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New York Times, Monday, August 14, 2017

Author:
Rich Proulx
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
26/29/20178/14/20170
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0100100
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1.72000
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 )
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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