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New York Times, Thursday, May 15, 2014

Author:
John Lieb
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
155/14/20132/16/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0432204
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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
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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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.

1
N
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H
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N
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E
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X
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H
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K
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W
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O
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N
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K
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H
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L
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B
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B
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P
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B
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D
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Y
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M
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P
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0515 ( 23,564 )
Across
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
Down
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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