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New York Times, Monday, September 9, 2013

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
355/28/20097/30/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
11188421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56021
Gary Cee

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Cee. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Gary Cee notes:
Will ran a similar puzzle of mine earlier this year with a baseball theme, so I took a stab at a sister puzzle with a football angle, ... read more

Will ran a similar puzzle of mine earlier this year with a baseball theme, so I took a stab at a sister puzzle with a football angle, and he went for it. I also guessed he would run it in the first week of the NFL season. Glad to see it's a Monday.

Favorite clue: "Ones who've got something to lose?"

Will Shortz notes:
A note about ROULADE (43D) and AGORA (51D): I've heard some people say a Monday puzzle shouldn't have difficult words like these, but ... read more

A note about ROULADE (43D) and AGORA (51D): I've heard some people say a Monday puzzle shouldn't have difficult words like these, but I strongly disagree. Of course a Monday puzzle is supposed to be easy, but it can have a hard word or two, if all the crossings are clear. This is especially so for a New York Times audience, which tends to be educated and intelligent. A couple of hard words, if they're interesting and useful, are not a detriment at all.

Jeff Chen notes:
We have some very good puzzles coming up this week but I give the POW! to Gary for his strong early-week work. There's at least one ... read more

We have some very good puzzles coming up this week but I give the POW! to Gary for his strong early-week work. There's at least one other puzzle which I thought deserved a POW!, but to make a Monday puzzle stand out deserves recognition.

Monday puzzles are often derided by expert solvers as boring or tedious, so having a theme which is different (or does something to entertain) is important in order to satisfy a large range of solvers. In today's puzzle, I had to look back at the theme answers when I was done to figure out how they all tied together, and the fact that Gary hid the theme words in plain view (see highlighted words, which describe a touchdown play) brought a smile to my face.

Additionally, Monday puzzles are perhaps the most difficult to make, because the constructor cannot rely on using ORTs or spreading OLEO in order to complete a tough section. A perfect Monday puzzle should be super smooth, enough for the novice solver to not get too discouraged (by thinking they must learn a foreign language including ORTS and OLEO) and also have a reasonable chance of finishing. Will and I may disagree on the last point, but I maintain that creating early-week puzzles which new solvers can achieve the "I finished the NYT crossword!" high is important for the future of crosswords.

So let's look at Gary's fill. Not only does he keep the crosswordese to a minimum (AMAH being the misdemeanor), but he gives us a ton of 7-letter fill including RAKES IN, DIETERS, and HELLUVA. I'm with Will on ROULADE, it's something interesting to learn (and tasty!). AGORA I'm less positive on, but since it's an important feature of Greek history and we still see its influence in the word AGORAPHOBIA, it's legit.

Gary obviously put a lot of time and care into this puzzle. A great start to the week.

1
A
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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0909 ( 23,316 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Plays a part onstage : ACTS
5. Ebony : BLACK
10. What a definition defines : WORD
14. Opening for a coin : SLOT
15. The "U" in UHF : ULTRA
16. Jai ___ : ALAI
17. Theater critic Walter : KERR
18. Wage increase : SALARYHIKE
20. Carpet layer's calculation : AREA
22. ___ syrup : MAPLE
23. Dog doc : VET
24. Journalist's credential : PRESSPASS
26. Wage increase : RAISE
28. Frightened by shots : GUNSHY
29. Golda of Israel : MEIR
30. Inclined (to) : APT
31. Characteristic : TRAIT
35. Takes home, as an income : EARNS
36. "Observant of you to notice the error!" : GOODCATCH
38. Luster : SHEEN
41. South Korea's capital : SEOUL
42. Work of ___ : ART
45. Rat (on) : TELL
46. Panda's favorite plant : BAMBOO
48. Gladden : ELATE
50. 1960 John Updike novel : RABBITRUN
53. Swiss peak : ALP
54. Prolonged attack : SIEGE
56. Genuine : REAL
57. It may be composed to accompany a movie : MUSICSCORE
60. Unfreeze : THAW
62. "... happily ___ after" : EVER
63. Kitchen gadget for apples : PARER
64. Zippo : NADA
65. Mama's counterpart : DADA
66. Flood : SPATE
67. "You sure got that right!" : AMEN
Down
1. Pose, as a question : ASK
2. Become less cloudy : CLEARUP
3. Flood : TORRENT
4. Cause of gray hair and worry lines, some say : STRESS
5. Vehicle that may have a farebox : BUS
6. Long-necked animal in a petting zoo : LLAMA
7. Book of maps : ATLAS
8. Betting game with dice : CRAPS
9. Communism theorist Marx : KARL
10. Cry from a nursery : WAH
11. Best Actor for "Hamlet," 1948 : OLIVIER
12. Makes hand over fist : RAKESIN
13. Ones who've got something to lose? : DIETERS
19. "Get ___ Ya-Yas Out!" (Rolling Stones album) : YER
21. Kutcher of "Two and a Half Men" : ASHTON
24. Links org. : PGA
25. One who delights in starting fires, informally : PYRO
27. Far Eastern housemaid : AMAH
32. Commercials : ADS
33. Skater's surface : ICE
34. Chinese principle : TAO
35. Cream-filled pastry : ECLAIR
36. Moolah : GELT
37. Ernest of the Country Music Hall of Fame : TUBB
38. One way to serve clams or rice : STEAMED
39. Terrific, in slang : HELLUVA
40. Ran out, as time : ELAPSED
42. President Lincoln : ABRAHAM
43. Dish of meat wrapped around a filling : ROULADE
44. Ship's unit of weight : TON
47. Sicilian volcano : MTETNA
49. PC key for problem situations : ESC
50. Postgame wrap-up : RECAP
51. Ancient Greek marketplace : AGORA
52. Flat-crowned cap : BERET
55. AOL and MSN : ISPS
58. One of the Gershwins : IRA
59. Before, poetically : ERE
61. Looking sickly : WAN

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

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