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New York Times, Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Author:
Emily Carroll
Editor:
Will Shortz
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58/22/20167/25/20180
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0112100
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1.59130
Emily Carroll

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 5 for Ms. Carroll. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Emily Carroll notes:
Many thanks to Will Shortz et al. who gave me a chance to fix and resubmit this puzzle after the initial draft I sent in a few years ... read more

Many thanks to Will Shortz et al. who gave me a chance to fix and resubmit this puzzle after the initial draft I sent in a few years ago had a bunch of 3 letter bird names which were correctly adjudged "too short to be interesting." Also for improving my clues as usual. I wish I had thought of that clue combination for 68- and 69-across, but at least anyone who doesn't read these things will be fooled into thinking I'm that clever.

One thing I learned through making this puzzle is that the word RAVEN will not flip itself into GARDEN VARIETY no matter how long you stare at it. I also had ideally wanted to squeeze in an additional theme answer (GREBE/CANDICE BERGEN) but couldn't make it fit. It was probably for the best, though, because I think HERON, EGRET, CRANE work well as a trio since they all fit into the "skinny birds with long necks but aren't storks" class in my layperson taxonomic system. I'm sure there's an ornithologist out there scoffing at my bird ignorance.

Jeff Chen notes:
Emily FLIPPED us THE BIRD today, hiding a reversed HERON, EGRET, and CRANE within themers. Cheeky idea, especially for the NYT! ... read more

Emily FLIPPED us THE BIRD today, hiding a reversed HERON, EGRET, and CRANE within themers. Cheeky idea, especially for the NYT!

ENARC within GOLDEN ARCHES = perfect! A long string, spanning the two words of a phrase that most everyone will have heard of = yes yes yes!

TERGE within POLTERGEISTS is a notch lower since one-word theme answers tend to be less interesting than multi-worders. Still, POLTERGEISTS is a neat word, filled with spookiness. I ain't afraid of no POLTERGEISTS!

Okay, I am. I still have trouble opening the fridge door at night.

NOREH within PIANO REHEARSAL … I like that it spans a two-word answer. That answer seems a touch arbitrary, though. Would GUITAR PRACTICE be acceptable? Or BANJO TUNING? In the service of this theme, PIANO REHEARSAL gets a pass, but I wouldn't be as lenient otherwise.

I had the same hesitation about LOW SNAP. I was so excited to put in BAD SNAP, such a great entry! LOW SNAP is a real thing, but I usually hear "the snap is low."

But I did enjoy ERROR-FREE, TABLE LAMP, CHEAP SHOT, KILL TIME. Four out of four winners!

Ah, those "parallel down" structures, though. It's so tough to fill around two long pieces of bonus fill right next to each other. That lower left corner especially suffered: BYS, SEPTS, ERE. I wouldn't mind this trade-off if you look at the isolated corner, but with other dabs of crossword glue in the puzzle – OPES, TELE, WELLI, etc. – I'd have preferred a less ambitious approach, for a more elegant overall finish.

It's tough to work with a 14-letter revealer since all the theme answers get squished together toward the middle. (The revealer has to go in row 12, instead of row 13 like usual.) I have a feeling pinching POLTERGEISTS and GOLDEN ARCHES one row toward the center might have helped smooth out the grid, but of course, that would have called for a complete redo.

Loved the [Cutting class?] clue for SHOP. It just takes a handful of clever clues like this to make a puzzle shine. And defining PRENUP as a "union agreement" = delightful!

Strong idea and I appreciated the level of difficulty of using all five-letter birds. If the grid had been polished, this could have made POW! consideration.

Jim Horne notes:
I have to stand up for PIANO REHEARSAL. It's a thing. Just before opening night, opera or Broadway singers will get a chance to ... read more

I have to stand up for PIANO REHEARSAL. It's a thing. Just before opening night, opera or Broadway singers will get a chance to rehearse with the full orchestra, but until then, they have to settle for piano rehearsals. They're cheaper (obviously) and it's much easier to start and stop to polish tough sections.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0725 ( 25,096 )
Across
1. Get too scared, with "out" : WIMP
5. Cutting class? : SHOP
9. Like a know-it-all : COCKY
14. Witching ___ : HOUR
15. Word that might accompany an air kiss : CIAO
16. Garden pest : APHID
17. Memo header : INRE
18. Sciences' partner : ARTS
19. Reacts to a blow : REELS
20. Grand preparations? : PIANOREHEARSAL
23. Comment after a sneeze : SALUD
24. Sushi bar offering : UNI
25. Letter before omega : PSI
27. Things that go bump in the night : POLTERGEISTS
32. Girded : SET
35. Disturb : ROIL
36. Sea ___ : URCHIN
37. Mouth, slangily : TRAP
39. "___ never!" : WELLI
41. Genus that includes geniuses : HOMO
42. Shady areas : ARBORS
44. It's right on the map : EAST
46. Vietnamese festival : TET
47. Iconic logo since 1962 : GOLDENARCHES
50. Bard's "before" : ERE
51. Granola morsel : OAT
52. Mountain shelter : LODGE
56. Gestured rudely ... or what this puzzle's circles have done? : FLIPPEDTHEBIRD
61. "___ yourself!" : BRACE
62. Home to the Triple Crown of Surfing : OAHU
63. Ones who've called it quits : EXES
64. Neighbor of Saudi Arabia : YEMEN
65. Company, e.g. : UNIT
66. Communion, e.g. : RITE
67. 7 7 7, in France : SEPTS
68. Circus site : TENT
69. Circus sight : SEAL
Down
1. Congressional leaders : WHIPS
2. Ancient Anatolian region : IONIA
3. Sistine Chapel feature : MURAL
4. Union agreement, informally? : PRENUP
5. Disney villain voiced by Jeremy Irons : SCAR
6. Take on : HIRE
7. Curse : OATH
8. Big phony : POSEUR
9. Verizon or AT&T : CARRIER
10. Unfolds, in poetry : OPES
11. Unsporting comment : CHEAPSHOT
12. Twiddles one's thumbs : KILLSTIME
13. Golf hole measure: Abbr. : YDS
21. Nose wrinkler : ODOR
22. Distress : ANGUISH
26. "Love ___ a victory march" ("Hallelujah" lyric) : ISNOT
28. Action that could cause a QB's fumble : LOWSNAP
29. Part of many a garbage bag : TIE
30. "Oklahoma!" aunt : ELLER
31. I, in Innsbruck : ICH
32. Put on : STAGE
33. Scoring 100 : ERRORFREE
34. Piece of office décor : TABLELAMP
38. Pea's place : POD
40. Body of eau : LAC
43. Investigates, as a cold case : REOPENS
45. Prefix meaning "far away" : TELE
48. Went to a restaurant : ATEOUT
49. Gets serious, with "up" : SOBERS
53. The South : DIXIE
54. TV host Van Susteren : GRETA
55. Ford flop : EDSEL
57. One of the first musicians to have an "explicit content" sticker on an album : ICET
58. Rosencrantz or Guildenstern : DANE
59. Flimsy : THIN
60. Jabba, for one, in "Star Wars" : HUTT
61. Fly-___ : BYS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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