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New York Times, Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Author: Lynn Lempel
Editor: Will Shortz
Lynn Lempel
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7812/9/19796/13/20171
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1.610712
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QVZ} This is puzzle # 78 for Ms. Lempel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Lynn Lempel notes: I don't remember what sparked this puzzle. I do remember consulting the dictionary to check the proper spelling for each ... more
Lynn Lempel notes:

I don't remember what sparked this puzzle. I do remember consulting the dictionary to check the proper spelling for each written-out letter.

Most of my clues seem to have survived intact. I don't notice any major changes, though my clue for BEE STUDENT referenced someone in the annual Scripps-Howard tournament, and my TEE BILL clue was in relation to a pro shop rather than a souvenir shop.

I submitted this in mid-August, so it hasn't been languishing too terribly long. As always, I hope you enjoy it.

Jeff Chen notes: Always such a treat to get Lynn's byline. She's an absolute wizard on early-week puzzles, producing fun themes surrounded by ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Always such a treat to get Lynn's byline. She's an absolute wizard on early-week puzzles, producing fun themes surrounded by excellent long bonus fill, and a silky-smooth solve.

Homophone themes have been done many a time, and even homophones on letters of the alphabet. But I don't remember seeing this exact implementation. As a huge Q*BERT fan in my youth, it was fun to see CUE BERT as a kooky indication to signal BERT (from "Sesame Street"). And GEE, STRINGS amused this former cellist.

I paused at TEE BILL, having to think too hard to figure out the base phrase of "t-bill," a government bond. Embarrassing, given that I got my MBA with a focus in finance. Ahem.

I didn't like DEE FLAT as much, either, this one so grammatically tortured. Since Lynn had so many themers already, I would have preferred that one struck out, and EX FILES put in the center of the middle row.

Speaking of theme density, this grid didn't have quite the same astonishing level of snazz and smoothness that I've come to expect from a Lempel product. EXEMPLAR was fun, but JURISTS jarred my ear. Some research shows that it is a very common word in law, but I'd so much rather have something exciting, like LOOK HERE! or CAP GUN.

And it's odd to point out just a handful of AMTS, JRS, ATTY as more crossword glue than usual for a Lempel puzzle, but she's just that good.

Why not as much snazz and a bit more glue than usual? Six themers is not easy to work with, even if four of them are short — as a whole, they take up so much real estate. This is another reason I would have preferred just five themers — I'm sure it would have allowed for at least another pair of strong bonuses in the fill, and given Lynn the flexibility to smooth out one or two of those unsightly short entries.

But overall, such a fun solving experience. Not all themes have to be ground-breaking — a twist on a tried and true theme type can work great when you execute well on your grid. I thought Lynn did well today. Maybe not quite up to her (very high) bar, but still such an enjoyable early-week solve.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0613 ( 24,689 )
Across Down
1. Wriggly temptation for a fish : WORM
5. To a smaller degree : LESS
9. Newswoman Van Susteren : GRETA
14. Length x width, for a rectangle : AREA
15. Rx dosages, e.g.: Abbr. : AMTS
16. City across the Nile from the Valley of the Kings : LUXOR
17. They might be sealed : LIPS
18. Apiarist? : BEESTUDENT
20. "Now listen ..." : LOOKHERE
22. ___ smasher : ATOM
23. Trains to Chicago's Loop : ELS
24. Flared skirts : ALINES
26. Org. for some sportswomen : LPGA
29. Invoice from a souvenir shop? : TEEBILL
31. Terse put-down of Sandra's "Gidget" performance? : DEEFLAT
33. Outrage : IRE
34. Toasty : WARM
35. King Kong, for one : APE
36. Playlist listing : SONG
38. Poorly lit : DIM
39. Unsullied : PURE
41. ___ Leppard : DEF
42. "Paradise Lost" setting : EDEN
44. Many SAT takers: Abbr. : JRS
45. Where to keep divorce papers? : EXFILES
47. Signal Ernie's buddy to step onstage? : CUEBERT
51. Blend, as batter : STIR
52. Stogies : CIGARS
54. Maiden name preceder : NEE
55. Firenze farewell : CIAO
57. Sitcom segments : EPISODES
59. "Wow, you have violins!"? : GEESTRINGS
62. Influence with higher-ups : PULL
63. Long-necked wader : EGRET
64. Decisive defeat : ROUT
65. Opera highlight : ARIA
66. Unlike the proverbial rolling stone : MOSSY
67. ___-serif : SANS
68. Microscope part : LENS
1. Holder for cash and IDs : WALLET
2. Pro baseball player with an orange-and-black uniform : ORIOLE
3. State of rest : REPOSE
4. Lone Ranger accessory : MASK
5. Patti in the Grammy Hall of Fame : LABELLE
6. Chef known for "New New Orleans" cuisine : EMERIL
7. 17th-century Dutch painter Jan : STEEN
8. Worrisome org. for a draft dodger : SSS
9. Market oversupply : GLUT
10. Dancer Nureyev : RUDOLF
11. Typical specimen : EXEMPLAR
12. Unit of capacity for a bridge : TON
13. 17,000-year-old find in France's Lascaux cave : ART
19. Cop's stunner : TASER
21. Salon product for a spiky do : HAIRGEL
25. Dutch cheese : EDAM
27. Stare open-mouthed : GAPE
28. Made disappear, in a way : ATE
30. Recycling receptacle : BIN
32. Title for Maria Theresa of Austria : EMPRESS
34. Triumph : WIN
36. Quick, suggestive message : SEXT
37. Badge holders : OFFICERS
38. Arnaz of "I Love Lucy" : DESI
40. Many a PC cable : USB
41. ___ Plaines, Ill. : DES
43. Look of a room : DECOR
44. Legal authorities : JURISTS
46. Purple things in several van Gogh paintings : IRISES
47. Pop-producing toy weapon : CAPGUN
48. Continue through time : ENDURE
49. Land, as a fish : REELIN
50. Electric cars named for an inventor : TESLAS
53. Kind of salami : GENOA
56. Court fig. : ATTY
58. Girl's name that's also a 59-Down : OPAL
59. See 58-Down : GEM
60. Maniacal leader? : EGO
61. Org. of concern to H&R Block : IRS

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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