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New York Times, Monday, September 7, 2015

Author:
Paula Gamache
Editor:
Will Shortz
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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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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0907 ( 24,044 )
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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