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New York Times, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4511/13/20127/22/201716
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
517115322
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57281

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 44 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: I tried to remove OPE, but I did not like any of the versions I had in the upper right corner. Quite a few hesitating moments ... more
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:

I tried to remove OPE, but I did not like any of the versions I had in the upper right corner. Quite a few hesitating moments when I filled this grid, including EL CHAPO, who was just recaptured when I made this grid. I did not have circles in my submission.

Jeff Chen notes: POWER COUPLE interpreted as 'phrases with an AC and a DC in them.' Too bad the puzzle doesn't have the awesome lightning bolt found ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

POWER COUPLE interpreted as "phrases with an AC and a DC in them." Too bad the puzzle doesn't have the awesome lightning bolt found in the AC/DC (rock band) logo! How cool would that have been?

I love the phrase POWER COUPLE, so snazzy. I wish it had related more strongly to the themers though — finding phrases with an ACDC string in them (no break) would have been perfect. As is, these feel like the POWER COUPLEs are far apart. Maybe that's how it is in real life, especially with movie stars spending so much time physically apart while filming movies?

There's the little matter of no phrase containing the *ACDC* (unbroken) string, too. Right. The crossword gods strike again.

I did like C.C.'s selection of phrases, each one so juicy. SACRED COW is great. ACTED COOL is fun, maybe because I used to go around saying "Aaaaaa!" like the Fonz. (Needless to say, I wasn't popular.) There are surprisingly few other phrases that contain an AC and a DC in that order — MAC AND CHEESE was the only other great one — which makes C.C.'s presentation even more impressive. It'd be too easy to give up and go with ACID CELL or something equally dull.

C.C. always does so well injecting color into her puzzles, both through theme choices and bonuses. Love OPULENCE, DNA LABS, PEAT BOG. EL CHAPO also made me pause, but he is no doubt newsworthy. So much packed in; such great use of those mid-length slots.

A couple of blips here in there on short fill, but nothing egregious. OPE, AGA, OPTO is all passable, well worth the price of all those great bonuses in the fill. This is especially appreciated given how tough it can be to get a grid to behave with five themers, the middle one such an awkward 11-letter length.

Overall, a strong construction, but I would have liked the themers better tied to the revealer. The separation of AC and DC makes me a little sad for these POWER COUPLES.

1
P
2
A
3
S
4
S
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J
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D
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A
8
T
9
E
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A
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I
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A
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P
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F
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H
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C
R
E
A
M
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A
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A
G
A
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U
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S
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E
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Y
A
C
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H
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S
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A
C
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D
C
O
W
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A
S
H
E
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A
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V
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N
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A
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R
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O
M
E
O
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H
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36
P
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C
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O
U
P
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E
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P
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A
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D
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B
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C
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O
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O
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F
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E
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P
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B
A
C
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K
G
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C
60
H
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C
K
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O
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P
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0711 ( 24,717 )
Across Down
1. Make the grade : PASS
5. Matchmaking site since 1997 : JDATE
10. Working hard : ATIT
14. Introductory painting class : ARTI
15. Assign, as blame : PINON
16. Done, in Dijon : FINI
17. Hunky-dory : PEACHESANDCREAM
20. ___ Arbor, Mich. : ANN
21. Turkish for "lord" : AGA
22. Borrower's letters : IOU
23. Perennially strong entrant at the Winter Olympics: Abbr. : SWE
24. America, for example, which has a "Cup" named after it : YACHT
26. Untouchable one : SACREDCOW
29. Tennis star Arthur : ASHE
30. Off-road wheels, briefly : ATV
31. Screenwriter Ephron : NORA
32. Ladies' man : ROMEO
34. Stockpiles : HOARDS
36. Victoria and David Beckham, e.g. ... or what 17-, 26-, 47- and 57-Across each have, in a way : POWERCOUPLE
38. Dangers : PERILS
40. Sleep clinic concern : APNEA
41. SpaceX founder Musk : ELON
42. Found really neat : DUG
43. The Rolling Stones or Smashing Pumpkins : BAND
47. Stayed calm : ACTEDCOOL
51. Big name in nail polish : ESSIE
52. Something that's definite? : THE
53. Numbskull : OAF
54. Canon camera : EOS
56. Workout target, for short : PEC
57. Pre-employment screening : BACKGROUNDCHECK
61. Vision: Prefix : OPTO
62. Come in second : PLACE
63. Cold drink at Burger King : ICEE
64. Former C.I.A. director Porter ___ : GOSS
65. Kills time : IDLES
66. War vet's affliction, for short : PTSD
1. Fruit in som tam salad : PAPAYA
2. Sports centers : ARENAS
3. Stem the flow of : STANCH
4. [not my mistake] : SIC
5. Picture file format : JPEG
6. "Twister" or "San Andreas" film genre : DISASTER
7. Santa ___ winds : ANA
8. Gin's partner : TONIC
9. Home of the Ewoks : ENDOR
10. Togo's home: Abbr. : AFR
11. No-win situation : TIESCORE
12. Briefly : INAWORD
13. "I remember when ..." : TIMEWAS
18. Bowler, e.g. : HAT
19. Stage signal : CUE
25. Katniss Everdeen, in "The Hunger Games" : HEROINE
27. California roll ingredient : AVOCADO
28. Swab analysis sites : DNALABS
30. Iowa college town : AMES
33. A fly-by-night? : OWL
34. Like some juries : HUNG
35. Unlock, to a poet : OPE
36. Guards : PROTECTS
37. Luxury : OPULENCE
38. Natural fuel source : PEATBOG
39. Nickname of the Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán : ELCHAPO
44. Facet : ASPECT
45. "Uncle!" criers, maybe : NIECES
46. Punched out : DECKED
48. Follow relentlessly : DOG
49. Wrist bones : CARPI
50. Long past : OFOLD
51. YouTube full-screen mode exit key : ESC
55. Laudatory poetry : ODES
58. Boxing victories, briefly : KOS
59. Delta competitor: Abbr. : UAL
60. Trendy : HIP

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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