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New York Times, Monday, August 7, 2017

Author: Kevin Christian
Editor: Will Shortz
Kevin Christian
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
95/22/201311/27/20173
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0422010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64011

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QWX} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Christian. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Kevin Christian notes: Here's how I know when I have a good early week theme idea … I come up with a theme idea, and I think to myself 'Oh my ... more
Kevin Christian notes:

Here's how I know when I have a good early week theme idea … I come up with a theme idea, and I think to myself "Oh my gosh, that's so obvious, that's so simple and straightforward, surely someone has done this before!" Then I check, and it turns out it's either never been done before, or it was done a very long time ago. That's a good Monday theme.

I considered MOVIE DIRECTOR instead of FILM DIRECTOR as the theme tie, but I preferred FILM DIRECTOR because that includes both movies and television, whereas MOVIE DIRECTOR left out television. Also, there wasn't a length 13 theme answer ending in LIGHTS that I liked as much as the length 12 BRIGHT LIGHTS that I used.

The construction on this puzzle was not difficult. Since it's a Monday puzzle, I just did what every Monday constructor does. I tried very hard to keep the fill as simple as possible.

Originally I had TAXI at 7-Down, but Will changed it to SIRI, which is much better. I enjoyed putting FLOTSAM next to JETSAM. I don't know for sure, but I'm going to guess that's never been done before, so that was fun. KEVIN at 26-Down is vanity fill, but I also think it yielded the simplest fill in that area. My two kids were really into Pokemon Go at the time I constructed this puzzle, so I'm sure that had something to do with how POKEMON ended up at 43-Down.

Thanks for solving!

Jeff Chen notes: LIGHTS … CAMERA … ACTION! Nice sequence hidden at the ends of three phrases. I liked COVERT ACTION the best of the ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

LIGHTS … CAMERA … ACTION! Nice sequence hidden at the ends of three phrases. I liked COVERT ACTION the best of the three — not only is it a snappy entry, but it gave a meta wink to the fact that ACTION was covertly(ish) hidden. CANDID CAMERA feels a bit old at this point, but it is a famed show. BRIGHT LIGHTS didn't feel complete without "big city," but it also does work.

FILM DIRECTOR serves its purpose to reveal what's going on. I would have preferred something less direct and more playful, but I can't think of what that might be. Also, this is a Monday puzzle, so FILM DIRECTOR's explicit, no-nonsense reveal is probably better to target a broader swath of solvers.

I usually am not a fan of bonus fill jammed into a grid at the expense of short fill, but I was wowed by FLOTSAM and JETSAM right next to each other — in the proper order! Beautiful. The letter starts that they force — FJ, LE, OT — greatly reduce flexibility, necessitating the inelegant triplet of ONT, RTE, DOR. But none of those three are bad by themselves. Well worth the trade-off for me.

I might not have been okay with that trade-off if the rest of the puzzle had contained a lot more crossword glue, but with just some MASC, ISR, B AND B (usually written B&B), I thought Kevin made a good decision to go ahead with that FLOTSAM / JETSAM pair, along with the associated prices he had to pay.

I would have loved a more oblique revealer I had to work for — I want to earn my a-ha moment. Maybe something like LETS ROLL or even a picture of a clapperboard made out of black squares? It's a tough balance — being too clever can sometimes leave a big chunk of solvers confused.

1
B
2
A
3
N
4
D
5
B
6
M
7
S
8
G
9
F
10
J
11
O
12
R
13
D
14
A
G
O
R
A
15
A
I
R
16
L
E
N
T
O
17
R
E
T
A
G
18
I
R
E
19
O
T
T
E
R
20
B
R
I
G
H
21
T
L
I
G
22
H
T
S
23
S
S
N
24
D
O
E
25
O
S
A
26
K
27
A
28
C
A
N
D
29
I
30
D
C
A
M
E
R
31
A
32
M
33
Y
34
B
A
D
35
O
V
U
M
36
V
I
N
37
A
A
R
P
38
H
39
A
N
D
S
40
V
I
E
D
41
S
K
A
42
T
O
N
I
43
P
A
N
S
Y
44
C
O
V
45
E
R
T
A
C
46
T
47
I
O
N
48
V
E
N
U
E
49
A
S
K
50
U
51
N
52
A
53
F
I
L
54
M
55
D
I
R
E
56
C
T
O
R
57
A
58
U
59
T
O
S
60
A
I
L
61
M
O
T
E
T
62
P
S
A
L
M
63
Z
O
O
64
O
P
E
N
S
65
T
E
N
D
S
66
E
R
R
67
N
E
R
D
Y
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0807 ( 24,744 )
Across Down
1. Inn, informally : BANDB
6. "No ___" (menu phrase) : MSG
9. Sight on the coast of Norway : FJORD
14. Ancient Greek marketplace : AGORA
15. It's roughly 78% nitrogen : AIR
16. Slow, in music : LENTO
17. Put a new price on : RETAG
18. Fury : IRE
19. Animal that frolics in streams : OTTER
20. Feature of the big city : BRIGHTLIGHTS
23. XXX-XX-XXXX fig. : SSN
24. Fawn's mother : DOE
25. Japanese port city : OSAKA
28. Practical joke show first aired in 1948 : CANDIDCAMERA
32. "I goofed!" : MYBAD
35. Egg cell : OVUM
36. Coq au ___ : VIN
37. Advocate for the 50-and-over crowd : AARP
38. What card dealers deal : HANDS
40. Competed : VIED
41. Reggae relative : SKA
42. "Beloved" author Morrison : TONI
43. Violet variety : PANSY
44. Secret military operation : COVERTACTION
48. Arena, e.g. : VENUE
49. Inquire : ASK
50. A, in Acapulco : UNA
53. Speaker of the last words of 20-, 28- and 44-Across : FILMDIRECTOR
57. A lot of them can be found on a lot : AUTOS
60. Be under the weather : AIL
61. Sacred choral work : MOTET
62. The first one begins "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked" : PSALM
63. Madhouse : ZOO
64. Double-clicks on, say : OPENS
65. Looks after : TENDS
66. "To ___ is human ..." : ERR
67. Like almost every major character on "The Big Bang Theory" : NERDY
1. Cutting remarks : BARBS
2. Golden ___ (elderly sorts) : AGERS
3. Away from the office : NOTIN
4. Long inhaling of a cigarette : DRAG
5. Capital of Iraq : BAGHDAD
6. Took to the post office : MAILED
7. iPhone assistant : SIRI
8. The kid in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" : GREG
9. Detritus at sea : FLOTSAM
10. Detritus at sea : JETSAM
11. Toronto's prov. : ONT
12. GPS offering: Abbr. : RTE
13. Palme ___ (top prize at Cannes) : DOR
21. Weight unit for a bridge : TON
22. ___-pocus : HOCUS
26. Actor Costner or Spacey : KEVIN
27. Leo : lion :: ___ : ram : ARIES
28. Bit of attire sometimes worn backward : CAP
29. Greek column style : IONIC
30. Object made obsolescent by streaming : DVD
31. Tennis's Murray : ANDY
32. Not fem. : MASC
33. Comedian Smirnoff : YAKOV
34. Courageous : BRAVE
38. Ritz-Carlton, for one : HOTEL
39. Good "Wheel of Fortune" purchase for the answer PANAMA CANAL : ANA
40. Vehicle for a painter or plumber : VAN
42. "You get what you pay for" and others : TRUISMS
43. Character on a collectible card : POKEMON
45. Wrap around : ENFOLD
46. Le Carré's "Tinker ___ Soldier Spy" : TAILOR
47. Tel Aviv's land: Abbr. : ISR
50. Speak : UTTER
51. On and on : NOEND
52. Pretentious : ARTSY
54. Labyrinth : MAZE
55. Designer Christian : DIOR
56. Manage : COPE
57. Appropriate : APT
58. Employ : USE
59. Something that might be picked up at the beach : TAN

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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