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HEADS OF STATE

New York Times, Sunday, July 5, 2015

Author: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Editor: Will Shortz
Elizabeth C. Gorski
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2197/31/19952/23/20160
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6716363439243
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5430225

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 134, Blocks: 79 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 217 for Ms. Gorski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Mount Rushmore commemoration, with Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln laid out in order. Nice touch to use nicknames as the crossword entries, with THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE, HERO OF SAN JUAN HILL, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Mount Rushmore commemoration, with Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln laid out in order. Nice touch to use nicknames as the crossword entries, with THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE, HERO OF SAN JUAN HILL, and THE GREAT EMANCIPATOR working nearly perfectly for me. (I would have liked "The" HERO OF SAN JUAN HILL for consistency.)

Mount Rushmore

AMERICAN CINCINNATUS was a mystery to me, but I did like learning it — a reference to the Roman statesman Cincinnatus, who was a model of civic responsibility. Neat piece of trivia.

The cluing of HOME OF MOUNT RUSHMORE ... as best I can figure out, [… or a hint to the answers to the four starred clues in left-to-right order] is a complicated way of saying "these four answers are the heads on Mount Rushmore." Don't the four clues, which directly mention Washington, Jefferson, et al. already give up the game?

Very difficult to pull this theme off, with the presidents in the correct order. I bet THE FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY was Liz's first choice for Washington, but that unfortunately doesn't work with crossword symmetry.

The likes of GROUND CREW and HARD HAT helped to spice up my solve. AGE LIMIT, EVANSTON, and EGO IDEAL are real things, but for my money, they're not nearly as fun as the aforementioned plus BRIT POP, IKEBANA and OKAY OKAY. With a puzzle that has long themers difficult to uncover, it would have been nice to have a few more pieces of strong fill to help hold the solver's interest.

Quite a bit of gluey bits — the middle felt especially choppy to me, running into a lot of HWY, COS, OREM, OTO, OBE, ONE TO entries. Some of this is fine, but all concentrated into one region makes it more noticeable.

So although there were some compromises, I liked the imagery of Mount Rushmore evoked by this puzzle.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0705 ( 23,980 )
Across Down
1. Monocle part : RIM
4. Bridge support : TRUSS
9. Many a Theravada Buddhist : THAI
13. Indiana city where auto manufacturing was pioneered : KOKOMO
16. Ruler in Richard Strauss's "Salome" : HEROD
17. Construction site sight : HARDHAT
21. Art of flower arranging : IKEBANA
23. Red-wrapped imports : EDAMS
24. Prince of Darkness : EVILONE
25. Senate vote : NAY
26. Tea made by Peter Rabbit's mother : CAMOMILE
28. Restriction on Army enlistees : AGELIMIT
29. Part of CBS: Abbr. : SYST
31. Bring in a new staff for : REMAN
32. Blender sound : WHIR
34. "The Untouchables" role : NESS
35. Table d'___ : HOTE
36. Grouch : CRANK
37. "Fasten your seatbelts ..." : HEREWEGO
40. "Smack That" singer : AKON
41. Jaunty greeting : HIHO
42. Shunned ones : PARIAHS
43. Pharma fraud police : FDA
46. ___ of time : SANDS
48. Half-___ (java order) : CAF
49. Plains Indian : OTO
50. Straw mats : TATAMIS
52. Senate vote : AYE
53. Hoppy brew, for short : IPA
55. Flawless routine : TEN
57. City on Utah Lake : OREM
59. Duds : TOGS
60. Astronomer who wrote "Pale Blue Dot" : SAGAN
62. U.S. 66, e.g.: Abbr. : HWY
63. Like Fr. words after "la" : FEM
64. Boston iceman : BRUIN
65. Plane folk? : GROUNDCREW
68. Pepper spray targets : ASSAILANTS
70. Extols : LAUDS
71. Comcast, e.g., for short : ISP
72. Bio subject : DNA
73. Trial that bombs, informally : NTEST
74. Piedmont city : ASTI
75. Stud money : ANTE
76. Interminable time : EON
77. G.E. and G.M. : COS
78. Singer Carly ___ Jepsen : RAE
81. Ball-like : SPHERIC
83. Award accepted by J. K. Rowling and turned down by C. S. Lewis : OBE
85. "___ Ho" ("Slumdog Millionaire" song) : JAI
87. Big channel in reality programming : TRUTV
89. Man's name that's the code for Australia's busiest airport : SYD
90. Genre of Oasis and the Verve : BRITPOP
92. Works at the ballpark, maybe : UMPS
94. Movie dog : ASTA
95. Army-Navy stores? : ARSENALS
97. Kind of tiara and cross : PAPAL
98. Leg bone : SHIN
99. Okey-___ : DOKE
101. Onetime Nair alternative : NEET
102. "___ a customer" : ONETO
103. 10 cc's and 64 fl. oz. : AMTS
104. The person you want to be : EGOIDEAL
107. Give a thorough hosing : WASHDOWN
110. Away : OUT
111. What the buyer ends up paying : NETCOST
112. Old crime boss Frank : NITTI
113. "I Love Lucy" surname : RICARDO
115. Response to "Who, me?" : YEAHYOU
116. Eight-related : OCTAL
117. Smooth fabric : SATEEN
118. Lip : SASS
119. Head of a crime lab? : SKULL
120. Prosciutto, e.g. : HAM
1. Hold up : ROB
2. Non-PC office purchase : IMAC
3. Beautiful butterfly : MONARCH
4. *Nickname for Thomas Jefferson : THEMANOFTHEPEOPLE
5. Debt, symbolically : REDINK
6. It flows to the Caspian : URAL
7. To a degree : SOMEWHAT
8. Campus grp. formed in 1960 : SDS
9. *Nickname for Abraham Lincoln : THEGREATEMANCIPATOR
10. Eat or drink : HAVE
11. Seed cover : ARIL
12. Not going anywhere : IDLING
13. Capital on the Congo : KINSHASA
14. "I heard you the first time!" : OKAYOKAY
15. See 18-Down : KEYSTONESOUTHDAKOTA
18. What 15-Down is ... or a hint to the answers to the four starred clues in left-to-right order : HOMEOFMOUNTRUSHMORE
19. Black birds : ANIS
20. Hanoi celebrations : TETS
22. *Nickname for George Washington : AMERICANCINCINNATUS
27. Union Pacific headquarters : OMAHA
28. "The ___ Breathe" (2007 drama with Kevin Bacon and Julie Delpy) : AIRI
30. Minister (to) : TEND
33. *Nickname for Theodore Roosevelt : HEROOFSANJUANHILL
38. "Kapow!" : WHAM
39. Guinness Book suffix : EST
42. Pay (up) : PONY
44. Thumb, for one : DIGIT
45. AARP and others: Abbr. : ASSNS
47. Subject of semiotics : SIGNS
51. Gillette products : ATRAS
54. Apartment, informally : PAD
56. Comment regarding a squashed bug : EWW
58. High-___ image : RES
61. Cornish of NPR : AUDIE
64. Consecrated, to Shakespeare : BLEST
65. Toaster's need : GLASS
66. Like a stereotypical mobster's voice : RASPY
67. Alphabet trio : RST
68. Four seasons in Seville : ANO
69. "Am ___ believe ...?" : ITO
72. Worthy of pondering : DEEP
75. River through Yorkshire : AIRE
79. Truculent manner : ATTITUDE
80. Where Northwestern University is : EVANSTON
82. N.F.L. ball carriers: Abbr. : RBS
84. Barry of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" : BOSTWICK
86. Stoked, with "up" : AMPED
88. Blank, as a tabula : RASA
91. Bygone Chinese money : TAEL
93. Not too swift : SLOWISH
96. Old German governments : REICHS
97. Unlike most mail nowadays : POSTAL
99. Gainsay : DENY
100. Kind of arch : OGEE
105. 1977 Electric Light Orchestra hit : DOYA
106. Those: Sp. : ESOS
108. Westernmost island of the Aleutians : ATTU
109. Org. with rules on eligibility : NCAA
112. Turndowns : NOS
114. Bread source, for short : ATM

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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