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New York Times, Friday, May 12, 2017

Author:
Bill Clinton and Victor Fleming
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
15/12/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.47000
Bill Clinton
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
463/29/20055/12/201724
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
75106666
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55023
Victor Fleming

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: {FJQVXZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Clinton. This is puzzle # 46 for Mr. Fleming. See all the celebrity crosswords. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted in 1942, we are publishing a series of puzzles co-created by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors.
This collaboration is by former president Bill Clinton, an avid crossword doer, who sometimes works two or three puzzles in a day - in times that would be respectable at a crossword tournament - together with a longtime friend, a judge in Little Rock, Ark., Victor Fleming. This is Victor's 46th puzzle for The Times.
The celebrity collaborations will continue periodically through the year.
More information about the making of today's puzzle appears in the Times's daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Constructor notes:
President Clinton and I met in 1984 — we were in a couple of daddy-daughter programs with our girls. I campaigned for him during ... read more

President Clinton and I met in 1984 — we were in a couple of daddy-daughter programs with our girls. I campaigned for him during four elections: three gubernatorial and one presidential. (I was running for office myself in 1996 and Bill, of course, rode my coattails all the way to a second term in the White House!) Occasionally, we worked New York Times crosswords together — well, he solved and I kinda acted like I was helping.

After meeting Wordplay principals Pat Creadon and Chris O'Malley at the ACPT in 2005, I encouraged Bill to take a meeting with them. He did so and became a star. (Along with Will Shortz, Merl Reagle, Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, Indigo Girls, Mike Mussina, and others.)

So, it was a natural, I guess, that Will asked Bill and me to team up for the celebrity co-write series. Still, I was totally honored. Will's "assignment" to us was a themeless puzzle, but he made it clear that he wanted something in the puzzle to reflect Bill's life and work. I hope we hit the mark.

Bill wrote the clues. I tweaked them a bit and sent them back to him for review. He circled a few of my tweaks and wrote, "Too easy and boring--might as will print the answers in the puzzle!" So, I backed off. And left the editing to Will.

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm digging this celeb series. I particularly like when the celeb puzzle reflects something about the person — very cool to get ... read more

I'm digging this celeb series. I particularly like when the celeb puzzle reflects something about the person — very cool to get "It's the ECONOMY, stupid!" I vividly remember that phrase (or something like it) from the Bush Sr. / Clinton race — what power those four words had.

I was surprised that DON'T STOP didn't get clued in relation to the Fleetwood Mac song, one I associate strongly with Clinton. Maybe that would have made it too easy?

Fun to see GI BILL too. Made me think of a President Clinton action figure, in a box set along with Duke, Snake Eyes, and Sgt. Slaughter.

Did I miss any Clinton references? It was enjoyable to scour the grid and clues, searching for any Easter eggs like DON'T STOP.

A couple of good feature entries too, like MISHMASH crossing MADMAN. Along with MAIN MENU, I wondered if there was an M* M* mini-theme somewhere in there?

There was more crossword glue than I like holding the grid together, though. It's common to get some ALEG, TSO, ARA, AER, COS — these are fairly minor. DRAWEE … it is in the dictionary, but I'd guess that a large majority of constructors (and solvers) would prefer not to get entries like this. And ILOILO is a common constructing crutch, given its favorable alternation of consonant / vowels.

All in all, too much iffy short fill and not enough great long fill for my taste — I have very high expectations for themelesses these days. But it sure was fun to search for those Clinton-specific references. It would have been great to get a few more entries like BUBBA (perhaps clued as [___ Gump Shrimp Company] to hide the reference to Clinton's nickname), TENOR SAX, FOLKSY, etc.

ADDED NOTE: Judge Vic clued me into the mini-theme (highlighted below). How neatly those split up into crossword symmetry! I wish those had been hinted at though, or shaded — apparently all four of Judge Vic's test-solvers missed the connection, too. I fear that the five of us won't be the only ones.

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M
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0512 ( 24,657 )
Across
1
Jumble : MISHMASH
9
Heavy metal shortage? : ANEMIA
15
Popular song in a children's sing-along : ALOUETTE
16
Some headgear : DORAGS
17
Continue : DONTSTOP
18
A real money maker : USMINT
19
Brief bit of time, in slang : MIN
20
Ben-___ : HUR
21
First lady after Lou : ELEANOR
22
Words after shake or break : ALEG
24
Smallville family : KENTS
26
Inside look? : MRI
27
Not miss : NOTICE
30
I.R.S. Form 1120 filers: Abbr. : COS
31
Proof that a property is yours : DEED
32
"Cat ___" : BALLOU
34
Beloved "army" leader : ARNIE
35
Chewing on : THINKINGABOUT
38
Long, narrow land : CHILE
39
Useless : NOHELP
40
Asia's ___ Sea : ARAL
41
Stone : GEM
42
Pulled (in) : REINED
46
Fresh : NEW
47
Molières : France :: ___ : U.S. : TONYS
49
Apt. amenity, perhaps : TERR
50
Services in the U.K. : TEASETS
52
A good one is important for music : EAR
55
Constellation next to Scorpius : ARA
56
Where people are often told to look : ATTHAT
57
Another day : TOMORROW
59
Unconventional sort, en français : BOHEME
60
Fit : SUITABLE
61
Laceless, say : SNAPON
62
In the way it used to be : OLDSTYLE
Down
1
Nut : MADMAN
2
Philippines' ___ City : ILOILO
3
Shelley's "Ozymandias," e.g. : SONNET
4
Order repeated before a hike : HUT
5
Jibe : MESH
6
One of the Near Islands : ATTU
7
Baby deliverer : STORK
8
With it, man : HEP
9
They're never minor : ADULTS
10
Things that might sense danger and scams : NOSES
11
Funny Bombeck : ERMA
12
First set of choices : MAINMENU
13
"Nothing to get upset about" : IGNOREIT
14
On : ASTRIDE
21
Not a lot, but ___ : ENOUGH
23
Assistance for returning W.W. II vets : GIBILL
25
"It's the ___, stupid!" : ECONOMY
28
Sweet stalk : CANE
29
"Civic" animal : ELK
31
"End of discussion!" : DROPIT
33
Ones in the closet? : LINENS
34
Up to the job : ABLE
35
Like some heavy-duty trucks : THREETON
36
Longfellow character : HIAWATHA
37
What the Irish breathe : AER
38
Residents of Cambridge, England : CANTABS
41
Acquired : GOTTEN
43
Close : NEARBY
44
Jazz pianist Garner : ERROLL
45
Bank from which a check is paid : DRAWEE
47
Words from a Latin lover : TEAMO
48
Capital on the Han River : SEOUL
51
Record producer Pettibone : SHEP
53
In : AMID
54
Spoils badly : ROTS
57
Culinary general? : TSO
58
Betrayer : RAT

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?