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New York Times, Monday, July 1, 2019

Author:
Damon Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3811/8/20047/1/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
15608810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65330
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 38 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
This puzzle represents my record for theme efficiency. I thought of the idea and then scoured the databases for double-alcohol ... read more

This puzzle represents my record for theme efficiency. I thought of the idea and then scoured the databases for double-alcohol phrases. There aren't many. It's a challenge just to find candidate alcohols with short, common letter combinations (SLIVOVITZ, for example, isn't going to work), and even after you do, there aren't many phrases in which they are doubly embedded. HARUM SCARUM and HEAR YE, HEAR YE are the only ones of their type I could find. But those are great seed entries, so when I discovered MAKE MINE A DOUBLE was (amazingly) 15 letters, it would have been constructor malpractice not to make this puzzle.

So, I jimmied up LOGGING INTO, which isn't very exciting, but it works, leaving me in need of one 12-letter theme entry to round out the set. IMPORT EXPORT was my first try, but the NYT editing team didn't like it, because nobody orders a double port. Fair enough. But ALE was the only other possible option, and I had already tried to find a 12-letter double-ALE phrase and gotten nowhere. After lamenting the fact that ALEX HALEY wasn't named ALEX HALEYSON, I went on the "Alex" page of Wikipedia and almost immediately hit on ALEX VAN HALEN — 12 letters. Whoomp! (There it is.)

Next time I'm frustrated by the Crossword Gods foiling my beautiful theme idea (nobody take my SPICE GIRLS theme, I just need a match with ROSEMARY CLOONEY), I'll think of this puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
If you construct long enough, you'll keep having that déjà vu feeling all over again. About ten years ago, I went ... read more

If you construct long enough, you'll keep having that déjà vu feeling all over again. About ten years ago, I went through a process similar to Damon's:

  1. At a bar, after a hard day. Make it a double, please. Hey. HEY! HEYYYYYYY!
  2. Down the double, rush home.
  3. Search *RUM*RUM* (where the * indicates "any string of letters, any length"). Exactly one (usable) result? HARUM SCARUM? It's absolute perfection when you find a great phrase, and zero other possibilities. That's the epitome of elegance.
  4. Search *RYE*RYE*. Exactly one phrase again, and it's a beaut – HEAR YE HEAR YE. The goddess Crucivera is benevolent! These are some Odin-eye-sacrificing type of results, that they are.
  5. Search *GIN*GIN*. Hmm. A dozen or so results, many good but nothing fantastic. Still, SLINGING INK (slang for writing) and HANGING IN THERE are nice.
  6. Search for one last alcohol that will work. Searching. Searching. Searching.
    {Five months later...)
  7. Argue with self. ALE is the only other frickin' possibility. But No One tells a bartender to double an ALE. Swear at Crucivera and forsake her. Screech and duck from the gluey blob bullets she angrily fires at me. Abandon idea and move on.

Looking at this with fresh eyes, I still have the same concern about ALE (and if you nix PORT, you have to nix ALE too, yeah?). It's unusable in this concept. Going down to four total themers — employing something like LOGGING INDUSTRY to balance out MAKE MINE A DOUBLE — would have been thin, but at least passable.

Overall though, the excellent gridwork make this a doubly-friendly Monday offering. Worthy bonuses in NO SIREE BOB, LAKE GENEVA, along with some SVELTE, DELUXE, ATM FEE, LAWFUL, even fun HDTVS atop AEIOU. With barely any DSL OPEL glue, it's top-notch craftsmanship, as I'd expect from a pro like Damon. That's especially appreciated, given how tough it is to work with five longish themers.

1
H
2
D
3
T
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V
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S
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S
8
O
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F
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A
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S
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A
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H
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C
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L
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D
Q
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L
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W
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A
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D
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D
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F
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M
A
K
E
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I
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N
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O
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B
L
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O
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O
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G
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C
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A
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B
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L
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H
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N
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D
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B
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0701 ( 25,437 )
Across
1
Many flat screens : HDTVS
6
"Red, white and blue" land, for short : USOFA
11
Zero, in soccer scores : NIL
14
Quintet followed by "... and sometimes Y" : AEIOU
15
Absolute minimum : LEAST
16
Rocks sent to a refinery : ORE
17
Devil-may-care : HARUMSCARUM
19
Piece of lawn : SOD
20
Actor Guinness of "Star Wars" : ALEC
21
Fashion line? : HEM
22
Summer romance, perhaps : FLING
24
Town crier's cry : HEARYEHEARYE
28
Diamond great Ripken : CAL
31
Gives a red card, in short : DQS
32
Lerner's partner on Broadway : LOEWE
33
Carne ___ (burrito filler) : ASADA
35
Broadband letters : DSL
36
Touch : FEEL
39
Bar request ... or hint to the letters in the circles : MAKEMINEADOUBLE
43
German auto sold mainly in Europe : OPEL
44
Reaction to a body blow : OOF
45
Latches (onto) : GLOMS
46
Élan : GUSTO
48
Offering from Hertz or National : CAR
50
Message-spewing program : BOT
51
Rock drummer whose last name is the same as his band : ALEXVANHALEN
55
Gift recipient : DONEE
56
Eggs for fertilization : OVA
57
Petri dish medium : AGAR
61
Hour after midnight : ONE
62
Accessing, as a password-restricted website : LOGGINGINTO
66
Race, as an engine : REV
67
Pick up the tab for : TREAT
68
Be of use : AVAIL
69
Slice of time : ERA
70
Dark wood : EBONY
71
Midler of "Beaches" : BETTE
Down
1
___ funny (genuinely humorous) : HAHA
2
"You're on!" : DEAL
3
Goodyear product : TIRE
4
Give personal assurance (for) : VOUCH
5
Total : SUM
6
Belly aches? : ULCERS
7
Run-down : SEAMY
8
Crew blade : OAR
9
The Seminoles of the A.C.C. : FSU
10
Charge to get cash from a bank, say : ATMFEE
11
"Absolutely, positively not!" : NOSIREEBOB
12
Humor with a twist : IRONY
13
Overhang : LEDGE
18
Basketball's O'Neal, informally : SHAQ
23
Permissible : LAWFUL
25
Dutch cheese town : EDAM
26
Disney snow queen : ELSA
27
Wrestling maneuver : HOLD
28
G.I. garb, for short : CAMO
29
"Hurry!," on an order : ASAP
30
Body of water between France and Switzerland : LAKEGENEVA
34
Of the highest quality : DELUXE
35
___ Jam records : DEF
37
Falsetto-voiced Muppet : ELMO
38
For fear that : LEST
40
Wee bit : IOTA
41
Lunchtime, often : NOON
42
Fairy tale villain : OGRE
47
Gracefully thin : SVELTE
48
Cause for a dental filling : CAVITY
49
Computer science pioneer Turing : ALAN
51
Love to pieces : ADORE
52
Recluse : LONER
53
Paul who played Crocodile Dundee : HOGAN
54
Easily fooled : NAIVE
58
Flying pest : GNAT
59
Going ___ (fighting) : ATIT
60
Part in a movie : ROLE
63
Space ball : ORB
64
Nat ___ Wild (cable channel) : GEO
65
Yammer : GAB

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?