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New York Times, Saturday, August 2, 2014

Author:
Kristian House
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
172/17/200911/28/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0153323
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65023
Kristian House

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. House. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kristian House notes:
I had a lot of fun writing this puzzle. I started with MAN ENOUGH, TURDUCKEN, ROALD DAHL, and BUTT NAKED. I was concerned with that ... read more

I had a lot of fun writing this puzzle. I started with MAN ENOUGH, TURDUCKEN, ROALD DAHL, and BUTT NAKED. I was concerned with that last one for two reasons. The first and most pressing reason was that I was afraid that it wouldn't pass "The Breakfast Test". The second reason was that I was more familiar with "buck naked", but after some quick research, I found that both versions are common. I liked the entry so much that I decided to keep it in the puzzle and hoped for the best.

Will changed a number of clues (for the better), but he kept my clue for 54-Across, which I came up with while thinking of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". I really liked Will's clue for 66-Across. Mine was not nearly as clever.

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat how a single entry/clue pair can make a puzzle for me. Today, that was CLIP CLOP and its Monty Python reference. That movie ... read more

Neat how a single entry/clue pair can make a puzzle for me. Today, that was CLIP CLOP and its Monty Python reference. That movie brings back such great memories for me and always makes me laugh, even though I've seen it approximately a googol times. Bravo, Kristian! Neat when a constructor's right on my wavelength.

I thought today's puzzle would make for a good discussion of what is a "good" and "bad" piece of fill. I believe that very little of this is purely objective, so I'm always interested to hear other opinions. Here are all the entries I thought might come up in discussion:

  • TSE
  • RCA
  • YEST
  • OESTE
  • A NET
  • MRS C
  • OWER
  • PRIERS
  • OTBS
  • NES
  • E LEE
  • DEM
  • SKAT
  • ENER

Personally, I'd strike RCA, MRS C, and DEM off that list. I can understand the argument that RCA was broken up by GE decade ago, but it still played an important role in the history of technology. MRS C is a big part of my being raised by TV shows I wasn't supposed to be watching, so "Happy Days," the Fonz, MRS C and MR C will always have a place in my heart. And DEM is such a common abbreviation that it doesn't bother me at all.

At the other end of the spectrum, I think it's hard to argue a case for YEST and ENER (awkward abbreviations), OWER and PRIERS (rarely used noun-formed -ER words), E LEE and A NET (partials), or OESTE (a somewhat esoteric foreign word). I can see a case for SUR or SUD, as those words show up in relatively common place names, though.

The others are interesting, falling into my personal no-man's land. I've never seen an actual OTB, but my tolerance for gambling ends at losing five bucks. I've never played SKAT, but I don't doubt that it's a favorite game for many crossword solvers, especially older ones. And non-video game fans will scoff at NES, but if I only had a nickel for every hour I played "Super Mario Bros"...

Quite a lot of jazzy entries in this puzzle, highlighted by CLIP CLOP, ON ONE KNEE, and the really nice triple of TURDUCKEN, BLUE STATE, and SPYMASTER. Beautiful corner. Personally, I thought there were a tad too many liabilities in the puzzle, but 1.) that's personal opinion, 2.) I still found it to be an enjoyable solving experience, and 5.) thinking about the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch made me chuckle.

1
M
2
A
3
N
4
E
5
N
6
O
7
U
8
G
9
H
10
B
11
A
12
N
13
G
14
S
15
O
N
O
N
E
K
N
E
E
16
U
R
I
A
H
17
V
E
A
L
O
S
C
A
R
18
T
I
E
T
O
19
E
T
H
A
N
20
R
E
21
N
T
A
C
O
P
22
R
S
23
V
24
P
25
E
N
D
E
R
S
26
S
27
M
28
O
G
29
A
R
30
T
31
I
S
A
N
32
O
R
W
E
33
L
L
I
A
N
34
K
E
35
B
36
A
37
B
38
T
S
E
39
U
S
E
R
F
40
E
E
41
R
C
A
42
S
C
R
43
U
B
44
R
O
A
L
D
45
D
A
H
L
46
T
R
47
U
S
T
M
E
48
E
Y
E
D
49
S
50
A
51
V
O
I
R
52
Y
E
53
S
T
54
C
L
I
P
C
L
55
O
56
P
57
O
E
58
S
59
T
60
E
61
A
T
R
I
A
62
T
U
63
R
64
D
U
C
K
E
N
65
R
E
G
A
N
66
B
L
U
E
S
T
A
T
E
67
F
R
O
N
T
68
S
P
Y
M
A
S
T
E
R
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0802 ( 23,643 )
Across
1
Not too wimpy : MANENOUGH
10
Sensational effects : BANGS
15
Begging, perhaps : ONONEKNEE
16
David had him killed, in the Bible : URIAH
17
Dish with crab meat and Béarnaise : VEALOSCAR
18
Associate with : TIETO
19
Allen in history : ETHAN
20
Many an event security guard : RENTACOP
22
Say you'll make it, say : RSVP
25
They wrap things up : ENDERS
26
Dangerous blanket : SMOG
29
Craftsperson : ARTISAN
32
Like a Big Brother society : ORWELLIAN
34
Food order from a grill : KEBAB
38
K'ung Fu-___ (Confucius) : TSE
39
Charge at a state park : USERFEE
41
Zenith competitor : RCA
42
Hit the dirt hard? : SCRUB
44
Subject of the 2010 biography "Storyteller" : ROALDDAHL
46
"Honest" : TRUSTME
48
Regarded : EYED
49
Knowledge: Fr. : SAVOIR
52
The very recent past: Abbr. : YEST
54
Sound reproducible with coconut shells : CLIPCLOP
57
Left, on un mapa : OESTE
61
Mall features : ATRIA
62
Portmanteau bird? : TURDUCKEN
65
Shakespeare character who asks "To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?" : REGAN
66
Left part of a map? : BLUESTATE
67
Weather map feature : FRONT
68
Smiley, e.g. : SPYMASTER
Down
1
Shake a leg : MOVE
2
Operating without ___ : ANET
3
Webster's first? : NOAH
4
Swell : ENLARGE
5
Electric shades : NEONS
6
They're not forbidding : OKS
7
Perennial N.C.A.A. hoops powerhouse : UNC
8
Stick selection : GEAR
9
"This is yours" : HERE
10
Completely bare : BUTTNAKED
11
She came to Theseus' aid : ARIADNE
12
___-in-law : NIECE
13
Bayou snapper, briefly : GATOR
14
Mall features : SHOPS
21
Punch-Out!! platform, for short : NES
23
Dance in triple time: Sp. : VALS
24
Snoopy sorts : PRIERS
26
They're often fried : SOTS
27
Joanie's mom, to Fonzie : MRSC
28
One in arrears : OWER
30
Alternative to tea leaves : TAROT
31
Opprobrium : INFAMY
33
It helps get the wheels turning : LUBRICANT
35
Act like a jackass : BRAY
36
Really long : ACHE
37
Completely bare : BALD
40
Part of a C.S.A. signature : ELEE
43
Perfect : UTOPIAN
45
Uncovers : DETECTS
47
It changes when you go to a new site : URL
49
Bolt (down) : SCARF
50
Let out, say : ALTER
51
Labor Day arrival, e.g. : VIRGO
53
"Semper Fidelis" composer : SOUSA
55
Some parlors, for short : OTBS
56
Trashy, in a way : PULP
58
It uses sevens through aces : SKAT
59
First of many body parts in "Alouette" : TETE
60
Cabinet dept. since 1977 : ENER
63
Chess's ___ Lopez opening : RUY
64
Frequent winner in a 66-Across: Abbr. : DEM

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?