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RETRONYMS

New York Times, Sunday, December 11, 2016

Author: Tom McCoy
Editor: Will Shortz
Tom McCoy
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2411/14/201312/11/20160
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13415100
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1.61341
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 24 for Mr. McCoy. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes: For this puzzle, it was fun to brainstorm a long list of potential theme entries. Some of my favorite answers that didn't make the grid were CONTINENTAL US, BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORE, SITDOWN RESTAURANT, and ... more
Tom McCoy notes:

For this puzzle, it was fun to brainstorm a long list of potential theme entries. Some of my favorite answers that didn't make the grid were CONTINENTAL US, BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORE, SITDOWN RESTAURANT, and BLACK-AND-WHITE TV.

The grid might look pretty unconstrained, but in fact it does have the constraint that there need to be black squares above the E in BRITISH ENGLISH, the M in SNAIL MAIL, the N in REAL NUMBER, etc. (because, without these black squares, there would not be numbers everywhere that they are needed). Having eight black squares cemented in place from the get-go has a surprisingly large effect in terms of making the overall construction difficult. In general, flexibility in black square placement is very helpful in cleaning up messy grid sections, so having some black squares fixed in place can be a challenge.

As always, a huge thanks to Will and Joel for getting the puzzle into its final form!

Jeff Chen notes: RETRONYMS are words/phrases that are coined after a technological leap has been made, i.e. before email was invented, SNAIL MAIL was just MAIL. I love how Tom 1.) found so many good examples of these, and 2.) used ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

RETRONYMS are words/phrases that are coined after a technological leap has been made, i.e. before email was invented, SNAIL MAIL was just MAIL. I love how Tom 1.) found so many good examples of these, and 2.) used a "non-existent" across number to refer to the old word — neat how he puts a black square above the M of MAIL so that he can refer to "34-Across" for MAIL.

Also really enjoyed the bonus entries Tom worked in. CAPRI PANTS, THAT HURTS, COW TIPPING, SUIT AND TIE — great stuff. Some may wonder if EPIC BATTLE is a real thing or not, but this Lord of the Rings fans says to haters YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

Ahem. Ignore me.

The bonus entries were much appreciated, since halfway through, I had already figured out the trick, and the impact of the theme didn't quite last all the way through the puzzle. It's a good thing I kept hitting nice entries, PET CRATE, SAYS ME, ALL MINE, ROBOTIC, and DEAR GOD giving me lifts everywhere.

There was just slightly too much crossword glue for my taste — AGUE is so old-timey, CMDR, CTS, the odd EFT, along with more minor stuff — but I'm totally fine with it as the price to pay for getting so much good bonus fill.

That amount of crossword glue is atypical of a Tom McCoy puzzle — I think he's one of the best in the business when it comes to entertaining, smooth, Sunday puzzles with bonus fill. He brings up a good point about the "fake across entry" trick giving him a little more inflexibility than usual. I built one with this trick a while back, and it was surprising how much more difficult the grid became. It's already so hard to execute on a Sunday 140-word puzzle, and any additional constraint, like cementing so many black squares into place at the outset, makes the gridwork even tougher.

Although I wondered if that would have been better as a Thursday puzzle, where the impact might have more easily lasted all the way through a 15x grid, I still enjoyed it a ton. Love experiencing concepts I've never quite seen before.

1
A
2
M
3
E
4
R
5
I
6
C
7
A
8
A
9
D
10
I
11
E
12
U
13
S
14
A
15
S
16
H
17
A
18
P
A
P
I
S
T
S
19
O
N
E
T
O
N
20
M
U
T
U
A
L
21
B
R
I
T
I
S
H
22
E
N
G
L
I
S
H
23
A
R
M
I
N
G
24
C
U
T
25
N
U
L
L
S
26
A
27
G
U
E
28
T
O
A
29
A
30
B
B
A
31
C
32
E
A
S
E
S
33
S
N
A
I
L
34
M
A
I
L
35
R
E
A
L
36
N
U
M
B
E
R
37
E
T
D
S
38
Y
A
N
39
E
F
T
40
O
B
O
L
S
41
T
R
U
S
T
42
S
43
Y
D
44
S
45
P
E
T
46
C
R
A
T
E
47
S
H
I
N
48
R
O
49
B
O
T
I
50
C
51
A
L
L
M
I
N
E
52
B
L
A
C
K
53
L
I
C
O
R
I
C
E
54
S
L
E
D
55
S
56
A
Y
I
T
57
I
C
K
Y
58
E
K
E
59
R
60
H
61
O
62
R
E
D
H
63
O
64
T
S
65
S
S
66
N
67
A
68
B
69
C
70
A
N
71
T
I
72
U
B
O
A
73
T
74
A
75
C
76
T
77
S
78
F
L
A
79
T
H
E
A
D
80
S
81
C
R
E
W
82
I
83
S
84
A
D
O
R
A
85
T
O
P
R
A
N
K
86
C
I
T
Y
87
G
E
T
S
A
W
A
Y
88
C
R
Y
89
D
E
90
R
A
T
S
91
W
A
R
E
S
92
T
I
S
93
I
M
94
P
95
S
A
L
E
96
S
I
L
E
N
T
97
F
I
L
M
98
P
99
A
P
E
R
100
C
O
P
Y
101
I
T
L
L
D
O
102
I
P
S
E
103
A
L
A
104
E
O
N
S
105
E
C
O
L
I
106
A
R
P
107
G
E
N
108
R
E
S
109
O
110
R
G
A
N
I
C
111
F
112
A
R
M
I
113
N
114
G
115
E
X
T
E
N
T
116
N
O
O
N
E
S
117
A
L
I
E
N
E
E
118
R
A
S
P
S
119
G
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120
D
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D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,505
Across Down
1. "The cauldron of Democracy" : AMERICA
8. Leaving word : ADIEU
13. Figure skater Cohen : SASHA
18. Opponents of the Protestant Reformation : PAPISTS
19. Pickup truck's capacity, maybe : ONETON
20. Common word in insurance company names : MUTUAL
21. Dialect that was called 22-Across before the age of colonialism : BRITISHENGLISH
23. Giving heat? : ARMING
24. Share : CUT
25. Dummy symbols in ciphers : NULLS
26. Fever fit : AGUE
28. ___ point : TOA
29. "Fernando" band : ABBA
31. Stops : CEASES
33. System that was called 34-Across before the Internet : SNAILMAIL
35. Concept that was called 36-Across before research into the square root of negatives : REALNUMBER
37. Airport figs. : ETDS
38. PBS's "___ Can Cook" : YAN
39. Small newt : EFT
40. Coins that pay for passage over the River Styx : OBOLS
41. Believes (in) : TRUSTS
43. Gridiron gains: Abbr. : YDS
45. Terrier carrier : PETCRATE
47. ___ splints (runner's ailment) : SHIN
48. Machinelike : ROBOTIC
51. Cackle from a greedy person : ALLMINE
52. Food that was called 53-Across before Twizzlers and the like : BLACKLICORICE
54. Skimobile, informally : SLED
55. "Tell me how you really feel!" : SAYIT
57. Gross : ICKY
58. Squeeze (out) : EKE
59. Symbol for density : RHO
62. Cinnamon candies : REDHOTS
65. Personal datum: Abbr. : SSN
67. Jackson 5 #1 hit : ABC
70. Against : ANTI
72. W.W. II danger : UBOAT
74. Source of the saying "It is more blessed to give than to receive" : ACTS
78. Fastener that was called 80-Across before a rounded design was implemented : FLATHEADSCREW
82. Dancer Duncan : ISADORA
85. Belonging to the highest level : TOPRANK
86. Part of the names of four state capitals : CITY
87. Escapes : GETSAWAY
88. Whoop : CRY
89. Rids of vermin, in a way : DERATS
91. Peddler's stock : WARES
92. Quaint contraction : TIS
93. Nickname of a "Game of Thrones" dwarf, with "the" : IMP
95. Realtor's goal : SALE
96. Entertainment category that was called 97-Across before talkies : SILENTFILM
98. Object that was called 100-Across before electronic documents : PAPERCOPY
101. "Good enough" : ITLLDO
102. ___ dixit : IPSE
103. Part of Dixie: Abbr. : ALA
104. Ages and ages : EONS
105. Something you might have a gut feeling about? : ECOLI
106. Painter Jean : ARP
107. Horror and mystery : GENRES
109. Activity that was called 111-Across before pesticides : ORGANICFARMING
115. Degree : EXTENT
116. Not belonging to anybody : NOONES
117. Property recipient : ALIENEE
118. Aids in filing : RASPS
119. Main points : GISTS
120. "Oh, jeez!" : DEARGOD
1. Police broadcast, for short : APB
2. Disfigure : MAR
3. Climax of many a fantasy novel : EPICBATTLE
4. Mass, e.g. : RITUAL
5. Doubter's question : ISIT
6. Small monetary amts. : CTS
7. Light-colored wood : ASH
8. Rod user : ANGLER
9. Apple alternatives : DELLS
10. Reply to 5-Down : ITIS
11. "Rosy-fingered" Greek goddess : EOS
12. Releases, dramatically : UNHANDS
13. Without a doubt : SURELY
14. Something to bank on : ATM
15. Look for business? : SUITANDTIE
16. Site of the infamous Hoa Lo Prison : HANOI
17. ___ bloom (result of fertilizer pollution) : ALGAL
19. Burdens : ONUSES
20. Home of Haleakala National Park : MAUI
22. Empower : ENABLE
27. Stomach-related : GASTRIC
29. South American corn cakes : AREPAS
30. Happened to : BEFELL
31. Mark of success in business? : CUBAN
32. Portrays feelings : EMOTES
33. Was horrible : STUNK
34. Onetime title for Bernie Sanders : MAYOR
36. "Me neither" : NORI
37. Former attorney general Holder : ERIC
41. "Oof!" : THATHURTS
42. They go about two feet : SOCKS
44. Ailing : SICK
46. Spock's rank: Abbr. : CMDR
47. Declined : SLID
49. Target demographic for Hot Wheels : BOYS
50. Bee follower : CEE
52. "Ta-ta!" : BYE
53. "The Simpsons" girl : LISA
56. Like the planet in "Dune" : ARID
60. "lol" : HAHA
61. Upright : ONEND
63. Observe : OBEY
64. Drag away : TOW
66. Zilch : NADA
67. Opposite of fore : AFT
68. Tea Partiers in Congress, e.g. : BLOC
69. Apparel also called clamdiggers : CAPRIPANTS
71. Agrees to fight : TAKESON
73. Like many wedding cakes : TIERED
75. Purported rural shenanigan : COWTIPPING
76. Lags : TRAILS
77. Argument-ending reply : SAYSME
79. "Go ahead, I'm listening" : TRYME
80. Like snakes : SCALY
81. Ticket : CITE
83. Court reporter, e.g. : STENO
84. Helper: Abbr. : ASST
87. Caesar's "Commentaries on the ___ War" : GALLIC
90. "The Real Slim Shady," for one : RAPSONG
91. Actor Bruce : WILLIS
94. Primps : PREENS
96. "Brown Sugar" band, with "the" : STONES
97. Not as lax : FIRMER
98. Vibrating device : PAGER
99. Siri : iPhone :: ___ : Amazon Echo : ALEXA
100. Go for : COST
101. "___ even" : ICANT
105. I's : EGOS
106. "O mio babbino caro," for one : ARIA
108. Be an agent (for) : REP
110. Charles, par exemple : ROI
111. Ice Bucket Challenge, for one : FAD
112. Quaff in Middle-earth : ALE
113. Opposite of paleo- : NEO
114. Goal for some dropouts, for short : GED

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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