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New York Times, Monday, September 25, 2017

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
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501/3/20137/9/20195
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314149460
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1.59042
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
I can't really take much credit for this one. Will and Joel thought this was a fun and simple Monday theme but my initial fill was ... read more

I can't really take much credit for this one. Will and Joel thought this was a fun and simple Monday theme but my initial fill was horrid and all those crossing words were too much for my wordlist at that time, even at the 78 word maximum. So ... handy dandy Frank Longo got called in to clean things up and he pretty much redid the whole puzzle from the ground up. The only entry that is a little dicey for Monday is THORA, but Thora Birch has made quite a name for herself as an actress.

Frank is actually quite busy and well-respected in the crossworld, but he manages to fly low under the radar most of the time. Despite the fact that Monday is the only day Frank has not been published in the NYT he turned down multiple requests to be listed as co-constructor here. Cycle, shmycle ...

At any rate, Thank You Frank!!

Jeff Chen notes:
Five sets of crossing rhymers, each 2x5 letters, each sharing the same last four letters. (Highlighted below.) I like saying HOTSY ... read more

Five sets of crossing rhymers, each 2x5 letters, each sharing the same last four letters. (Highlighted below.) I like saying HOTSY TOTSY and HOITY TOITY, so those were winners for me.

Not so much HANDY DANDY, which the dictionary defines as "handy." Huh. I had just learned the term "Handy Andy" recently, so HANDY DANDY befuddled me. I thought maybe I'd missed some clever extra layer in the puzzle.

Bruce did a good job of spreading out those five crossing pairs of themers, and using his black squares wisely to make for easier filling. I wouldn't have been surprised to see some crossword glue in the NW and SE, but both regions came out nice and clean. CY YOUNG and RAY GUNS even make for excellent bonuses in the NW. Very well done there to Bruce and Frank!

Not quite as strong in the more open SW and NE corners, but still, the execution is good. SILTS is a strange plural, and REYES is a bit off the beaten path, but big 5x5 chunks containing crossing answers often require more dabs of glue than this to hold them together.

I enjoyed getting some BULL MOOSE and OPEN HOUSE; neat that they extended into that toughish HOTSY TOTSY center for an added degree of difficulty.

HONEY-DO is fun too, although it's not as nice as getting the full "honey-do list."

And FOUR SPEED … sometimes constructors have to choose between sparkling fill and clean but less interesting fill, and Bruce / Frank went with the latter in this case. I like their decision, especially because they already gave us some great goodies in BULL MOOSE and OPEN HOUSE.

Well-executed puzzle, but rhyming puzzles have been done to death. It takes a dazzling new feature to wow me in this genre, and the crossing themers didn't quite do it. It feels like there's a Schrodinger-type puzzle in here somewhere, with a single entry of (H/T)OITY … perhaps akin to one of Patrick Merrell's? That wouldn't be a Monday puzzle though!

Jim Horne notes:

This reminds me of two memorable Paula Gamache grids: this one where crossed words are pronounced differently, and this one where CROSS is added.

1
A
2
D
3
D
4
E
5
R
6
D
7
A
8
B
9
A
10
F
11
T
12
E
13
R
14
D
I
A
N
A
15
E
M
U
16
D
R
O
N
E
17
H
A
N
D
Y
18
B
I
L
19
H
O
I
T
Y
20
O
R
D
21
G
22
R
U
E
L
23
E
S
T
E
E
24
C
Y
Y
25
O
U
N
G
26
M
27
A
R
T
Y
R
S
28
A
N
A
29
T
O
N
E
30
T
31
R
32
E
K
S
33
F
O
O
D
S
34
T
35
A
36
M
37
P
38
W
A
V
E
39
H
O
T
S
Y
40
W
I
R
E
41
O
P
E
N
42
H
O
U
S
E
43
D
I
D
I
N
44
O
P
R
Y
45
A
I
R
46
S
47
T
48
D
49
E
N
I
S
50
S
C
U
L
51
P
52
T
53
S
54
I
H
O
P
E
55
P
56
O
W
E
R
57
A
A
H
58
L
O
V
E
Y
59
E
G
O
60
N
61
A
M
B
Y
62
T
R
E
E
D
63
E
R
R
64
A
M
B
L
E
65
S
A
Y
S
O
66
D
E
N
67
L
A
Y
E
R
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0925 ( 24,793 )
Across
1
Puff ___ (snake) : ADDER
6
Bit of Brylcreem, say : DAB
9
Following : AFTER
14
Prince Harry's mum : DIANA
15
It hatches from a big egg : EMU
16
Unmanned aircraft : DRONE
17
With 3-Down, useful : HANDY
18
___ Keane, "The Family Circus" cartoonist : BIL
19
With 11-Down, snobbish : HOITY
20
California's old Fort ___ : ORD
21
Soupy "Oliver Twist" fare : GRUEL
23
Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
24
Award named for the winningest pitcher of all time : CYYOUNG
26
Ones sacrificing for a cause : MARTYRS
28
Santa ___ winds : ANA
29
Firm (up), as muscles : TONE
30
Long, hard journeys : TREKS
33
Coupon for the needy : FOODSTAMP
38
Greeting from a parade float : WAVE
39
With 29-Down, sophisticated : HOTSY
40
Listening device on a narc : WIRE
41
Realtor's showing : OPENHOUSE
43
Murdered : DIDIN
44
Grand Ole ___ : OPRY
45
Put on, as a TV show : AIR
46
Patron of France : STDENIS
50
Produces a large body of work? : SCULPTS
54
"It is my desire ..." : IHOPE
55
Word that can follow sea, solar or staying : POWER
57
"How relaxing!" : AAH
58
With 48-Down, affectionate : LOVEY
59
Part of the Freudian psyche : EGO
60
With 51-Down, weak and indecisive : NAMBY
62
Trapped on a branch : TREED
63
Screw things up : ERR
64
Walk leisurely : AMBLE
65
Authority : SAYSO
66
Man cave, maybe : DEN
67
Crust, mantle or core, for the earth : LAYER
Down
1
___ committee : ADHOC
2
Book that might require a key to open : DIARY
3
See 17-Across : DANDY
4
Finish : END
5
Sci-fi weapons : RAYGUNS
6
Fix, as software : DEBUG
7
French female friend : AMIE
8
Symbol of Teddy Roosevelt's political party : BULLMOOSE
9
Sticks (to) : ADHERES
10
Ice, as a cake : FROST
11
See 19-Across : TOITY
12
Go inside : ENTER
13
Spanish kings : REYES
22
Genetic initials : RNA
25
Like some wooden buckets : OAKEN
27
Roddick or Rooney : ANDY
29
See 39-Across : TOTSY
30
What it takes to tango : TWO
31
Genre for Big Sean or Biggie Smalls : RAP
32
She raised Cain : EVE
33
Like most manual transmissions in the 1970s and '80s : FOURSPEED
34
Spin, as a baton : TWIRL
35
First-___ kit : AID
36
CT scan alternative : MRI
37
It's "mightier than the sword" : PEN
39
Arizona tribe : HOPI
42
___ list (tasks for one's spouse) : HONEYDO
43
Active during the daytime : DIURNAL
45
Card that beats a king : ACE
46
River deposits : SILTS
47
___ Birch, "American Beauty" actress : THORA
48
See 58-Across : DOVEY
49
Fencing blades : EPEES
50
Bound by an oath : SWORN
51
See 60-Across : PAMBY
52
Ping-Pong surface : TABLE
53
More timid : SHYER
56
Grotesque folklore figure : OGRE
61
Org. for docs : AMA

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

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