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New York Times, Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Author:
Peter Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1149/5/19897/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
841241411619
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5891611
Peter Gordon

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 107 for Mr. Gordon. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Tight and specific theme set today, adjectives in the form of [food] + [body part] + (E)D. Not sure I would have ever thought of it! ... read more

Tight and specific theme set today, adjectives in the form of [food] + [body part] + (E)D. Not sure I would have ever thought of it! MUTTON HEADED is so much fun to say.

I've heard of HONEY TONGUED before. Silver-tongued felt more spot-on, but honey works too.

BUTTER FINGERED felt a bit odd in the adjective form. It does have dictionary support, but don't you call people butterfingers, not BUTTERFINGERED?

CHICKEN LIVERED? Lily-livered, yeah. Chicken, yeah. But chicken-livered? I'd be a bit chicken to use that in actual conversation.

Oh, there's PIE EYED in the middle of the grid, too. I've seen that term in crosswords before.

Note how little flexibility Peter had in laying out his grid. With PIE EYED in the middle column, he was forced to place the 14s in rows 3 and 13. You can shift BUTTERFINGERED one square to the left, and/or swap it with CHICKEN LIVERED, but there's not a lot of options otherwise.

I thought Peter did pretty well with his grid bonuses, a lot of interesting entries like PROUD PAPA, SIBELIUS, RED TIDES, BUDAPEST helping keep solvers amused if they didn't connect with the theme.

There were some prices to pay for all the big swaths of white space: IONA, TODDS, SOV, DEO, SSE feeling gluey. It's not a trade-off I would have made for an early-week puzzle, but I can appreciate the thought behind it.

More and more though, I feel that themes and grids ought to sync in their difficulty level. This felt like a Monday theme with a Friday grid, and that created some dissonance for me. It was so hard to solve the grid, for just a Monday-theme payoff.

And there were several clues I struggled with:

  • BADGES are [Heat shields?], in that "heat" is slang for police. Police badges are shaped like shields. That's very clever, but pretty tough for this early in the week.
  • A LORELEI is similar to a siren, a female who lures sailors to their death. Thus, a "rock singer."
  • An expert in calculus isn't a mathematician, but a DDS (dentist). (Calculus is a build-up on teeth.)

Aside from all the theme/ grid/clue difficulty mismatch problems, I enjoy encountering theme sets I wouldn't have thought of myself.

1
S
2
T
3
A
4
R
5
C
6
A
7
S
8
T
9
E
10
M
11
O
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B
13
I
O
N
A
14
P
R
O
U
D
15
P
A
P
A
16
B
U
T
T
17
E
R
F
I
N
G
E
R
E
D
18
C
E
R
I
S
E
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L
E
E
R
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N
G
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A
L
D
A
21
L
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O
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P
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K
N
E
E
25
L
I
A
R
26
S
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C
I
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S
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F
E
A
R
S
30
M
U
T
T
O
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N
H
E
A
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D
E
D
33
S
S
E
34
L
O
R
E
L
E
I
35
B
36
R
37
O
38
H
O
N
E
Y
T
O
N
39
G
U
E
D
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O
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M
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N
I
S
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S
E
E
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T
O
D
D
S
45
R
O
O
T
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D
D
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S
48
N
A
T
O
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A
T
T
E
50
S
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T
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S
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O
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N
E
P
I
N
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C
H
I
C
K
E
N
56
L
57
I
V
E
R
E
D
58
L
E
C
H
E
R
O
U
S
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W
I
S
E
60
E
R
E
61
W
I
T
C
H
62
B
L
T
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0605 ( 25,046 )

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Across
1
Headliner : STAR
5
Hindu social division : CASTE
10
Crowd around : MOB
13
Island off the western coast of Scotland : IONA
14
Person handing out chocolate cigars, maybe : PROUDPAPA
16
Klutzy : BUTTERFINGERED
18
Color akin to rouge : CERISE
19
Bad looking : LEERING
20
Alan in the Television Hall of Fame : ALDA
21
Cut (off) : LOP
24
Bendable body part : KNEE
25
Truth tellers' opposite : LIARS
27
Lead-in to gender : CIS
29
Psychoanalysis topics : FEARS
30
Stupid : MUTTONHEADED
33
Dir. from Iceland to Ireland : SSE
34
Rock singer? : LORELEI
35
"Dude!" : BRO
38
Eloquent : HONEYTONGUED
40
Dodges of the 1980s : OMNIS
43
Match the bet of : SEE
44
Lincoln in-laws : TODDS
45
Edible part of a carrot or radish : ROOT
46
Expert in calculus: Abbr. : DDS
48
Western defense grp. : NATO
49
Bears witness (to) : ATTESTS
53
Nearest target for a bowler : ONEPIN
55
Cowardly : CHICKENLIVERED
58
Goatish : LECHEROUS
59
Sage : WISE
60
"That will be ___ the set of sun" (line from the first scene of "Macbeth") : ERE
61
Third ___ (character who delivers the line in 60-Across) : WITCH
62
Nonkosher lunch orders, briefly : BLTS
Down
1
Composer who's the eponym of a Helsinki park : SIBELIUS
2
Line on a band T-shirt, maybe : TOURDATE
3
Dadaism, pejoratively : ANTIART
4
"Phooey!" : RATS
5
Lifeguard's skill, for short : CPR
6
Alternative to "Woof!" : ARF
7
Earth : SOIL
8
What a whistler whistles : TUNE
9
Lip : EDGE
10
Yacht spot : MARINA
11
First game of a series : OPENER
12
Heat shields? : BADGES
15
Snapped to attention, with "up" : PERKED
17
Wriggly swimmer : EEL
18
Sedates : CALMS
22
Autumn colours : OCHRES
23
Drunk : PIEEYED
26
Forgoes a co-pilot : SOLOS
28
Like some peanuts and winter roads : SALTED
29
Deceptive movement : FEINT
31
Tours turndown : NON
32
"Gloria in Excelsis ___" : DEO
35
World capital where Harry Houdini and Erno Rubik were born : BUDAPEST
36
Colorful ocean phenomena caused by dinoflagellates : REDTIDES
37
Takes too much of, for short : ODSON
38
Electronically advanced, informally : HITECH
39
King Lear's eldest daughter : GONERIL
40
Teller of the future : ORACLE
41
Person whose inner child has been released? : MOTHER
42
Small print advertisement : NOTICE
47
Part of U.S.S.R.: Abbr. : SOV
50
Distort : SKEW
51
Actress Garr of "Young Frankenstein" : TERI
52
Impertinent sort : SNOT
54
Neophyte, in modern lingo : NEWB
56
Capt. Jean-___ Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise : LUC
57
Suffix of approximation : ISH

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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