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New York Times, Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Author:
Peter Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1109/5/198910/29/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
839221411619
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
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C
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0605 ( 25,046 )

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Students & seniors
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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