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New York Times, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Author:
Michael Hawkins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
181/23/20141/31/20206
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1215162
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
Michael Hawkins

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 limited my ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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C
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H
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O
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O
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S
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A
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M
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J
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A
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P
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A
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N
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B
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W
N
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B
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H
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D
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H
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M
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A
K
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O
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S
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B
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M
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A
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K
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D
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M
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T
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E
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I
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A
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T
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M
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A
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C
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A
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P
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G
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0613 ( 25,054 )

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Across
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
Down
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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