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New York Times, Monday, September 26, 2016

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5112/11/201111/28/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74962302
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 27 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Timothy Polin notes:
Today's revealer was originally going to be GET STUFFED ... good thing I checked out Urban Dictionary and Wiktionary first. Research ... read more

Today's revealer was originally going to be GET STUFFED ... good thing I checked out Urban Dictionary and Wiktionary first. Research is your friend.

Speaking of stuffing, that SNAX / EX-STAR crossing is decidedly not a product of unscrupulous high-value Scrabble packing. By sheer coincidence, I've used EX-STAR (not great) twice in the last few weeks, in both cases thinking its inclusion led to the best fill otherwise.

Imputing a motive for the scheduling of this puzzle is baseless projection, but I'd like to believe it's a message to one of two the participants (hint: the David Duke-endorsed one) in the travesty of debate I'm terrified will unfold tonight at Hofstra University. Jeff might hammer me for AGITA's inclusion, but if you've been walking with the same ever-present, ever-growing gnawing in the pit of your stomach that I've been for past several months, horrified that we're on the verge of doing something irrevocably, irredeemably and unforgivably stupid—and you weren't sure know what to call it—AGITA is the word you're looking for.

Of course, saying you're scared out of your f*cking mind works equally well. Better, even. Tougher to work in as fill, though.

Happy solving!

Jeff Chen notes:
Talk about STUFFing IT! Tim appropriately stuffs seven themers into his grid, a very challenging task. Nice work in intersecting OLIVE ... read more

Talk about STUFFing IT! Tim appropriately stuffs seven themers into his grid, a very challenging task. Nice work in intersecting OLIVE BRANCH / TURKEY TROT and ANIMAL HOUSE / PILLOW TALK. It's tough to make seven themers work in a single puzzle, but this sort of intersecting arrangement is one of the best ways of doing so. If you can find two fortuitous crossings, two of your themers effectively go in the slots where long down filler entries usually would go.

So you'd think that the fill would be pretty blah, what with those two long down slots taken up by themers, yeah? But this is Tim we're talking about. He's so good with his fill that it wasn't a surprise to get such goodies as ROLODEX, BAD EGGS, MY LOVE — that's no BUSHWA! Okay, that last one I learned through crosswords, but I love using it. (Perhaps because of the head-scratching it generates.)

Speaking of head-scratching, AGITA (Tim knows me well!) and ETOILE are pretty tough words. Not that they're not legit, but I don't like seeing entries in Monday puzzles that might turn off novice solvers. There is a lot that can fall into the category of "I have to know THAT if I want to do crosswords?!" and some of it I think is absolutely fair game. Having both of these though … I wonder if that would make less-experienced solvers agitacious.

Generally, I think Tim did a very good job given the high theme density, though — might have been just about right for a Tuesday, where I think more esoteric words can play better.

One of my favorite theme types is "how do these disparate elements relate?" I still fondly remember one in particular. Today's puzzle goes toward that idea, but it kind of also sports a "words that can follow X" feel. It is neat that you can have a stuffed animal or a stuffed olive — fairly different — but when you stuff peppers, olives, turkeys, and then pillows, animals, and stockings, they're not diverse enough for my taste.

1
A
2
B
3
A
4
T
5
E
6
S
7
A
8
R
9
A
10
B
11
A
12
D
13
S
14
M
Y
L
O
V
E
15
T
O
F
U
16
N
O
T
17
P
E
P
P
E
R
18
P
O
T
T
S
19
I
W
O
20
S
N
A
R
L
21
H
22
O
M
E
R
23
C
24
R
25
O
P
26
P
I
L
27
L
28
O
W
T
A
L
K
29
R
O
L
O
30
D
E
X
31
E
M
A
I
L
32
A
G
I
T
A
33
I
A
N
34
S
H
35
O
36
W
37
S
U
V
38
S
39
T
40
U
F
F
I
41
T
42
O
L
E
43
S
E
E
44
S
45
O
N
S
46
A
47
B
U
S
E
48
B
A
49
M
B
I
50
D
51
E
B
A
S
E
D
52
T
53
U
R
K
E
Y
T
54
R
O
T
55
D
E
N
Y
56
B
R
A
S
S
57
A
R
O
58
S
E
59
S
I
N
60
S
61
T
62
O
C
K
I
N
G
63
C
64
A
65
P
66
P
A
C
67
E
A
V
E
68
L
A
G
U
N
A
69
S
H
H
70
S
P
A
R
71
E
X
S
T
A
R
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0926 ( 24,429 )

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Across
1
Diminishes in intensity : ABATES
7
Resident of Oman or Yemen : ARAB
11
Breaks you wish would end? : ADS
14
"Sweetheart" : MYLOVE
15
Protein-rich vegan staple : TOFU
16
"Do ___ disturb" (motel sign) : NOT
17
*Iron Man's love interest : PEPPERPOTTS
19
___ Jima : IWO
20
Mean dog sound : SNARL
21
Hit one out of the park : HOMER
23
Trim, as a photograph : CROP
26
*Intimate chitchat : PILLOWTALK
29
Old-fashioned address organizer : ROLODEX
31
Most correspondence nowadays : EMAIL
32
Unsettled feeling : AGITA
33
Actor McKellen : IAN
34
Display : SHOW
37
Ford Escape or Jeep Cherokee, for short : SUV
38
"Shut up already!" ... or what you can do to the start of the answer to each starred clue : STUFFIT
42
Cheer at a fútbol match : OLE
43
Goes out with : SEES
45
Slip-___ : ONS
46
Mistreat : ABUSE
48
Disney fawn : BAMBI
50
Diminished in value, as a currency : DEBASED
52
*Annual Thanksgiving Day run : TURKEYTROT
55
Refuse to admit : DENY
56
Copper + zinc : BRASS
57
Came to light : AROSE
59
"Deadly" offense : SIN
60
*Knit headwear that may have a tufted ball at its end : STOCKINGCAP
66
Stephen Colbert's Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, e.g. : PAC
67
Part of the roof where icicles form : EAVE
68
___ Beach, Calif. : LAGUNA
69
Admonition in a movie theater : SHH
70
Shadowbox : SPAR
71
Former celebrity : EXSTAR
Down
1
Concert haul? : AMP
2
"Ciao" : BYE
3
Swiss mountain : ALP
4
Number one position : TOPSPOT
5
Fair and balanced : EVEN
6
Mexican shawl : SERAPE
7
Ring-shaped reef : ATOLL
8
Spoil : ROT
9
Sternward : AFT
10
Complete rubbish : BUSHWA
11
*Classic comedy set at the fictional Faber College : ANIMALHOUSE
12
Carpentry pin : DOWEL
13
Bird on a birth announcement : STORK
18
___ fixe (menu notation) : PRIX
22
Soul singer Redding : OTIS
23
Lacking refinement : CRASS
24
Charming scoundrel : ROGUE
25
*Offer of reconciliation : OLIVEBRANCH
27
Page (through) : LEAF
28
All: Prefix : OMNI
30
Prosecutors, briefly : DAS
33
"No ___, ands or buts" : IFS
35
Jimmy ___, reporter for the Daily Planet : OLSEN
36
Like overgrown gardens : WEEDY
39
___ Keith, singer with 20 #1 country hits : TOBY
40
Gram or dram : UNIT
41
Indenting computer key : TAB
44
Fifth Avenue retailer : SAKS
47
Perpetual troublemakers : BADEGGS
49
Pigsties : MESSES
50
Nerd : DORK
51
Prima ballerina : ETOILE
52
Cookbook amts. : TBSPS
53
Dickens's ___ Heep : URIAH
54
Indy 500 car : RACER
58
Chips and popcorn, in commercialese : SNAX
61
"Singin' in the Rain" dance style : TAP
62
Fertilizable cells : OVA
63
Sever : CUT
64
Santa ___, Calif. : ANA
65
72, for many golf courses : PAR

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

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