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New York Times, Monday, August 12, 2019

Author:
Jeffrey Wechsler
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
207/17/19698/12/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0246710
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.581201
Jeffrey Wechsler

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Wechsler. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeffrey Wechsler notes:
The idea of this puzzle came from a common bit of crosswordese – the Japanese sash called the OBI. Once in a while I try to take ... read more

The idea of this puzzle came from a common bit of crosswordese – the Japanese sash called the OBI. Once in a while I try to take an aspect of crossword construction that is frowned upon and direct it toward something that might be interesting or amusing. Although using theme phrases that begin with the letters in OBI might have been sufficient, I realized that finding phrases that begin with the sound of OBI might be much more fun.

I'm glad that I managed to discover five of them, and I'm particularly happy with the entry that begins with OB-GYN, since the accepted pronunciation requires saying the name of each letter individually. Thus, this puzzle starts from what is seen as a negative in the crossword world – crosswordese – and, I think, turns it into something positive. I hope solvers agree.

Jeff Chen notes:
My fastest time ever at 'Guess That Theme'! As soon as I had OBIE ___, I skipped to the next themer and plunked down the wise one ... read more

My fastest time ever at "Guess That Theme"! As soon as I had OBIE ___, I skipped to the next themer and plunked down the wise one himself.

I wonder if a juvenile-minded writer on George Lucas's staff slipped one by. OBI WANKEN OBI sounds so naughty.

I did pause at OB GYN … what is necessary to complete that? Oh, of course, it's OB GYN DOCTORS, because you do want to distinguish the sub-profession from OB GYN CARPENTERS and OB GYN MODERNIST PAINTERS (Georgia O'Keeffe?).

OH, BEHAVE, I was only kidding. Of course, DOCTORS was tacked on to appease Crucivera's demands for a crossacrifice. It's a shame, as that phrase was the only one that felt contrived.

Not the smoothest Monday grid, but not the gluiest, either — an average result, given the tough constraint of five longish themers. Oddly, the one bit I objected to most didn't come as a result of theme constraints. AABA, ELEC, OCOME are understandable since they cross multiple themers. They're also figure-out-able.

I can see some GAPES from newb solvers upon hitting CAPON. If you've never seen that word before, it might look plain wrong. Reworking that corner would have been my one revision request.

I'll admit, my first reaction to this theme was to wonder, why? I mulled it over, and came around to Jim's first reaction, that it is interesting to find five different ways to spell the OB sounds – all at the starts of words, to boot.

Using OBS as a revealer would have upgraded the puzzle, though. That would have eliminated the oddball OB GYN ___ offering to Crucivera, as well as made for fewer constraints and thus, a smoother grid.

1
F
2
L
3
A
4
T
5
L
6
O
7
C
8
A
9
S
10
A
11
G
12
A
13
S
14
L
U
S
H
15
O
V
I
D
16
A
L
I
B
I
17
O
B
I
E
18
A
W
A
R
D
19
P
I
T
O
N
20
P
E
N
P
A
L
21
C
O
22
S
23
E
M
M
A
24
O
B
I
25
W
A
N
K
26
E
N
O
B
I
27
A
28
C
29
T
U
A
T
E
30
I
L
S
31
T
U
R
N
32
E
33
S
34
T
E
E
35
T
36
L
37
C
38
O
B
E
D
39
I
40
E
N
C
E
S
C
41
H
O
O
L
42
M
A
X
43
C
R
Y
I
N
44
O
R
S
O
45
B
O
O
46
E
47
M
48
I
T
T
E
D
49
O
50
B
51
G
Y
N
D
52
O
53
C
T
O
R
S
54
S
L
A
G
55
E
C
O
56
P
A
T
57
E
58
N
59
T
60
C
A
P
O
61
N
62
O
H
63
B
E
Q
U
I
E
T
64
A
R
E
N
A
65
M
E
A
D
66
F
R
A
Y
67
R
E
S
E
T
68
E
N
D
S
69
F
E
L
L
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0812 ( 25,479 )
Across
1
Sharp's counterpart, in music : FLAT
5
"Livin' la Vida ___" : LOCA
9
Stories with many chapters : SAGAS
14
Like rain forest vegetation : LUSH
15
"Ars Amatoria" poet : OVID
16
Story that lets you off the hook : ALIBI
17
Theatrical honor : OBIEAWARD
19
Mountaineering spike : PITON
20
Person to exchange letters with overseas : PENPAL
21
Fortune 500 listings: Abbr. : COS
23
Jane Austen novel : EMMA
24
"Star Wars" role for Alec Guinness : OBIWANKENOBI
27
Put into operation : ACTUATE
30
They: Fr. : ILS
31
Zig or zag : TURN
32
Lauder with beauty products : ESTEE
35
Little extra attention, as from a repairer, for short : TLC
38
Where education is pursued doggedly? : OBEDIENCESCHOOL
42
"Mad ___" (Mel Gibson film) : MAX
43
"It's a ___ shame" : CRYIN
44
Approximately : ORSO
45
"You stink!" : BOO
46
Sent out, as rays : EMITTED
49
Delivery people? : OBGYNDOCTORS
54
Foundry detritus : SLAG
55
Environmental prefix : ECO
56
Inventor's quest : PATENT
60
Chicken raised for cooking : CAPON
62
"Hush, you!" : OHBEQUIET
64
Big-time football venue : ARENA
65
Honey-based drink : MEAD
66
Start to deteriorate, as a cord : FRAY
67
Put back to zero, say : RESET
68
A and Z, in the alphabet : ENDS
69
Chop down : FELL
Down
1
Theatrical failure : FLOP
2
Auto maintenance job, informally : LUBE
3
X ___ xylophone : ASIN
4
Where stray animals are taken : THEPOUND
5
Darkish, as the interior of a restaurant : LOWLIT
6
Sperm targets : OVA
7
Approximately : CIRCA
8
Supplemental item : ADDON
9
Weaken : SAP
10
"Futurama" figures : ALIENS
11
U.S. base in 28-Down, informally : GITMO
12
Detonation of 7/16/45 : ABOMB
13
Egyptian peninsula : SINAI
18
Rhyme scheme of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" : AABA
22
Irving Berlin's "Blue ___" : SKIES
25
Teeny-___ : WEENY
26
Certain utility: Abbr. : ELEC
27
Quark's place : ATOM
28
Havana's home : CUBA
29
Image in the "Jurassic Park" logo, informally : TREX
33
Biol., for one : SCI
34
Guiding principle : TENET
35
Legal wrong : TORT
36
Misplace : LOSE
37
Lump of soil : CLOD
39
Stylized "W" for Microsoft Word, e.g. : ICON
40
Wear away : ERODE
41
Something extremely cool, paradoxically : HOTSTUFF
45
Past : BYGONE
47
Two-wheelers : MOPEDS
48
Baghdad's land : IRAQ
49
One of five for composer John Williams : OSCAR
50
Sound loudly, as a trumpet : BLARE
51
Registers awe : GAPES
52
"___, All Ye Faithful" : OCOME
53
Singer/songwriter Leonard : COHEN
57
Dublin's land : EIRE
58
Actress Patricia of "Hud" : NEAL
59
"Bye for now," in a text : TTYL
61
Singer ___ King Cole : NAT
63
Deserving to get gonged : BAD

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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