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New York Times, Monday, September 9, 2013

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
385/28/20095/20/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
112108421
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
2
C
3
T
4
S
5
B
6
L
7
A
8
C
9
K
10
W
11
O
12
R
13
D
14
S
L
O
T
15
U
L
T
R
A
16
A
L
A
I
17
K
E
R
R
18
S
A
L
A
R
19
Y
H
I
K
E
20
A
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E
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A
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M
A
P
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E
23
V
E
T
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P
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P
A
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R
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A
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S
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G
U
N
S
H
Y
29
M
E
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A
P
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R
32
A
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I
34
T
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36
G
O
O
D
C
A
37
T
C
H
38
S
39
H
40
E
E
N
41
S
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O
U
L
42
A
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R
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T
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T
E
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B
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M
B
O
O
48
E
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E
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R
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A
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B
B
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M
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C
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T
H
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W
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P
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N
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D
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A
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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0909 ( 23,316 )
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?