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New York Times, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Author: Elayne Boosler and Patrick Merrell
Editor: Will Shortz
Elayne Boosler
TotalDebutCollabs
17/12/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.74000
Patrick Merrell
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
867/10/20017/12/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
20105123252
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60553

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQWXZ} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Boosler This is puzzle # 86 for Mr. Merrell. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted in 1942, we are publishing a series of puzzles co-created by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors.

This collaboration is by the comedian Elayne Boosler, who was recently named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time," working together with Patrick Merrell, a writer/illustrator in Vero Beach, Fla. This is Patrick's 86th puzzle for The Times.

The celebrity collaborations will continue periodically through the year.

More information about the making of today's puzzle appears in the Times's daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Constructor notes: PATRICK: If you wanted to bottle the enthusiasm and effort Elayne put into this puzzle, you'd need a vat! Although the two of us ... more
Constructor notes:

PATRICK: If you wanted to bottle the enthusiasm and effort Elayne put into this puzzle, you'd need a vat! Although the two of us live about as far apart as two contiguous U.S.ers can (she's in L.A., I'm on the east coast of Florida), we were able to meet up in Orlando midway through our collaboration, after a show of hers at the Dr. Phillips Center.

Her act was as brilliant as it's ever been — smart, quick, topical, friendly, and with a good dose of local flavor thrown in. Alas, the meeting was brief since she was jetting off to another gig soon after. The only opportunity to talk came as she worked a table in the theater lobby immediately after the show. It was to raise funds for her non-profit animal rescue and advocacy organization, Tails of Joy.

ELAYNE: When the NY Times offered me a chance to do a puzzle with Patrick Merrell, I thought with joy, "Crosswords With the Stars!" I only hoped I'd be a little closer to being Amber Riley than Kenny Mayne, since incredibly, they gave me Derek Hough. Needless to say, I really can't dance. But, like Derek, the talented Mr. Merrell was patient, kind, funny, wonderful, and the best partner you could ever hope for. We laughed for months, and we hope that joy made it into our puzzle. We hope you enjoy it.

Jeff Chen notes: Funny 'modern-day remake' theme, classic movies updated using current businesses. It took me forever to figure out what was going on, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Funny "modern-day remake" theme, classic movies updated using current businesses. It took me forever to figure out what was going on, but then UBER DRIVER (from TAXI DRIVER) gave me a smile.

I wasn't sure what THE ___ DICK was (I really hope they use that as a "Family Feud" survey), but apparently there's a movie called "The Bank Dick"? And Bing Crosby was in … "Holiday Inn"? Huh. Funny, that movie was just in 1979, so I feel like I should know it. Ah well.

ADDED NOTE: Ah, that Bing Crosby movie was in 1942! Now I don't feel quite like I ought to know it ...

I spent a lot of time ruminating on the revealer, GMO POPCORN. Was that supposed to be a remake of some sort of ___ POPCORN phrase? Would have been a clever ending to the puzzle, but alas, I think it's more a "what could we do with POPCORN that sounds modern-day?".

I like in these celeb collaborations when the grid reflects the celeb's life. Love getting SLAY, as Elayne Boosler cracks me up. It would have been neat to turn YAKS into YUKS. But that stupid terminal U would have made 57-Down much less flexible. Drat!

Along the humor line, I smiled at the FIREPLUG clue. If you don't get it, think not about the golf dogleg, but an actual dog's leg … up to the left or right … above a fire hydrant … (sorry, I'm in the habit of having to explain jokes in excruciating detail to my two-year-old).

Pretty good grid, as I'd expect from Patrick, except for one little problematic crossing — UNIVAC / PIMA. Oof. Even for a Wednesday puzzle, I wonder if that's going to give solvers fits. I'm personally interested in tech, so UNIVAC and ENIAC are fascinating to me. PIMA … not so much. Hopefully, solvers will fall into at least one area of interest or the other.

Love the celeb collaboration series, but this theme didn't quite hit home for me. If GMO POPCORN had been replaced with a fourth themer, maybe something involving GOOGLE or AMAZON or something, that would have worked better for me.

(EGBDF = every good boy does fine, a mnemonic for the notes on the lines on a treble clef score.)

1
C
2
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0712 ( 24,718 )
Across Down
1. TV's "Top ___" : CHEF
5. Be abrasive : CHAFE
10. One on a U.S. penny : UNUM
14. Pause : LULL
15. Apply, as lotion : RUBIN
16. Moon unit? : NASA
17. Troop group : ARMY
18. Modern-day remake of a Robert De Niro film? : UBERDRIVER
20. Lands on a couch, say : PLOPS
22. Indians' home: Abbr. : CLE
23. Part of EGBDF : EVERY
24. Jessica of "Fantastic Four" : ALBA
26. Fine cotton : PIMA
28. Modern-day remake of a W. C. Fields film? : THEPAYPALDICK
33. Overnight flight : REDEYE
34. Brief blow : GUST
35. South African golfing great : ELS
38. Kuwaiti leader : EMIR
39. Whopping : BIG
40. Relative of a musette : OBOE
41. Carson not known for his monologues : KIT
42. Completely busted : SHOT
44. Goat coat : MOHAIR
46. Modern-day remake of a Bing Crosby film? : HOLIDAYAIRBNB
49. Snooping : NOSY
50. Gardner who wrote "The Case of the Negligent Nymph" : ERLE
51. Canine command : SICEM
54. Word derived from the name of a Belgian town : SPA
56. F.D.R., Churchill and Stalin's last meeting place : YALTA
60. ... and something to eat while watching the remakes : GMOPOPCORN
63. Slant : LEAN
64. Rock's Jethro ___ : TULL
65. Guy with a lot of bookings? : DANNO
66. Gentle tune : LILT
67. Make litterproof? : SPAY
68. Emo emotion : ANGST
69. Animals that provided hair used in Chewbacca's costume : YAKS
1. Give it up, so to speak : CLAP
2. Toss : HURL
3. Little red monster : ELMO
4. Sticky strip : FLYPAPER
5. French vineyard : CRU
6. Wheel adornment : HUBCAP
7. Member of the first family : ABEL
8. What may have a dog leg to the left or right? : FIREPLUG
9. Squelch : END
10. Computer that accurately predicted Ike's 1952 election : UNIVAC
11. Where a congregation congregates : NAVE
12. App customer : USER
13. "Bloody" queen : MARY
19. Please ___ (invoice stamp) : REMIT
21. What good comics do : SLAY
25. Tournament pass : BYE
27. Bouncer's checks, for short? : IDS
28. Long march : TREK
29. Prefix meaning "half" : HEMI
30. "All in the Family" mother : EDITH
31. Feeling of anxiety : AGITA
32. It's stuck on a grill : KEBAB
36. Cut above the flank : LOIN
37. Southern Slav : SERB
39. T.S.A. screening : BODYSCAN
40. "That so?!" : OHREALLY
42. Film lovers may run in it : SLOMO
43. Half of a towel set : HIS
44. Deface : MAR
45. Kind of boid that catches the woim? : OILY
47. Like cheap toilet paper : ONEPLY
48. Aches (for) : YEARNS
51. Barracks barkers: Abbr. : SGTS
52. Grumbly "Are you still sleeping?" response : IMUP
53. Pop : COLA
55. Video game with a square ball : PONG
57. Sci-fi princess : LEIA
58. Lecture : TALK
59. They might emerge on hilltops : ANTS
61. A peck in a park is one, for short : PDA
62. "As if!" : NOT

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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