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New York Times, Thursday, August 16, 2018

Author:
Alan Arbesfeld
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1228/27/19818/16/20180
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25724342615
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.605099
Alan Arbesfeld

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 37 Missing: {JKQZ} This is puzzle # 122 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Happy 75th birthday coming up tomorrow, ROBERT / DENIRO! To me, he's the real Kevin Bacon of the 'Six Degrees' game, having been in ... read more

Happy 75th birthday coming up tomorrow, ROBERT / DENIRO! To me, he's the real Kevin Bacon of the "Six Degrees" game, having been in umpteen movies now. My second favorite was "Midnight Run," where he got a chance to show off his comedic range. And who could forget "Meet the Parents"? Or best yet, his magnificent performance in "The Godfather, Part II"?

Dang, what a mark he's made on American culture!

It's tough to make a list puzzle celebrating a guy who's done so much, because what do you shoehorn in? You're bound to leave out some important stuff, and then include some lesser works for the sake of crossword symmetry.

I don't imagine many would list THE FAN as one of his biggest movies. But it does match ROBERT in length.

As much as I love DENIRO, tribute puzzles don't tend to stick in my mind unless there's something that elevates them. Otherwise, they come across as Wikipedia-esque listings of some of the person's accomplishments.

It's beyond audacious to try to build a puzzle around a theme set of 6 / 6 / 10 / 10 / 10 / 10 / 6 / 6. Whoa, that's incredibly high theme density! But given that so many compromises were required from the short fill – I sighed and stopped counting at 10 – I'd have preferred something less theme-dense.

Perhaps just focusing on his two Academy Award roles would have been nice and tight? Heck, this "Godfather" megafan would have been fine with just:

VITO CORLEONE 12

THE GODFATHER 12

ROBERT DENIRO 12

ACADEMY AWARD 12

It's nothing fancy, but at least it's tight, and would allow a lot of freedom to include colorful and clean fill throughout the rest of the grid.

Although, I can see how DENIRO's wide-ranging career would be best represented by as much darn theme you could stuff into a single grid. So I understand Alan's thinking.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0816 ( 25,118 )
Across
1. 64-/65-Across work of 1995 : CASINO
7. 64-/65-Across work of 1996 : THEFAN
13. King of Belgium during W.W. II : LEOPOLD
15. Rolled fare : BURRITO
16. "As You Like It" hero : ORLANDO
17. First coeducational college in the U.S. : OBERLIN
18. 64-/65-Across work of 1990 : GOODFELLAS
20. Revivalists, for short? : EMTS
21. Geometric figure : AREA
22. Annoyances in some free apps : ADS
23. Quietly understood : TACIT
27. Winter air : NOEL
30. Up in the air, for short : TBA
33. Hoot : RIOT
34. 64-/65-Across work of 1980 : RAGINGBULL
37. Current measurer : AMMETER
39. Fame : STARDOM
40. 64-/65-Across work of 1978, with "The" : DEERHUNTER
42. Largest city in the Baltic States : RIGA
43. Roush in the Baseball Hall of Fame : EDD
44. Impressionist : APER
45. Lackluster, as writing : PROSY
46. "That burns!" : YOW
48. Title lover in a 1922 Broadway hit : ABIE
51. Turns loose (on) : SICS
53. 64-/65-Across work of 1976 : TAXIDRIVER
59. Volumes that almost always have indexes : ATLASES
61. Hard to pin down : ELUSIVE
62. Justice with the longest Supreme Court tenure : DOUGLAS
63. Kept quarters : RESIDED
64. With 65-Across, subject of this puzzle, born 8/17/1943 : ROBERT
65. See 64-Across : DENIRO
Down
1. Snake target : CLOG
2. Engineering discipline, informally : AERO
3. Recital highlight : SOLO
4. Jobs announcement of 2010 : IPAD
5. Milk choice : NONFAT
6. What you get, with time : OLDER
7. Slow-moving ships : TUBS
8. It ended in 1806: Abbr. : HRE
9. Missed the mark : ERRED
10. Employer of 64-/65-Across : FILMSTUDIO
11. Working hard : ATIT
12. French refusals : NONS
14. Agricultural giant with the mascot Bobby Banana : DOLE
15. Amazon menace : BOA
19. Fritz ___, noir director : LANG
22. Lichen component : ALGA
23. Quid pro quo : TRADE
24. Prepared to fire : AIMED
25. Venue for a 64-/65-Across movie of 2016 : COMEDYCLUB
26. Roman road : ITER
28. Seine tributary : OISE
29. ___'acte : ENTR
31. Online commentaries : BLOGS
32. Revlon cosmetics brand : ALMAY
34. Extend one's service : REUP
35. Obama education secretary Duncan : ARNE
36. "It's f-f-f-freezing!" : BRRR
38. Spring awakening sign : THAW
41. "Time ___" (bygone sci-fi series) : TRAX
45. Go over : PERUSE
47. County name in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma : OSAGE
49. Oktoberfest quaff : BIER
50. Killed time : IDLED
51. Baghdad's ___ City : SADR
52. Classic Langston Hughes poem : ITOO
53. Milk dispenser : TEAT
54. Buffoon : ASS
55. Says yes to the gang, say : ISIN
56. Middle of a famous boast : VIDI
57. At all : EVER
58. Take another shot at : REDO
60. Canon offering, briefly : SLR

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

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