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New York Times, Monday, September 18, 2017

Author: Tom McCoy
Editor: Will Shortz
Tom McCoy
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3011/14/201311/19/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
15815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61351

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. McCoy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Tom McCoy notes: This puzzle was inspired by a Calvin & Hobbes strip that mentions the YELLOW-BELLIED sapsucker (in the context of a crossword ... more
Tom McCoy notes:

This puzzle was inspired by a Calvin & Hobbes strip that mentions the YELLOW-BELLIED sapsucker (in the context of a crossword puzzle, no less!) My private title for the puzzle is PARTICOLORED, which I considered using as a revealer; but I ended up leaving it without a revealer since PARTICOLORED doesn't quiiite work and is a bit obscure.

Jeff Chen notes: Nice and consistent theme, [color] + [bodily descriptor using -ED]. Neat finds — I wouldn't have imagined that there were four ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Nice and consistent theme, [color] + [bodily descriptor using -ED]. Neat finds — I wouldn't have imagined that there were four of these phrases, much less four that so perfectly exhibited crossword symmetry. A constructor's dream!

Interesting layout. Typically it's best to alternate themers left / right, so in this case, GREENEYED would go all the way to the right, and RED HANDED would shift to the far left. That usually allows for better spacing and thus, easier filling. But two shortish themers, at nine letters apiece, gives a lot of flexibility in placing your themers. It's fun as a constructor to buck convention to see what happens.

A pair of strong bonuses in ENERGY BAR and THE DONALD. The latter may not be to everyone's political tastes, but it is a colorful nickname. (I keep trying to get people to call me El Jefe, but that hasn't stuck. Harrumph.)

Smooth grid, too, not a surprise for a McCoy. NON, ONS, and AMT are all minor, so I breezed through the puzzle. Well crafted; I'd happily give this to novice solvers.

But given how much flexibility the low(ish) theme density allowed for, I would have liked to see more bonuses in the fill. I'd bet a huge sum that given Tom's skills, he could have worked in another pair (or two) of great long entries, perhaps by taking out the black square in between ORBS and TRAY, while still keeping the grid nice and smooth. The theme wasn't anything mind-blowing, so these extra bonuses could be important in terms of holding solvers' attention.

Solid Monday offering, if not as awe-inspiring as Tom's puzzles usually are. Tough to achieve that in a Monday puzzle, anyway.

1
P
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0918 ( 24,786 )
Across Down
1. The Times or the Daily News, e.g. : PAPER
6. Gorillas : APES
10. Mark permanently : ETCH
14. Ogden Nash's "two-l" beast : LLAMA
15. Seized car, for short : REPO
16. You, in the Bible : THOU
17. ___ nerve (retina attachment) : OPTIC
18. Guitarist Clapton : ERIC
19. Chopped : HEWN
20. Visibly tense : WHITEKNUCKLED
23. ___ Paulo, Brazil : SAO
24. Crucial biological molecule : DNA
25. Figure in Greek myth after whom a continent is named : EUROPA
28. Compete (for) : VIE
29. ___ and starts : FITS
31. Opposite of oui : NON
32. Extremely jealous : GREENEYED
36. Characteristic : TRAIT
38. Convent residents : NUNS
39. Rich ore sources : LODES
41. Counterpart to "if," in computer science : ELSE
42. Aids in crime : ABETS
44. In the very act : REDHANDED
46. Lancelot's title : SIR
47. Highest point : APEX
49. Qty. : AMT
50. Truss up : HOGTIE
52. Letters before a pseudonym : AKA
53. Golf teacher : PRO
56. Deplorably cowardly : YELLOWBELLIED
60. Spheres : ORBS
62. Holder of a cafeteria meal : TRAY
63. Like some wealthy neighborhoods : GATED
64. In apple-pie order : NEAT
65. Things in an Easter basket : EGGS
66. In the slightest : ATALL
67. Agile for one's age : SPRY
68. Supplies for Easter 65-Across : DYES
69. Antonym of 64-Across : MESSY
1. Snow clearers : PLOWS
2. Start or end of the Greek spelling of "Athena" : ALPHA
3. Place between a house and a backyard : PATIO
4. Give off, as rays : EMIT
5. Entered quickly : RACEDIN
6. Place of gladiatorial battle : ARENA
7. Lima's land : PERU
8. Three-hour-plus movie, maybe : EPIC
9. Holder of an eye or a light bulb : SOCKET
10. Heavens, poetically : ETHER
11. Ex of Marla and Ivana, informally : THEDONALD
12. Dairy animal : COW
13. Attila, for one : HUN
21. Prepare to be knighted : KNEEL
22. One of the seven deadly sins : LUST
26. Graceful bearing : POISE
27. Threw some chips in the pot : ANTED
28. Item under a suit jacket : VEST
29. Company that bought Kinko's : FEDEX
30. Picked out of a lineup, informally : IDED
32. Grind, as the teeth : GNASH
33. Florida senator Marco : RUBIO
34. Snack for an athlete : ENERGYBAR
35. Times long, long ago : YORE
37. $250, for Mediterranean Avenue, even with a hotel on it : RENT
40. Ice cream drink : SHAKE
43. Go yachting : SAIL
45. Blend : AMALGAM
48. Bombarded, as with snowballs : PELTED
51. Irritable : TESTY
52. Bottomless pit : ABYSS
53. Breads served with hummus : PITAS
54. Staggers : REELS
55. "Strangely enough ..." : ODDLY
57. Unrestrained revelry : ORGY
58. Salary : WAGE
59. Running behind schedule : LATE
60. Walk-___ (unrecruited athletes) : ONS
61. Member of Cong. : REP

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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