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New York Times, Thursday, June 7, 2018

Author: Bruce Haight
Editor: Will Shortz
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431/3/201310/12/20184
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312127450
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1.58032
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 39 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Bruce Haight notes: I got the basic kernel of this theme idea from my buddy Erik Agard, but unfortunately, I was unable to talk Erik into ... more
Bruce Haight notes:

I got the basic kernel of this theme idea from my buddy Erik Agard, but unfortunately, I was unable to talk Erik into co-construction. He and I did collaborate on another interesting puzzle currently in the NYT queue, and I can tell you he comes up with an amazing number of ingenious ideas.

I knew from the getgo I wanted four theme drinks with at least two O's (bubbles) each. I remember worrying that COKE ZERO was changing its name to Coke Zero Sugar soon, and worrying that JOLT COLA was popular too long ago (It was re-introduced late in 2017, but still is not real well known). I was determined to come up with a revealer that had no O's, and then I had to avoid O's in the rest of the puzzle.

It's always harder for me to work with vertical themers, and I knew this would be a Thursday, so I wanted a word count less than 78.

I love this weird but intriguing theme concept, and I hope solvers find it challenging but fair.

My submitted clue for FILL (at 53-Across) was not "Crossword constructor's pride" or some such thing, but still, I found it hilarious when the first draft of clues from the editors changed it to "Contents of a trash heap." I was a little disappointed that the final draft upgraded my FILL to "Dirt in a dump truck, perhaps" — too funny!

Jeff Chen notes: Creative idea, BUBBLES UP meaning that the Os in soft drinks rose to the top. Fun to see those O-shaped bubbles! The annoying ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Creative idea, BUBBLES UP meaning that the Os in soft drinks rose to the top. Fun to see those O-shaped bubbles!

The annoying engineer in me wondered why oxygen bubbled up, though. It's carbon dioxide! CO2! NOT O2! IT'S WRONG! WRONG WRONG WRONG! IF IT'S JUST O-SHAPED BUBBLES, WHY IS EACH THEMER IMPLYING OXYGEN BY PROVIDING EXACTLY TWO OS?

Man, that engineer is annoying. Just enjoy the O-shaped bubbles, will you?

I liked that Bruce found so many themers, without repeating a key word like SODA or COLA. Tough task.

Solid grid, lots to love in MALL RATS, SLY WINKS, RAW DATA, CAT TREAT, AD BIZ. Bruce is getting so good at injecting long bubbly fill into his grids.

(EEE WIDTH ... not so much. We'll look the other way for that one.)

Yeah, there's some AMAT ANOS EINE in the short fill, but I'm okay with these as prices to pay for all the great long bonuses. And considering Bruce had to build around five themers, I think he did well!

The one real flaw: the BDAY / BENNET crossing. I expect a good deal out of educated solvers, but knowing all 100 senators seems unrealistic. With DDAY, VDAY, and BDAY all fine answers for an [Annual celebration, for short], a more specific clue was badly needed.

Maybe that's just sour grapes, as I guessed VENNET. It seemed plausible at the time.

Fun a-ha moment when I realized what was going on with the O-shaped bubbles — after beating down the annoying engineer complaining about accuracy, that is.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0607 ( 25,048 )
Across Down
1. Southwest skiing locale : TAOS
5. Revolting scene : RIOT
9. Ancient Mexican : OLMEC
14. Fan fixation : IDOL
15. A long time, in Mexico : ANOS
16. ___ board : OUIJA
17. Properly : DULY
18. What's tall when it's young and short when it's old? (old riddle) : WICK
19. Singer Jackson : JANET
20. Big foot spec : EEEWIDTH
22. Like a winning play in the final seconds of overtime : CLUTCH
23. Material in sheets : MICA
24. Word in a Latin 101 lesson : AMAT
26. Digs in the mud : STY
27. Colorado senator Michael : BENNET
29. Bygone Ford make, informally : MERC
30. Plate, e.g. : DISK
31. Horrify : APPALL
33. Bit of neckwear : BIB
36. "Therefore ..." : ANDSO
38. Something you can lend without having to part with : EAR
39. Tickle : AMUSE
41. Pro choice? : YEA
42. Stale joke : OLDGAG
45. Fins : ABES
46. James who played Sonny Corleone : CAAN
47. "Ri-i-i-ight ..." : ILLBET
49. Remote : FAR
52. Nascar's Busch or Petty : KYLE
53. Dirt in a dump truck, perhaps : FILL
54. Since way back when : INAGES
56. Something to feed the kitty : CATTREAT
60. Madison Ave. industry : ADBIZ
61. Troubles : ILLS
62. Fizzy wine option : ASTI
63. Extended family : TRIBE
64. Much-reshared post on social media : MEME
65. Dice roll, say : TURN
66. Meal with storytelling : SEDER
67. Fool, in British slang : PRAT
68. Beauty spots : SPAS
1. Fab alternative : TIDE
2. For two voices in unison : ADUE
3. Carbonated beverage, spelled as 33-Down might suggest? : OOLEMNSDA
4. Knowing signs : SLYWINKS
5. Figures recorded in an experiment : RAWDATA
6. Part of a competition : INIT
7. Carbonated beverage, spelled as 33-Down might suggest? : OOCHAMPAGNECLER
8. "Naughty!" : TSK
9. Carbonated beverage, spelled as 33-Down might suggest? : OOJLTCLA
10. Feast that might include lomi-lomi salmon : LUAU
11. Thin ___ : MINTS
12. DVD player button : EJECT
13. Eponymous cartoonist Guisewite : CATHY
21. Something often added to a carbonated beverage : ICE
22. Baseball legend Yastrzemski : CARL
25. Anne of comedy : MEARA
27. Annual celebration, for short : BDAY
28. Aachen article : EINE
32. Bike : PEDAL
33. Rises, in a way : BUBBLESUP
34. "So that's what you mean" : ISEE
35. Top : BEST
37. Carbonated beverage, spelled as 33-Down might suggest? : OOCKEZER
40. Food court regulars : MALLRATS
43. Big name in chips : LAYS
44. Bundle that might come with a bow on top : GIFTSET
48. Like a happening party, in slang : LIT
49. Some Italian models : FIATS
50. "My Dinner With ___" (1981 film) : ANDRE
51. Overly enthusiastic : RABID
55. Razz : GIBE
57. Michigan college town : ALMA
58. Shaving brand : ATRA
59. Cookie containers : TINS
61. Calvin in "Calvin and Hobbes," e.g. : IMP

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle.

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