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New York Times, Monday, July 3, 2017

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

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

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, ... read more

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!

1
J
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A
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A
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L
9
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R
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A
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N
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D
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G
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D
B
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B
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F
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A
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F
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F
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S
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P
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B
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A
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G
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H
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V
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H
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O
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B
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A
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0703 ( 24,709 )
Across
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
Down
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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