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New York Times, Thursday, August 16, 2018

Author:
Alan Arbesfeld
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1248/27/19814/10/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
25724362615
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.595099
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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C
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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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