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New York Times, Monday, July 27, 2015

Author:
D. Scott Nichols and Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
210/14/20137/27/20152
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0200000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.43000
D. Scott Nichols
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5911/13/20121/25/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
619175462
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

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
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 ... read more

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, so ... read more

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
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
Down
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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