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New York Times, Monday, September 7, 2015

Author:
Paula Gamache
Editor:
Will Shortz
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1085/21/20021/14/20184
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81318151217619
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1.58431
Paula Gamache

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {GJQXZ} This is puzzle # 98 for Ms. Gamache. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Golf theme today, a DRIVE, PITCH, CHIP, and a PUTT to end up IN THE HOLE. Fun wordplay around the revealer, repurposing its ... read more

Golf theme today, a DRIVE, PITCH, CHIP, and a PUTT to end up IN THE HOLE. Fun wordplay around the revealer, repurposing its metaphorical "behind the 8-ball" meaning to a literal one.

Sephora store

I wasn't familiar with CHIPBOARD, but it's legit, if not snazzy. And at first I was put off by the extra PUTT in PUTT PUTTS, but given my golfing skills, I should be happy it wasn't the more accurate PUTT PUTT PUTT PUTTS.

The 9/9/11/9/9 arrangement of themers forces a lot of seven-letter entries in this grid, and Paula fills them well with the colorful WARPATH, HUSTLES, TRAITOR, and even SEPHORA, a kooky-looking brand name. Without any fill longer than seven letters, I much appreciate her usage of these slots, working in some great entries.

Getting all those good TIDBITS came with a cost, though. Will typically doesn't like acronyms unless they're very well known, but he'll sometimes let them through if the crossings are fair. BHT is vaguely familiar to me, but I can see solvers putting in MHT, with MAA as a believable [Sheep's sound]. Tough one that might irk some solvers; not a good thing for a Monday puzzle.

Although there was a good amount of glue almost necessitated by all those seven-letter slots, I liked that Paula spread it around, not really having a concentration in any one area. I didn't get bogged down at any one particular section during my solve, which sometimes happens if there's a huge bolus of gluey bits somewhere. In total though, I did feel like there was too much for my taste, what with a couple of partials, a prefix, abbr., a CHA and a SHA and a RAH, etc. Uncharacteristic for Paula.

Some people think I hold Mondays to an excessively high standard of smoothness. One can even make the argument that partials are good for Mondays, since they tend to help solvers. I can see that perspective, but I feel like smoothness / elegance in fill is one of the factors that distinguishes "the good crosswords" from the computer-generated or worse.

Great, creative clue for SKY. Reminds me of those jigsaw puzzles that are only one color. Talk about SADO-masochistic!

1
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A
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0907 ( 24,044 )

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Across
1
Has debts : OWES
5
Shuttle program org. : NASA
9
Up and about : ASTIR
14
Tibetan monk : LAMA
15
Swearing-in statement : OATH
16
"___ Doone" (1869 historical novel) : LORNA
17
They lead to garages : DRIVEWAYS
19
Worthless stuff : TRASH
20
Early tournament match, informally : PRELIM
21
What a surly server may get : NOTIP
22
Sheep's sound : BAA
23
How some games end, before overtime : INATIE
26
Soul singer Redding : OTIS
28
Internet address starter : HTTP
30
Tool for moving hay : PITCHFORK
32
Belief in the existence of God : THEISM
35
Lavish love (on) : DOTE
36
Spanish king : REY
37
Pressed, recycled paper used for notepad backing : CHIPBOARD
40
___ Na Na : SHA
43
"That's ___ haven't heard" : ONEI
44
Waters parted in Exodus : REDSEA
48
Slow motorboats, informally : PUTTPUTTS
51
PC support person : TECH
52
Arthur of tennis : ASHE
53
Stunning weapons : TASERS
56
___ Beta Kappa : PHI
57
Brief and pithy : TERSE
59
Grow canines : TEETHE
61
Pioneering nurse Barton : CLARA
62
Having debts ... or where to find a golf ball after 17-, 30-, 37- and 48-Across's starts? : INTHEHOLE
65
Biblical king of Judea : HEROD
66
Ward of "The Fugitive" : SELA
67
In ___ (lined up) : AROW
68
Prefix with -naut : ASTRO
69
Lisa with the 1994 #1 hit "Stay (I Missed You)" : LOEB
70
Decline, as in popularity : WANE
Down
1
Passé : OLD
2
On the ___ (incensed) : WARPATH
3
Dubai, for one : EMIRATE
4
"___ the Whales" (bumper sticker) : SAVE
5
Hopeless, as a situation : NOWIN
6
Pre-GPS guide from a travel org. : AAAMAP
7
Piggy digs : STY
8
Sighs of satisfaction : AHS
9
Voice higher than tenor : ALTO
10
Somewhat : SORTOF
11
Judas : TRAITOR
12
Motivate : INSPIRE
13
Team motivator : RAH
18
Quarterback Manning : ELI
21
Food for hummingbirds : NECTAR
22
Food preservative letters : BHT
24
Juicy pieces of gossip : TIDBITS
25
"Am ___ early?" : ITOO
27
Often-difficult part of a jigsaw puzzle : SKY
29
Snapshot, for short : PIC
31
Roll call response : HERE
33
"Little ___ of Horrors" : SHOP
34
Tiny : MINUTE
38
Antifur org. : PETA
39
Banned insecticide : DDT
40
Where people are always getting into hot water? : SPA
41
Gets a move on : HUSTLES
42
Deep down inside : ATHEART
45
International cosmetics chain : SEPHORA
46
Level of authority : ECHELON
47
Popular sashimi tuna : AHI
49
Superbrat : TERROR
50
Drop one's lawsuit, say : SETTLE
54
2007 Record of the Year by Amy Winehouse : REHAB
55
"Get my drift?" : SEE
58
___-masochist : SADO
60
Melt : THAW
61
When doubled or tripled, a dance : CHA
62
Any of the Florida Keys: Abbr. : ISL
63
Recent: Prefix : NEO
64
Ma'am with a lamb? : EWE

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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