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New York Times, Monday, July 3, 2017

Author: Randall J. Hartman
Editor: Will Shortz
Randall J. Hartman
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
7411/7/19947/3/20170
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0342412310
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55400

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 74 for Mr. Hartman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Randall J. Hartman notes: Randy Hartman lives in Escondido, California. He has been constructing crossword puzzles since 1994 and is the author of ... more
Randall J. Hartman notes:

Randy Hartman lives in Escondido, California. He has been constructing crossword puzzles since 1994 and is the author of four crossword puzzle books. Randy is a retired civil engineer who managed water projects in Southern California. In his spare time, he teaches engineering and construction management classes at a university. Randy has been ranked as one of the top college wrestling referees in the country for several years. He has officiated the NCAA Division I national championship seven times. During the winter he travels throughout the United States officiating NCAA wrestling matches.

Jeff Chen notes: Funny that today's theme uses hidden synonyms for 'failure,' as the puzzle was quite the opposite of that — good theme answers, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Funny that today's theme uses hidden synonyms for "failure," as the puzzle was quite the opposite of that — good theme answers, solid long bonuses, and a smooth product. Very nice early-week puzzle.

I did pick up the theme early on, after BOMB and FLOP — I've seen FOSBURY FLOP used in a similar vein before — but not all themes have to be completely innovative. This one works well, with the "failure" synonym pretty well disguised. ROAST TURKEY works the best, as the "bird" meaning of TURKEY is completely different than the "failure" meaning.

I did pause at HOLLYWOOD OR BUST, partially because I didn't recognize the movie (that's fine, probably a generational issue), but more importantly, the "failure" meaning of BUST isn't changed — I like it much better when synonym themes obfuscate what's going on. Randy did well to at least place this one at the bottom of the puzzle, but I would have preferred another well-disguised synonym. Perhaps hiding BUST better in something like DRUG BUST?

MILK DUD could have been another good themer option, smack dab in the middle of the puzzle.

Beautifully smooth grid, near perfect for a Monday. Some may complain about RABAT crossing Ayn RAND — sometimes haters pooh-pooh crosswords because "you have to know trivia" — but world capitals are something every educated solver ought to at least recognize, and Ayn Rand was an influential writer. With just a GOER for crossword glue, I found it to be such a silky-smooth solve, prime for beginners.

A couple of nice bonuses in NERF GUN, BROADWAY (with ROAD appropriately pointed out in BROADWAY!), ARLO / GUTHRIE. It would have been great to get one more pair of long goodies, perhaps by eliminating the black square between A LOT and SAJAK.

Eliminating that black square would also help another (minor) problem: see how the black squares force the solver to progress in a Z shape? Much better is to allow the solver to flow through the grid however he or she chooses.

But these are minor issues. If HOLLYWOOD OR BUST had better obfuscated the "failure" meaning of BUST, this would have been right up there for the POW!

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0703 ( 24,709 )
Across Down
1. Tokyo's land : JAPAN
6. How Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic : SOLO
10. "Atlas Shrugged" author Ayn : RAND
14. Spitting bullets : IRATE
15. Minnesota baseballer : TWIN
16. Skin soother : ALOE
17. Air Force smart weapon : LASERGUIDEDBOMB
20. Atlanta-based cable channel : TBS
21. Cry after an errant golf shot : FORE
22. Gives a grand speech : ORATES
23. Like good Scotch : AGED
24. Irritated state : SNIT
25. Pioneering high jump maneuver of the 1960s : FOSBURYFLOP
29. Not guzzle : SIP
32. Sean of "The Lord of the Rings" : ASTIN
33. "Apollo 13" director Howard : RON
34. Superboy's love interest ___ Lang : LANA
35. ___ tea (summer drink) : ICED
36. Illegal payment : BRIBE
38. Slightly cracked, as a door : AJAR
39. Superman's love interest Lois ___ : LANE
40. Fish eggs : ROE
41. Jack's fairy tale foe : GIANT
42. Sign outside a sold-out show : SRO
43. Thanksgiving entree : ROASTTURKEY
46. Noggin : HEAD
47. Brewery containers : VATS
48. Captain America carries one : SHIELD
51. Wealthy : RICH
52. "Elvis ___ left the building" : HAS
55. 1956 Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedy : HOLLYWOODORBUST
58. Different : ELSE
59. With 41-Down, "Alice's Restaurant" singer : ARLO
60. Ancient region on the Aegean Sea : IONIA
61. One who might expel a student : DEAN
62. Say "HEY YOU!," e.g. : YELL
63. Writer ___ Allan Poe : EDGAR
1. Say "I don't" to instead of "I do"? : JILT
2. Yemeni or Omani : ARAB
3. Hail Mary, for one : PASS
4. Enjoyed a buffet : ATE
5. "Weapon" with foam darts : NERFGUN
6. Solidly built : STURDY
7. Source of pain, in kidspeak : OWIE
8. Tupperware top : LID
9. Personal interview : ONEONONE
10. Capital of Morocco : RABAT
11. Oodles : ALOT
12. U.S. city less than 150 miles from the International Date Line : NOME
13. Belles of the ball : DEBS
18. Ending with church or movie : GOER
19. Result of a melting icicle : DRIP
23. Tolerate : ABIDE
24. Neatnik's opposite : SLOB
25. Gets an F : FAILS
26. Award refused by Marlon Brando and George C. Scott : OSCAR
27. Shorthand writer : STENO
28. Part of a Happy Meal : FRIES
29. Pat of "Wheel of Fortune" : SAJAK
30. Asinine : INANE
31. Republicans or Democrats : PARTY
34. Dens : LAIRS
36. Theater district thoroughfare : BROADWAY
37. Appropriate word found in 36-Down : ROAD
41. See 59-Across : GUTHRIE
43. Depend (on) : RELY
44. Luke Perry or Jason Priestley, once : TVIDOL
45. ___ Bell (restaurant chain) : TACO
46. ___ of Troy : HELEN
48. Lose, as fur : SHED
49. Problem with a sock : HOLE
50. Rick's love in "Casablanca" : ILSA
51. Item in a restaurant basket : ROLL
52. Like a jury that can't reach a decision : HUNG
53. Himalayas setting : ASIA
54. One of 50 on the U.S. flag : STAR
56. Mine car load : ORE
57. Physique, informally : BOD

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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