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New York Times, Thursday, May 21, 2015

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1105/2/200610/16/201912
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612253714106
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JW} This is puzzle # 87 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
This one went through the submission-rejection cycle a few times before it was deemed ready for prime time. The last snafu was due to ... read more

This one went through the submission-rejection cycle a few times before it was deemed ready for prime time. The last snafu was due to my not noticing that I had DEBAR as one of my fill answers. Needless to say, with BAR being an integral part of the theme, that was a bit inelegant.

Having five instances of BAR on top of ??? constrained the fill to some degree. Does anyone like to start off with a partial phrase fill-in-the-blank at 1-Across on a Thursday? Maybe. I guess it does give a quick toehold. There were few other options given that 1-Down was ??BR.

I didn't like resorting to the prefix BARO- as one of my BARs, but that left-center section gave me few other choices, and the others (I forget what they were now) resulted in even more tortured fill. I recall that at one point I thought I'd solved the problem only to discover that I had ERASED crossing ERASED. Such is the life of a constructor.

Jeff Chen notes:
The BAR gets raised in today's puzzle — five times! (BAR) REL OF MONKEYS made it apparent what was going on, but it was a nice ... read more

The BAR gets raised in today's puzzle — five times! (BAR) REL OF MONKEYS made it apparent what was going on, but it was a nice treat to struggle with the upper right and lower left corners before realizing that they hid shorter themers. I had a strong feeling that E.P.A. atmospheric stat was AQI, but what the heck kind of word can start with OQ? Normally I'm not a fan of short themers, but (BAR)OQUE and (BAR)BIES added a great deal to my solving pleasure.

Examples of simple four-bar mechanisms

I found it a bit odd that the BAR was not only raised but shifted over. Not unlike a four-BAR mechanism, say, in a pair of locking pliers. Man oh man would this mechanical engineer have loved to see a FOUR BAR MECHANISM revealer!

Stupid need to play to a wide general audience grumble grumble.

Stacked answers create high constraints, so it's no surprise to see the gluey bits appear around the themers: BARO / EEN / ODOM around (BAR)T SIMPSON, ABBR and A BEET (and BRAE to a lesser extent) around (BAR)REL OF MONKEYS. So it's impressive that Pete kept that middle section squeaky clean around (BAR)RIER REEF and around (BAR)BIES. AQI may make some people wince, but I hear it all the time, and I'm sure our SoCal friends hear it most every day. Plus, that kooky OQ?? pattern is gold.

I did find the puzzle's symmetry a bit wonky. How cool would it have been for the revealer to be RAISED THE, with BAR stacked on top? And EARTH SIGN not being part of the theme felt a bit off.

Finally, a nice throwback clue to "Bewitched." I used to love that show, but it always seemed bizarre that companies would actually pay Darren and his ADMEN cronies to sit around and brainstorm ideas. Cool to dip into AD MEN history, way before MAD MEN.

1
A
2
B
3
E
4
E
5
T
6
O
7
L
8
D
9
E
10
B
11
A
12
R
13
K
14
B
R
A
G
H
15
R
O
A
R
16
O
Q
U
E
17
B
A
R
G
E
18
E
A
R
T
19
H
S
I
G
N
20
R
E
L
O
F
21
M
O
N
K
E
Y
S
22
O
R
S
23
P
A
24
G
25
E
26
D
27
D
28
E
29
C
30
O
R
S
31
B
32
A
33
R
E
34
A
Y
E
35
E
R
O
D
E
D
36
R
I
E
R
37
R
E
E
F
38
B
A
R
O
39
A
40
B
I
D
E
41
E
L
L
E
42
T
S
I
M
43
P
S
O
N
44
L
45
A
Z
I
E
R
46
E
E
N
47
A
H
O
Y
48
E
X
A
C
T
S
49
E
D
G
50
E
R
51
A
C
E
52
R
A
53
I
54
S
55
E
D
T
H
56
E
57
B
58
A
59
R
60
B
61
A
62
R
N
S
T
O
R
M
63
E
V
A
D
E
64
B
I
E
S
65
E
L
I
E
66
A
E
S
O
P
67
S
L
O
T
68
M
I
N
N
69
D
R
E
S
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0521 ( 23,935 )
Across
1
Red as ___ : ABEET
6
___ English 800 (Miller Brand) : OLDE
10
Communicate like a drill sergeant : BARK
14
Word after "go" in a seasonal phrase : BRAGH
15
Thunder : ROAR
16
Scarlatti's style : BAROQUE
17
It gets a tow : BARGE
18
Capricorn, Taurus or Virgo : EARTHSIGN
20
Metaphor for fun : BARRELOFMONKEYS
22
Places for C-sections : ORS
23
Flipped (through) : PAGED
27
Looks inside a building : DECORS
31
Unpainted, say : BARE
34
Roll call call : AYE
35
Whittled away : ERODED
36
Shoreline protector : BARRIERREEF
38
Prefix with -meter : BARO
39
Withstand : ABIDE
41
Magazine offering "Beauty Tips, Fashion Trends & Celebrity News" : ELLE
42
Perpetual 10-year old of TV : BARTSIMPSON
44
More like the dog that's jumped over by the quick brown fox : LAZIER
46
Velvet add-on : EEN
47
Exclamation that's made up of two shorter exclamations : AHOY
48
Imposes : EXACTS
49
It works along a fence : EDGER
51
Part of a "wheel" hand in poker : ACE
52
Elevated expectations ... or what this puzzle's maker did to five answers in this puzzle? : RAISEDTHEBAR
60
Campaign from town to town : BARNSTORM
63
Dodge : EVADE
64
Line of Mattel dolls : BARBIES
65
Nobel laureate Wiesel : ELIE
66
Moral authority? : AESOP
67
Parking meter opening : SLOT
68
Ont. neighbor : MINN
69
Shift, maybe : DRESS
Down
1
OH or HI : ABBR
2
Hill by a loch : BRAE
3
Court figure : EARL
4
Breakfast-on-the-run option : EGGO
5
A place of prominence : THEFORE
6
Common ice cream mix-in : OREOS
7
Advance : LOAN
8
Word with horse or meat : DARK
9
Art Deco icon : ERTE
10
___ nova : BOSSA
11
E.P.A. atmospheric stat : AQI
12
Kilim or Kirman : RUG
13
Watanabe of "The Last Samurai" : KEN
19
Hopped up : HYPER
21
Seasoning brand : MRSDASH
24
Language from which "slogan" and "spunk" come : GAELIC
25
Hole in a shoe : EYELET
26
Puts on ice : DEFERS
27
One offering a 7-Down : DEBTEE
28
Blank, now : ERASED
29
Geophysicist's activity : CORING
30
Blue Moon of 1960s-'70s baseball : ODOM
31
Like the Dead Sea : BRINY
32
Benefit : AID
33
Word on a campaign poster : REELECT
37
Iran's ___ Shah Pahlevi : REZA
40
Halloween card word : BOO
43
Law firm assistants, for short : PARAS
45
Business end of a chopper : AXEHEAD
50
Dada pioneer Max : ERNST
51
Darrin Stephens's co-workers on "Bewitched" : ADMEN
53
Twosome : ITEM
54
Singular efforts at La Scala? : SOLI
55
Word before "go" in a seasonal phrase : ERIN
56
Even once : EVER
57
The "5" of 52 : BASE
58
Kerfuffles : ADOS
59
Count for crunches : REPS
60
Small shots : BBS
61
Feel off : AIL
62
Early automotive inits. : REO

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?