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New York Times, Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Author:
Freddie Cheng
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
97/12/20107/5/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1232010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61000
Freddie Cheng

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Cheng. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Freddie Cheng notes:
Why should the top three guys get all the glory and the medals, I ask?! Go FOURTH and shine, underdogs, and May the FOURTH be with ... read more

Why should the top three guys get all the glory and the medals, I ask?! Go FOURTH and shine, underdogs, and May the FOURTH be with you... oh hang on, that's the other date....

This one started off with JULY FOURTH as the revealer, but after some wise words from Will and Joel about "July" confusing the issue, what you see now is the improved result. They also called for some topic diversity to the original set of "famous fourths," leading to the something-for-everyone current set.

Favorite entry (or should I say entrée) : SUSHIROLL. If this was followed by some ICEE / CREAM (groan) as a FINALE, then what a HAPPY FOURTH that would make eh!

Constructor's logs : this was submitted in January 2017, rejected in March and brought back to life in April after improvements. There was another July 4th themed puzzle slated for 2017 at that point, so this was moved to 2018.

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a clever idea! HAPPY FOURTH hints at the fourth item in an ordered set, i.e., NUMBERS the fourth book of the Bible, TIME the ... read more

Such a clever idea! HAPPY FOURTH hints at the fourth item in an ordered set, i.e., NUMBERS the fourth book of the Bible, TIME the fourth dimension, DELTA the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet, and MARS the fourth planet from the Sun. Love the variety!

I didn't understand the clue to HAPPY FOURTH when I first read it, but when it clicked, it really clicked. It almost had a contest puzzle feel to it, which worked well – you solve the grid, and then you still have to solve one extra piece that ties everything together. Bravo!

Loved the bonus fill, too. Freddie did so well to weave in MONORAIL, SUSHI ROLL, DON'T DO IT! And my favorite, the punnily 4th of July themed BANG UP JOB. Four out of four = BANG UP JOB, indeed!

Well, four out of six. OVERDONE and STAYED ON didn't do much for me. I might have broken those up at the D of OVERDONE and Y of STAYED ON, since that could have allowed some smoothing out of IS NO and the rough GORAN / IONA crossing.

That last one would have been a killer in an early-week puzzle, but I think more experienced solvers ought to at least have heard of one of them.

I've seen many, many 4th of July puzzles over the years. This one might be my favorite.

1
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0704 ( 25,075 )
Across
1
Indian state that exports tea : ASSAM
6
Trade blows : SPAR
10
Grade sch. class : SCI
13
John or son Julian : LENNON
15
Renée Fleming performance : ARIA
16
Still-life object : URN
17
Identifications on left-hand pages, traditionally [the Bible] : EVENNUMBERS
19
Blue expanse : SEA
20
Peace sign : VEE
21
Letter before Peter in a phonetic alphabet : OBOE
22
"Oh, hogwash!" : PSHAW
24
Something a bug might produce : ERROR
26
Setting for a popular show [dimensions] : PRIMETIME
29
Still-life object : VASE
31
Wood in some closets : CEDAR
32
Notwithstanding : ALBEIT
35
Hanoi holiday : TET
36
"___ be surprised" : YOUD
39
Dense megalopolis that includes Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou [Greek alphabet] : PEARLRIVERDELTA
42
Handle : TEND
43
Goddess who captured Orion, in Greek myth : EOS
44
Gobs : OODLES
45
Tennis great Ivanisevic : GORAN
47
"Money ___ object" : ISNO
48
Singer with the 2017 Album of the Year "24K Magic" [planets] : BRUNOMARS
51
Govt. debt instrument : TNOTE
55
Ran gracefully : LOPED
56
Device sold with earbuds : IPOD
58
Word with press or mess : KIT
59
Small, medium or large: Abbr. : ADJ
60
Annual greeting ... or a hint to the ends of 17-, 26-, 39- and 48-Across : HAPPYFOURTH
64
Opposite of paleo- : NEO
65
Away from the wind : ALEE
66
Showstopper, literally : FINALE
67
Male swan : COB
68
Dirty, as tricks : MEAN
69
Shock dispenser : TASER
Down
1
Motrin alternative : ALEVE
2
Cut, as ties : SEVER
3
Scoffing look : SNEER
4
Massachusetts' Cape ___ : ANN
5
Interterminal transport : MONORAIL
6
Cousin of an épée : SABER
7
___-K : PRE
8
Bring out of the closet? : AIR
9
Spoke like Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" : RASPED
10
Food item ordered at a bar : SUSHIROLL
11
Destroy, as an opponent : CREAM
12
Speechless, perhaps : INAWE
14
Small protuberance : NUB
18
Something one might do after an embarrassing loss : MOPE
23
Didn't leave after everyone else left : STAYEDON
25
Trite : OVERDONE
27
Summer refresher : ICEE
28
Subways : METROS
30
Netflix transmission : STREAM
32
Apropos : APT
33
Bruce or son Brandon : LEE
34
Tremendous piece of work : BANGUPJOB
35
Remote things? : TVS
37
Pac-12 athlete : UTE
38
County prosecutors, for short : DAS
40
Macbeth's Scottish burial isle : IONA
41
"Stop! You'll be sorry!" : DONTDOIT
46
Hillary Clinton's maiden name : RODHAM
47
Kids' road trip game : ISPY
48
Like some vin : BLANC
49
"It's not my first ___" : RODEO
50
Come to fruition : RIPEN
52
Plants also known as ladies' fingers : OKRAS
53
World champion, e.g. : TITLE
54
Bygone anesthetic : ETHER
57
Out of whack : OFF
61
Stout, maybe : ALE
62
Subject of early genetic study : PEA
63
___ voce (without dissent) : UNA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?