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New York Times, Monday, July 25, 2016

Author: Kevin Christian
Editor: Will Shortz
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1.64011
Kevin Christian

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 42 Missing: {FQZ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Christian. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kevin Christian notes: I built the first grid for a HEY JOE puzzle in August 2011. The theme answers I used at the time had some issues: JACKSON ... more
Kevin Christian notes:

I built the first grid for a HEY JOE puzzle in August 2011. The theme answers I used at the time had some issues:

  • JACKSON HOLE … I wasn't sure if all solvers would be familiar with Joe Jackson. He's a British musician who did songs such as "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" and "Steppin' Out." (There's also Shoeless Joe Jackson, the baseball player, but Joe Jackson the musician was the one I had in mind.)
  • LOUIS AND CLARK … This one was confusing (is it Joe Louis, Joe Clark, or both?).
  • COCKER SPANIEL … I felt this was a strong theme answer, and still do. Cocker spaniels are awesome. Joe Cocker is awesome. This theme answer was a winner.
  • MONTANA FLAG … I'm a huge fan of Joe Montana, and he was the original inspiration for the theme idea, but MONTANA FLAG is weak as a theme answer, and I couldn't find a MONTANA* answer that I liked.

So I did what I've done with about 50 other grids I've built over the years … I let the grid sit on my hard disk without clues and never finished it.

I ran the HEY JOE idea by Brad Wilber and asked him if he could figure out how to fix it. Brad suggested coming up with theme answers based on Joe's who aren't real people, such as Joe Blow, Joe Boxer, Joe Camel, Joe Cool, Joe Mamma, Joe Six-Pack, etc. I didn't like losing Joe Cocker and Joe Montana, but I liked Brad's idea, so I went with it.

Brad and I started off collaborating on this puzzle, but then ended up not because he got too busy. I'm glad I get to give him partial credit here. Thanks Brad for your help!

Jeff Chen notes: HEY JOE hints at four colorful JOE ___ phrases: JOE BOXER, JOE CAMEL, JOE COOL, and JOE BLOW. It would have been neat to have SIX ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

HEY JOE hints at four colorful JOE ___ phrases: JOE BOXER, JOE CAMEL, JOE COOL, and JOE BLOW. It would have been neat to have SIX PACK ABS as a themer, and I'm sure there are others, but these ones were fun.

Loved BOXER REBELLION, COOL BEANS, and BLOW HOT AND COLD, all snazzy phrases worth featuring. CAMEL CASE … it was interesting to learn about. I never knew there was a term for "capitalizing a word within a phrase" like PowerPoint. And it's grown on me since, as a middle capital does kind of look like a camel's hump! Cool beans indeed. (Apologies to all the young people who just groaned at my usage of that phrase.)

Some interesting mid-to-long fill, BAD LUCK my favorite. As a Seahawks fan, I cannot abide having the hated STEELERS in my grid, but I suppose it's good fill. Bah! DUE NORTH and ASEXUAL elevate the solving experience too.

ALL WORK … boy, that sounds like a partial to me. When would you ever say that by itself? Maybe ALL WORK AND NO PLAY, clued in parallel structure as ["You gotta leave the office sometime or you'll have zero life …"].

I have a strong preference for Monday puzzles to be particularly smooth, to draw in newbie solvers. There wasn't anything really egregious except the heavily crosswordy ETUI (just imagine a newbie solving this puzzle and staring at the completed grid, wondering what mistake he/she made to end up with the weird E T U I sequence), but with CANER, APER, ALAR, and URAL, it felt like too much for me. I appreciate Kevin's effort, though, as incorporating a few pieces of snappy fill often comes at a price. Seems like ETUI was the price to pay for BAD LUCK, for example.

Glad that 1-Down, HEY, didn't totally give away the game. I would still have preferred to see HEY / JOE across the middle in order to delay the reveal, but it was nice to still nice to not know what the puzzle was about until the end.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0725 ( 24,366 )
Across Down
1. "That's hilarious!" : HAHA
5. Acting groups : CASTS
10. Flexed, as at the elbow : BENT
14. Pitchers' stats : ERAS
15. Dizzying illusions : OPART
16. ___ Ant (cartoon superhero) : ATOM
17. Harvard rival : YALE
18. Disprove : BELIE
19. Sand hill : DUNE
20. 1899-1901 uprising in China : BOXERREBELLION
23. Actress Thurman of "Gattaca" : UMA
24. Fictional news director Grant : LOU
25. Palindromic term of address : MADAM
28. Style of "iPhone" or "eBay," typographically : CAMELCASE
34. Poet Dickinson : EMILY
35. Banned apple spray : ALAR
36. Potter's oven : KILN
37. Talk smack about : DIS
38. Poor passing grade : DPLUS
39. June honoree : DAD
40. Ancient Peruvian : INCA
42. ___ Mountains (range east of Moscow) : URAL
43. Tequila plant : AGAVE
45. "Great!" : COOLBEANS
47. Rattan furniture maker : CANER
48. Connected PC group : LAN
49. YouTube video additions of 2007 : ADS
50. Vacillate : BLOWHOTANDCOLD
58. Ride to an awards show : LIMO
59. Overly enthusiastic : RABID
60. Muslim pilgrimage : HAJJ
62. Manipulator : USER
63. Negotiated peace : TRUCE
64. "Twist, Lick, Dunk" cookie : OREO
65. Stinky : RANK
66. Internet troll, maybe : HATER
67. Stow on a ship : LADE
1. With 61-Down, Jimi Hendrix's first single ... or a hint to the starts of 20-, 28-, 45- and 50-Across : HEY
2. Saudi, e.g. : ARAB
3. Angel's topper : HALO
4. Like amoeba reproduction : ASEXUAL
5. Snake charmer's snake : COBRA
6. Imitator : APER
7. "50% off" event : SALE
8. Chicago daily, familiarly : TRIB
9. Pittsburgh N.F.L. team : STEELERS
10. What the number 13 brings, supposedly : BADLUCK
11. Sewing case : ETUI
12. Taboo thing : NONO
13. Capone's adversaries, informally : TMEN
21. One of 22 for Jon Stewart : EMMY
22. 1-Across, in textspeak : LOL
25. Military first-aid expert : MEDIC
26. Protein acid : AMINO
27. Dance club with a glittery ball overhead : DISCO
28. Frank who directed "It's a Wonderful Life" : CAPRA
29. Writer Edgar ___ Poe : ALLAN
30. Claws savagely : MAULS
31. Actor Quinn : AIDAN
32. One emancipated by emancipation : SLAVE
33. Rear-___ (certain accident) : ENDER
38. 0 degrees, on a compass : DUENORTH
41. This, and no play, make Jack a dull boy : ALLWORK
43. "For Those About to Rock" band : ACDC
44. Low-ethanol fuel blend : GASOHOL
46. Scrooge outburst : BAH
49. Puff ___ (snake) : ADDER
50. Photo of a speeding car, maybe : BLUR
51. Bart Simpson's sister : LISA
52. Harbinger : OMEN
53. Scarlett O'Hara's plantation : TARA
54. Touch, as two states : ABUT
55. Naughty's opposite : NICE
56. Doctor Zhivago's love : LARA
57. Handled tunes at a dance, say : DJED
61. See 1-Down : JOE

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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