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New York Times, Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Author:
Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3210/2/20085/5/20199
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
7256516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64130
Samuel A. Donaldson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQWZ} This is puzzle # 24 for Mr. Donaldson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Samuel A. Donaldson notes:
I sometimes worry that another constructor will beat me to print with the same theme idea. That happened here, when Jeff Chen ... read more

I sometimes worry that another constructor will beat me to print with the same theme idea. That happened here, when Jeff Chen published "Break a Leg" with the CrosSynergy syndicate last October (which was several months after this puzzle had been accepted). Jeff's theme entries all use leg bones, making his theme tighter than mine; the bones in my puzzle are from all over the place. Still, the ideas here are very much the same. I prefer to think of this as a case of "great minds thinking alike." Or more accurately, "feeble mind submitted first but great mind did it better."

I wasn't sure whether this would be a Tuesday or Wednesday theme when I clued it, so maybe that explains why just 30 of my clues (38%) made the final cut. Another 16 clues (21%) were modified slightly, meaning 32 (41%) clues in the puzzle are one for which I cannot take credit. Very likely, the ones solvers like best are from that last group.

Jeff Chen notes:
Few people make me laugh like Sam. His self-deprecating humor makes him one of my very favorite people in the crossworld. I can't tell ... read more

Few people make me laugh like Sam. His self-deprecating humor makes him one of my very favorite people in the crossworld. I can't tell you how hard I laughed when Sam posted a series of comments from haters about one of his puzzles ... followed by "Sharpen your pencil and come see what all the accolades are about!" Dang, I love him.

Today, he gives us some BROKEN BONES after a SLIP AND FALL, using sets of diagonal black squares to represent breaks. I like how he used longish entries in which he hid his bones, TRUE LIFE and MURKIER making for a great pair to hide FE/MUR. Fun to get a few colorful entries right in the middle of the puzzle among all those theme answers, with GOTTI, RUMBA, BALDY. (One of my favorite moments at the ACPT this year was having breakfast with Sam and Doug Peterson, all three of us middle-aged (but young at heart) baldies.)

It was slightly confusing to see UL/NA/TI/BIA all "connected," but it was kind of cool how much themage Sam packed into the center of the puzzle. Four bones and eight answers is very tough to squeeze into just seven rows! Okay, I didn't like HAS AC as a theme answer — pretty arbitrary — but RESTFUL and NATTERED are fun.

Given how much Sam packed in — the eight central answers plus SLIP AND FALL and BROKEN BONES — it's a pretty smooth grid. Some NOM DE (inelegant partial), EIS (deep German), ACAD (abbr.), ROSAS (plural name or deep Spanish) is pretty good, given the constraints. And to get bonuses in CALCUTTA, SILENT I, BLABBER, GUNNER, SUN RA, is much appreciated.

I think there's something tying the four bones together — very common ones that break upon a SLIP AND FALL? — but that seemed a little macabre. Not sure that older people who've slipped and fallen want to be reminded of it. Still, a fun implementation, seeing those bones "break" across those sharp diagonal black lines.

1
L
2
A
3
B
4
A
5
T
6
T
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O
8
R
9
C
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S
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A
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N
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A
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15
A
C
A
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P
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S
L
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P
A
N
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D
F
A
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L
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P
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X
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F
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C
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M
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F
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V
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N
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E
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D
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H
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A
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S
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G
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A
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D
37
R
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M
B
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38
B
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L
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B
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D
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D
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K
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T
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G
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M
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E
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N
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O
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O
X
O
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P
E
A
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B
R
56
O
K
E
N
B
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O
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A
M
Y
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E
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D
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R
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0712 ( 24,353 )
Across
1
Canadian beer ___ Blue : LABATT
7
Tolkien creatures : ORCS
11
___-Man (pint-size superhero in a 2015 film) : ANT
14
Distinguished N.F.L.er : ALLPRO
15
Antioxidant berry : ACAI
16
"The Tell-Tale Heart" writer : POE
17
Take a tumble : SLIPANDFALL
19
Chicken ___ (kid's ailment) : POX
20
Winter hazard on the autobahn : EIS
21
Charges : FEES
22
Solidify, as a friendship : CEMENT
24
Tranquil : RESTFUL
26
Jazz composer with an Egyptian-inspired name : SUNRA
27
One given the red-carpet treatment : VIP
28
Went on and on : NATTERED
31
Is ready for the summer weather, for short : HASAC
34
Gambino boss : GOTTI
35
Disco ___ ("The Simpsons" character) : STU
36
Military sch. : ACAD
37
Cousin of the mambo : RUMBA
38
Statistician's concern : BIAS
39
Permit : LET
40
Chrome dome : BALDY
41
Language of Copenhagen, to locals : DANSK
42
MTV documentary series about everyday people : TRUELIFE
44
"Good Will Hunting" director Van Sant : GUS
45
"___ Hope" (1970s-'80s soap) : RYANS
46
More obscure : MURKIER
50
Owing (to) : INDEBT
52
"Game of Thrones" actress Chaplin : OONA
53
Palindromic houseware brand : OXO
54
Small brain, metaphorically : PEA
55
Injuries illustrated four times in this puzzle : BROKENBONES
58
Actress Adams of "American Hustle" : AMY
59
A Saarinen : EERO
60
Cult film heroine called "Mistress of the Dark" : ELVIRA
61
Number between uno and tres : DOS
62
Stink to high heaven : REEK
63
Laughs or cries, maybe : REACTS
Down
1
Surgical tool : LASER
2
Rachel McAdams's character in "The Notebook" : ALLIE
3
Euphoria : BLISS
4
Modern kind of store : APP
5
Driver's excuse for being late : TRAFFIC
6
Build muscle : TONEUP
7
Klutzes : OAFS
8
It released the first 45 r.p.m. records : RCA
9
Indian home to Mother Teresa : CALCUTTA
10
Sound part of business? : SILENTI
11
Is part of the cast of : APPEARSIN
12
12 : NOON
13
It might contain an emoji : TEXT
18
___ Mar (California racetrack) : DEL
23
G.I. grub : MRE
25
Broadcast commercial : TVAD
26
Failed to get involved : SATBY
28
___ plume : NOMDE
29
Itinerary data, for short : ETAS
30
Closing time for many city parks : DUSK
31
"Stop right there!" : HALT
32
Lenovo alternative : ACER
33
Times for most college football games : SATURDAYS
34
Chasms : GULFS
37
"___ County" (Elizabeth Taylor movie) : RAINTREE
38
Lie in the sun : BASK
40
Spew nonsense : BLABBER
41
Long-lasting, as goods : DURABLE
43
Body part following black or pink : EYE
44
Overly ambitious student, in slang : GUNNER
46
One of the Three Stooges : MOE
47
Architectural column style : IONIC
48
Apply, as pressure : EXERT
49
Valentine's Day flowers, in Spain : ROSAS
50
Tablet purchased without a prescription? : IPAD
51
Pixar's "Finding ___" : NEMO
52
"All right, I'll do it!" : OKOK
56
Mined metal : ORE
57
Eggs in clinics : OVA

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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