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New York Times, Monday, June 16, 2014

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
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511/3/20137/29/20195
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315149460
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1.59043
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
My first version of this puzzle had Bill Bixby and Bill Bailey in it, which Will felt was repetitious. It also had BARBARA at 9-Down, ... read more

My first version of this puzzle had Bill Bixby and Bill Bailey in it, which Will felt was repetitious. It also had BARBARA at 9-Down, which was just plain lame. My second version had solid theme entries but had some fill issues — the third try was accepted. It sat in the queue for a few months and I noticed I could eliminate the one partial phrase and the word KLAN, which Will was happy to do. I had KLAN clued as "Sheetheads?" — that might not have cleared the editing desk. In this final version I notice that one of Will's assistants made a couple small changes in other parts of the grid, so this baby may not be perfect but it has been pretty well worked over. Any weakness at this point can be attributed to Monday constraints and 109 letters of theme fill, or 130 if you want to count BULB, BABE, BARB, BIBS, and BABAS. You might think the 23 B's in this puzzle would be close to a record — would you believe the record is 48? At one point Will told me to just give up on trying to work BTEAM in there, because the puzzle doesn't really need a theme revealer. However, I found a different place to wedge it in, and MNO was the only real downside. Hope you liked it!

Jeff Chen notes:
Man oh man, that's a lot of B's! Perhaps appropriate for a guy named Bruce, eh? Sorry Bill Ballard, Bruce Bliven, and Barry Boone, you ... read more

Man oh man, that's a lot of B's! Perhaps appropriate for a guy named Bruce, eh? Sorry Bill Ballard, Bruce Bliven, and Barry Boone, you guys got scooped by a non-double-B. For shame, it's the BTEAM for you! There's a kid in my boys' group who we call "Big B" — I'm going to have to give him a copy of this one.

There are a lot of answers with two B's today. We keep track of various records (not that you should construct strictly to break a record or anything) like most B's in a puzzle but not "most words with two B's." I like data, but not THAT much.

A lot of strong material worked into the grid today. Look at those nice long acrosses, BIRD BRAIN and BELA BARTOK being my favorites. Even BIG BAND and BARBELL are nice bonuses. Four pairs of long across themers makes for quite a construction challenge. Then you throw in four long downs, intersecting everything? Jinkies! But wait, there's more. A couple of BULB BABAS and... where are the others? I originally highlighted the theme entries, but it became too much of a blue blur, so I just highlighted the B's. Nice touch that there aren't any extraneous B's.

For me, less could have been more for this one. Studying it, I think I would have liked just ("just," he says idiotically) the four pairs of across themers and the two pairs of downs. I stopped paying attention to the asterisks on the clues after roughly the second one. So it would have been nice if all of the themers stood on their own. And as much as I liked B TEAM as a revealer, it felt odd to me to get it so close to the start of the puzzle. I much prefer my revealers in the very middle or a bottom corner of a puzzle. Plus, it might have allowed a reduction of ABRIM, which felt like a price to pay for that extra BABE. And it felt a little inelegant that the themers weren't all symmetrical.

Given the spectacular number of constraints, it's pretty impressive that Bruce keeps the puzzle as clean as he does. I felt like there was a touch too much MNO, AMOR, MOUE, LAHR, ABRIM stuff for my ideal Monday puzzle, but that's my subjective opinion. And all of those answers had fair crossings.

Finally, I hope Will eventually uses Bruce's clue for KLAN, if it's ever necessary for a puzzle. Man oh man I got a good laugh out of that one.

1
B
2
U
3
L
4
B
5
A
6
S
7
A
8
P
9
B
10
A
11
B
12
A
13
S
14
I
G
O
R
15
B
A
B
E
16
U
L
T
R
A
17
B
L
U
E
18
B
E
A
R
D
19
G
E
E
K
Y
20
S
I
T
A
R
21
B
I
R
22
D
B
R
A
I
N
23
K
I
24
M
25
M
O
U
E
26
M
N
O
27
B
28
A
29
R
B
E
L
30
L
31
M
A
32
B
33
A
M
O
R
34
B
A
35
N
36
K
B
R
A
37
N
38
C
39
H
40
R
I
L
E
41
H
E
N
42
C
I
A
O
43
B
E
L
A
44
B
45
A
R
T
O
46
K
47
K
N
E
E
48
D
U
G
49
B
I
50
G
B
A
N
D
51
A
52
D
53
D
54
S
A
55
P
56
S
57
A
L
I
58
B
E
E
59
F
B
R
O
T
60
H
61
I
T
62
S
63
O
64
N
65
I
G
L
O
O
66
B
E
E
67
R
B
E
L
L
Y
68
D
A
I
R
Y
69
O
V
I
D
70
R
A
G
E
71
E
S
S
E
S
72
X
E
R
S
73
S
W
A
T
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0616 ( 23,596 )
Across
1
*Replaceable part of a lamp : BULB
5
"Immediately!" : ASAP
9
*Rum-soaked cakes : BABAS
14
Dr. Frankenstein's assistant : IGOR
15
*___ Ruth : BABE
16
The "U" of UHF : ULTRA
17
*Villainous noble of a classic French tale : BLUEBEARD
19
Dweebish : GEEKY
20
Cousin of a mandolin : SITAR
21
*Dodo : BIRDBRAIN
23
Kardashian who married Kanye : KIM
25
Pouty look : MOUE
26
6 on a telephone : MNO
27
*Bench-pressing equipment : BARBELL
31
Shakespeare's fairy queen : MAB
33
Love personified : AMOR
34
*Neighborhood financial institution : BANKBRANCH
40
Peeve : RILE
41
Rooster's mate : HEN
42
"Goodbye, Guido!" : CIAO
43
*Hungarian composer whose only opera is about 17-Across : BELABARTOK
47
Something a mini leaves exposed : KNEE
48
Made a ditch, say : DUG
49
*The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, e.g. : BIGBAND
51
Tally (up) : ADD
54
Maple syrup sources : SAPS
57
Boxer played by Will Smith in a 2001 biopic : ALI
58
*Base of many gravies : BEEFBROTH
61
"Them's fightin' words!" : ITSON
65
Eskimo's home : IGLOO
66
*Physical attribute of Homer Simpson : BEERBELLY
68
What vegans don't eat besides meat : DAIRY
69
Roman poet who wrote about 33-Across : OVID
70
Blood-boiling state : RAGE
71
Road curves : ESSES
72
Gen ___ : XERS
73
Sultan of ___ (nickname for 15-Across) : SWAT
Down
1
*Things to drool over? : BIBS
2
Not-so-cute fruit : UGLI
3
Boorish sort : LOUT
4
*Have a meal : BREAKBREAD
5
16th president, familiarly : ABE
6
Car from the same country as Volvo : SAAB
7
Nearly overflowing : ABRIM
8
Director Almodóvar : PEDRO
9
*Bogeyman : BUGBEAR
10
Twin or Tiger, informally : ALER
11
Subs ... or a feature of the answers to the 17 asterisked clues? : BTEAM
12
Alan of "Argo" : ARKIN
13
Refuse an offer : SAYNO
18
Gooey cheese : BRIE
22
Boneheaded : DUMB
24
Diamond org. : MLB
27
*Part of a fishhook : BARB
28
French girlfriend : AMIE
29
Item often served with a pat of butter : ROLL
30
Bert of "The Wizard of Oz" : LAHR
32
*Ones who criticize others in their absence : BACKBITERS
35
Badminton barrier : NET
36
Radio tuner : KNOB
37
Ship of 1492 : NINA
38
Normandy city where William the Conqueror is buried : CAEN
39
Weeded, in a way : HOED
44
*Restaurant staffers : BUSBOYS
45
Food thickener : AGAR
46
Car from Korea : KIA
50
Smooth-talking : GLIB
51
Put up with : ABIDE
52
Impressionist Edgar who painted ballerinas : DEGAS
53
Sub builders? : DELIS
55
Part of many a bus. address : POBOX
56
Actor McQueen : STEVE
59
Golfer's cry : FORE
60
___ to the throne : HEIR
62
BBQ side dish : SLAW
63
Gymnast Korbut : OLGA
64
Veto from Vladimir : NYET
67
Hwys. : RDS

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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