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New York Times, Monday, September 12, 2016

Author:
Victor Fleming and Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
463/29/20055/12/201724
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
75106666
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55023
Victor Fleming
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
616/12/20008/6/201833
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
64292200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63217
Andrea Carla Michaels

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQWXYZ} This is puzzle # 45 for Mr. Fleming. This is puzzle # 55 for Ms. Michaels. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
VIC: While in Tampa for Merl's memorial service last August, Andrea and I talked about possibly collaborating on a puzzle at some ... read more

VIC: While in Tampa for Merl's memorial service last August, Andrea and I talked about possibly collaborating on a puzzle at some point in the future. We'd both collaborated with many others, so it seemed a logical fit.

Weeks later, I ran an idea or two by her. I was impressed by her keen insight. And her quick resolve not to delve into a theme that wasn't clearly "fun." I tend to default to "complex" and then try to make it fun.

And then … I was reflecting on my first Times puzzle—a 2005 collab with Nelson Hardy that seemed both complex and fun: theme answers were punnily clued phrases in which the present and past tense of the same verb ran consecutively. E.g., SIT SATURDAY, HAVE HADDOCK. An idea came to me: 2-word phrases consisting of back-to-back homophones.

How happy I was when Andrea wrote, "This is fun!" We exchanged a few emails, developing the theme, filling the grid, writing the clues. Will liked it, but wanted some fill upgraded. This led to several revisions. When Will finally wrote, "This turned out nicely," he was holding revision no. 15!

ACME: Judge Vic and I bonded during Merl's memorial last year in Tampa. We discussed turning one of the illustrious judge's ideas into a Monday. PARESPEARS appeared in databases, but we figured the four others were fresh.

As this appears so close to the anniversary of our dear friend's untimely passing, I hope it will do him proud.

Jeff Chen notes:
Homonyms paired to make kooky phrases. It reminded me of one I worked on with a friend a few years back, but I like how Acme and Judge ... read more

Homonyms paired to make kooky phrases. It reminded me of one I worked on with a friend a few years back, but I like how Acme and Judge Vic picked out examples that are very accessible to novice solvers for this Monday puzzle. It was also nice to see consistency, each themer using the same verb tense for the first word + a plural noun for the second.

This "windmill" layout of themers is usually easier to work with than a more traditional layout of every themer going horizontally — the windmill pattern allows for more space between themers. It tends to make adding in bonus fill harder though, so I appreciate the effort to work in ONE PIECE, a colorful entry. IRISH SEA ain't bad, either.

I don't mind a bit of minor glue like ASSN (pretty common) and RRs (who hasn't tried to collect all the RRs in a game of Monopoly?). And SGT is used everywhere … but not S SGT. This one irks me more, since it feels like a constructor's crutch, as that first letter can be M, S, or T. It's similar to ?STAR, where that question mark can be so many things. Feels inelegant.

LOCI doesn't bother me even in a Monday puzzle, as long as all the crosses are fair. Granted, I did take a lot of math in college, but it is a real word that NYT readers ought to know.

ENO, ERTE, ESAI are all real people; ones I have no problem with since they've all achieved adequate fame in their careers. To have three of them in one puzzle feels like too much to me though — I can imagine a newer solver struggling with any one of them, much less all three. (MAUD Adams might be a fourth.)

Easy-breezy Monday theme, although since there are so many possible homonym pairs that can work like this (AIRS HEIRS, SCENTS CENTS, DYES DIES, WRITES RIGHTS, etc.), it would have been nice to get some extra element to tighten up the theme. Not sure what that might be — all long ones? All ones with huge spelling changes? — but it's fun to think about.

1
A
2
B
3
H
4
O
5
R
6
B
7
R
8
I
9
T
10
A
11
H
12
A
13
B
14
L
O
O
I
E
15
L
O
C
I
16
L
E
V
I
17
P
O
L
L
S
18
P
O
L
E
S
19
T
A
I
L
20
O
N
E
P
I
E
C
E
21
F
A
L
S
E
22
A
N
D
23
E
24
M
I
R
S
25
A
26
S
27
S
N
28
I
29
M
30
A
M
A
N
31
H
32
U
33
B
34
F
L
E
S
35
H
36
I
S
D
U
E
37
E
N
O
38
T
I
L
39
A
40
D
D
S
A
D
S
41
E
P
A
42
E
E
L
43
D
O
L
E
S
44
T
45
A
L
E
S
46
R
R
S
47
A
R
E
T
H
48
A
49
S
S
G
T
50
C
51
I
G
A
R
52
M
53
A
H
54
S
55
E
E
T
O
56
I
57
R
I
S
H
58
S
59
E
60
A
61
I
S
L
E
62
P
63
A
R
E
S
P
E
A
R
S
64
C
A
L
M
65
I
C
O
N
66
C
A
C
T
I
67
K
I
S
S
68
G
E
N
T
69
A
P
S
E
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0912 ( 24,415 )
Across
1. Dislike intensely : ABHOR
6. Londoner or Glaswegian, informally : BRIT
10. Mariner in a whale of a novel? : AHAB
14. Sergeant's superior, slangily : LOOIE
15. Particular points : LOCI
16. ___ Strauss & Co. : LEVI
17. Asks Warsaw residents their opinions? : POLLSPOLES
19. Bushy part of a squirrel : TAIL
20. Modest swimming garment : ONEPIECE
21. Under ___ pretenses : FALSE
22. Plus : AND
23. Mideast chiefs : EMIRS
25. P.G.A. part: Abbr. : ASSN
28. 1965 Yardbirds hit : IMAMAN
31. Wheel's center : HUB
34. Describe in greater detail, with "out" : FLESH
36. Deserves : ISDUE
37. Music producer Brian : ENO
38. Up to, informally : TIL
39. Increases the number of commercials? : ADDSADS
41. Ecologically oriented org. : EPA
42. Symbol of slipperiness : EEL
43. Hands (out), as money : DOLES
44. "Tall" stories : TALES
46. Monopoly game's B&O and Reading: Abbr. : RRS
47. "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" diva Franklin : ARETHA
49. Two steps above cpl. : SSGT
50. "Close but no ___" : CIGAR
52. ___-jongg : MAH
54. Take care of : SEETO
56. Body of water between Dublin and Liverpool : IRISHSEA
61. Cuba or Aruba : ISLE
62. Peels some fruit? : PARESPEARS
64. What comes before the storm : CALM
65. Sacred image : ICON
66. You might be stuck with these when traveling in the Southwest : CACTI
67. What a lipstick print signifies : KISS
68. Man who might tip his cap : GENT
69. Church recesses : APSES
Down
1. Brand for Fido : ALPO
2. Benefit : BOON
3. Ozone problem : HOLE
4. Crankcase attachments : OILPANS
5. Tree secretion : RESIN
6. Group of like-minded voters : BLOC
7. Offering from a casting director : ROLE
8. Diamonds, slangily : ICE
9. "My Country, ___ of Thee" : TIS
10. Place to say "With this ring, I thee wed" : ALTAR
11. Cures the backs of feet? : HEALSHEELS
12. "We try harder" company : AVIS
13. Ill humor : BILE
18. Mani-___ (salon offering) : PEDI
21. Of the highest quality : FINEST
23. Punctuation mark akin to a semicolon : EMDASH
24. Bond girl Adams : MAUD
25. Photo caption following a major weight loss : AFTER
26. More like a fox : SLIER
27. Finds buyers for smartphones? : SELLSCELLS
29. Bette who won a Golden Globe Award for "Gypsy" : MIDLER
30. Plus quality : ASSET
32. Remove, as a currency from a fixed rate : UNPEG
33. "I am the greatest," e.g. : BOAST
35. Tried : HADAGO
40. ___ the Explorer : DORA
45. Waste pile : ASHHEAP
48. French friends : AMIS
51. Agenda units : ITEMS
53. Abbreviation on a pound sign? : ASPCA
54. ___ as a dog : SICK
55. Actor Morales : ESAI
56. Clothes unwrinkler : IRON
57. Apartment dweller's payment : RENT
58. Anatomical pouches : SACS
59. Art Deco artist : ERTE
60. Garage sale disclaimer : ASIS
62. Baby back ribs source : PIG
63. Top of a royal flush : ACE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

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