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New York Times, Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Author:
Ian Livengood
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
554/12/20109/15/20164
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
617667112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64371
Ian Livengood

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 39 for Mr. Livengood. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: When this puzzle is done, the seven circled letters, reading clockwise, will spell a phrase relating to the puzzle's theme.
Ian Livengood notes:
Instead of locking POKER ROOM into the grid, I add POKER???? confident I can fill the SE corner with BETS, CHIP, FACE, GAME, HAND or ... read more

Instead of locking POKER ROOM into the grid, I add POKER???? confident I can fill the SE corner with BETS, CHIP, FACE, GAME, HAND or ROOM. In the NW corner, I place ????ALARM in the grid knowing BANK, FOUR, FIVE or FIRE will probably work. All the potential answers are roughly the same quality and it ensures smooth shorter fill, too.

I'm interested to see if solvers like the mini theme answer (DATE). I didn't even notice the DATE tie-in until I clued this one up. Lucky, I guess.

Hope solvers like this easier version of Francis Heaney's great 6/13/10 puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
Another strong construction from Ian today, this one using circled letters to spell out FLAG DAY. Which apparently is June 14. Who ... read more

Another strong construction from Ian today, this one using circled letters to spell out FLAG DAY. Which apparently is June 14. Who knew? I like that the circles are placed in the shape of a flag. Nice touch.

Nice choice of four themers, ones that are easily recognizable even by those of us who mix up Wyoming and Wisconsin. I mean, those of us who have friends who know so little about geography. And each of the four is a snappy answer in itself, each one I'd be happy to use as fill in any of my own puzzles.

In terms of specificity, I did pause a little. It was really nice to see [Canada] up top, followed by [U.S.A.] close to the middle. I was anticipating [Mexico] next, perhaps followed by a revealer? So it was a little jarring to see [U.S.S.R.] next. My knowledge of geography is bad, but it's not THAT bad. Although I could probably be convinced that [Japan] is somewhere down south. It would have been perfect if the themers were geographically correct, or if they were the four biggest economies in the world, or all members of the G-7, etc. Eh, can't have it all.

Neat layout today, more difficult that it might look at first glance. Ian does well to space out his themers so as to account for the circled letters. This does force the two grid-spanners very close together, which can often create problems. My expectations are always quite high when I see Ian's byline, so it was noticeable to get EEE in there. Tough to avoid, though, unless you want to use EOE or DR. N (um... Newton's nickname?).

Beautiful way to start the puzzle, with DAFFY and ["You're dethpicable" toon]. I grew up on Looney Tunes, and getting a reminder of those halcyon days when I used to watch hours of cartoons (also known as "yesterday") makes me smile.

Hoo boy though, did I ever get stuck in one spot. Who knew a female SWAN is called a "pen"? Apparently there's also a famous pen brand called "Swan." Considering NO FAT could easily have been LOFAT made it even harder.

As always, Ian gives us good long fill, even what with the tough puzzle constraints. POKER ROOM going through two themers, and FOUR ALARM doing the same — that's excellent grid design. He places his black squares very well in order to isolate those sections, making them easier to fill. YEAH MAN!, good stuff.

Jim Horne notes:
I'm not sure who celebrates Flag Day other than constructors but it has inspired some awesome puzzles. The year before Francis Heaney ... read more

I'm not sure who celebrates Flag Day other than constructors but it has inspired some awesome puzzles. The year before Francis Heaney made us construct our own flags, Alex Boisvert had us color R words red and circles blue with this result.

1
D
2
E
3
F
4
E
5
R
6
A
7
R
8
A
9
B
10
S
11
W
12
A
13
N
14
A
L
O
O
F
15
D
E
L
E
16
A
R
G
O
17
F
L
U
N
K
18
M
A
P
L
19
E
L
E
A
F
20
F
I
R
21
N
I
L
22
F
I
E
S
T
A
23
Y
E
A
24
H
25
M
A
N
26
B
A
D
27
T
E
T
28
L
A
R
D
29
A
S
E
30
C
31
S
32
T
A
R
S
A
33
N
34
D
S
T
R
I
35
P
36
E
37
S
38
H
E
R
E
39
E
E
E
40
R
O
L
E
41
H
A
M
M
42
E
43
R
A
N
D
44
S
45
I
C
K
L
E
46
S
P
A
R
47
H
O
L
E
48
L
49
A
50
B
51
S
I
S
52
M
I
N
E
R
53
V
54
A
55
A
M
A
56
Z
O
N
57
D
I
P
58
R
I
G
59
R
I
S
I
N
G
60
S
U
N
61
C
62
R
O
O
N
63
K
N
I
T
64
O
P
E
C
65
E
C
O
L
E
66
S
O
N
S
67
D
A
T
E
68
L
A
M
A
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0611 ( 23,591 )

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Across
1
Put off : DEFER
6
___-American : ARAB
10
Pen, e.g. : SWAN
14
Not engaging : ALOOF
15
"Remove," to a typesetter : DELE
16
Oscar-winning Ben Affleck film : ARGO
17
Not pass : FLUNK
18
[Canada] : MAPLELEAF
20
Lighted tree, maybe : FIR
21
Zilch : NIL
22
Party with a piñata, say : FIESTA
23
"For sure, dude!" : YEAHMAN
26
Spoiled : BAD
27
___ holiday : TET
28
Cook's canful : LARD
29
"Wait just ___!" : ASEC
31
[U.S.A.] : STARSANDSTRIPES
38
"Is this the spot?" : HERE
39
Big foot spec : EEE
40
Something to play : ROLE
41
[U.S.S.R.] : HAMMERANDSICKLE
46
Go a few rounds : SPAR
47
Part of a round : HOLE
48
Part of a science credit : LAB
51
One sharing a bunk bed, maybe : SIS
52
Athena's counterpart : MINERVA
55
Fortune 100 company based in Seattle : AMAZON
57
Salsa, e.g. : DIP
58
Wildcatter's investment : RIG
59
[Japan] : RISINGSUN
61
Sing with dulcet tones : CROON
63
Like many a beanie : KNIT
64
Intl. association since 1960 : OPEC
65
Place of learning in France : ECOLE
66
Word after "&" in some store names : SONS
67
June 14, e.g. : DATE
68
Some protesters in China : LAMAS
Down
1
"You're dethpicable" toon : DAFFY
2
English pop singer Goulding : ELLIE
3
Hot chili designation : FOURALARM
4
Very long period : EON
5
'60s atty. gen. whose brother served as president : RFK
6
Start of a website manager's email address, maybe : ADMIN
7
All-natural : REAL
8
1992 Winter Olympics backdrop : ALP
9
C. S. Lewis's birthplace : BELFAST
10
Memorial Day weekend event : SALE
11
Take with force : WREST
12
Brightly colored rock : AGATE
13
Diet food phrase : NOFAT
19
Source of soft feathers : EIDER
21
Zilch : NADA
24
Where odalisques once worked : HAREMS
25
___ White (Clue character) : MRS
26
Founded : BASED
30
Club : CIRCLE
31
"Not another word!" : SHH
32
Crumpets go-with : TEA
33
Gets in the vicinity of : NEARS
34
Place to play cards : DEN
35
Place to play cards : POKERROOM
36
Pipe shape : ELL
37
Get : SEE
42
Office printing giant : EPSON
43
Tlaloc, to the Aztecs : RAINGOD
44
Overnight, maybe : SHIP
45
+ or - particle : ION
48
Gaggle : geese :: exaltation : ___ : LARKS
49
Protein-building acid : AMINO
50
Yacht club locale : BASIN
52
Chop up : MINCE
53
Part of a string quartet : VIOLA
54
"___ of God," 1985 film : AGNES
56
Jerry Scott/Jim Borgman teen comic strip : ZITS
57
1982's "Ebony and Ivory," e.g. : DUET
60
Place with robes : SPA
61
Toon's place : CEL
62
Developer of the U.S.'s first TV test pattern : RCA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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