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New York Times, Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1065/2/20061/31/201912
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512253614104
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 70 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
I remember the genesis for this puzzle came to me on a rainy night a couple of years ago as I was driving back to Ann Arbor from Detroit. For ... read more

I remember the genesis for this puzzle came to me on a rainy night a couple of years ago as I was driving back to Ann Arbor from Detroit. For some reason, the Muse seems to speak to me while I'm driving my car or walking my dog. I was thinking about "Dances with Wolves", and noticed that the letters DATE were hiding inside. As I quickly tapped out the length with my fingers on the steering wheel, I was a bit dismayed to find that it was "plus-sized" at 16 letters. Before I had pulled into my driveway, I'd found "Dead Poets Society" — also 16 letters — and I was off and running.

I'm sure there are many "date" movies I could've chosen from, but these all seem to be fairly classic (although I must admit I've never seen "WIld at Heart" — is it a classic?).

Here's a little personal fact about Elmore LEONARD (40-Down). He and my father-in-law went to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, with Elmore being a couple of years older. About a dozen years ago, at the U of D High School auction, Elmore put up, to the highest bidder, the right to have the bidder's name as a character in Leonard's upcoming novel. My father-in-law was the high bidder, so now he and my mother-in-law's names are immortalized in "Tishomingo Blues". My father-in-law is a gangster and my mother-in-law is a high-end hooker. Nice.

Will Shortz notes:
As you probably noticed, the grid is an atypical 16x15 squares, in order to accommodate the theme. I'm happy to run any sort of unusual grid ... read more

As you probably noticed, the grid is an atypical 16x15 squares, in order to accommodate the theme. I'm happy to run any sort of unusual grid size like this as long as there's a good enough reason and readers get their usual amount of crossword solving.

Jeff Chen notes:
Pete is one of the most published constructors in the Shortz era, and has the distinction of being one of fewer than 20 people who have doubly ... read more

Pete is one of the most published constructors in the Shortz era, and has the distinction of being one of fewer than 20 people who have doubly "hit for the cycle" (having published a puzzle for every day of the week not just once, but twice). It takes a wide range of constructing skills to achieve this feat — he's in rarefied air.

Straightforward theme, the letters DATE being in found in sequence within the four movies. Consistency is good, with each of the movies being well-known and all of them having the D-A-T-E in sequential order. It would have been really neat if the word DATE (without breaks) had been hidden in the theme movies, but that's likely too much to ask for. After 30 minutes all I could come up with was THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, which is way too long. Even more awesome would be some visual of a nervous young TEEN trying to YAWN his ARM around his DATE. Definitely too much to ask for.

Note on PEWIT, which I have a feeling will draw complaints from some solvers. At first I had a negative reaction to it, but I then found it to be an interesting answer to look up. I think I would have seen PEWIT as an asset to the grid if it had been clued something like "Bird whose name imitates its cry". Funny sound, indeed. What can I say, I'm easily amused.

Nice NE and SW corners, containing such goodies as PAVLOVA and MOLIERE and NINE IRON. The NE suffers a bit from the crosswordese AWN, but all the crossings are fair. The SW is really good; a clean and fun triple-stack of 7's including the topical LEONARD. On that note, I enjoy it when a constructor personalizes his/her grid, and Pete's comment on LEONARD is a highlight for me. I like how Ben Tausig sends blurbs about his American Values Crossword constructors — wouldn't it be cool if the NYT were to even occasionally publish these little stories alongside the grid?

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0917 ( 23,324 )
Across
1
Place for washing instructions, often : LABEL
6
Houdini feat : ESCAPE
12
Free TV ad, for short : PSA
15
Wack : INANE
16
One end of a pencil : ERASER
17
Grain beard : AWN
18
1990 Kevin Costner film : DANCESWITHWOLVES
21
Reason for an R rating : GORE
22
Urban ordinance that might apply to a late-night party : NOISELAW
23
1990 Nicolas Cage film : WILDATHEART
27
November exhortation : VOTE
28
"Nice!" : SWEET
29
Mont Blanc, e.g., to locals : ALPE
30
Flu symptom : FEVER
31
"___ Boys" (Alcott novel) : JOS
32
"___ Maria" : AVE
33
Drilling sites : MOLARS
34
18-, 23-, 51- and 56-Across? : DATEMOVIES
38
One of two used facetiously in Mötley Crüe : UMLAUT
41
"Oedipus ___" : REX
42
Combat : WAR
45
Attendees : GOERS
46
Ballet bend : PLIE
48
DVD player button : EJECT
50
Bushels : ALOT
51
1967 Dustin Hoffman film : THEGRADUATE
53
Not a club for big shots? : NINEIRON
55
"Get the Party Started" singer : PINK
56
1989 Robin Williams film : DEADPOETSSOCIETY
61
Part of E.T.A.: Abbr. : ARR
62
"As you wish" : SOBEIT
63
For all ___ : TOSEE
64
Neighbor of Homer : NED
65
In public : OPENLY
66
Misses at a bullfight?: Abbr. : SRTAS
Down
1
Pot top : LID
2
Santa ___ winds : ANA
3
"Walk Like an Egyptian" band, with "the" : BANGLES
4
Purposely obfuscate, in a way : ENCODE
5
Ogle : LEERAT
6
"That's nasty!" : EEW
7
___ Lanka : SRI
8
Quick refresher : CATNAP
9
Where sailors go in port : ASHORE
10
Lapwing : PEWIT
11
Mythological lover boy : EROS
12
"The Dying Swan" ballerina : PAVLOVA
13
Cardigan, e.g. : SWEATER
14
What an information booth has : ANSWERS
19
Volleyball action between a bump and a spike : SET
20
Is honest (with) : LEVELS
23
Paper with "Marketplace" and "Money & Investing" sects. : WSJ
24
___ Jima : IWO
25
Privileged one : HAVE
26
K-5, schoolwise : ELEM
30
Adversary : FOE
32
A.B.A. member : ATT
33
Betty Crocker product : MIX
34
Ran out, as in front of traffic : DARTED
35
Vienna's land: Abbr. : AUS
36
Not a copy: Abbr. : ORIG
37
Go off course : VEER
38
Kampala resident : UGANDAN
39
"Tartuffe" writer : MOLIERE
40
"Get Shorty" novelist Elmore ___ : LEONARD
42
Most diluted : WEAKEST
43
Play part : ACT
44
Hwy. : RTE
46
One of the friends on "Friends" : PHOEBE
47
Like the pre-Easter season : LENTEN
48
Decrees : EDICTS
49
III's father : JUNIOR
51
Scout unit : TROOP
52
Abbr. on mail to a soldier : APO
54
___ facto : IPSO
57
R.S.V.P. part : SIL
58
Hog's home : STY
59
What a caddy may hold : TEA
60
What "aye" means : YES

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

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