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New York Times, Monday, June 8, 2015

Author: Peter A. Collins
Editor: Will Shortz
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Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {BKQZ} This is puzzle # 88 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes: MAN movies. There certainly are a lot of them. I restricted myself to films with titles that go ____ MAN -– no hyphen ... more
Peter A. Collins notes:

MAN movies. There certainly are a lot of them. I restricted myself to films with titles that go ____ MAN -– no hyphen (sorry, Spider-Man), and no leading "The" (like The Omega Man).

Now I need a volunteer to build a similar puzzle around film titles that go AMERICAN ___. Off the top of my head you've got PSYCHO, HISTORY X, SNIPER, BEAUTY, GRAFFITI, and GIGOLO to start building around.

Any takers?

Jeff Chen notes: MAN oh MAN, eight words which form a movie title when followed by MAN. Well, seven words and one phrase. That felt a bit like 'one of ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

MAN oh MAN, eight words which form a movie title when followed by MAN. Well, seven words and one phrase. That felt a bit like "one of these is not like the others," but the I LOVE YOU to I LOVE YOU, MAN is a fun transformation. Good stuff.

Forms an attractive stripey pattern of gray in the grid, too. Aesthetically pleasing; a monochrome crossword flag of sorts.

Hadn't heard of this one, but now I'll have to see it! What an all-star cast.

Stuffing eight themers into a 15x grid is tough, even if those themers are short. Trouble is that so many down answers must cross two themers, thus forcing constraints all throughout the grid. The only place that has any real flexibility is the very middle — and that's a pretty small section.

It does help that Pete chose four themers of length = 4, which meant that he could swap them around. Without any required sequence (alphabetical, chronological, etc.), REPO could easily have gone in any of those four theme slots. It could have easily have moved up or down one row, too — a lot of flexibility, indeed.

Having short theme answers makes for another difficulty: in order to stay under the 78 word maximum, you need some long entries in the grid, so in this case, long fill is not just a nicety but a requirement. I really like what Pete did in the upper left, with DONE DEAL next to SIDE ORDER; both snappy entries, with a pretty smooth result. Must have taken many attempts, perhaps trying IRON or REPO or RAIN where DEAD is.

The opposite corner came out not quite as nice, requiring OONA, FOR I, ENS and INSP to make it work. Now, if only OONA Chaplin got a starring role somewhere ...

Overall, I would have liked a bigger revealing punch than "word that can follow X," but it is pretty neat that they're all movie titles. It's just too bad that there's not something more lively for a revealer. Is MAN, WHAT AN ENDING! a real thing? Well, it should be.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0608 ( 23,953 )
Across Down
1. Pill bottle contents, informally : MEDS
5. City across the bay from St. Petersburg : TAMPA
10. Lose in a dice game, with "out" : CRAP
14. Mine, in Marseille : AMOI
15. Adage : AXIOM
16. Seizure in a driveway, maybe : REPO
17. Glass slipper wearer in a fairy tale : CINDERELLA
19. "Oh, were it not so!" : ALAS
20. Control the wheel : STEER
21. ___-mo replay : SLO
22. Les ___-Unis : ETATS
23. Pugs and poodles : DOGS
25. Valentine's Day message : ILOVEYOU
27. Illegal substance for athletes : STEROID
30. (5 x 3) - (7 x 2) = ? : ONE
31. Personal ad abbr. : SWM
32. Out of juice, as a battery : DEAD
33. Mexican city across the border from San Diego : TIJUANA
36. Witch trials city : SALEM
38. Word that follows each shaded answer to complete a film title : MAN
39. Roofing material : SLATE
43. Cake batter ingredients : RAWEGGS
46. Fe, in chemistry : IRON
47. Nile snake : ASP
50. Took part in a 53-Across : RAN
51. Special ___ (movie budget expense) : EFFECTS
53. 26-mile race : MARATHON
56. Actress Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA
57. Nail file material : EMERY
58. Brewery container : VAT
60. Half-diameters : RADII
63. Alaskan city on the Seward Peninsula : NOME
64. Job done with a wrecking ball : DEMOLITION
66. Drought ender : RAIN
67. Last Oldsmobile model : ALERO
68. Has supper : EATS
69. On the ocean : ASEA
70. Windows forerunner : MSDOS
71. "___, crackle, pop" : SNAP
1. Non-Windows computers : MACS
2. Give off : EMIT
3. Fait accompli : DONEDEAL
4. Fries or coleslaw, typically : SIDEORDER
5. Roofing material : TAR
6. x and y, on a graph : AXES
7. Prefix with liter : MILLI
8. Noted watering hole in Beverly Hills : POLOLOUNGE
9. Grp. of docs : AMA
10. Container for oranges : CRATE
11. Track races with legs : RELAYS
12. Judd who directed "Knocked Up" : APATOW
13. Play ___ (feign sleep) : POSSUM
18. Therefore : ERGO
22. 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. : EVENS
24. Canine command : SIT
26. Bon Jovi's "Livin' ___ Prayer" : ONA
27. Radical '60s org. : SDS
28. Tetley product : TEA
29. Old pulp reading : DIMENOVELS
34. Pricey sports car, informally : JAG
35. Estranges : ALIENATES
37. Country crooner Robbins : MARTY
40. Peaceful, as the simple rural life : ARCADIAN
41. Preschooler : TOT
42. Rank above midshipman: Abbr. : ENS
44. Baby's cry : WAH
45. Bay Area airport inits. : SFO
47. Egyptian king of the gods : AMENRA
48. Coconut-flaked Girl Scout cookies : SAMOAS
49. Incubator baby, informally : PREMIE
52. "Forgive me, Father, ___ have sinned" : FORI
54. Big rock concert venue : ARENA
55. Appointed : NAMED
59. Bullfight bull : TORO
61. Tiny bit : IOTA
62. Police rank: Abbr. : INSP
64. Beaver's construction : DAM
65. The "L" in L.A. : LOS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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