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New York Times, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Author:
Paul Coulter
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
46/5/20179/17/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1120000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58010
Paul Coulter

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Coulter. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Paul Coulter notes:
This one had the working title of Good Vibrations. Pretty straightforward theme. It began when I noticed the phrase SITTING PRETTY in ... read more

This one had the working title of Good Vibrations. Pretty straightforward theme. It began when I noticed the phrase SITTING PRETTY in something I was reading. I liked the word picture it "paints." It seemed like the basis for a theme with various types of people gaining happiness in their profession.

I tend to overflow with theme ideas, many of them either complex or quite difficult. This wasn't one of them — in fact, that sort of puzzle rarely gets accepted except by Fireball — but they often come to me as I lie in bed before I fall asleep. I write them on a scratch pad so that I won't forget them by the morning. My family is very used to me bounding into breakfast with an, "Ooh, I've had the best idea!" Then babbling on about whatever it is, which of course makes little sense to them, since they aren't crossword people.

Jeff Chen notes:
It's tough not to smile when a puzzle is all about happiness. Great interpretations of five catchy phrases; Paul imagining them as ... read more

It's tough not to smile when a puzzle is all about happiness. Great interpretations of five catchy phrases; Paul imagining them as they'd apply to appropriate professions. Of course, a happy meteorologist would be ON CLOUD NINE, and an astronaut would be OVER THE MOON.

Even IN GOOD SPIRITS made me smile. My first impression was that a medium wouldn't be IN spirits as much as "within" them. I mean, it's not like the medium gets sucked in and swallowed by a ghost. Furthermore--

At that point, I delivered a kick in the pants to OCD Jeff, choosing to simply enjoy in the kookiness of a medium floating WITHIN GOOD SPIRITS.

Bah! Don't put WITH in bold! Bad, OCD Jeff, bad!

So many fantastic clues, too. Early-week puzzles often get toned down so that newer solvers won't get tripped up on their way to a victorious solve. What a treat to get [You drive it on a parkway and park it on a driveway] clue for CAR. [They're game] indeed describes PHEASANTS. YOYO MA taking a bow — his cello bow, that is — before his performance. A LAB being "chocolate-coated." Such joyful clues match the joyful theme.

A couple of blips though, in VINGT (tough foreign word), DEOXY (esoteric prefix), MOUE — gaaaaAACK!

That was the sound of a sock being stuffed in OCD Jeff's mouth. A puzzle this uplifting is allowed to have a couple of misdemeanors, especially when there are nice bonuses like IDIOT BOX to balance them out. No AW MANs today.

Above everything else, crosswords should entertain. If you don't deliver a few minutes of joy to your solvers, you've failed as a constructor. Smashing success today, Paul!

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0917 ( 25,515 )
Across
1
Pettable purrer : LAPCAT
7
2012 film about the so-called "Canadian Caper" : ARGO
11
Sights in sports bars : TVS
14
Where Odysseus is king, in the "Odyssey" : ITHACA
15
"That was a close one!" : WHEW
16
Carnival city, informally : RIO
17
Like a happy astronaut? : OVERTHEMOON
19
Raggedy redhead : ANN
20
C.I.A. sister service : NSA
21
State that's only 45 miles wide at the top: Abbr. : IDA
22
Complete, as a PDF contract : ESIGN
24
Like a happy portrait model? : SITTINGPRETTY
29
Cry of triumph after arriving : IMADEIT
31
Boot from office : OUST
32
Jeans material : DENIM
33
PC bailout key : ESC
34
Bear with a bed that was too hard : PAPA
38
Like a happy mountaineer? : ONTOPOFTHEWORLD
42
Bringing up the rear : LAST
43
Pride for a gym rat : PEC
44
Overcaffeinated : WIRED
45
Quick farewells : BYES
47
Old British coins worth 21 shillings : GUINEAS
49
Like a happy medium? : INGOODSPIRITS
53
Prefix with ribonucleic : DEOXY
54
Connections : INS
55
Rug rat : TOT
58
Something that may be chocolate-coated? : LAB
59
Like a happy meteorologist? : ONCLOUDNINE
64
H : ETA
65
Pouty face : MOUE
66
Convenience from an auto garage : LOANER
67
Nursery supply usually sold in rolls : SOD
68
Knocks the socks off : AWES
69
Space in a relationship : AGEGAP
Down
1
One of two statues outside the New York Public Library : LION
2
Off-road rides, for short : ATVS
3
They're game : PHEASANTS
4
You drive it on a parkway and park it in a driveway : CAR
5
Make a scene? : ACT
6
The H.M.S. Bounty stopped here in 1788 : TAHITI
7
"You're killing me, bro!" : AWMAN
8
P : RHO
9
Prefix with cache : GEO
10
Titleholders : OWNERS
11
Blue eyes or hairy legs, e.g. : TRAIT
12
French 20 : VINGT
13
Eldest Corleone brother : SONNY
18
Change ... one hopes for the better : EDIT
23
Score of 5-4, 40-15, say : SETPOINT
25
Boob tube : IDIOTBOX
26
Fill-in : TEMP
27
"Holy cow!" : GOSH
28
Color akin to eggplant : PUCE
29
Fan favorite : IDOL
30
Actress Suvari : MENA
33
Inclusive abbr. : ETC
35
Very noticeable : ARRESTING
36
"Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope," e.g. : PLEA
37
Annexes : ADDS
39
Kind of column : OPED
40
Admit, with "up" : FESS
41
It had theaters in Europe and the Pacific, for short : WWII
46
Virtuoso taking a bow before a performance? : YOYOMA
47
Vocalist Vannelli : GINO
48
Villainess in "The Little Mermaid" : URSULA
49
Doesn't go anywhere : IDLES
50
"Cool beans!" : NEATO
51
Rot : GOBAD
52
Heaps : PILES
56
Apartment number for many a building superintendent : ONEA
57
Maryland collegian, informally : TERP
60
"This instant!" : NOW
61
Signal : CUE
62
Follow relentlessly : DOG
63
Scottish denial : NAE

Answer summary: 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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