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New York Times, Monday, June 11, 2018

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
375/28/20094/16/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
111108421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56021
Gary Cee

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 34 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Gary Cee notes:
Coming up with a worthy idea is one thing. Pulling it off is quite another. 'DRINKS ARE ON ME' was the catalyst. Now if I could come ... read more

Coming up with a worthy idea is one thing. Pulling it off is quite another. "DRINKS ARE ON ME" was the catalyst. Now if I could come up with four popular cocktails whose titles each had another meaning, then place them over words with an ME in the middle, then place the reveal in the center, I might be on to something.

I think I got all of this one, and it was fun to construct.

Jeff Chen notes:
DRINKS ARE ON ME? What a nice offer, Gary! Make mine a quadruple – that is, four drinks literally atop the bigram ME. I had a ... read more

DRINKS ARE ON ME? What a nice offer, Gary! Make mine a quadruple – that is, four drinks literally atop the bigram ME. I had a nice a-ha after putting in SIDECAR as a [Motorcycle attachment], and then realizing that a SIDECAR is also a mixed drink.

The others didn't work as well for me, as the drink definitions of MIMOSA, GIMLET, and MARTINI are much more recognizable than their … whatever else they are. The MIMOSA is a tropical tree? A GIMLET is embarrassingly unrecognizable to this mechanical engineer as a [Hand tool for boring holes]?

And maybe I should know Danny DeVito's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" role, as a character named MARTINI? It is a classic movie, I suppose. Huh.

Point is, it's much nicer when the drink is disguised in another easily recognizable form. Perhaps a SCREWDRIVER or BLOODY MARY would have been better. Tougher to build around, for sure, but more fun. Especially for a Monday puzzle that's supposed to be easy!

Speaking of tough to build around, DRINKS ARE ON ME is 13 letters, such a dread-inducing length. Plunking it down in the center of the puzzle already takes away so much precious flexibility. I can see why Gary chose to stick to shorter drinks. Much easier to wedge in MIMOSA than to jam in a long SCREWDRIVER.

That sounded a lot dirtier than it really was.

Although you can shift the ME letters left and right a lot, having those extra letters is still an additional set of constraints. Gary did pretty darn well to hold the crossword glue to just some APAR, EPS, STE. FLACKS did sound odd to me in the plural, but it does get dictionary support as [Press agents]. Huh.

A bit repetitive to fill in those MEs – once you hit the revealer, it's all too easy to fill in whatever MEs you haven't gotten to yet. But I liked the playful theme notion and really liked how Gary disguised his SIDECAR.

1
H
2
U
3
T
4
R
5
A
6
T
7
S
8
I
9
R
10
V
11
O
12
W
13
E
P
I
14
T
A
P
H
15
A
M
A
16
T
E
U
R
17
S
I
D
E
C
A
R
18
G
A
V
O
T
T
E
19
E
M
E
R
I
20
L
21
M
I
M
O
S
A
22
B
23
R
O
24
L
O
25
S
S
26
M
E
E
K
27
R
A
V
28
E
29
B
L
O
T
30
C
Y
S
T
S
31
A
N
E
M
32
I
A
33
K
I
34
L
O
35
D
R
I
N
K
36
S
A
R
E
O
37
N
38
M
39
E
40
N
E
I
L
41
F
L
A
C
K
42
S
43
S
44
A
45
R
46
I
S
47
L
I
48
S
T
49
G
E
E
K
50
I
R
I
S
51
A
L
V
A
52
N
S
A
53
G
I
M
L
54
E
T
55
E
L
56
D
57
E
58
S
T
59
N
A
M
E
T
A
60
G
61
M
A
R
T
I
62
N
63
I
64
O
N
E
Y
A
R
D
65
O
N
M
E
R
I
T
66
R
A
D
67
L
I
P
68
N
E
A
69
E
P
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0611 ( 25,052 )
Across
1
Home made of mud and thatch : HUT
4
Mob informant : RAT
7
Knight's title : SIR
10
"I do," at a wedding : VOW
13
George Bernard Shaw wanted his to read "I knew if I stayed around long enough, something like this would happen" : EPITAPH
15
Professional's opposite : AMATEUR
17
Motorcycle attachment : SIDECAR
18
French ballroom dance : GAVOTTE
19
Chef Lagasse : EMERIL
21
Tropical tree with hot pink flowers : MIMOSA
22
Sis's sibling : BRO
24
Spreadsheet amount shown in parentheses : LOSS
26
"The ___ shall inherit the earth" : MEEK
27
Gushing review : RAVE
29
Inky mess : BLOT
30
Dermatological sacs : CYSTS
31
Result of iron deficiency : ANEMIA
33
The "k" of kHz : KILO
35
"I've got this round!" ... or a literal hint to this puzzle's theme : DRINKSAREONME
40
Moonwalker Armstrong : NEIL
41
Press agents, informally : FLACKS
43
Dresses in India : SARIS
47
Roster : LIST
49
Nerd : GEEK
50
Colored part of the eye : IRIS
51
Thomas Edison's middle name : ALVA
52
Hush-hush government org. : NSA
53
Hand tool for boring holes : GIMLET
55
One with only younger siblings : ELDEST
59
Sticker that might start "Hello ..." : NAMETAG
61
Danny DeVito's role in 1975's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" : MARTINI
64
Minor gain in football : ONEYARD
65
Fair way to judge something : ONMERIT
66
"Cool!" : RAD
67
Back talk : LIP
68
U.S.'s largest union, with 3.2 million members : NEA
69
Short albums, for short : EPS
Down
1
"___ Just Not That Into You" : HES
2
Longtime inits. in newswires : UPI
3
Sustain temporarily : TIDEOVER
4
5K or 10K : RACE
5
On ___ with (even with) : APAR
6
Surge of exhilaration : THRILL
7
Droop : SAG
8
Muslim leaders : IMAMS
9
Sitarist Shankar : RAVI
10
Nixes from Nixon, e.g. : VETOES
11
Beginning : OUTSET
12
Unleashes, as havoc : WREAKS
14
President pro ___ : TEM
16
Designer Hilfiger : TOMMY
20
"Pay attention out there!" : LOOKALIVE
22
Undergarment usually fastened in the back : BRA
23
Kentucky senator Paul : RAND
25
Mix, as paint : STIR
28
Classic record label : EMI
29
Pie recipe directive : BAKE
30
Pie recipe directive : COOL
32
B&Bs : INNS
34
Pointing in this direction: <-- : LEFT
36
Window ledge : SILL
37
Chronic complainer : NAG
38
Country's Reba : MCENTIRE
39
Barely makes, with "out" : EKES
42
Some Jamaican music : SKA
43
Mister, in Milan : SIGNOR
44
Singer Grande : ARIANA
45
Horn-___ glasses : RIMMED
46
The ___ Brothers of R&B : ISLEY
48
Fish sometimes served smoked : SALMON
51
Big name in arcade gaming : ATARI
54
And others, in a bibliography : ETAL
56
Copenhagener, e.g. : DANE
57
Bombeck who wrote "Housework, if you do it right, will kill you" : ERMA
58
Sault ___ Marie, Mich. : STE
60
Meas. of a country's economic output : GDP
62
Puppy's bite : NIP
63
"___ over" ("We're done") : ITS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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