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New York Times, Monday, September 25, 2017

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
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441/3/201310/31/20184
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1.58042
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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