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New York Times, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Author: Peter A. Collins
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter A. Collins
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1.564293

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 )
Across Down
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
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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