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New York Times, Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Author: Paula Gamache
Editor: Will Shortz
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1085/21/20021/14/20184
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81318151217619
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1.58431
Paula Gamache

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJKQZ} This is puzzle # 104 for Ms. Gamache. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: Every time I think Will has finally exhausted his stash of 'both words can precede ___' puzzles, another one trickles through. Paula ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Every time I think Will has finally exhausted his stash of "both words can precede ___" puzzles, another one trickles through. Paula uses GO ON AHEAD to describe "both words can precede HEAD," i.e. RED LETTER = RED(head), LETTER(head), etc. It's a very nice revealer, aptly describing what's going on.

Prince IGOR of opera

"Both words can precede HEAD" feels pretty familar to me, though. Perhaps it's because Paula recently had a similar puzzle which used LETTERHEAD as one of the theme answers? This theme genre is tough these days — so many have been done that it's hard to elevate one now, even with strong themers and/or a perfect revealer.

With six themers, Paula goes a smart route in stacking pairs at the top and bottom. RED LETTER and HOT SHOWER only overlap by three letters, and those letter combinations are very friendly — TH, EO, RT. Still, it's no surprise that those regions are the parts I had the most trouble with. I hitched on PATHE, unfamiliar to me as I don't watch many foreign films, and ETRES, which was tough for me to piece together even after four years of high school French. (Needless to say, I did poorly on my AP French test.)

Similar result in the south. BONE WHITE over GO ON AHEAD gives easy IG, TO, EO letter combinations. Yet ORNE sure was tough for me. It's fair since IGOR looked much more reasonable than IGER or IGUR, but I could see solvers guessing IGER as the [Prince of opera].

DEL WEBB was also mysterious. Might just be out of my wheelhouse since that company focuses on retirement homes. Although, the retirement home right around the corner from me looks awfully enticing, with its fancy meals, private movie theater, game room ...

Overall, a really nice revealer with some strong theme entries, but a tried and true theme type like this needs to be absolutely perfect in order to stand out.

JimH notes: Fans of French film are familiar with Pathé. The great Children of Paradise, for example, is a Pathé production. ETRES looks odd but it's ... more
JimH notes: Fans of French film are familiar with Pathé. The great Children of Paradise, for example, is a Pathé production. ETRES looks odd but it's legit, and no odder, if you think about it, than the English word beings. "Les êtres humains" translates to "human beings."
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0517 ( 24,297 )
Across Down
1. Thing on a string : BEAD
5. Listening device? : IPOD
9. ___ bag : DOGGY
14. One of several on a big rig : AXLE
15. Poet Teasdale : SARA
16. Brother of Prometheus : ATLAS
17. *Especially memorable, as a day : REDLETTER
19. Burner holder : STOVE
20. Garbage transporters : SCOWS
21. *Campground amenity : HOTSHOWER
23. Beings, in Bretagne : ETRES
25. A dress line : HEM
26. Pictionary company : HASBRO
29. It's carbonated : SODAPOP
33. *Feature of a carpenter's level : AIRBUBBLE
36. Valley with many cabs? : NAPA
37. Last: Abbr. : ULT
38. Naval base builders : SEABEES
41. [Damn, this is annoying!] : GRR
42. Gamboling spots : LEAS
44. *Beef alternative in many countries : HORSEMEAT
46. Gamblers use them : SYSTEMS
49. Low-end : TRASHY
50. Obsolescent mobile device, briefly : PDA
51. 186,000 miles/second, for light : SPEED
53. *Basic china color : BONEWHITE
57. Courage : NERVE
61. Hit musical set in Buenos Aires : EVITA
62. "Don't wait for me to proceed" ... or what either part of the answer to each starred clue can do? : GOONAHEAD
64. Arrest : DETER
65. Writer Sarah ___ Jewett : ORNE
66. Eugene O'Neill's "___ Christie" : ANNA
67. Dummy Mortimer : SNERD
68. Breather : REST
69. Quaint affirmative : YESM
1. Criminals may be behind them : BARS
2. Corner office type : EXEC
3. Designer Gucci : ALDO
4. Big name in retirement community development : DELWEBB
5. Suffix with human : IST
6. Company that invented newsreels : PATHE
7. They can be crushed for a pie crust : OREOS
8. It may be thrown at a corkboard : DART
9. Ruined, as dreams : DASHED
10. ___ Empire (land of Suleiman the Magnificent) : OTTOMAN
11. What fireflies do : GLOW
12. Handed over : GAVE
13. River to the North Sea : YSER
18. Stage when an animal is in heat : ESTRUS
22. HBO rival : SHO
24. Spa amenity : ROBE
26. Fisherman's takes : HAULS
27. Alvin of American dance : AILEY
28. Mex. misses : SRTAS
29. Oracle : SEER
30. Website parts : PAGES
31. O of the magazine world : OPRAH
32. Part of G.O.P. : PARTY
34. Dismissive cries : BAHS
35. Wall St. debt deal : LBO
39. Villa d'___ : ESTE
40. A Williams sister : SERENA
43. Heavenly gatekeeper : STPETER
45. Seized the opportunity : MADEHAY
47. One of eight English kings : EDWARD
48. ___-jongg : MAH
51. Mall tenant : STORE
52. Drudges : PEONS
53. Hospital capacity : BEDS
54. Kiln : OVEN
55. Dark time, in ads : NITE
56. Prince of opera : IGOR
58. Actor Auberjonois : RENE
59. Some shuttles : VANS
60. Dutch export : EDAM
63. Part of a soccer goal : NET

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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