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New York Times, Friday, May 12, 2017

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

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. 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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 "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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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0512 ( 24,657 )
Across Down
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
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.

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