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New York Times, Monday, July 27, 2015

Author: D. Scott Nichols and Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
D. Scott Nichols
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
210/14/20137/27/20152
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0200000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.43000
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5011/13/201212/5/201718
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
517145342
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Nichols. This is puzzle # 19 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Constructor notes: SCOTT: We made this puzzle last August and it was accepted on Oct 3, 2014. We were happy to give YOKO ONO such a place of ... more
Constructor notes:

SCOTT: We made this puzzle last August and it was accepted on Oct 3, 2014. We were happy to give YOKO ONO such a place of prominence after all the help she has given constructors through the years, not that we had better choices for a central entry.

Jeff Chen notes: Last name PALINDROMES today, with our old crossword friend YOKO ONO smack dab in the middle. I was fascinated by 'Splash' as a kid, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Last name PALINDROMES today, with our old crossword friend YOKO ONO smack dab in the middle. I was fascinated by "Splash" as a kid, so I enjoyed seeing DARYL HANNAH. And MONICA SELES vaguely made me recall … she had a famous grunt? I don't follow tennis carefully, but a quick search turned up some funny plays on Seles.

You must destroy the ring, Harry Potter. Make it so!

GEORGE TENET is a good find — not someone who would have occurred to me without a lot of prodding. I hemmed and hawed over whether he was gridworthy, finally deciding I was fine with it. Second-longest serving director of the CIA = a good piece of trivia.

The "windmill" arrangement of themers usually doesn't allow for many long pieces of fill, and today is no exception. The two 7-letter entries are forced to carry the burden of providing zing, and while ALIMONY and GRANOLA aren't bad, they're not super punchy in my eyes.

I did appreciate some of the 6-letter stuff, especially (clearly the best Enterprise captain of all time) Jean-Luc PICARD. And NIMROD is not only a fun word, but it always makes me laugh that one of Noah's great-grandsons was named Nimrod. Talk about playground taunting …

The overall cleanliness helped a little in making up for the lack of vivid fill. DARE ME feels a bit off-key — YOU DARE ME? might be better — otherwise, just a few really minor bits like INS and TOS. I do appreciate clean grids, but today, I'd happily take a few more gluey bits in exchange for some zestier fill.

Overall, I would have loved a fresher celeb thrown into the mix, perhaps GEORGE SOROS or JEREMY RENNER, who gave an astounding performance in "The Hurt Locker." (I'm still not convinced he's the right guy to play Hawkeye in "The Avengers" franchise, but what can you do.) And if only his name was of a more convenient length … splitting him up 6 / 6 is certainly possible, but it's sure nice to keep themers together.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0727 ( 24,002 )
Across Down
1. Sports wrap-up : RECAP
6. Given a PG-13 or R, e.g. : RATED
11. Procure : GET
14. Cause for a food recall : ECOLI
15. "Uncle!" : IGIVE
16. Historical span : ERA
17. *Youngest French Open champion : MONICASELES
19. Bobby who won the Norris Trophy eight times : ORR
20. Expert : MAVEN
21. Doofus : NIMROD
23. Love like crazy : ADORE
25. Lean-___ (rude shelters) : TOS
27. Like Hans Christian Andersen's "Duckling" : UGLY
28. Rio ___ (Texas border river) : GRANDE
29. Nick of "48 Hrs." : NOLTE
31. ___ McIlroy, 2014 P.G.A. Player of the Year : RORY
32. Peter, Paul or Mary : NAME
35. ___ of roses : ATTAR
38. Tan who wrote "The Joy Luck Club" : AMY
39. *"Double Fantasy" singer : YOKOONO
41. "Me, me, me!" attribute : EGO
42. Wood for model airplanes : BALSA
44. Brand in contact lens care : RENU
45. Flying pest : GNAT
46. Zoo heavyweight, informally : HIPPO
48. "You don't think I will?!" : DAREME
50. Arabian Sea sultanate : OMAN
52. Ending with walk or trade : INS
54. Storm drain cover : GRATE
55. Maine city on the Penobscot River : BANGOR
57. Song of triumph : PAEAN
59. ___ Arbor, Mich. : ANN
60. What the ends of the answers to all the starred clues are : PALINDROMES
65. Unaccounted-for G.I. : MIA
66. Do penance : ATONE
67. "Remember the ___!" : ALAMO
68. Contented sigh : AAH
69. Pepé ___, amorous cartoon skunk : LEPEW
70. Fortuneteller's deck : TAROT
1. Band with the 4x platinum album "Automatic for the People" : REM
2. ___-friendly (green) : ECO
3. Hoodwink : CON
4. Payment to an ex : ALIMONY
5. Jean-Luc of the U.S.S. Enterprise : PICARD
6. Ascend : RISE
7. Insurance or ticket counter employee : AGENT
8. Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop ___ You Get Enough" : TIL
9. Nevertheless : EVENSO
10. Arnaz of "I Love Lucy" : DESI
11. *C.I.A.'s second-longest-serving director : GEORGETENET
12. Flynn who played Robin Hood : ERROL
13. Behind schedule : TARDY
18. Big name in skin care : AVEENO
22. Dog that's a little of this, a little of that : MUTT
23. Doughnut shop lure : AROMA
24. *"Splash" star : DARYLHANNAH
26. Situation after a leadoff single : ONEON
28. Seize : GRAB
30. Vietnamese neighbor : LAO
33. Ohio home of the Soap Box Derby : AKRON
34. Slapping Stooge : MOE
36. Best-effort performance : AGAME
37. Memorization : ROTE
39. Talk incessantly : YAP
40. Elbowed : NUDGED
43. Serenade : SING
45. Crunchy breakfast bowlful : GRANOLA
47. Jolly Roger flier : PIRATE
49. Mount where Noah disembarked : ARARAT
50. Lead-in to care since 2009 : OBAMA
51. Craze : MANIA
53. Backbone : SPINE
56. October birthstone : OPAL
58. From scratch : ANEW
61. Cut (off) : LOP
62. Scratch : MAR
63. Punk music offshoot : EMO
64. Habitual drunk : SOT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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