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New York Times, Thursday, June 23, 2016

Author:
Megan Amram and David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
16/23/20161
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62000
Megan Amram
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
184/1/200612/27/20175
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2234421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59232
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Amram. This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Kwong. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
DAVID: Proud to be a part of Megan Amram's debut! We had entertained a bunch of other entries as well: WILLIAMOFHEALTH and ... read more

DAVID: Proud to be a part of Megan Amram's debut!

We had entertained a bunch of other entries as well: WILLIAMOFHEALTH and THEODORETALKS, the latter which was nixed because TED is an acronym. Also, I was advocating for a nice third 15 letter long entry in DOROTHYMATRICES, which is the correct plural! But I don't think that ever would have seen print.

We hope you found it funny (Megan) and clever (Megan and me)!

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! I had been wondering why Megan Amram's name sounded familiar … and then I saw the closing credits for my favorite show, ... read more

Debut! I had been wondering why Megan Amram's name sounded familiar … and then I saw the closing credits for my favorite show, Silicon Valley! Very cool that this writer joins the crossword constructors' club.

Good ol' SLY

Today we get normal phrases done "formally," expanding names that could be short for something else. I thought SYLVESTER AS A FOX was brilliant, "Sly" being Sylvester Stallone's nickname. I wasn't aware of DOT being short for DOROTHY (in DOROTHY MATRIX printer), but I can see it.

It was so neat to get a specific nickname like SLY expanded. Not as neat to get BOB = generally short for ROBERT, PENNY = generally short for PENELOPE, because there are so many nicknames than could be used like this — RICH, DREW, REG, TEDDY, BILL, PAT, etc. I would have loved if the theme had been kept to very specific nicknames used only for one particular celeb. Not sure if this is possible, but a guy can dream.

Going down to 72 words definitely makes for a tougher-than-normal solve. I liked a lot of the long fill — HELEN MIRREN, ARMY BASE with its great [Where many grunts may be heard?] clue, and ICE RINKS in particular. That big lower-right corner is so nice, with MARS BARS / ARMY BASE creating a wide-open space.

All the wide-open spaces do create some construction challenges. I don't mind a difficult crossing like YORKE / ERATO since experienced solvers should know ERATO (the honorary Muse of crosswords, what with her friendly consonant-vowel alternation). But POLIS is a tough one to remember, and crossing it such that OH YES and AH YES work equally well struck me as potentially setting up the solver to lose. PALIS sounded more correct to me, but perhaps I was thinking about PARIS? Sigh. It's so tough — OH YES is a great little piece of fill. To me, not worth that ambiguous crossing, though.

Nice idea, with SLY to SYLVESTER forming a standout answer.

1
P
2
E
3
D
4
I
5
E
6
L
7
L
8
E
9
N
10
S
11
O
12
A
13
P
14
A
L
E
C
15
N
E
A
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S
16
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N
G
A
17
R
O
B
E
18
R
T
F
O
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A
19
P
P
L
E
S
20
E
N
T
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A
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21
O
H
Y
E
S
22
I
N
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T
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H
24
A
L
O
25
P
26
E
N
E
L
O
27
P
E
P
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N
28
C
29
H
30
Y
O
R
K
E
31
R
O
L
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S
32
H
E
33
M
34
E
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A
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35
J
I
B
E
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36
M
E
L
D
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W
E
T
38
L
O
G
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N
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S
A
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40
D
O
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R
O
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H
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M
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A
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X
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U
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P
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P
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D
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A
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M
Y
B
49
A
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S
51
E
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S
Y
L
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E
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S
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T
E
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A
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A
F
O
X
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A
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D
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58
D
O
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S
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L
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W
A
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0623 ( 24,334 )
Across
1. Half of a salon job : PEDI
5. The first Mrs. Woodrow Wilson : ELLEN
10. It comes in cakes : SOAP
14. Writer Waugh : ALEC
15. Converges on : NEARS
16. Swenson of "Benson" : INGA
17. Play a game on Halloween, formally? : ROBERTFORAPPLES
20. Implores : ENTREATS
21. "Now I remember!" : OHYES
22. Competing : INIT
23. Popular first-person shooter video game : HALO
25. Be exceedingly frugal, formally? : PENELOPEPINCH
30. Radiohead frontman Thom : YORKE
31. Hamlet and Ophelia, e.g. : ROLES
32. Hesitate, in a way : HEM
34. Aces have low ones, briefly : ERAS
35. Agrees : JIBES
36. Fuse : MELD
37. Speakeasy-goer : WET
38. Prepare to tweet, say : LOGON
39. "Gandhi" garb : SARIS
40. Kind of printer, formally? : DOROTHYMATRIX
43. Whilom : ERST
44. They're best left untouched, generally speaking : IRAS
45. Hiked : UPPED
48. Where many grunts may be heard? : ARMYBASE
52. Very cunning, formally? : SYLVESTERASAFOX
55. Pennsylvania's northernmost county : ERIE
56. Ran : AIRED
57. Mortgage adjustment, briefly : REFI
58. Some deer : DOES
59. "Bleeding Love" singer Lewis, 2007 : LEONA
60. Whack : SWAT
Down
1. Whittle down : PARE
2. North Carolina university : ELON
3. It may be forgiven : DEBT
4. Winter Olympics venues : ICERINKS
5. Involve : ENTAIL
6. Phrase in a group photo caption : LEFTTORIGHT
7. French colony until 1953 : LAOS
8. Goof : ERR
9. Cryptanalysis org. : NSA
10. Suck up, maybe : SIPHON
11. Word before "Sixteen," "Time" and "You" in top 10 hit songs : ONLY
12. Jon who wrote and illustrated "Go Hang a Salami! I'm a Lasagna Hog!" : AGEE
13. Mountain route : PASS
18. "Hamilton" actress ___ Elise Goldsberry : RENEE
19. Greek city-state : POLIS
23. Winner of the Triple Crown of Acting (Oscar, Tony and Emmy) : HELENMIRREN
24. Monkeys' uncles? : APES
25. Went carefully (over) : PORED
26. One of a mythological nonet : ERATO
27. Hero of New Orleans : POBOY
28. French sweetie : CHERI
29. Spiral : HELIX
30. Plant in an English hedge : YEW
33. E.R. V.I.P.s : MDS
35. Tiny amounts : JOTS
36. Treats since 1932 : MARSBARS
38. 2013 Grammy winner for "Royals" : LORDE
39. Doesn't fold, say : STAYS
41. "Speed" star : REEVES
42. Flotilla : ARMADA
45. Played for a sap : USED
46. Match player? : PYRO
47. "Swan Lake" bend : PLIE
48. Commercial lead-in to méxico : AERO
49. Not many : AFEW
50. Remote hiding place? : SOFA
51. Way off : EXIT
53. Lab compound, to a chemist : SAL
54. Get in a bind : TIE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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