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New York Times, Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Author: Tom McCoy
Editor: Will Shortz
Tom McCoy
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Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {BFJQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. McCoy. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes: This puzzle has a somewhat circuitous history. The idea came from a text conversation with my little sister (presented with her ... more
Tom McCoy notes:

This puzzle has a somewhat circuitous history. The idea came from a text conversation with my little sister (presented with her permission). I thought that this sort of joke had potential for a Sunday puzzle (which could be titled "DO I HAVE TO SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU?"), so I started compiling a list of abbreviations that were also words in their own right.

By the time I had done a pretty exhaustive search of abbreviations, I did not have quite enough possible theme entries to make a whole Sunday puzzle because there were not enough abbreviations that were spelled out letter by letter (like how ACT is actually pronounced "ay-see-tea"). However, there were many more abbreviations that were not spelled out letter-by-letter (like "sing." for "singular" or "in." for inch), so I ended up switching to that type of abbreviation to make the Sunday "THE SHORT FORM," which appeared a little less than a year ago.

I didn't want to waste the few spelled-out abbreviations I had found, though, and that's where today's puzzle comes from. So, a big thank-you to Sammie for taking the ACT and sparking two entire crossword themes for me!

P.S. If any of my other sisters are reading this, know that it was Sammie who entered her name into my phone that way.

Jeff Chen notes: I greatly admire constructors who can come up with novel ideas. So many crosswords have been made over the years that just about ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I greatly admire constructors who can come up with novel ideas. So many crosswords have been made over the years that just about everything feels like it's been done to me. Tom comes up with a neat concept today, one that feels fresh, using TLAs (three letter acronyms) to replace a regular word. PICK ME, U.P.S.! had me chuckling, and MAMMA M.I.A. was clever. But my favorite was LET ER R.I.P. — not only is it a colorful base phrase, but the result is so enjoyably kooky. COMMON E.R.A. and DISAPPEARING A.C.T. (American College Testing) didn't do as much for me, but they still work well, consistent with the others.

Tom does so well with his grids. Many constructors would cite the fact that they have five longish themers, and call it good to produce a smooth, if unexciting, grid. Tom works in not just two, but four long downs, all of them really nice. Amusing to have GRAVE PERIL intersecting LET ER R.I.P., and ASYMMETRY is snazzy. We even get a ROM COM and a MEANIE — fun stuff.

Fun PALIN clue. It's so easy to take potshots at her, but this quote, "Buck up or stay in the truck," reminds me of the various Bushisms out there. I think I'll choose ... stay in the truck? I guess?

All this, with just a minor SCIS abbreviation and a NEURO prefix. I don't mind ILIE at all, since ILIE Nastase was a very famous tennis player. Sometimes he gets clued as a partial, just for a little variety, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that Tom was thinking of the tennis player.

I wasn't too hot on the D, E, A, N, S list cluing both ANDES and SEDAN, because having an "order for a Dean's list" didn't feel totally in the language. Still, A for effort, and it's nice to get some novelty here and there.

When someone gets too high on my POW! list, I up my bar for them so I can spread the love. But with an entertaining, innovative idea, and a beautiful grid to boot, I tip my hat to Tom this week.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0713 ( 24,354 )
Across Down
1. What might be used with a "Giddy-up!" : SPUR
5. Unexpected problem : SNAG
9. King Julien in "Madagascar," for one : LEMUR
14. Words of dawning realization : OHNO
15. Go bad, as milk : SOUR
16. Bakery output : AROMA
17. Stat shared by many pitchers? : COMMONERA
19. Order for a "D, E, A, N, S" list? : SEDAN
20. Bent : KNACK
21. Wash : LAVE
23. Bird with large green eggs : EMU
24. Lady of La Mancha : SENORA
26. "Leave that lady's tomb alone!"? : LETERRIP
29. "Welcome" sights : MATS
31. Politico who said "Buck up or stay in the truck" : PALIN
32. Gardner who played the Barefoot Contessa : AVA
35. Boo-boo : OWIE
37. Another order for a "D, E, A, N, S" list? : ANDES
40. Exam that's losing popularity in high schools? : DISAPPEARINGACT
44. Be a greeter : SAYHI
45. Release, as gas : EMIT
46. "That's so ___!" (compliment, sort of) : YOU
47. Rendezvoused near : METAT
49. Not so much : LESS
52. Example of bad parenting? : MAMMAMIA
55. Grouchypants : MEANIE
59. "It's no ___" : USE
60. Favored ones : PETS
62. Partner of odds : EVENS
63. Limber : LITHE
66. Cry from an eager applicant for a delivery job? : PICKMEUPS
68. Units of 70-Across : ACRES
69. "Would ___?" : ILIE
70. Geometric calculation : AREA
71. "Bye Bye Bye" boy band : NSYNC
72. Crafts website : ETSY
73. PlayStation maker : SONY
1. Some puppets : SOCKS
2. Give a buzz : PHONE
3. Deprive of courage : UNMAN
4. "Sleepless in Seattle," for one : ROMCOM
5. Nine-digit ID : SSN
6. Rhyme for "Israel," in a carol : NOEL
7. Hearing-related : AURAL
8. Serious danger : GRAVEPERIL
9. ___ Palmas (province of Spain) : LAS
10. Before, to a poet : ERE
11. Characteristic of the present : MODERNDAY
12. Savory sensation : UMAMI
13. Accumulated, as debt : RANUP
18. Vegetable that's a good source of protein : OKRA
22. GPS calculation : ETA
25. On : ATOP
27. Flair : ELAN
28. Band at a wedding : RING
30. Honeybunch : SWEETIEPIE
32. Spots before your eyes? : ADS
33. Through : VIA
34. Difference between two sides : ASYMMETRY
36. Affirmative response : IAM
38. Author Umberto : ECO
39. Good name for a guy who's seething? : STU
41. "I'd like to make a point ..." : AHEM
42. Bread with a pocket : PITA
43. Couple : ITEM
48. Turn (up), as intensity : AMP
50. Look : SEEM
51. File menu option : SAVEAS
52. 1998 movie with the song "I'll Make a Man Out of You" : MULAN
53. Shoe brand that sounds like a letter and a number : ASICS
54. With lance in hand : ATILT
56. Prefix with transmitter : NEURO
57. How the confident may solve : INPEN
58. Op-ed, e.g. : ESSAY
61. Geol. and phys. : SCIS
64. Nest builder : HEN
65. With 67-Down, tool for getting out of a window, in brief : ESC
67. See 65-Down : KEY

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

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