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New York Times, Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Author: Jim Peredo
Editor: Will Shortz
Jim Peredo
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71/7/201311/16/20160
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1203100
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1.60120

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 37 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Peredo. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jim Peredo notes: We've all heard the phrase 'Been there, done that.' Typically, it means we've already experienced something and are bored by it or ... more
Jim Peredo notes: We've all heard the phrase "Been there, done that." Typically, it means we've already experienced something and are bored by it or have no desire to experience it again. Care to relive your puberty years? Been there. Done that.

But did you know the phrase has Caesarian origins? That's right, in a letter to the Roman Senate around 46 BC, the ever-witty Julius remarks about his victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus, "Veni, vidi, vici, accepi toga," which, roughly translated, means, "I came, I saw, I conquered, I received the toga." (For some reason, history seems to have forgotten about that last bit — guess it doesn't flow as well.) So, in the spirit of Caesar's victory, I set about creating this puzzle. What I like best about it is that I was able to find four phrases that were very conversational in nature. I think that helped to link the theme entries together. In my head, I even imagined them as parts of an exchange between two friends meeting up once again (with one of them being an overzealous hand-shaker).

What I like least about it is the segmented sections in the NW and SE. If I were making this puzzle today, I would try to alleviate that. However, it did allow me to get an interesting corner in the NW with APEMEN, BONAMI, and LUDWIG stacked nicely.

Unfortunately for me, most of my clues were changed. I take that to mean that I need to do better. My favorite of mine that got through was for 18-A [Half an exorbitant fee?]. But I was sad that [Beethoven's first] didn't make it through for 17-A, and correspondingly, [Descartes' first] for 36-D. Oh well.

If this theme makes you think "Been There, Done That" — as in, you've already done a puzzle with this theme — you might be right. Liz Gorski used the exact same theme for her Feb 25th, 2014, Crossword Nation puzzle. But mine was accepted in January of 2013, so you can see that they were each created independently. For me, it shows I'm on the right track if I'm thinking along the same lines as one of the greats!

Until next time, here's hoping your solving experience is not the same old same old!

Jeff Chen notes: Jim does a fantastic job of themer selection today. There are many phrases that end with BEEN, THERE, DONE, and THAT, so I like that ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Jim does a fantastic job of themer selection today. There are many phrases that end with BEEN, THERE, DONE, and THAT, so I like that he picked four colloquial, catchy ones. HOW YOU BEEN, PUT ER THERE, NO HARM DONE, GIVE ME THAT! A strong quartet + good specificity = elegance.

I had to look up "Been there done that" AND "T-shirt" though. Perhaps I'm missing something — is this specific to T-shirts? I don't know that I've actually seen a T-shirt with that saying on it. It's quite possible that it's more a regional thing, as Jim has moved around a lot (currently in England — maybe it's a Brit thing?). In any case, I was a bit mystified when I hit T SHIRT. Sometimes I like when there is no revealer, but I doubt I would have figured out the hidden BEEN THERE DONE THAT without one. I tried to think of what might have worked better, but all I could come up with was HO HUM. Hmm. Hum.

The long fill entries present a perfect example of the trade-offs often seen in crosswords. Check out that NE corner, a beautiful little section with no glue and featuring UFOS, KARTS, SKINS (although I would much prefer not acknowledging the Redskins and their crazy lack of consideration to ethnic groups). However, UNABASHEDLY is a neutral word, neither great nor bad. Friendly letters though, which makes that NE possible, in part.

Then look at the SW corner. OCEAN BREEZE, such a lovely entry! I'd guess it got a check mark from Will (he gives strong entries checks, weak ones minuses in his evaluations). But that Z does present some problems — relatively few four-letter words end in Z. I'm perfectly fine with ECARD (the term, not getting them and having to quickly hit mute when the annoying music comes on), but the A LIE partial isn't great and EGADS feels not so great. EGAD I can buy, EGADS not as much.

Same goes for the north and south regions. I love OLD TOWN and HOO HAHS as fill, but ELKE + LOA + KWH + ENS makes for a bit of inelegance. Any one or two of those is fine, four of them not so much. Even though the north section is not as strong in terms of long fill (PER YEAR is a bit dry even for this finance guy), I appreciate the smoothness of the region.

All in all though, I really liked what Jim did here with the four theme phrases. Great selection of snazzy, colloquial phrases that all tie together.

ADDED NOTE: Jim tells me that "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt" is idiomatic. I've never heard of it before, but perhaps I'll start using it. Fun phrase.

1
A
2
P
3
E
4
M
5
E
6
N
7
S
8
P
9
A
10
U
11
F
12
O
13
S
14
B
O
N
A
M
I
15
H
E
M
16
N
I
C
K
17
L
U
D
W
I
G
18
A
R
M
19
A
N
T
I
20
E
T
S
21
H
22
O
W
Y
O
23
U
B
E
E
N
24
O
25
C
T
A
N
E
26
K
A
R
T
S
27
S
28
P
29
A
C
E
30
T
E
A
31
S
E
S
32
P
U
T
E
R
33
T
H
E
R
E
34
H
35
A
36
R
37
P
38
E
S
T
A
T
E
39
A
40
S
E
V
E
R
41
C
H
A
N
42
N
43
O
44
H
45
A
R
M
D
O
N
E
46
B
47
A
D
L
O
T
48
E
L
W
E
S
49
E
50
C
51
A
R
D
52
D
O
R
53
S
E
Y
54
G
I
V
E
M
55
E
T
H
A
T
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J
57
A
58
I
59
A
L
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E
60
L
O
A
61
A
62
L
63
B
U
M
S
64
D
I
A
Z
65
K
W
H
66
R
E
A
D
O
N
67
S
A
N
E
68
E
N
S
69
T
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H
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T
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0910 ( 23,682 )
Across Down
1. Missing links : APEMEN
7. Place for a mud bath : SPA
10. Abductees' destinations, in some hard-to-believe stories : UFOS
14. Cleanser brand that "hasn't scratched yet" : BONAMI
15. Shorten, perhaps : HEM
16. Styptic pencil target : NICK
17. Architect ___ Mies van der Rohe : LUDWIG
18. Half an exorbitant fee? : ARM
19. Prefix with matter : ANTI
20. Riders in 10-Across : ETS
21. "What's goin' on?" : HOWYOUBEEN
24. Fuel rating : OCTANE
26. Motorized racers : KARTS
27. "I need my ___" : SPACE
30. Coquettish sorts : TEASES
32. "Let's shake!" : PUTERTHERE
34. Celestial strings : HARP
38. Inheritance tax target : ESTATE
39. "Yours truly" alternative : ASEVER
41. Actor Jackie who's his own stuntman : CHAN
42. "Don't worry, I'm O.K." : NOHARMDONE
46. Scoundrel : BADLOT
48. Cary of "The Princess Bride" : ELWES
49. Online birthday greeting : ECARD
52. Sinatra's big band leader : DORSEY
54. "Hand it over!" : GIVEMETHAT
56. ___ alai : JAI
59. Be caught in ___ : ALIE
60. Mauna ___ : LOA
61. Some collectors' "vinyl" : ALBUMS
64. Cameron of "Bad Teacher" : DIAZ
65. Electric bill abbr. : KWH
66. Turn the page, say : READON
67. Common-sense : SANE
68. Recent U.S.N.A. graduate: Abbr. : ENS
69. Where you might see the message formed by the last words in 21-, 32-, 42- and 54-Across : TSHIRT
1. Up to the job : ABLE
2. Wear a puss : POUT
3. Some touchdown scorers : ENDS
4. Gaping mouth : MAW
5. Universal Music Group label : EMI
6. Like all World Series games, now : NIGHT
7. Tecumseh's tribe : SHAWNEE
8. How salaries or rainfall may be reported : PERYEAR
9. Bandoleer filler : AMMO
10. In an open, no-apologies manner : UNABASHEDLY
11. In better condition, to collectors : FINER
12. The black pawns, e.g. : OCTET
13. Washington pro team, informally : SKINS
22. "I do solemnly swear ...," e.g. : OATH
23. "Aloha Oe" instrument, for short : UKE
24. Beachgoer's cooler-offer : OCEANBREEZE
25. Part of C.D.: Abbr. : CERT
27. Design detail, briefly : SPEC
28. Market aggressively : PUSH
29. Lead-in to "boy!" or "girl!" : ATTA
31. Blacken on a barbecue : SEAR
33. Watch over : TEND
35. Say for certain : AVOW
36. Tennis great Lacoste : RENE
37. Secret Service's charge: Abbr. : PRES
40. Jolly Roger crewman : SMEE
43. Historic section of a city : OLDTOWN
44. Big kerfuffles : HOOHAHS
45. Gillette brand : ATRA
47. Halsey or Nimitz: Abbr. : ADM
49. "OMG!," old-style : EGADS
50. Eyelashes, anatomically : CILIA
51. For the birds? : AVIAN
53. Boot up : START
55. Sommer of "A Shot in the Dark" : ELKE
56. Oscar winner Dench : JUDI
57. Love, in Lisbon : AMOR
58. "___ it ironic?" : ISNT
62. WKRP's Nessman : LES
63. "Rubbish!" : BAH

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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