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New York Times, Monday, September 16, 2013

Author:
Ed Sessa
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
389/10/20077/15/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
41067452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64251
Edward Sessa

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 80, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQVWZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Edward Sessa notes:
As originally conceived and submitted this puzzle had all the clues begin with the letter 'M'. I suspect that either some of the clues ... read more

As originally conceived and submitted this puzzle had all the clues begin with the letter "M". I suspect that either some of the clues were a bit too much of a "stretch" or that doing such created a disconnect between the difficulty level of the puzzle entries and that of the cluing as a whole (e.g. a Monday puzzle with Wednesday clues). I think Will kept about 16-17 of these clues. In filling the grid I always had to keep in mind the cluing restrictions I had set up for myself. It was a fun challenge, but I remember an old comment that a challenge for a constructor doesn't necessarily equal a fun puzzle for the solver, which is what may have done this idea in.

In any case, I do believe that each entry can have a reasonable "M" clue associated with it…mmmm…some solvers might even enjoy the challenge of finding a few for some entries themselves.

Will Shortz notes:
The Monday through Thursday puzzles this week were used last Saturday at the 6th annual BAC Fill crossword tournament in Oakland, ... read more

The Monday through Thursday puzzles this week were used last Saturday at the 6th annual BAC Fill crossword tournament in Oakland, Calif. Each year all the money raised at the event goes to benefit Families of SMA, which is dedicated to finding a treatment and cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. More info can be found at www.bayareacrosswords.org.

Jeff Chen notes:
Nice start to the week; Ed gives us a lively set of theme answers that haven't been seen much before. It took me a while to remember ... read more

Nice start to the week; Ed gives us a lively set of theme answers that haven't been seen much before. It took me a while to remember the ad slogan as "M'm M'm Good", not "Mmmm Good". Funny how much difference a single space makes.

I tried to think of potential theme answers that had two sets of double-m's, and only came up with a few. I find JIMMY KIMMEL hilarious, but including him in the same thought as MM MM GOOD...I'm glad Ed didn't go down this route. Mr. Kimmel, if you're reading, I'll take my 15% cut in unmarked bills for the skit idea.

The theme density today is high, with five themers including a 10/15/10 in the middle. Ed does a nice job of spacing them out to give maximum flexibility, but there are so many crossings between MUMMYS TOMB, MILLION MOM MARCH, and MAMMY YOKUM that the center section becomes tough to fill. O??U doesn't have many options (OAHU only), and surprisingly, neither does M??M (MAAM, MAIM, MARM). That duo constrains the fill heavily, causing the ?AA? pattern at 45A (BAAL). So many constraints in that region.

Finally, a discussion about the difficulty of using eight-letter revealers. Because a revealer is often best placed at the bottom of a grid (so it wraps up the theme at the very end), notice how by necessity the SW and NE corners are six white spaces across. Bigger sections are harder to fill, and a 6x5 swath of wide-open space can be especially challenging. Ed does a nice job in the SW with the beautiful LET ME SEE and just one partial (A TIE) as a blemish, but the NE suffers a little with the "roll-your-own" RETAB next to the poetic ENORM.

Constructing for a Monday is very hard. Most of the aforementioned entries would be totally acceptable on a Thursday, especially if necessary to carry off an ambitious theme, but for a Monday, they offer a very tough challenge for beginning solvers.

Jim Horne notes:

This puzzle blows away the old record for most Ms. There are 25 of them.

Update: Clive Probert squeezed 46 Ms into this 2017 puzzle.

1
P
2
A
3
N
4
A
5
S
6
A
7
P
8
D
9
A
10
P
11
P
12
E
13
R
14
U
P
I
15
G
A
L
S
16
E
L
A
I
N
E
17
M
A
M
18
M
A
M
I
A
19
C
A
N
N
O
T
20
A
R
O
A
R
21
L
22
E
O
23
A
T
R
A
24
S
T
Y
X
25
M
26
U
M
M
Y
27
S
T
O
M
B
28
I
29
B
I
D
30
I
S
L
E
31
A
32
H
33
A
34
A
R
O
35
O
36
I
L
37
O
38
S
39
T
40
M
I
L
41
L
I
O
N
M
42
O
43
M
M
A
R
C
H
44
I
M
P
E
L
45
B
A
A
L
46
S
H
Y
47
T
E
48
M
49
P
50
H
A
Y
51
S
52
M
53
A
54
M
M
Y
Y
O
55
K
U
M
56
L
57
A
58
M
59
A
60
A
T
I
E
61
N
T
H
62
A
A
R
O
N
63
C
E
S
S
64
N
A
65
M
66
M
67
M
M
G
O
O
D
68
H
I
T
E
C
H
69
E
X
A
M
70
M
E
R
71
U
N
S
E
R
S
72
R
I
C
O
73
A
D
E
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0916 ( 23,323 )
Across
1
Man-goat of myth : PAN
4
"Make it snappy," on an order : ASAP
8
Smartly dressed : DAPPER
14
Media inits. since 1958 : UPI
15
Guys' counterpart : GALS
16
Mike Nichols's comedy partner ___ May : ELAINE
17
Abba-inspired hit musical : MAMMAMIA
19
Is unable to : CANNOT
20
Loud, as a crowd : AROAR
21
Sign before Virgo : LEO
23
Gillette razor brand : ATRA
24
River of the underworld, in myth : STYX
25
Movie starring Lon Chaney Jr., with "The" : MUMMYSTOMB
28
Footnote abbr. : IBID
30
___ of Wight : ISLE
31
"Now I get it!" : AHA
34
Suffix with buck : AROO
36
"Since ___ My Baby" (1965 Temptations hit) : ILOST
40
Washington rally of 5/14/00 : MILLIONMOMMARCH
44
Push : IMPEL
45
False god : BAAL
46
Timid : SHY
47
Office worker just for the day : TEMP
50
Makes bales on a farm : HAYS
52
Dogpatch matriarch : MAMMYYOKUM
56
Tibetan priest : LAMA
60
Even, after "in" : ATIE
61
Math's highest degree? : NTH
62
Baseball's Hammerin' Hank : AARON
63
Many a corporate plane : CESSNA
65
Classic advertising slogan ... and a hint to 17-, 25-, 40- and 52-Across : MMMMGOOD
68
Very advanced, computerwise : HITECH
69
Test : EXAM
70
Mal de ___ : MER
71
Al and Al Jr. of auto racing : UNSERS
72
Puerto ___ : RICO
73
Suffix on juice drinks : ADE
Down
1
Mountain cats or sneakers : PUMAS
2
Miles ___ (not even close) : APART
3
Leonard who played Mr. Spock : NIMOY
4
Medium in bio labs : AGAR
5
"Uncle ___ wants you" : SAM
6
Boxer Muhammad : ALI
7
"The Lord is my shepherd ...," e.g. : PSALM
8
Wooden ducks : DECOYS
9
Pie ___ mode : ALA
10
Long, thin cigar : PANATELA
11
Mottled horse : PINTO
12
Huge, in poetry : ENORM
13
Adjust the margins again : RETAB
18
Opposite of mini- : MAXI
22
Brit. record label : EMI
25
Artist Joan : MIRO
26
Japanese soup noodles : UDON
27
Meagerly : SLIMLY
29
Barnum's circus partner : BAILEY
31
Friend of François : AMI
32
"I Will Follow ___" (1963 #1 hit) : HIM
33
Mont Blanc, e.g. : ALP
35
White House financial advisory grp. : OMB
37
Surgery sites, for short : ORS
38
Educ. facility : SCH
39
"___ will be done ..." (Lord's Prayer phrase) : THY
41
"Hmmm ..." : LETMESEE
42
Honolulu's home : OAHU
43
Sir's counterpart, informally : MAAM
48
Bird mimics : MYNAHS
49
One calling the kettle black, in a saying : POT
51
Metal waste : SLAG
52
___ Picchu (Incan site) : MACHU
53
Had dinner at home : ATEIN
54
Light fogs : MISTS
55
Official language of Cambodia : KHMER
57
Scent : AROMA
58
Made a cow call : MOOED
59
Tennis's Agassi : ANDRE
62
Bullets, BB's and such : AMMO
64
Co. that makes A.T.M.'s : NCR
66
1011, in old Rome : MXI
67
McDonald's Big ___ : MAC

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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