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New York Times, Thursday, May 15, 2014

Author: John Lieb
Editor: Will Shortz
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145/14/20138/21/20184
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0432203
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1.60110
John Lieb

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Lieb. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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John Lieb notes: I had been playing with letter for word ideas in various forms and with different letters for a while, but for the longest time I ... more
John Lieb notes: I had been playing with letter for word ideas in various forms and with different letters for a while, but for the longest time I hadn't gotten anything to work. Finally, I decided to focus on the eye/I switch, and in a fit of ambition I wrote a Sunday-sized version of this puzzle that got rejected. That version had "eye" being replaced by "I" and the answers clued with a question mark, interpreting "I" as the letter. (Example: Warning from a tattoo artist? = CAN'T TAKE MY I'S OFF YOU).

About a year later, I decided to give it another go with a daily puzzle that had AN I FOR AN EYE as a revealer. I submitted it thinking it could be a Tuesday or Wednesday puzzle, but Will thought it would work as a Thursday puzzle with straight-forward cluing of the theme answers. This idea has been with me so long that I have no idea how difficult solvers will find the theme — it's not the craziest Thursday theme ever, but I hope it will give solvers a moment or two of pause along the way.

Since the fill in the middle of the puzzle in my original submission was pretty rough, Will gave me a shot to clean things up, and the fill in the final product is much better as a result. Seeing what clues Will changed (and what he kept) is always great fun, and this one was about 60% my clues, which, based on the few other puzzles I have had, I'm counting as a success!

Jeff Chen notes: Fun theme today, second day in a row with a revealer involving a homonym. AN I FOR AN EYE amused me, plus it looked so weird in the ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Fun theme today, second day in a row with a revealer involving a homonym. AN I FOR AN EYE amused me, plus it looked so weird in the grid: ANIFORANEYE I couldn't help but like it. Ani DiFranco, a crossword-friendly singer, this one's for you!

Nice grid layout today. I really liked having four themers plus the reveal, which gives more body to the theme. And John does a great job of spacing out his five themers, not creating any really tough to fill sections. The result was a smooth fill, not any one entry making me wince. There were a couple of HOR and ORU type entries, but as a whole, the puzzle came easily to me, without much of a hitch. Very nice work.

Let's take a look at those two gluey entries, HOR and ORU. Ideally, I would have preferred not to have them, and that could have been possible if HUGH LAURIE had been broken up at the A, reducing the constraints in that NW sections. However, I like the choice John made here. HUGH LAURIE and RAZOR SHARP add a lot to the puzzle, so I think it's a more than favorable trade-off; HOR and ORU easily being cheap prices to pay to get the longer, snazzy fill.

Speaking of good longer fill, John does a nice job with BABY FAT and HANDS UP! I'd call it four for four hits in the longer fill slots.

Not the most mind-blowing of themes for a Thursday puzzle — all in all, I tend to agree with John that I'd personally prefer to have crazier themes on a Thursday — but executed very well. And again, I'll repeat that this is simply a personal preference. I know a lot of solvers who would much prefer to have their Thursday NYT puzzles be on the easier, more doable side.

Finally, a favorite clue for me was [Joy-filled?]. Not ELATED or BEAMING, but "filled with Joy" the dish soap. Really nice.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0515 ( 23,564 )
Across Down
1. Ultimate : NTH
4. Link : NEXUS
9. Silencer : SHUSH
14. Tulsa sch. : ORU
15. ___ planner : EVENT
16. Soviet spymaster in a John le Carré trilogy : KARLA
17. Fix : RIG
18. What ladies' men tend to have : WANDERINGIS
20. U.S. slalom great Phil : MAHRE
22. Overly flattering : OILY
23. Actor whose breakout role was on TV's "21 Jump Street" : DEPP
24. Very alert : ALLISANDEARS
27. Abbr. at the top of a memo : ATTN
28. Cell in a network : NEURON
32. Receiver Victor of the Giants' 2011 Super Bowl-winning season : CRUZ
34. Actress Mara of "House of Cards" : KATE
38. Classic toothpaste featured in "Grease" : IPANA
39. Old TV knob: Abbr. : HOR
40. Espy : LAYISON
42. Geographic indicator, briefly : ZIP
43. Out : ALIBI
45. Approaching : NEAR
46. Some modern viruses and worms : BOTS
47. Folds : PLEATS
49. Mystery author John Dickson ___ : CARR
51. 1981 #1 Kim Carnes hit : BETTEDAVISIS
57. Snug : COZY
60. Prefix with engine : AERO
61. Prefix with biology : ETHNO
62. Misinterpretation of a biblical code ... or the key to answering 18-, 24-, 40- and 51-Across : ANIFORANEYE
65. Going by, for short : AKA
66. Genre featured on MTV's "Headbangers Ball" : METAL
67. Up : RISEN
68. Gym unit : REP
69. Hummus, e.g. : PASTE
70. Scuffle : SETTO
71. Listen through a door, say : PRY
1. ___ Desmond, "Sunset Boulevard" diva : NORMA
2. Setting for much of "My Cousin Vinny" : TRIAL
3. "House" star : HUGHLAURIE
4. Most fresh : NEWEST
5. Actress Green of "300: Rise of an Empire" : EVA
6. Strobe light element : XENON
7. Reversed : UNDID
8. Inscribed pillar : STELE
9. Take to the hills? : SKI
10. "Surrender!" : HANDSUP
11. Desire : URGE
12. Erratum : SLIP
13. Door securer : HASP
19. Role played by Baldwin, Ford, Affleck and Pine : RYAN
21. Alternative to Premium : RITZ
25. "Puppy Love" crooner : ANKA
26. Check : REIN
29. High-definition : RAZORSHARP
30. Not dilly-dallying : ONIT
31. Recharges, in a way : NAPS
32. Fellow : CHAP
33. One of three in a Yahtzee turn : ROLL
35. Objectivist Rand : AYN
36. N.F.L. game rarity : TIE
37. That, in Toledo : ESA
40. Miller product : LITE
41. Boat in "Jaws" : ORCA
44. Some lose it in their teens : BABYFAT
46. One from London Town, e.g. : BRIT
48. Headline : STAR
50. Skin-care brand : AVEENO
52. They make tracks : TEARS
53. Children's character originally voiced by Jim Henson : ERNIE
54. Accomplish, in the Bible : DOEST
55. Graphic novel artist : INKER
56. Joy-filled? : SOAPY
57. Like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" : CAMP
58. Eligible to serve : ONEA
59. Some get them in their teens : ZITS
63. World Cup cry : OLE
64. Notwithstanding : YET

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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