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New York Times, Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Author:
Ned White
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
221/16/20106/27/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1105258
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59010
Ned White

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQVZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. White. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ned White notes:
First, let's get one apology over with: the highly constricting 4x4 southeast corner. I slaved to avoid OMRI at 57-Down, figuring I'd ... read more

First, let's get one apology over with: the highly constricting 4x4 southeast corner. I slaved to avoid OMRI at 57-Down, figuring I'd need to clue it as a young actor (Katz) now long retired. To me, OMRI is akin to golfer ISAO Aoki (now age 73) and ESAI Morales (a fine actor, still working) for providing us with some elbow room for confined spaces, but I know constructors hate dipping that deeply into the crosswordese bucket. Me too. Fortunately, Omri was a historically important King of Israel, and that's how he appears today. Apology over.

The "seed entry" for this puzzle was THICK / PUPPY — including the clue, which Will has left intact (thanks!). That's where it started — with me laughing a little too enthusiastically at my own wordplay. But when my wife heard it, she was also in stitches, so I felt a surge of confidence that others would laugh too, and that I could carry the theme through with four more entries.

20-Across came to me pretty quickly (another hearty self-satisfied laugh, imagining turkey legs as life-sustaining), 38-Across was next (mild chuckle), and 53-Across was dead last for the longer ones (tiny chortle, wrinkled brow).

1- / 68-Across was the final touch, and Will and I actually went back and forth a couple of times to find the best pun. I had, earlier, THAW LOGS and also THAW FISH, but neither was very funny and couldn't hold a candle to the outrageous silliness of releasing a philosopher from cryonic suspension.

You'll see that the three long themers all have the letter "s" in them, so obviously this is not a strict letter substitution puzzle. Good thing — otherwise it would be undoable. I also hasten to add that I now have some software help, and I'm striving for much longer (and more interesting) down-crossers. Stand by. Thanks.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun sound change puzzle today, the starting S morphed into a TH. THIGHS OF RELIEF gave me a good laugh, and THEMES OKAY TO ME felt ... read more

Fun sound change puzzle today, the starting S morphed into a TH. THIGHS OF RELIEF gave me a good laugh, and THEMES OKAY TO ME felt appropriate for a crossword. All the base phrases are strong too, so much of the theme worked well for me.

Disassembling Abu Simbel for relocation, to save it from flooding caused by the Aswan High Dam

I wasn't a huge fan of the two split-up themers, though. One like this is not uncommon, and I can look past having to jump around the grid for one set. But two of them felt excessive to me, making my solve feel choppy. I really liked THICK / PUPPY, maybe my favorite themer, but having to piece it together from two corners detracted from my enjoyment a little.

This arrangement also makes filling a challenge. Instead of being able to fill your four corners with great freedom, making them nice and clean, you fix constraints in all of them. The lower left came out really well — silky smooth — but each of the others has some compromise. And to start out with three compromised areas and the entire rest of the puzzle to go is not where I'd personally like to begin.

Funny how a single clue can make the puzzle sing. For me, NILE being clued with respect to Abu Simbel triggered memories of when Jill and I went to Egypt. Seeing (the relocated!) Abu Simbel was more breathtaking than the Great Pyramid by far.

And TENT as [Something that has low stakes?] is awesome. Worth the price of admission right there.

Amusing puzzle, with so many funny transformations of solid base phrase into funny result. I might have liked just four of the five themers (resulting in a smoother grid), but I did appreciate the laugh-inducing phrases.

1
T
2
H
3
A
4
W
5
N
6
A
7
R
8
Y
9
T
10
H
11
I
12
C
13
K
14
N
I
L
E
15
I
S
E
E
16
A
I
S
L
E
17
U
G
L
I
18
S
H
E
A
19
I
D
L
E
R
20
T
H
I
G
21
H
S
O
F
R
22
E
L
I
E
F
23
H
B
A
R
24
L
E
N
25
A
26
N
27
C
28
O
N
E
29
C
30
A
R
D
31
B
32
E
33
T
34
S
I
C
35
E
M
36
H
O
O
37
A
R
L
O
38
T
H
U
M
B
39
E
40
R
O
L
Y
41
M
P
I
C
S
42
R
I
P
S
43
X
I
I
44
I
O
N
I
C
45
A
L
S
46
R
U
G
R
47
A
48
T
S
49
E
D
A
50
R
E
D
51
S
E
T
52
S
53
T
54
H
E
M
E
55
S
56
O
K
A
Y
T
57
O
58
M
59
E
60
T
R
A
C
E
61
I
L
S
A
62
E
M
A
G
63
S
O
S
A
D
64
F
D
I
C
65
A
R
I
A
66
P
U
P
P
Y
67
T
E
N
T
68
M
I
L
L
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0701 ( 23,976 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. With 68-Across, release philosopher John Stuart from cryonic suspension? : THAW
5. Not one, colloquially : NARY
9. With 66-Across, slow learner in the litter? : THICK
14. Abu Simbel's waterway : NILE
15. "Hmm ..." : ISEE
16. "Cleanup on ___ 4" (store announcement) : AISLE
17. Hybrid fruit : UGLI
18. ___ butter (moisturizer) : SHEA
19. Slacker : IDLER
20. Turkey servings for the famished? : THIGHSOFRELIEF
23. Flanged construction beam : HBAR
24. Sportscaster Berman : LEN
25. Mandela's org. : ANC
28. Minimal poker draw : ONECARD
31. Poker draw follow-up, often : BET
34. Order to attack : SICEM
36. Sob syllable : HOO
37. First name at Woodstock : ARLO
38. Quadrennial competition for hitchhikers? : THUMBEROLYMPICS
42. Home run swings : RIPS
43. Numeral atop a face : XII
44. Classical column style : IONIC
45. Sharpton and Roker : ALS
46. Toon tots of '90s-'00s TV : RUGRATS
49. Author LeShan : EDA
50. Like cardinals : RED
51. Court units : SETS
53. TV critic's approval of a show's opening tune? : THEMESOKAYTOME
60. Copy, in a way : TRACE
61. "Casablanca" heroine : ILSA
62. Online read, for short : EMAG
63. "Such a shame" : SOSAD
64. Bank-protecting agcy. : FDIC
65. Copland's "Laurie's Song," e.g. : ARIA
66. See 9-Across : PUPPY
67. Something that has low stakes? : TENT
68. See 1-Across : MILL
Down
1. Flanged fastener : TNUT
2. Weather forecast figure : HIGH
3. "For ___ care ..." : ALLI
4. Consider carefully : WEIGH
5. Yokohama auto giant : NISSAN
6. How things may drift : ASHORE
7. Boater's hazard : REEF
8. Wine datum : YEAR
9. Followed, as a suspect : TAILED
10. Used as cover : HIDIN
11. Capri, e.g. : ISLE
12. G ___ : CLEF
13. Start to "plunk" : KER
21. Eniwetok blaster, informally : HBOMB
22. The Jetsons' son : ELROY
25. "Per ardua ad ___" : ASTRA
26. Zero, to Nero : NIHIL
27. Features of many bras : CCUPS
29. Gospel group : CHOIR
30. Web giant : AOL
31. Pickling need : BRINE
32. Charlton Heston title role : ELCID
33. Opera that premiered in Rome in 1900 : TOSCA
35. Grp. with defibrillators : EMS
37. How to address a sgt.? : APO
39. Display, as charm : EXUDE
40. Oil driller's construction : RIG
41. A bit teary : MISTY
46. Aspirin, for a headache : REMEDY
47. Welcomes warmly : ASKSIN
48. Cause of a 1773 "party" : TEAACT
50. Game follow-up : RECAP
52. Cook, as dim sum : STEAM
53. Drop ___ (moon) : TROU
54. Padlock holder : HASP
55. De-lump, as flour : SIFT
56. ___ English Bulldogge : OLDE
57. Father of King Ahab : OMRI
58. Contents of some drop boxes : MAIL
59. Even, to Yvonne : EGAL
60. Sugar amt., maybe : TSP

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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