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New York Times, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Author: Michael Hawkins
Editor: Will Shortz
Michael Hawkins
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121/23/20146/13/20184
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1213131
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1.63100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FQZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Hawkins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Hawkins notes: We're not hitting the stairs again today, though it may look that way at first glance. The lengthiness of the theme entries ... more
Michael Hawkins notes:

We're not hitting the stairs again today, though it may look that way at first glance. The lengthiness of the theme entries limited my options, so I settled on this grid shape which provided the most bonus fill and kept everything else clean.

The theme entries are arranged to create a narrative about a fashion mishap which is sewn up in the end with an emergency fix. Don't leave home without your mini sewing kit!

Jeff Chen notes: Figures of speech … using sewing terms? Not sure I would have ever thought of that! I like it when that happens. MOVE ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Figures of speech … using sewing terms? Not sure I would have ever thought of that! I like it when that happens.

MOVE THE NEEDLE is particularly good, as it's pretty far away from sewing – it refers to something being important enough to appreciably shift the indicator dial on a dashboard.

The others have sewing-related backgrounds in how the phrases came about, so they weren't quite as fantastic, but they still work well in this theme set.

I appreciated that Mike kept consistent with his verb tenses, all present. It's so tempting as a constructor to change one entry's tense in order to appease the gods of crossword symmetry.

It would have been perfect consistency if every phrase had a (verb) + THE + (noun) form. Ah well, you can't win ‘em all. Just finding four solid sewing-related figures of speech, using the same tense, is a win.

Solid gridwork, hard to find even a single dab of crossword glue. I think it's so elegant when you can't quite tell how the creator put it all together.

DEVEIN was the lone entry that made me hesitate. It looked like such a weird string of letters. But Jill and I have DEVEINed shrimp (what a pain), so ultimately it felt fine.

Toss in a bit of BROWN RICE and PIANO ROLL, along with ON THE SLY, and you have yourself enough bonuses to keep solvers' attention. I usually prefer long bonus fill in the down direction, since long across fill tends to muddy up what is theme and what is not. But today, the themers are so apparent that BROWN RICE is perfectly fine where it is.

The theme wasn't exciting enough for me to put the puzzle into POW! contention, but I did appreciate seeing a theme angle I doubt I'd ever think of.

1
A
2
C
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H
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O
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0613 ( 25,054 )
Across Down
1. Cause for a blessing : ACHOO
6. Frodo's friend in "The Lord of the Rings" : SAM
9. Hirohito's home : JAPAN
14. Side dish at a Chinese restaurant : BROWNRICE
16. "Lakmé" or "Lohengrin" : OPERA
17. Not be contained anymore : BURSTATTHESEAMS
19. Org. with oral reports? : ADA
20. Things that swing at a swing dance : HIPS
21. Peeve : VEX
22. Actress Rowlands : GENA
23. Word with party or skinny : DIP
24. Transcript fig. : GPA
27. Forget one's place in a conversation : LOSETHETHREAD
30. Having fine granules : MEALY
31. Edward Teach ___ "Blackbeard" : AKA
32. Not bamboozled by : ONTO
33. "Alas ..." : SADLY
34. "Later!" : BYE
35. The Trojan horse and Pandora's box : MYTHS
36. Opposed : ANTI
37. Josh : KID
38. Gives hands down? : DEALS
39. Have measurable impact : MOVETHENEEDLE
42. Places to which M.D.s rush : ERS
43. English novelist McEwan : IAN
44. Owner of Zipcar : AVIS
45. Antlered beast : ELK
46. Zone : AREA
47. "I did not need to know that!" : TMI
50. Make laugh hysterically : LEAVEINSTITCHES
55. Honey-yellow : AMBER
56. Old, cylindrical music collectible : PIANOROLL
57. Shot in the dark : GUESS
58. Dis, with "on" : RAG
59. Delivery person's assignment : ROUTE
1. Group that inspired Broadway's "Mamma Mia!" : ABBA
2. "Darn!" : CRUD
3. Part of un día : HORA
4. Reactions to buffets? : OWS
5. Surreptitiously : ONTHESLY
6. Not take any more cards : SITPAT
7. Book preceding Romans : ACTS
8. Uninspired : MEH
9. Conrad who wrote "Lord Jim" : JOSEPH
10. Pinnacle : APEX
11. Tiny brain size : PEA
12. Place to take a shot : ARM
13. "Life Is Good" rapper : NAS
15. Blues singer Ma : RAINEY
18. Tony-winning musical with the song "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" : EVITA
22. Net asset? : GOALIE
23. Hockey feint : DEKE
24. Soothing : GENTLE
25. Ways to wend : PATHS
26. Turmoils : ADOS
27. Some flat screens : LEDTVS
28. So-called "Father of the String Quartet" : HAYDN
29. Kansas City team : ROYALS
30. Stately home : MANOR
33. "Ditto" : SAME
34. "That's good": Fr. : BIEN
35. Dispute settler : MEDIATOR
37. Material for a military uniform : KHAKI
38. Prepare for eating, as shrimp : DEVEIN
40. Mosaicists : TILERS
41. Aid in tracking wildlife : EARTAG
45. Lead-in days : EVES
46. It's west of the Pacific : ASIA
47. Holier-than-___ : THOU
48. What snowmen do in the sun : MELT
49. Oahu, Maui or Kauai : ISLE
50. Fall behind : LAG
51. Avian sprinter : EMU
52. "Honest" prez : ABE
53. "Science Friday" broadcaster : NPR
54. ___-Magnon : CRO

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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