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New York Times, Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
194/1/20062/17/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3234421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59332
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {KXZ} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Kwong. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Kwong notes:
My pal Kevan Choset told me this joke a few years ago so I decided to turn it into a puzzle. I bet he's super mad at me right now. ... read more

My pal Kevan Choset told me this joke a few years ago so I decided to turn it into a puzzle. I bet he's super mad at me right now. Hopefully he's not reading this post.

It wasn't that easy to get this quip to fit. I had probably a dozen different versions of it, varying the "connecting" words and the tense of it. JACQUESCOUSTEAU was always going to be a 15, but the rest required a lot of massaging.

(Jeff: David is up to all sorts of cool stuff. Check out his new book, info at Publishers Weekly and Amazon. And a cool magic trick below ... on the Today Show!)


Jeff Chen notes:
I usually groan at quote puzzles, but I loved this one. Natalie Portman dating Jacques Cousteau would have produced the celeb ... read more

I usually groan at quote puzzles, but I loved this one. Natalie Portman dating Jacques Cousteau would have produced the celeb portmanteau of … PORTMANTEAU! Quote puzzles need to pack a tremendous punch to make them worth all the real estate they take up. Today was a rare instance where I thought that was the case.

Nice job on a tough construction, too. 15 / 12 / 15 / 12 / 15 themer lengths is a punishing demand. No matter how you lay them out, there's going to be a lot of themer overlap you have to deal with.

David decided to take most of his pain in the upper left and lower right corners, where pairs of themers are dangerously close together. The upper left does suffer a bit with UNHIP (maybe I'm too unhip to say this?), DUOMO, DEWAR an esoteric trio. Along with NUEVO, it didn't make for the greatest start to the puzzle. Toss in SCHED, and that's about all the crossword glue I want in one puzzle.

Thankfully, the opposite corner came out clean as a whistle. Beautiful work there, not a drop of crossword glue in a region that had to work with difficult constraints — four parallel down answers having to thread through CALL and the end of PORTMANTEAU.

Elsewhere, there was only MTGS that stuck out. I might have placed a black square at the M of MCLEAN to smooth that out, but that's a judgment call. Overall, very good work in short fill considering the constraints.

Strong bonuses, too, with Uncle Sam's I WANT YOU and Shakespeare's ELSINORE weaving through three themers apiece. It's so hard to work in long bonuses when you have this much theme density, so the effort is appreciated.

Love the GPA clue too; Dean Wormer taking such pleasure in announcing Bluto's GPA as a 0.0. TEES also was nice, having their "home on the range" — the driving range, that is.

Funny/punny quote, good bonus fill with a smooth overall result. This is how a quote puzzle should be done.

1
U
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A
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F
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H
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M
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J
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A
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L
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C
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S
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G
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M
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G
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B
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A
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0628 ( 24,704 )
Across
1
Suckling site : UDDER
6
Piedmont wine center : ASTI
10
Lay an egg, so to speak : FLOP
14
"Prospero Año ___!" : NUEVO
15
Garbage-hauling boat : SCOW
16
Hitchhiker's hope : RIDE
17
Start of a quip about a whimsical celebrity couple : HOWIWISHNATALIE
20
It may run the Sierra OS : IMAC
21
Winner's hand gesture : VEE
22
Like "it," grammatically : NEUTER
23
Quip, part 2 : PORTMANDATED
26
Treelike creature of Middle-earth : ENT
27
River of France and Belgium : LYS
28
Dadaist Jean : ARP
31
De Botton who wrote "The Architecture of Happiness" : ALAIN
35
Words sealed with a kiss : IDO
36
First name in stunt cycling : EVEL
37
Quip, part 3 : JACQUESCOUSTEAU
41
Greek counterpart of Mars : ARES
42
Chemical in Drano : LYE
43
Kvetches : CARPS
44
"Far out!" : RAD
45
Target of ID theft: Abbr. : SSN
46
Bluto's was 0.0 in "Animal House" : GPA
48
Quip, part 4 : SOICOULDCALL
54
"American Pie" singer Don : MCLEAN
57
Article in Le Monde : UNE
58
First name at Woodstock : ARLO
59
End of the quip : THEMPORTMANTEAU
62
Best Picture of 1958 : GIGI
63
Like elbowing through a crowd, say : RUDE
64
Flashes one's pearlies : BEAMS
65
Smart-alecky talk : SASS
66
George Orwell's alma mater : ETON
67
Test for gold content, say : ASSAY
Down
1
Square : UNHIP
2
Cathedral of Florence : DUOMO
3
___ flask (thermos) : DEWAR
4
Kick out : EVICT
5
Heed the coxswain : ROW
6
Green light : ASSENT
7
Amtrak posting: Abbr. : SCHED
8
Proverbial amount of bricks : TON
9
Wartime poster phrase : IWANTYOU
10
Con artist's crime : FRAUD
11
Cheery tune : LILT
12
Drooling dog of the comics : ODIE
13
Source of pressure, perhaps : PEER
18
Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN
19
Things having their home on the range? : TEES
24
Drop-down item : MENU
25
Gucci of fashion : ALDO
28
State firmly : AVER
29
Swing a scythe, say : REAP
30
Grade enhancer : PLUS
31
Cracked a bit : AJAR
32
Logan of CBS News : LARA
33
Got completely correct : ACED
34
Mensa members' assets : IQS
35
Curling surface : ICE
36
Fig. in a pilot's announcement : ETA
38
"To be, or not to be" soliloquy setting : ELSINORE
39
Coordinate, as audio and video : SYNC
40
Whole bunch : SCAD
45
Household item whose manufacture employs 42-Across : SOAP
46
Mob hit participants : GUNMEN
47
"Spare me!," for one : PLEA
48
Games played by Elite Eight winners : SEMIS
49
Get the better of : OUTDO
50
Phoebe of "Gremlins" : CATES
51
Polygon measures : AREAS
52
Andean source of wool : LLAMA
53
God-awful : LOUSY
54
Boardroom events: Abbr. : MTGS
55
"Pet" that needs watering : CHIA
56
Endurance, informally : LEGS
60
Same old same old : RUT
61
Org. for Raptors and Hawks : NBA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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