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Puzzles for December, 2014
with Jim Horne comments

Mon 12/1/2014
OPTICUDDERSAC
ARENANOISEUGH
ROCKMYWORLDIRA
PEEROFTEN
ALLTOLDGOURMET
PAIRUPBUSBOY
INGOTBUILTFAB
ACHYCELLOPARE
NETSHALELINDA
MUTINYSITCOM
PHYSICSZEPHYRS
LIFERFEES
URIFLOATMYBOAT
MERREATANOBLE
PEEYIKESCASED
Tue 12/2/2014
ZOUNDSDAMNWOW
EXPERTALAIANA
BERATEFLIXLEN
UNITAPTTOMTIT
SITKAFANBELT
CHIDETERIARLO
PANELBLAST
ALGALORCREFER
SHOOTEMOTE
DOHSENYAABRAM
ENOUNCELETIT
FEMBOTSSTTRIB
REBTAROHETERO
AYRCROCICESAW
GEEHECKCURSES
Wed 12/3/2014
PAPAALPHASJAM
ULANGIAMBIUFO
PARTYANIMALMRS
ASKSOVERTEAPOT
AIKENGENT
LEVEESALTOPIC
AVERSEBASEPATH
PENPANDATHE
INUNDATESUCCOR
STEERIRSLAHTI
COSTACCRA
KRAKOWUNLEADED
EELPENNYARCADE
YESEDITORAMEN
SLODEPOSESSNS
Thu 12/4/2014
OBSESSSCRABBLE
DETECTHOORAYED
DEALERATTRACTS
STYNOBLEBABE
REVUEISABEL
WORDIERANKA
ARESSIRIABS
ICEDERIDESCEO
LADOPUSAMAT
TEENDANGERS
DEBASEPEKOE
ETESSEEITMOI
CHRISTIEMAKING
CARNIVALBRONCO
ANAGRAMSOYSTER

Amazing construction and an awesome achievement.

Fri 12/5/2014
GODIHOPENOTDAD
ITUNESSTOREICE
STEVECARELLVIM
TETEITEYESIDO
ROSINSXESIN
TREJAWWIFE
STIRBORICBIS
TURNEDTHETABLES
ENEGOWNSMRED
ATENCOQBEE
DARINOBLAST
ANIMALMSGTHEO
NONDIELAUGHING
CIGEVELKNIEVEL
ELSRELEASEDATE
POW Sat 12/6/2014
HMSBOUNTYSLIM
EYEOFNEWTTWINE
PLANTFOODHANDM
TOLDACTHANKIE
AVISZOOLANDER
DENMENNENIDES
GODSENDVICK
ALARMVENTI
SOSOBLESSES
POPOBIGCATJAB
KIMJONGILROME
JERSEYWETAVER
ADAMSCANTABILE
MATESOSCARBAIT
BTENTHEXFILES
Sun 12/7/2014HOLDUP MAN
MAPSMACSAMEMOHOPTO
ACAIBERRYMANTAIVIED
SUPPORTINGACTORDALES
SPASMSCATHESSELLS
BRACEYOURSELFAHI
MAWRARODSANERID
FREEBIEDMVDIEORE
ASIDESSHAREINGRAFTS
GLEEPOBOXNOHITS
OTHERURNLEFTSNETWT
MITTSHEAVYDUTYMARIA
SCOTTSALEMSODOWETO
FEESDEEPWEBBRAN
METRICSERIESERAYGUN
ASHNAPSATRANATAB
ACEMESAEONSTHEA
MAWUPPERBACKPAIN
POETSAIRTUBEYALTA
CARVESHOULDERTHELOAD
ADLERRASTAROBOTSUMO
PEDROOGEESGNAWODES
Mon 12/8/2014
ARTWHIPBIGOT
TORHANOIONETO
SAYHEYKIDOCTET
ELMERSSLABORA
ADELESEENOEVIL
MAZEDIODE
TITMAGIIRKS
SCIFICONVENTION
PUMANEROTIL
EVERSRAND
SOFARAWAYTIARA
NILNEILPOSSES
ALICESIOUXCITY
FUELSHENRIARE
UPSETNARCNOT
Tue 12/9/2014
TWISTODDSETTU
MONTHBLUEQUIZ
INTROLENTUGLI
HERNIAOASTS
ASEAEGGCELL
THEMDEUCEDCOT
HOVEREERSODO
EVERESTDOODLER
EENSHEADELTS
LSTAIRCONVETO
BLANCHEAGES
OSOLERESOLE
AHSONOUNGUMBO
TALKAVERLEERY
SHOEBODYEDNAS

The constraints here are huge — 33 different squares have letters that are part of 3 different words.

Wed 12/10/2014
LEWISDADDWARF
AMISHELIRIVAL
SUNNIBIGATONE
THORIUMWHITE
OATTRIPIEDOT
UTEZEESMRS
CESIUMFORESTER
HULLECOOAHU
PALLADIUMJAMES
SICONEAETE
KGBQEDDAWSTS
MERCURYWELLS
ANIMELAYINERT
RIDOFAGENIGER
TEENYNEDEPOXY
POW Thu 12/11/2014
ACTGRANOBLIGE
NOHRAVENOIDEA
ODETOJOYEXPELS
NACHOWORSTSTY
LEVISUFO
REUBENSLIPTBS
IQTESTPENSHOE
CUTSHARDGTERN
CUERENEEDAMES
ISRACNERIBOSE
PLUISNOT
CPAPULLSGOING
HOTPOTCLUBSODA
ESTERCDANANAM
ZENITHSMUTSKY
Fri 12/12/2014
ABBESSAMPEDUP
COOLAIRCOLGATE
TOSTADACROONER
OKTOBERFEST
NEONKEEPITREAL
ERNFIGHTWILCO
VICARJICAMA
HIJINKSBASEMEN
ADONISSECTS
ZONESMILKSCAP
ELISHAOTISYULE
LEDZEPPELIN
THEWIREFRANKEN
RETINOLSALTINE
EYETESTTEENSY
Sat 12/13/2014
BUTTOCKSACROSS
ONEONONENOHOPE
LIQUORUPTOOHOT
STUSARTISTLIL
HAILLENOCALI
ORLESSTANALES
IDALTDWALMART
MOREALOE
SHOOTERYONBAD
WIFEEAUGIJANE
ETATTINAALTS
EMSIMLATEBLOC
PEOPLEBRISBANE
EUREKALINKEDIN
APTESTEASYREAD
Sun 12/14/2014"WELL, GOLLY!"
LINENUPENDSATOMDNA
OMITSNANOOKNOTARAP
KITTYLITURGYNETIZENS
INSANETFALANALOGUE
CANIDIVAAWOL
SOWSLAPDKANJIARTIST
ACHOOCARRENTALDANTE
WEIRDALGAEEELHENSON
TATTEREGADSAVERTOT
ONEIOTANIEEPICDIPS
GENIEJERKREACTION
SALSSOOTEURIACOCCA
TAODANAADMITREDTAG
INVAINNEEBEEGEELINE
EDEMAANTIPASTOSEVEN
GPSILOVEYOUTROTREST
GAPEMUNGAPOP
ARMORERSCONGBESTIE
GOESINTOOHDARJEELING
USEDEENPENTADLANDO
ASKEDDYPROEMSSWAYS
Mon 12/15/2014
SLAPBETTECRAW
EUROUSHERRAGE
ACTISTANLEYCUP
SKINNYDIPSPENT
YETIMEHTA
ALAELASHES
BRATTVSTAREMU
LILSKITRIPAMP
OFFOILPANPDAS
WEAPONMEMO
RATSOEROS
EPOCHSTEELTRAP
SUMMERCAMPABLE
AREAOAKIELIVE
IRONCRETESTOP
Tue 12/16/2014
HUNTGLEEATAD
OREOEARTHNAME
BARRYWHITESKIN
OLDNAGCANTEENS
WAHRELATE
ROBINWILLIAMS
EDUCEDOOKTAB
AILEDEGOTIARA
MELTHISRONIN
MAURICESENDAK
CRADLERUB
HARDTASKPLATTE
ANKATHEBEEGEES
ITEMSAPORORES
ROTSGIBBGINO

Mr. Lafargue is an experienced constructor with 53 NYT crosswords dating back to 1982. This is only his second puzzle for Will Shortz.

Wed 12/17/2014
DAWGSLURSCFOS
PLEAHUNANRITT
ITLLTAKEFOREVER
LLAMAADELA
MAKEHASTESLOWLY
ATNOONREAPSOS
SEINEZILCH
SETSMITESROSA
HYPERJELLO
ISMANISKASDAN
NOTUNATTRACTIVE
LIETOAROAR
ASTHICKASABRICK
NENETEMPTESAU
DEARSWISSAHME

I think there are a couple of reasons for the theme confusion. First, assuming Jeff's analysis is correct, the theme is entirely contained in the clues. That is, you can uncover the theme without entering a single letter in the grid. This isn't unheard of, but it's rare in the NYT.

Second, the first two long answers seem to be related in a way that is thematic. Searching for similar connections in the other two clues yields nothing further.

Thu 12/18/2014
DIPSASPSTODGY
OMENMHOTINORE
JALOPIESEXTRAS
OMEGAMIMEHIVE
RIPTOPIECES
THERMOOLDS
LIVEANDBREATHE
CCEDOYEAUDI
KNUCKLEDRAGGER
CURLODEONS
DETERIORATE
REIDSPANAMINO
ARAFATPIGLATIN
MIRAGEITSRELY
SEATONDANAMEX
Fri 12/19/2014
SPAOLIVERTWIST
TONPIRATERADIO
ELKSTANDSALONE
NOLOENETULLES
OPENMRISAMO
POSEASTRAWLS
ANTSYACRESEER
DIROJTRIALANI
SEALORYXADDIN
SPIREABRAVOS
NECTOYSTORE
PESETAAFRACID
DRACOMALFOYATO
FIGURESKATELIU
SEATTLESLEWSST
POW Sat 12/20/2014
POTFARMSWAMPUM
AFROBEATIGUANA
STARBASECALLON
TENTACLECREEDS
ANKHHILDASOUL
MINEODEA
POPGUNDOCILITY
APLENTYMOLIERE
REALGOODULSTER
TRYWASPS
YAMSCLUEDMEME
TRACERPRENATAL
ROTATEHATEMAIL
ALERTSIPADMINI
YESYESNETSALES
Sun 12/21/2014SEASON'S GREETINGS
ADRATENEATBARSCENE
COUSINAFROWINELABEL
HOHUMDINGERHOKEYWORD
ERRCATCHOVAALELEE
BOSSYINSPIRENAIR
OOHOOHPESTOSACBVDS
BLACKEYEDHOPISTHAI
EDUCSOLISUIOGRES
SELESGOESGREENLAURA
ENSMIASTIERFILMSET
DESPICABLEHOMIE
ABOUTTOONEIOTOECOP
CIRCASANDSTONESKATE
UTAHNENDPECSUPON
NEAPNOMONEYHOEDOWN
BEGSOREINALLYVONNE
USESTESTEESOGLES
IPSISMANSOCEANMOP
CROSSHOBOHOKUMTOPAPA
KIDGLOVESOWLSTUAREG
STATEPENTEATETRADE
Mon 12/22/2014
ELIDECAMPJAG
REMUSASIAPULL
GAPESSHARPEDGE
SPEDAWAYMEDIAN
DAYOREAR
SNITNOTESOBIT
TOMESREMAPRNA
OWEPEDXINGAPR
RANFLEASASKED
MYTHERNSTEENY
ORCSEARP
STOPITSTAMPEDE
PIPEDREAMAIDES
AVIDISLESCAMP
ROECOENSOLON
Tue 12/23/2014
COFFEESGIANTS
OXIDIZEALGERIA
REARLITBLAZING
ENTENABLERBEE
TEEHEENEWS
ELFINEARTHY
BULLWANHATTER
BROBADSEEDGLO
SKEWERTSOJIMA
MANIACGOFOR
SFPDSLAPAT
ARERANKLESNAB
RETRACTLASCALA
GERARDOOCEANUS
HIJACKPERFUME
Wed 12/24/2014
MOSTVANESIQS
APAIRCRANENEE
CRYMEARIVERCIA
RATEDRPARASAIL
OHOHRSLOPE
FOOTSSEARED
GOBETWEENSCOPE
MOORSITONOVER
ALARMGOBITWEEN
TATARSNIKES
RIPESINLAG
PARISALETUPELO
RPICRIMEARIVER
ESTATOMSELEVE
PEZNATALLEES
Thu 12/25/2014
YAMDOTBTWBOP
EMOEPAOREGANO
GOTEVENOUTMBER
GUOTINGTERSEST
ALPSUDS
EHSRIPUPEARTH
TAPWATERMORE
CHUEYNRAPETIA
HAIRENGENDER
ASKEDMAYORADD
OVALVOL
ARCHWAYMIXEDNS
TARANLAORIGAMI
OVERRUNMADZEN
ZEDNESALEEGG
Fri 12/26/2014
ACTSTUNGSWEPT
SORELOSERCIGAR
INAMORATAANGIE
AKIMBOMRDEEDS
GENASHOESDOS
ORESLOOPSMOUE
SEATOFTHEPANTS
RENTMONEY
SAVINGSANDLOAN
OPEDICIESTNOW
APTVEILSFIVE
PRECISEHERMES
BORAXNAVYSEALS
OVATECHAPPELLE
XENONEATENSAX
Sat 12/27/2014
HESBACKMALTHUS
ETERNALAMOROSO
MARIANOPINATAS
PITCHESLEGIT
SLAKESHEBLOKE
OILELMOTIS
MTVMOVIEAWARDS
TOREFERALDODO
GRANDTHEFTAUTO
IIIAYESATL
FANCYMSSATOMS
FOSSELARSSON
ITALIANADAWARE
MORONICMAXIMAL
STERNLYSKYMALL
POW Sun 12/28/2014FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS
THETOPCABSKEGPUPIL
RETELLALOEVERAOKAPI
AMANDAMEANINGSLENOS
MISSINGPERSONPEEDDT
PEELDELETEDSCENE
HBOROARLIDOOMAN
PARTVICURSTLANDMINE
UNUSEDMINUTESLEOCOD
MGSNEEDBOPINIDS
IMHOTIRSLINELOADUP
CAENDROPPEDCALLVINO
ENDURECOONETOTEENS
SUMKOLASNOHOCAT
AFTDOCFORFEITEDGAME
PRICETAGSTORKLOUSED
PEPSAREARSVPETD
STRIPPEDBAREAMAS
TOOEELABANDONEDSHIP
OVALSEATENRAWNONONO
RESETSHESGONEUBOLTS
ERTESSADENOSSETTLE

I liked this one even more than Jeff did. Each of the theme entries was fun.

Mon 12/29/2014
ASTORMENUSLUR
MARTIONINTONE
EYECONTACTYWCA
NSALITCHIMILD
DOTCOMTEETIMES
ABITSHEP
OHBROTHEROSAGE
DUOZEROGCUT
DEBTSYOULOSTME
MICHXOUT
TEACHESTBTEAMS
HARKNORMALBOA
ISLESPELLITOUT
NYETOPELNORSE
KAYSNYSEESTES
Tue 12/30/2014
POMPSAGSCRAPS
ADIOSCPLLAURIE
RICOHROOINMIND
CEELOILOTOPEKA
POMPOMSOLSON
ACCUSEERDE
LOOMTARHEELSCI
LOOPDELOOPDELOOP
ALPIRONISTALPO
SESEORBITS
CHANTSHOTPAR
RECOPYACELOSES
AREOLERENPONTI
BALKANPLOHMONG
STAINSOOFSWAN
Wed 12/31/2014
STICKHELLORAT
AIOLIATEINORO
DENIMTHEMEPARK
OMITRACEDAY
ALPEVERPACINO
DOUBLEREVERSE
ONCEMIRA
GENDERNEUTRAL
EYRAUSES
INTERNALDRIVE
INDIESTIERFIX
MALLCOPREUP
SWEETNLOWMAIDS
EAROMARAURBAN
TBSRETRYPRNDL

In 2009, Jeremy Newton had a standard version of this automatic puzzle.