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New York Times, Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
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519165442
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1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 10 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: As you can see from my original submission, Will did major surgery on the grid and greatly improved the fill. Brad Wilber sent me this link explaining why the D is silent in Django Unchained.
Jeff Chen notes: Neat idea from C.C. today. We've seen many puzzles based around silent letters, but I really enjoyed how she added an extra layer on ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Neat idea from C.C. today. We've seen many puzzles based around silent letters, but I really enjoyed how she added an extra layer on top of that by choosing SILENT movies, e.g. ones which start with a silent letter. Clever concept and really cool that she managed to find an iconic one, PSYCHO, which happened to match the revealer, SILENT, in length.

A six-letter revealer might seem trivial, but it's one of the harder things to integrate. Seems bizarre, doesn't it, that a teeny lil' ol' six-letter word would cause so much trouble? But typically, a revealer is most elegant at the very SW or SE of a puzzle. And when you stack another theme answer on top of it (KNIGHT AND DAY over SILENT in this case), look at that 6x3 chunk, constrained on both the bottom and the top. It can be quite a challenge, especially if the letters aren't friendly.

I like the NE quite a lot, a real feat of cleanliness given those constraints. The SW is surprisingly fun with AMBIEN and BOOTIE (BOL is sadly not clued to my favorite bball player of all time, the stick-thin Manute Bol, often seen heaving up three-point shots), but SPINET as a small piano is going to be a roughie toughie for many. Even as a former cellist and trombonist, I hadn't heard this term before. At least all the crossings are fair.

Speaking of fair crossings, that MEHTA / MEADE cross is going to be a hair-puller for some. I think both are more than fair game, especially for the NYT solving audience, but that's a challenging square right there. I love JOHN GOODMAN and "The Big Lebowski" reference. I abide, after all. But I wonder if a different choice of long down fill might have been better there. It is quite a pile-up of names, with GOODMAN, MEADE, MEHTA, and ALITO all in a small subregion.

And POWER PLANTS, that's a beautiful piece of fill. It does create some filling challenges in the NW though. I think I might prefer C.C.'s original fill up there, although both ATRI and AFORE are tough pills to swallow. Perhaps a cheater square at the A of SCHWA could have helped things? I tend to play fast and loose with cheater squares (extra black squares which don't affect the total word count).

Really nice to get a clue I haven't seen before for ALI. Nice piece of trivia. And SHARK clued as [Jet fighter?] was just brilliant. Good stuff, especially for an early-week puzzle.

1
S
2
A
3
P
4
P
5
R
6
E
7
Z
8
P
9
S
10
Y
11
C
12
H
13
O
14
C
F
O
15
R
E
D
O
16
I
H
E
A
R
D
17
H
O
W
18
E
M
I
R
19
L
O
A
T
H
E
20
W
R
E
21
C
K
I
T
R
22
A
L
P
H
23
A
E
R
O
24
M
O
M
A
25
J
26
A
27
M
28
P
L
29
A
30
N
E
31
P
R
32
O
33
P
O
S
E
34
E
35
E
L
36
L
E
N
37
S
38
M
E
H
T
A
39
D
J
A
40
N
G
O
U
N
41
C
42
H
A
I
N
E
D
43
G
E
N
O
A
44
L
O
A
N
45
G
R
E
46
A
C
T
R
E
47
S
48
S
49
A
L
I
50
T
O
51
R
T
S
52
P
A
53
S
T
54
E
O
55
N
56
S
57
K
58
N
I
G
H
T
59
A
60
N
D
D
A
Y
61
A
62
M
63
B
I
E
N
64
A
R
N
O
65
M
I
R
66
B
O
O
T
I
E
67
R
E
N
O
68
A
L
I
69
S
I
L
E
N
T
70
K
E
E
N
71
N
S
A
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0617 ( 23,597 )
Across Down
1. Easy mark : SAP
4. Air Force One honcho : PREZ
8. 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller : PSYCHO
14. Overseer of corp. accounts : CFO
15. Start all over : REDO
16. Start of a rumor : IHEARD
17. "In what way?" : HOW
18. Gulf State leader : EMIR
19. Despise : LOATHE
20. 2012 John C. Reilly animated film : WRECKITRALPH
23. Prefix with 28-Across : AERO
24. N.Y.C. home to works of Picasso : MOMA
25. Musical improv : JAM
28. Jet : PLANE
31. Pop the question : PROPOSE
34. Kabayaki fish : EEL
36. Main part of a monocle : LENS
38. Conductor Zubin ___ : MEHTA
39. 2012 Quentin Tarantino western : DJANGOUNCHAINED
43. Columbus's hometown : GENOA
44. Student aid : LOAN
45. Its score is reported on some univ. applications : GRE
46. Demi or Julianne Moore : ACTRESS
49. Colleague of Roberts and Scalia : ALITO
51. Gridiron positions: Abbr. : RTS
52. Historical : PAST
54. Ages and ages : EONS
57. 2010 James Mangold action comedy : KNIGHTANDDAY
61. Popular sleep aid : AMBIEN
64. River through Florence : ARNO
65. Space station until 2001 : MIR
66. Knitted item for a baby : BOOTIE
67. Gambling mecca : RENO
68. Arabic name meaning "high" : ALI
69. ___ movies (8-, 20-, 39- and 57-Across, in a way) : SILENT
70. Sharp : KEEN
71. Org. named in WikiLeaks documents : NSA
1. Beginning or end of "Athena" : SCHWA
2. Prior to, in poetry : AFORE
3. Electricity producers : POWERPLANTS
4. Like school for toddlers, in brief : PREK
5. Notes after do : REMI
6. It has Cut, Copy and Paste commands : EDITMENU
7. Swordsman of book and film : ZORRO
8. Notable one in a community : PILLAR
9. Butchery or bakery : SHOP
10. "You betcha" : YEAH
11. Subject of many a viral video : CAT
12. Letters for a prince : HRH
13. William Collins's "___ to Evening" : ODE
21. ___ Mustard (Clue character) : COL
22. Roadie's tote : AMP
25. "The Big Lebowski" co-star : JOHNGOODMAN
26. Autumn bloom : ASTER
27. General at Gettysburg : MEADE
29. Pond growth : ALGAE
30. Prefix with conservative : NEO
32. Muscat native : OMANI
33. Bank of China Tower designer : PEI
34. Mystery award : EDGAR
35. Kick out : EJECT
37. Comedy/variety show since '75 : SNL
40. Fish ___ fowl : NOR
41. Front hallway item : COATTREE
42. Prince with 21 Tonys : HAL
47. Small piano : SPINET
48. Droop : SAG
50. Kennedy aide Sorensen : TED
53. Jet fighter? : SHARK
55. Finalizes, with "down" : NAILS
56. Gulf War ally : SYRIA
57. Toy with a tail : KITE
58. "Forget it, Friedrich!" : NEIN
59. Rice on a shelf : ANNE
60. Lunch time, maybe : NOON
61. Things that exercisers crunch : ABS
62. "You mean me?" : MOI
63. La Paz's land: Abbr. : BOL

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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