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New York Times, Monday, May 9, 2016

Author:
Dan Schoenholz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
235/5/201012/7/20170
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10244300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64220
Dan Schoenholz

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JVXZ} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Schoenholz. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Dan Schoenholz notes:
Who knew that there were so many phrases that include a two letter state code AND the nickname of that same state? And that they broke ... read more

Who knew that there were so many phrases that include a two letter state code AND the nickname of that same state? And that they broke out symmetrically? When I first submitted this puzzle, Joel and Will liked the theme, but felt the fill was too bland, so this version is an extreme makeover. From my perspective, landing DONHO atop ALOHASHIRT was well worth the extra effort.

It's hard for me to believe this is my 20th puzzle in the Times. A long-time solver, I started constructing several years ago after attending a workshop given by Andrea Carla Michaels at the late, great Silicon Valley Puzzle Days event. Andrea demystified the process and encouraged those of us who were intrigued with the idea of constructing to give it a try. When my first puzzle was accepted, she was almost as thrilled as I was. Since Andrea is one of the great constructors of Monday puzzles, it seems karmatically correct that #20 for me is also a Monday — a symbolic 15x15 tip of the hat to a terrific mentor. Many thanks, Andrea!

Jeff Chen notes:
Easily the best Monday puzzle I've done all year, and perhaps one of my all-time favorites. Dan has such an interesting idea — ... read more

Easily the best Monday puzzle I've done all year, and perhaps one of my all-time favorites. Dan has such an interesting idea — phrases where the first word is the nickname of a state, and the second word contains that state's abbreviation. The SHOW ME state (Missouri), gets its MO in SHOW ME THE MONEY. What a great find! And being from CA, I loved GOLDEN State's GOLDEN CALF. Simple idea, yet innovative, interesting, and accessible to solvers of all levels. Just perfect for a Monday.

SHOW ME THE MISSOURI!

I also appreciated that Dan added in long bonus fill, even though he was working with a fairly theme-dense puzzle. PARTY HOP and SEQUENCE in the across direction, and a bit of PLAYDOH, SO TRUE in the vertical, added even more spice to my solving experience. A bit of ACHE FOR and RANG IN ain't bad, either.

BAY MARE (Massachusetts, the Bay State) was a little mystifying to me, but some research shows it's a real thing. It's pretty impressive that Dan found a themer that worked in so few letters.

And Dan did all of this with meticulous care in his short fill, just a minor ADM and EDS. Such a smooth solve, exactly what I want out of a Monday.

What to even point out, in the name of a balanced critique? Maybe the revealer could have been worded a little better? I had to read that a few times before understanding the gist of it. Maybe a final revealer could have helped — STATE NICKNAME, perhaps?

So well executed on all levels: theme, long fill, short fill, puzzle flow. I'd give Dan a gold star and a trophy if I had one, but he'll have to settle for the POW! If I had a POM (Puzzle of the Month) like Matt Gaffney, this one would easily be in the running.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0509 ( 24,289 )
Across
1
Protein-rich bean : SOYA
5
Prices : COSTS
10
Nursery school, informally : PREK
14
"Wait ___!" ("Hold on!") : ASEC
15
"Tiny Bubbles" singer : DONHO
16
"Arsenic and Old ___" : LACE
17
Article of tropical apparel ... whose start is a state nickname for the state indicated by the shaded squares : ALOHASHIRT
19
Arthur who was king of the court? : ASHE
20
Julie ___, portrayer of Claire on "Modern Family" : BOWEN
21
Go from one social gathering to another : PARTYHOP
23
Facebook ___ (collection of posts) : FEED
26
Sought legal redress : SUED
27
Catchphrase shouted in "Jerry Maguire" ... : SHOWMETHEMONEY
33
1/24 of a day : HOUR
34
Designer's degree, for short : MFA
35
Samsung Galaxy, e.g. : PHONE
36
Naval leader: Abbr. : ADM
37
Secretariat's mother, for one ... : BAYMARE
40
Boise's state: Abbr. : IDA
41
Officer below a captain, slangily : LOOIE
43
Punk rock subgenre : EMO
44
A-1 tennis server : ACER
45
Emergency worker ... : FIRSTRESPONDER
49
___ Lee, creator of Spider-Man : STAN
50
Secretariat's father, for one : STUD
51
Succession : SEQUENCE
55
Dressed to the ___ : NINES
59
Detective's lead : CLUE
60
Biblical idol ... : GOLDENCALF
63
Landed : ALIT
64
Peeved : IRKED
65
Excursion : TRIP
66
Seized vehicle, informally : REPO
67
Superbright colors : NEONS
68
Whole lot : SCAD
Down
1
Discontinued Swedish car : SAAB
2
Norwegian capital : OSLO
3
"Ouch!" : YEOW
4
Want badly : ACHEFOR
5
Conservative investments, briefly : CDS
6
La-la lead-in : OOH
7
Little scissor cut : SNIP
8
Beat handily : THRASH
9
"You can say that again!" : SOTRUE
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Moldable kids' stuff : PLAYDOH
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Impulsive : RASH
12
Returned call? : ECHO
13
Not go bad : KEEP
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All over again : ANEW
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Arizona home of the nation's largest public university : TEMPE
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Madame Bovary : EMMA
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Stand up to : DEFY
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"Me, too!" : SODOI
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Funny business : HUMOR
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Domesticates : TAMES
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Feature of a neat drink : NOICE
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What can follow week or rear : ENDER
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2016, e.g. : YEAR
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50% : HALF
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Davis of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" : BETTE
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Volume enhancers : AMPS
39
Cheer (for) : ROOT
42
Give, as a passport or parking ticket : ISSUETO
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Druggies, e.g. : ADDICTS
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Welcomed, as the new 32-Down : RANGIN
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"We want more!," at a concert : ENCORE
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Sam for whom Georgia Tech's School of International Affairs is named : NUNN
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Surgery memento : SCAR
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Palindromic fashion magazine : ELLE
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Witticism : QUIP
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Nevada city : ELKO
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Pusher buster : NARC
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Kazan who directed "On the Waterfront" : ELIA
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Law force in 1960s-'70s TV's "Ironside" : SFPD
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Lair : DEN
62
Paper cutters, briefly? : EDS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?