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New York Times, Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Author:
Gareth Bain
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
144/6/20119/18/20152
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0334112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58210
Gareth Bain

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Bain. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Gareth Bain notes:

This is just a puzzle conceived while listening to the song, with its repetitive use of LOVE. I hope Andrea (Carla Michaels) in particular gets a kick out of it!

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a great example of the 'both words can precede X' theme type. This trope can be a little dry, in that the theme phrases are often so hard ... read more

Such a great example of the "both words can precede X" theme type. This trope can be a little dry, in that the theme phrases are often so hard to come up with that they end up being dry. Not here! BIRDS NEST (soup), MATCH GAME, LIFE STORY are fantastic. CHILD SEAT isn't bad either, although to me it's not quite as vivid as the others.

Remind me why I wasn't popular in high school?

With five themers and an expanded 16x15 grid, I'd expect there to be maybe four pieces of good long fill worked in. Glad to see Gareth hit that mark with strong material, giving us TANDOORI, UBERGEEK, MAGNOLIA / DAHLIA, and RATED AAA. (I'm a finance UBERGEEK, so sue me.)

The wide-open upper-right and lower-left corners are especially nice. A lot of six-letter entries enmeshed with an eight-letter one usually requires some glue to hold everything together. True, there's an AOUT and a TERR in those corners, but those are miniscule prices for the nice material. TUSHES and STREAK in symmetrical places — a hidden mini-theme, perhaps?

And to work in a bonus bit of material in TRYST in an elegant location — here, in the SE-most down slot — added to my solving experience. I usually find that "bonus material" strewn randomly through the grid is distracting and a bit of an annoyance, whereas this felt more planned and elegant.

With two strikes against you from the start (having to keep the solver entertained through an oversized grid and using a well-worn theme type), it takes a lot to create a memorable solving experience. For me, Gareth succeeded in spades.

1
B
2
E
3
S
4
T
5
C
6
O
7
P
8
A
9
T
10
U
11
S
12
H
13
E
14
S
15
O
T
T
O
16
O
W
E
N
17
A
S
H
O
R
E
18
C
H
I
L
19
D
S
E
A
T
20
N
E
U
M
A
N
21
C
A
R
L
O
S
22
B
I
23
R
D
S
N
E
S
T
24
E
N
S
25
M
E
26
M
O
27
A
O
U
T
28
M
I
T
A
29
S
T
O
P
30
B
31
C
32
E
33
J
34
A
35
P
A
N
36
G
37
R
E
E
R
38
F
L
O
W
39
A
L
L
Y
O
40
U
N
E
E
D
I
41
S
L
O
V
E
42
M
P
A
A
43
B
O
S
S
A
44
P
E
T
E
R
45
B
O
X
46
D
E
L
T
47
A
48
G
E
D
49
S
A
R
I
50
W
A
R
N
51
S
52
A
53
T
54
M
55
A
56
T
C
H
G
A
57
M
E
58
E
D
59
I
T
O
R
60
O
L
E
O
L
E
61
L
I
62
F
E
S
T
O
R
Y
63
M
O
R
R
I
E
64
L
R
O
N
65
E
N
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S
66
S
T
R
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A
K
67
E
D
G
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68
M
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A
T
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0526 ( 23,940 )
Across
1. First word in every Academy Award category : BEST
5. Club in a Barry Manilow hit, with "the" : COPA
9. Derrières : TUSHES
15. "Beetle Bailey" dog : OTTO
16. Actor Wilson of "Midnight in Paris" : OWEN
17. "Michael Row the Boat ___" : ASHORE
18. *Removable car safety feature : CHILDSEAT
20. Alfred E. of Mad magazine : NEUMAN
21. Charlie Sheen's real first name : CARLOS
22. *Asian soup ingredient : BIRDSNEST
24. Rank of many a single-episode character on "Star Trek": Abbr. : ENS
25. Office note : MEMO
27. Month before septembre : AOUT
28. Classic name in photocopiers : MITA
29. "Enough already!" : STOP
30. Abbr. in dating : BCE
33. Center of Shintoism : JAPAN
36. Germaine who wrote "The Whole Woman" : GREER
38. Rapper's rhythm : FLOW
39. Beatles hit that's a hint to both parts of the answer to each starred clue : ALLYOUNEEDISLOVE
42. Org. assigning PG-13 or R : MPAA
43. ___ nova (dance) : BOSSA
44. "___ and the Wolf" : PETER
45. Soccer goalie's area : BOX
46. Vaccination muscle, for short : DELT
47. Middle-___ : AGED
49. Dhaka dress : SARI
50. Say "It's a trap!," say : WARN
51. Sun. preceder : SAT
54. *Classic daytime show hosted by Gene Rayburn : MATCHGAME
58. Post post : EDITOR
60. Repeated cry in Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot" : OLEOLE
61. *Biography : LIFESTORY
63. "Tuesdays With ___" (1990s best seller) : MORRIE
64. Science fiction author Hubbard : LRON
65. Foes of Saruman in "The Two Towers" : ENTS
66. A gambler may have a hot or cold one : STREAK
67. Precipice : EDGE
68. Carnivore's fare : MEAT
Down
1. Lawn sport : BOCCE
2. Edith Wharton's "___ Frome" : ETHAN
3. Swizzles : STIRS
4. Commuter's cost : TOLL
5. Baby : COSSET
6. Have obligations : OWE
7. Singer Bryson : PEABO
8. Against : ANTI
9. Cooked in a clay oven, as in India : TANDOORI
10. Depletes : USESUP
11. Move to another track : SHUNT
12. There's no place like it, it's said : HOME
13. The Eisenhower years and others : ERAS
14. In rapture : SENT
19. Logo for a pizza chain : DOMINO
23. Like the best bonds : RATEDAAA
26. Southern bloom : MAGNOLIA
28. Architect Lin : MAYA
29. Calls, in poker : SEES
30. Ink spill : BLOT
31. Cabot ___ ("Murder, She Wrote" setting) : COVE
32. Common still-life subject : EWER
33. Part of a doorframe : JAMB
34. Pedigree alternative : ALPO
35. Brand of dental rinse : PLAX
37. Take a timeout : REST
38. Took to the hills : FLED
40. One who's fluent in both JavaScript and Klingon, say : UBERGEEK
41. Stimulates the economy : SPENDS
46. Mexico's national flower : DAHLIA
48. Graham who wrote "The Third Man" : GREENE
49. Manage to get, informally : SCORE
50. Bizarre : WEIRD
51. Ring centerpiece : STONE
52. Vessel from the heart : AORTA
53. Part of a steamy affair : TRYST
54. Many drivers for play dates : MOMS
55. Plenty : ALOT
56. Okla. or Dak., once : TERR
57. Title for a jeune fille: Abbr. : MLLE
59. One of 10, say, in an express checkout lane : ITEM
62. Confused state : FOG

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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