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New York Times, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
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1105/2/200610/16/201912
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1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 89 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
Hmmm. I can't remember what sparked the idea for this puzzle. More than likely I was just hungry at the time. Originally I had a ... read more

Hmmm. I can't remember what sparked the idea for this puzzle. More than likely I was just hungry at the time.

Originally I had a symmetrically placed TOP/OFF in the grid, but we (by "we", I mean Will Shortz) thought it wasn't necessary and served to make the fill that much more tortured. I agree that the puzzle's better without them.

Jeff Chen notes:
Loved this idea. Neat to imagine HOT FUDGE poured over ICE CREAM and MARINARA over RIGATONI. Apt; perfect for stacked answers. I ... read more

Loved this idea. Neat to imagine HOT FUDGE poured over ICE CREAM and MARINARA over RIGATONI. Apt; perfect for stacked answers.

I personally love ketchup, mustard, relish, sauerkraut, pickles, chili, and/or cream cheese on my HOT DOG … but not ONIONS, so that didn't work as well for me. And CHEESE over a BURGER felt different than the others, since a CHEESEBURGER is a thing, while HOT FUDGE ICE CREAM, MARINARA RIGATONI and ONIONS HOT DOG are not. Ah well.

George Michael Bluth, the straight man of Arrested Development

I picked up the theme quickly and wondered how many compromises I'd see. Double-stacked answers aren't too bad to work with, but they definitely cause difficulties. And incorporating four sets into a 15x is a big challenge! I was really impressed with the upper left corner, only IN LA a bit gluey, with the added color of IN DETAIL and DEFCON / IM HIT! That's a beautiful piece of work up there, a perfect way to open up a puzzle.

I like how the opposite corner has WATER GUN and CANOLA OIL worked through the themers. Great added zest. REGALER is iffy to my ear though, and although MRES, SSN, and EDU are all fine, their concentration in one area felt a bit inelegant. I debated whether I liked LOGIA, and finally decided that I thought it was a fine word.

Not as much for SCAUP and AGITA though. Perhaps it's because there were already a few rare-ish words in the puzzle? And the SCAUP / CERA crossing will be rough for many. It's such a shame, as Michael CERA is one of my favorite actors. If he'd only become a headliner … yes, there was "Superbad," but I feel like he still hasn't reached the stardom he deserves.

So, not surprising to see some compromises around those stacked theme answers. But overall, fewer than I expected, so I finished feeling pleased.

Why isn't anyone remaking "Three's Company," by the way? Well, they'd have to pare back Mr. ROPER's rampant homophobia, of course. And the creepy lechery. Not sure why I found him so funny as a kid, but maybe Michael CERA could give him a fresh spin.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0616 ( 23,961 )

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Across
1
Product with Air and Mini models : IPAD
5
Hosp. hookups : IVS
8
Cousin of a mallard : SCAUP
13
Blues musician ___ Allison : MOSE
14
Brooklyn hoopster : NET
15
18-Across topper : CHEESE
16
19-Across topper : HOTFUDGE
18
Fast-food offering : BURGER
19
Soda shop offering : ICECREAM
20
Alternative to the elevator : STAIRS
21
Ruby parts of some hummingbirds : THROATS
22
Car in a Ronny & the Daytonas song : GTO
23
Louisville-to-Atlanta dir. : SSE
24
"To Live and Die ___" (1985 action thriller) : INLA
25
Race, as an engine : REVUP
27
"No ___!" : MAS
29
Who says? : SIMON
31
Implied : TACIT
35
Working in the mess hall : ONKP
37
Toondom's Pepé ___ : LEPEW
39
What a surfer catches : WAVE
40
Entourage : POSSE
42
Headbanging music : METAL
44
Bill the "Science Guy" : NYE
45
Ed of "Elf" : ASNER
47
Oz visitor : TOTO
49
Nabokov novel : ADA
52
+: Abbr. : POS
53
Storyteller : REGALER
56
Impasse : LOGJAM
58
60-Across topper : MARINARA
59
61-Across topper : ONIONS
60
Trattoria offering : RIGATONI
61
Ballpark offering : HOTDOG
62
End of a professor's address : EDU
63
Social reformer Jacob : RIIS
64
"Shake ___ Feather" (1967 R&B hit) : ATAIL
65
I.R.S. datum : SSN
66
Sheltered : ALEE
Down
1
Paintball cry : IMHIT
2
Doggie : POOCH
3
They're next to some records : ASTERISKS
4
Multilevel military readiness system : DEFCON
5
Long way to explain something : INDETAIL
6
MGM Grand setting : VEGAS
7
Throwaway part of an apple : STEM
8
7-0 baseball victory, e.g. : SHUTOUT
9
Michael of "Juno" : CERA
10
Protection : AEGIS
11
Rehab candidates : USERS
12
Intrinsically: Lat. : PERSE
15
"Late Show" broadcaster : CBSTV
17
Europe/Asia border range : URALS
22
French playwright Jean : GENET
25
Mr. ___ ("Three's Company" role) : ROPER
26
Hairy hand : PAW
27
Its head is in a bucket, often : MOP
28
Year, in Uruguay : ANO
30
Cultural fads : MEMES
32
Cooking medium : CANOLAOIL
33
University wall covering : IVY
34
Place-kicker's aid : TEE
36
Message from Smokey Bear, e.g., for short : PSA
38
Prankster's weapon : WATERGUN
41
Cousin of catalán : ESPANOL
43
Sayings of Jesus : LOGIA
46
Menu reassurance : NOMSG
48
Hindu meditative rituals : TANTRA
49
It might accompany a wave in Waikiki : ALOHA
50
"___ disturb" : DONOT
51
Unease : AGITA
53
Busts : RAIDS
54
Orange Muppet : ERNIE
55
Union goal : RAISE
57
Picoult with the 2004 best seller "My Sister's Keeper" : JODI
58
Dinners for G.I.s : MRES

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

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