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New York Times, Monday, August 14, 2017

Author:
Rich Proulx
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
36/29/20176/5/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0101100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.68000
Rich Proulx

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Proulx. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Rich Proulx notes:
This was the first decent puzzle I created. When mining for ideas on how to make a better puzzle, I came across Cruciverb's list of ... read more

This was the first decent puzzle I created. When mining for ideas on how to make a better puzzle, I came across Cruciverb's list of theme types. It's pretty rare to see many of these themes in the NYT these days, as Will likes it when constructionists bring innovation to the medium. So, I was delighted he gave the nod to this puzzle which has a couple of those old tropes (repeated clues for themers and a revealer which includes the day of the week).

This puzzle was initially submitted about a year ago and was revised a couple of times. One very helpful bit of feedback from Joel was making long, non-theme entries more interesting through the use of two-word phrases. I previously had been so proud of my multisyllabic mouthfuls; this puzzle — and ones I have made subsequently — are much improved by their absence.

As a committed foodie, I have a deep fondness for food-themed puzzles. My household is pescatarian. (Although my son calls himself a hotdogatarian, and eats them at restaurants any chance he gets.) The central-themed entries are regulars in our family's food rotation. But, as a mycophile married to a mycophobe, I only feed my craving for the first themer in the same place my hotdogatarian feeds his.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun to have this MEATLESS MONDAY puzzle run on a MONDAY, with an appropriately vegetarian menu. I was wondering if there was a reason ... read more

Fun to have this MEATLESS MONDAY puzzle run on a MONDAY, with an appropriately vegetarian menu. I was wondering if there was a reason why these three dishes had been chosen (out of the thousands of veggie options out there)? Seems like simply because they fit into a crossword?

Some nice bonuses for a Monday puzzle, PALOOKA and KLUTZES great use of mid-length slots. Interesting to have RENTAL CAR and BIKE ROUTE in there as well. Along with TV TRAYS, that's some great fill to keep carnivores interested.

There was a bit of gristle in WISC, EGAL, LUI, BREA (how else are you going to clue BREA but "La ___ Tar Pits"?), but I think these are reasonable prices to pay for all the bonus fill Rich incorporated. I like his effort to work in so many bonuses — they're valuable in holding the interest of solvers to whom the theme doesn't speak.

It can be especially tough to work in horizontal long fill, so bravo there.

I would have liked something more out of this puzzle. It would have been nice to get some unifying reason why these three dishes were featured — maybe "all dishes featured by some famous chef" or "Oprah's favorite veggie dishes" or "all entrees starting with M M," etc., instead of simply "three vegetarian options that happen to have the right number of letters."

MEATLESS MONDAY is such a snazzy phrase, and it has so much potential for wordplay. What jumped to mind immediately was "phrases where PORK, BEEF, LAMB, etc. are removed for wacky results." That's too tricky to run on a Monday, but it feels like there's a ton of room for creative exploration.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0814 ( 24,751 )

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Across
1
Where holsters go : HIPS
5
Torso muscles, briefly : PECS
9
Turn into a pretzel : TWIST
14
___ palm (tree with a healthful berry) : ACAI
15
Automobile rod : AXLE
16
Italian scooter brand : VESPA
17
Thrifty or Budget offering : RENTALCAR
19
Keep occupied, as a phone line : TIEUP
20
Meal option #1 : MUSHROOMBURGER
22
007, for one : SPY
23
"___ of a gun!" : SON
24
Cheer made with a pompom : RAH
25
Moo goo gai pan pan : WOK
26
Brit's teapot cover : COSY
28
Consume : EAT
31
Meal option #2 : SPINACHLASAGNA
35
Broadcasts : AIRS
36
Hawaiian garland : LEI
37
Overdue : LATE
38
Meal option #3 : BLACKBEANCHILI
43
Pig's home : STY
44
Where hay is stored in a barn : LOFT
45
Path that wheels keep following : RUT
46
French for "him" : LUI
47
Completely finishing this crossword, to you : AIM
48
Residue of burning : ASH
51
Weekly occurrence when 20-, 31- and 38-Across might be consumed : MEATLESSMONDAY
56
Dance to some Johann Strauss music : WALTZ
57
Path for cyclists : BIKEROUTE
58
Fit to be tied : IRATE
59
La ___ Tar Pits : BREA
60
Blueprint : PLAN
61
Things producing red hair or blue eyes : GENES
62
Stitched : SEWN
63
Sicilian volcano : ETNA
Down
1
In ___ way : HARMS
2
Freeze over, as airplane wings : ICEUP
3
Colorful flower also known as heartsease : PANSY
4
___ Lord (Jedi's foe) : SITH
5
Big oaf : PALOOKA
6
One no longer in the pen : EXCON
7
Raw bar offering : CLAM
8
Belgrade native : SERB
9
Some light foldable tables : TVTRAYS
10
Put on the scale : WEIGH
11
"Understood" : ISEE
12
Cowboy boot attachment : SPUR
13
Faucet : TAP
18
Illegal burning : ARSON
21
___ Major (Great Bear) : URSA
25
The Dairy State: Abbr. : WISC
26
Peek at someone else's paper, e.g. : CHEAT
27
Actress Lena of "Chocolat" : OLIN
28
Alike, in Paris : EGAL
29
___-Defamation League : ANTI
30
___ kwon do (martial art) : TAE
31
Sediment : SILT
32
Say grace, e.g. : PRAY
33
First symbol on a musical staff : CLEF
34
Landed : ALIT
35
Torso muscles, briefly : ABS
39
They're all thumbs : KLUTZES
40
Directive in a pasta recipe : BOIL
41
Like the peninsula seized by Russia in 2014 : CRIMEAN
42
"Mankind's greatest blessing," per Mark Twain : HUMOR
46
Espresso drink : LATTE
47
Like an off-center tie : ASKEW
48
XXX : ADULT
49
The Devil : SATAN
50
"Laughing" animal : HYENA
51
Mother horse : MARE
52
Flair : ELAN
53
Recedes, as the tide : EBBS
54
Father horse : SIRE
55
"Negatory" : NOPE
56
Dome topper? : WIG

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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