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New York Times, Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Author: Ryan Milligan
Editor: Will Shortz
Ryan Milligan
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
27/8/20153/28/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0011000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60010

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {KQXYZ} Spans: 2 This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Milligan. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ryan Milligan notes: I am beyond ecstatic to be making my NY Times crossword debut today. I've been submitting puzzles to the NY Times since my junior ... more
Ryan Milligan notes:

I am beyond ecstatic to be making my NY Times crossword debut today. I've been submitting puzzles to the NY Times since my junior year of high school — spring 2007. A friend challenged me to make a crossword during class eight years ago, and I've been hooked ever since.

This idea came to me when I was working on a composer-themed puzzle: BACHTOTHEFUTURE, HAYDNPLAINSIGHT, etc. When I saw HAYDNPLAINSIGHT had already been used in a previous composer puzzle, I started to think about hiding the phrase HIDDENINPLAINSIGHT in plain sight with the hopes of being especially clever. I used to love doing the Jumble and the NYTimes crossword with my great aunt on Sundays, so I was happy that I could get a little bit of jumble in my first acceptance. Also I'm a huge New York Giants fan, so I was excited to help ELIMANNING get back in the puzzle after a long hiatus.

The original themed entries were THIRDDEGREEBURN, INTERPELLATIONS, and SINGTHESAMETUNE, but Will prompted me to switch up the last two and I'm pleased with where things ended up. I was a bit bummed that ‘Rex Parker's gripe' didn't stick as the clue for WHEREISTHETHEME, but otherwise I'm really happy with my first accepted submission.

I'd like to thank the following people for all of their work to help me achieve this milestone: my dad, for being my constant crossword tester and slugging through my early atrocities; Frank Longo, for all of his help with this puzzle; and Will, for being a kind, patient mentor over the past eight years. Thanks for the warm welcome, crossword world. Hope to see you again soon.

Jeff Chen notes: Debut! A theme HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, those letters spread through three long answers, tied together with WHERE IS THE THEME? ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Debut! A theme HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, those letters spread through three long answers, tied together with WHERE IS THE THEME? Although I typically don't care for made-up-sounding theme answers, the revealer has a playful aspect to it.

Eli Manning, or Philip Rivers plus a few draft picks?

Audacious to debut with a 74-word puzzle, even more so to do it with parallel downs (BAD LOANS / ATE LUNCH and WRETCHES / NATIVE TO). Difficult to get colorful answers while still keeping the crossings clean.

I love BAD LOANS and WRETCHES, but ATE LUNCH and NATIVE TO don't feel nearly as strong. What with some ELL / A TIE and CVI / ESSO glue, I might have preferred breaking up one of the long down pairs. I'd usually rather get two great entries with super-clean fill than four pretty good ones with some subpar crossings.

Nice touch to add in other long fill. ELI MANNING is a controversial figure, a guy the Giants traded up (at a high price) to get in the 2004 NFL draft. Other players available in the first round of that draft: QBs Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger, and stud WR Larry Fitzgerald. Hindsight is 20/20, but it sure makes me wonder how much value per dollar you really get out of that overall number one pick.

Then again, there's Peyton. Ahem.

And AMSTEL BEER … the last time we had something like this — SOL CERVEZA — Matt Gaffney had the exact same reaction I did, that it felt off. I highly respect his opinion, so it was good to know that I wasn't the only one. AMSTEL BEER feels better than SOL CERVEZA, because the label actually says AMSTEL BEER, but it does feel slightly wonky to me still.

Overall, I might have liked a craftier "hiding in plain sight" trick — the circled letters didn't really feel hidden to me at all. I'm not sure what that trick would be, or how it would work, but I think of the "Magic Eye" posters, where you stare at the thing for ages, and then all of a sudden the image pops out — now that's hidden in plain sight. Can't wait to see if someone could actually pull that off!

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0708 ( 23,983 )
Across Down
1. Twosome in the news : ITEM
5. ___ California : BAJA
9. "No drama" president : OBAMA
14. Simba's mate in "The Lion King" : NALA
15. Play to ___ : ATIE
16. Half of the Dynamic Duo : ROBIN
17. Serious injury for a firefighter : THIRDDEGREEBURN
20. Part of a golf cup : RIM
21. Letter after kay : ELL
22. Gerund ender : ING
23. Sri Lanka export : TEA
24. ___ roll : ONA
25. Mary's boss on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" : LOU
26. Santa ___ (some winds) : ANAS
28. "Pale" or "prairie" plant of the central U.S. : INDIANPLANTAIN
34. Fine distinction : NUANCE
35. Suze with financial advice : ORMAN
36. Good pace, informally : CLIP
38. One of the Wayans brothers : SHAWN
41. Salinger heroine : ESME
42. Farmhand's material : DENIM
44. Fancy neckwear : CRAVAT
46. Indication that "That's how things are" : SIGNOFTHETIMES
50. Collagist's supply : GLUE
51. Bard's contraction : TIS
52. Do-over call : LET
54. Temple University athlete : OWL
57. Figures at raves : DJS
58. LIII doubled : CVI
59. Outburst from Scrooge : BAH
60. Question answered by this puzzle's circled letters : WHEREISTHETHEME
64. French-speaking African land : NIGER
65. Skeptic's reply : IBET
66. Tolerate : BEAR
67. Conductors' announcements : STOPS
68. Canadian fill-up choice : ESSO
69. English Channel feeder : ORNE
1. Start of many course titles : INTRO
2. Falafel sauce : TAHINI
3. 2012 Super Bowl M.V.P. who hosted "S.N.L." : ELIMANNING
4. Deface : MAR
5. Banking problems : BADLOANS
6. Had a midday meal : ATELUNCH
7. What may be up when the police arrive? : JIG
8. Kind of photography : AERIAL
9. Common pizza seasoning : OREGANO
10. Dole out in politics? : BOB
11. Border on : ABUT
12. Bog : MIRE
13. Actress Kendrick of "Pitch Perfect" : ANNA
18. Novelist Ephron : DELIA
19. Sicilian province : ENNA
27. Shakespeare's Avon, for one : STREAM
29. Fooling : DUPING
30. Pastel shade : PEACH
31. Import from Holland : AMSTELBEER
32. Existential declaration : IAM
33. Coastal hurricane dir. : NNE
36. Subjects of heightened interest, for short? : CDS
37. Luau necklace : LEI
39. Sad sorts : WRETCHES
40. From : NATIVETO
43. Rots slowly : MOLDERS
45. Call on : VISIT
47. It's big in Japan : FUJI
48. Singer O'Shea who shared the stage with the Beatles on the 2/9/64 "Ed Sullivan Show" : TESSIE
49. Mariner : SEAMAN
53. "Ta-da!" : THERE
54. Controls : OWNS
55. Iota : WHIT
56. Building block : LEGO
61. Sales worker : REP
62. USA competitor : TBS
63. "Game of Thrones" airer : HBO

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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