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New York Times, Monday, May 30, 2016

Author:
David Woolf
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/15/20137/31/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2322332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55310
David Woolf

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Woolf notes:
I've come to realize that when I'm writing clues, I often have little idea how hard the clues are. For instance, in this puzzle, I ... read more

I've come to realize that when I'm writing clues, I often have little idea how hard the clues are. For instance, in this puzzle, I included, "Lethal edge?" as a clue for ELL, "It has a moving lexicon, briefly" for ASL, and "Groups in quarters?" for OCTETS. I like these clues a lot, but in retrospect they are absolutely out of place on a Monday. This is why editors exist.

Anyway, I liked this puzzle because the theme phrases are all lively and interesting, and I was able to get two good long downs in as well. Will et al. added the circles, which add to the Monday vibes of the puzzle. Hope you enjoyed it!

Jeff Chen notes:
TOSSED SALAD describing the letters S A L A D mixed up within phrases. Some nice finds, particularly SALSA DANCING (I used to do that ... read more

TOSSED SALAD describing the letters S A L A D mixed up within phrases. Some nice finds, particularly SALSA DANCING (I used to do that a lot back when I was single) and DOUGLAS ADAMS, the genius behind "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Austria celebrating DOUGLAS ADAMS' legacy

I also liked PINA COLADAS, but it felt like the outlier, being the only one where the mixed-up S A L A D string didn't span across the two words of the phrase. Given that S A L A D are pretty friendly letters to anagram in various ways, it would have been nice for all of them to span across phrases.

Nice gridwork, especially considering David worked with six themers. Not an easy feat, and David went above and beyond to include some long bonus entries in LAZY SUNDAY and KEEP IT REAL, both strong, colorful answers.

Smooth grid, given how many places have to work with two or three themers. The toughest sections are in the NW and SE, having to build around three themers — really well done around the SATYR/CRAWL/WOO area. Similarly in the symmetrical spot, although OSAMA … historically important, but not the kind of downer I typically like to see in my crossword.

The only place I thought was not as strong as the rest was the east section, with OTT, NOV, ELL, EDO. All of them are super minor, and a case can be made for each of them as perfectly acceptable. Still, they collectively are the price of the awesome KEEP IT REAL, and I think it's a fine trade-off, even for a Monday puzzle. Every one of the crossings are fair, so even novices who don't know about OTT's crossword ubiquity can still achieve a successful finish.

Fun start to the week.

1
M
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A
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0530 ( 24,310 )

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Across
1
Funny Groucho or Harpo : MARX
5
Lover of Tristan, in legend : ISOLDE
11
Place with R.V. hookups : KOA
14
Swear : AVER
15
GoDaddy purchase : DOMAIN
16
90° bend : ELL
17
Tropical drinks often served with umbrellas : PINACOLADAS
19
___ Period (time in Japanese history) : EDO
20
Lustful deity of myth : SATYR
21
Rooster's mate : HEN
22
Store sign during business hours : OPEN
23
Spicy ballroom activity? : SALSADANCING
27
Communication for the deaf, in brief : ASL
30
Try to win, as a lover : WOO
31
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Mel : OTT
32
Finishing eighth out of eight, say : DEADLAST
35
Strain the body too much : OVERDO
38
Stupefy : DAZE
39
Baby horses : FOALS
41
Nipple : TEAT
42
Rococo and Postmodernism : STYLES
44
Application to highways before a winter storm : ROADSALT
46
Take to court : SUE
47
Actress Thurman : UMA
48
Zodiac lion : LEO
49
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" author : DOUGLASADAMS
55
Boleyn, Brontë or Bancroft : ANNE
56
Prof helpers : TAS
57
Earl or baron : NOBLE
61
2012 #1 album for Taylor Swift : RED
62
Common first course ... or what's literally contained in 17-, 23-, 32-, 44- and 49-Across? : TOSSEDSALAD
65
Maker of the Optima and Sorento : KIA
66
"Hey!," from someone who's hiding : INHERE
67
Wander : ROVE
68
Foxy : SLY
69
Butcher's implement : MEATAX
70
The Ugly Duckling, actually : SWAN
Down
1
Rand McNally items : MAPS
2
Big name in running shoes : AVIA
3
$2,000 for Boardwalk, with a hotel : RENT
4
Penetrating looks? : XRAYS
5
Declaration made with a raised right hand : IDO
6
Note between fa and la : SOL
7
Warren Buffet, the Oracle of ___ : OMAHA
8
Stowed on board : LADED
9
Singer Ross with the Supremes : DIANA
10
Coast Guard rank: Abbr. : ENS
11
Stay authentic, colloquially : KEEPITREAL
12
Of yore : OLDEN
13
See 18-Down : ALONG
18
With 13-Down, move at a snail's place : CRAWL
22
Groups of eight : OCTETS
24
Hangs around and does nothing : LOAFS
25
Just all right : SOSO
26
Thanksgiving's mo. : NOV
27
Does sums : ADDS
28
Bench or chair : SEAT
29
Relaxing time after church, say : LAZYSUNDAY
33
Downpour : DELUGE
34
Paver's supply : TAR
35
Target of a decade-long manhunt, informally : OSAMA
36
Over hill and ___ : DALE
37
Germany's ___ von Bismarck : OTTO
40
Eardrum-busting : LOUD
43
Squirmy fish : EEL
45
Curses : DAMNS
49
Opposite of whites, laundrywise : DARKS
50
Longtime NBC newsman Roger : ONEIL
51
Do penance (for) : ATONE
52
An Obama girl : SASHA
53
Thing in the plus column : ASSET
54
Goes way, way up : SOARS
58
Erupt : BLOW
59
What a volcano erupts : LAVA
60
Biblical garden : EDEN
62
Dickens's Tiny ___ : TIM
63
Long, long time : ERA
64
Showtime's serial killer protagonist, familiarly : DEX

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

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