H
A
H
A
15
A
E
G
I
S
16
S
E
E
R
17
S
L
A
V
18
E
A
R
L
W
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E
A
V
E
R
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C
T
A
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S
K
E
D
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D
I
A
S
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J
O
H
N
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J
A
Y
25
D
A
D
A
26
S
27
I
N
A
N
E
R
28
T
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O
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N
Y
H
A
W
K
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M
Y
M
A
N
32
S
A
A
B
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N
S
A
34
H
A
35
R
T
C
R
A
36
N
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E
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E
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N
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S
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O
U
I
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O
A
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S
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E
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S
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T
O
M
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S
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W
I
F
T
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M
O
R
A
L
E
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C
R
E
P
E
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B
I
R
D
M
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N
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I
L
E
A
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M
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O
O
G
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R
A
P
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P
E
T
E
R
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F
I
N
C
H
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U
R
S
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A
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A
G
E
D
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E
L
E
C
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M
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N
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W
A
D
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N
O
S
E
Y
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S
A
D
O
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0510 ( 24,290 )
Across
1
Some rote learning : ABCS
5
Cutup : CLOWN
10
Not ___ many words : INSO
14
"You make me laugh" : HAHA
15
Sponsorship : AEGIS
16
Oracle : SEER
17
Bosnian, e.g. : SLAV
18
Longtime Orioles manager in the Baseball Hall of Fame : EARLWEAVER
20
El-overseeing org. : CTA
21
TV Guide chart, for short : SKED
22
"Buenos ___!" : DIAS
23
Co-author of the Federalist Papers : JOHNJAY
25
Fathers, to tots : DADAS
27
More foolish : INANER
28
Big name in skateboarding : TONYHAWK
31
"Dude!" : MYMAN
32
9-3 automaker : SAAB
33
Covert org. : NSA
34
"The Broken Tower" poet : HARTCRANE
38
"Annie" characters : ENS
41
Alsace assents : OUIS
42
Havens : OASES
46
Boy genius of old teen fiction : TOMSWIFT
49
Team esteem : MORALE
50
Relative of a blintz : CREPE
51
Best Picture of 2014 ... or what 18-, 23-, 28-, 34-, 46- and 56-Across each is? : BIRDMAN
52
Parts of small intestines : ILEA
53
Famed synthesizer : MOOG
55
Genre first included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 : RAP
56
"Network" Oscar winner : PETERFINCH
58
___ Minor : URSA
60
Like fine wines and cheeses : AGED
61
Put into office : ELECT
62
Appearance : MIEN
63
Mouthfuls of chewing gum : WADS
64
Poking around in other people's business : NOSEY
65
Lead-in to masochism : SADO
Down
1
Sounds of comprehension : AHS
2
One set in a "Romeo and Juliet" production : BALCONY
3
Georgia county of which 4-Down is the seat : CHATHAM
4
Oldest city in Georgia : SAVANNAH
5
"Veni, vidi, vici" speaker : CAESAR
6
Like a faulty pipe : LEAKY
7
Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
8
Word repeated before "West" in a film and 1960s TV series : WILD
9
Its capital is Sydney: Abbr. : NSW
10
Book after Song of Solomon : ISAIAH
11
Many a resident on Lake Tahoe : NEVADAN
12
Vacillates : SEESAWS
13
Boston Bruin great : ORR
19
Turning point? : EDDY
23
Brown or Rice : JIM
24
Actress Malone of "The Hunger Games" : JENA
26
Cousin of reggae : SKA
28
Implied but not stated : TACIT
29
Sculls : OARS
30
Magic and Wizards org. : NBA
32
Double ___ Oreos : STUF
35
Reine's husband : ROI
36
Former queen of Jordan : NOOR
37
Catchers of some waves : EARDRUMS
38
And everything else, for short : ETC
39
Former dictator of Panama : NORIEGA
40
Refined : SMELTED
43
Biblical city of Palestine : SAMARIA
44
Passed, as time : ELAPSED
45
Jack Reed or Harry Reid: Abbr. : SEN
47
Barrels along : SPEEDS
48
Have on : WEAR
49
Powerful : MIGHTY
51
Lawn game : BOCCE
53
Minderbinder of "Catch-22" : MILO
54
Cash register compartment : ONES
56
Manhandle : PAW
57
Swamp : FEN
59
Enero begins it : ANO

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

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