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New York Times, Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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.

JimH notes: I'm not sure who celebrates Flag Day other than constructors but it has inspired some awesome puzzles. The year before Francis Heaney made ... more
JimH notes: 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
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F
I
R
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N
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L
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F
I
E
S
T
A
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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
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N
E
R
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V
54
A
55
A
M
A
56
Z
O
N
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D
I
P
58
R
I
G
59
R
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S
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G
60
S
U
N
61
C
62
R
O
O
N
63
K
N
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T
64
O
P
E
C
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E
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66
S
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D
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68
L
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S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0611 ( 23,591 )
Across Down
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
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?