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GRAMMAR LESSON

New York Times, Sunday, January 15, 2017

Author: Joel Fagliano
Editor: Will Shortz
Joel Fagliano
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5510/22/200911/8/20174
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
12810710224
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65351

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 64 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 52 for Mr. Fagliano. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joel Fagliano notes: There were two inspirations for this theme. A while back, I saw an ad in the Economist for a magazine subscription that read 'Present tense? Future perfect.' I thought 'Huh, that's a pretty cool wordplay ... more
Joel Fagliano notes:

There were two inspirations for this theme. A while back, I saw an ad in the Economist for a magazine subscription that read "Present tense? Future perfect." I thought "Huh, that's a pretty cool wordplay find," and then promptly forgot all about it. Recently, I got a Gchat from Brendan Emmett Quigley, who wanted to run a clue for the answer FAKE NEWS by me — "Indefinite article?". Again, I thought that was a really nice find. Later that day, some long-dormant synapse in my brain connected the two of those and I realized there might be good Sunday crossword theme there.

As for the fill, the one thing that gave me pause was the inclusion of ANN COULTER as an answer. In light of the recent controversies over Eric Trump and Betsy DeVos references in the Times crossword, I worried that some solvers would be upset by this clue/answer. On the one hand, I strongly disagree with just about everything she's ever written or said, and giving her book free press in the crossword brings me little joy. On the other hand, she's undeniably an interesting and fresh crossword answer — she's well-known by most Americans, and her full name has never appeared.

Overall, my general feeling is that the crosswords should reflect modern life, positive and negative. Prominent supporters of the new administration are just as puzzle-worthy as prominent critics. That being said, I'll try not go out of my way to include politically charged fill like this, knowing how it makes some people feel.

Jeff Chen notes: We get a kooky GRAMMAR LESSON today, phrases from English class getting fun reinterpretations. I liked RELATIVE CLAUSES as relatives of Santa Claus — too bad this puzzle just missed Christmas! FUTURE ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

We get a kooky GRAMMAR LESSON today, phrases from English class getting fun reinterpretations. I liked RELATIVE CLAUSES as relatives of Santa Claus — too bad this puzzle just missed Christmas!

FUTURE PERFECT was almost another perfect one, defined as a utopia. I hitched, though, as PERFECT FUTURE felt so much more utopian. FUTURE PERFECT … the grammar felt too tortured for my taste.

Not being very well versed in grammatical terms, I had a hard time with most of them, since I didn't really know the base phrase. The OBJECTIVE CASE is not something I could identify, for example. Not that I need to know what that is, but being familiar with both PASSIVE VOICE's normal and kooky interpretations made me feel smart. OBJECTIVE CASE, INDEFINITE ARTICLE, RELATIVE CLAUSE ... not so much.

A lot of nice bonuses, as I've come to expect from Joel. Loved DIAMOND JIM, PROP PLANES, DIESEL FUEL (although don't most people just call it DIESEL?), and YELLOW FLAG (cool piece of trivia, that it means "no disease on this ship"!). I don't often think to place long bonus fill in the horizontal direction, and Joel uses this well to shoehorn in more extras.

I also liked IN BAD TASTE (especially pairing that symmetrically with ANN COULTER, ha ha ha ba-BAM!), SEX SCENE, PRO SHOP, SOFT TACO, LIFE VEST, etc. All those bonuses were much appreciated today, given my idiocy with the grammar base phrases.

I did notice a few TOR, RST, SYN, IF WE, A SORT sort of crossword glue. For most anyone else, I'd just shrug it off, but Joel is one of the best gridworkers out there. Still, I felt like they were a fine price to pay to get so many extras.

P.S. LTE = "Long Term Evolution." Not sure why the marketing folks thought that would be a good trademark for a smartphone network.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0115 ( 24,540 )
Across Down
1. Kind of kick : SCISSOR
8. Product of evaporation : SEASALT
15. Apple product : CIDER
20. Keep in : CONFINE
21. Brunch menu heading : OMELETS
22. Parts of college courses : UNITS
23. Sources of stress for many modern workers : INBOXES
24. Utopia? : FUTUREPERFECT
26. Part of the Dept. of Transportation : FAA
27. Channel buildup : SILT
29. Packers' grp.? : NRA
30. Old tabloid fodder : UFOS
31. Piece still under consideration for a magazine? : INDEFINITEARTICLE
37. Org. concerned with water quality : EPA
40. Balsa or balsam : TREE
41. Budgetary excess : FAT
42. Signal meaning "no disease on this ship" : YELLOWFLAG
44. Hurt sharply : SMART
46. Workers in some labs, informally : TECHS
48. Interminable task : SLOG
49. "___ Must Die" (Claude McKay poem) : IFWE
50. "Village" newspaper that's namby-pamby? : PASSIVEVOICE
53. Bull's urging : BUY
54. Fashion guru Tim : GUNN
55. Behave : ACT
56. ___ of reality : DOSE
57. Admitted (to) : COPPED
59. Jacket material : TWEED
60. Percolate : SEEP
62. The "kid" in "Here's looking at you, kid" : ILSA
64. Kia model : RIO
65. Common flower that's poisonous to eat : AZALEA
66. Santa's nieces and nephews? : RELATIVECLAUSES
71. Indiana Jones trademark : FEDORA
74. ___ department : REC
75. Uber-owned company that makes self-driving trucks : OTTO
76. Agreement : PACT
80. Result of a year-end review, maybe : RAISE
81. "That so?" : OHYEAH
84. Also-ran for the golden apple, in myth : HERA
86. "I don't reckon" : NAH
87. Home to Weber State University : UTAH
88. Obama's signature health law, for short : ACA
89. Like shoppers worrying about getting the right gift? : PRESENTTENSE
92. ___ pad : MEMO
93. Top : BEST
95. Scheduled to arrive : DUEIN
96. Like kitsch : TACKY
97. Fleet for many a commuter airline : PROPPLANES
100. Doctor's orders, for short : RXS
101. Japanese soup : MISO
102. Specimen, for example: Abbr. : SYN
103. Jailhouse? : SENTENCESTRUCTURE
108. Prohibitionists : DRYS
110. Craggy peak : TOR
111. Several CBS dramas : CSIS
112. Short, for short : LIL
113. The Prada that one really wants? : OBJECTIVECASE
118. Part of a postal address for a G.M. plant : FLINTMI
121. Thomas of the N.B.A. : ISIAH
122. ___ Aquino, Time's Woman of the Year in 1986 : CORAZON
123. With 113-Down, product of flax : LINSEED
124. Miners' aids : LAMPS
125. Women's fashion magazine : INSTYLE
126. Warning before lunging : ENGARDE
1. Genre for TV's "Stranger Things" : SCIFI
2. First name in late-night : CONAN
3. Unseemly : INBADTASTE
4. W. Coast air hub : SFO
5. When tripled, symbol of evil : SIX
6. Toddler garment : ONESIE
7. Amber, e.g. : RESIN
8. Hand-held dish that doesn't crunch : SOFTTACO
9. Outback animal : EMU
10. Blue Cross competitor : AETNA
11. Muddy mixture : SLURRY
12. Makes fizzy : AERATES
13. Network standard for smartphones, for short : LTE
14. Recipe abbr. : TSP
15. Time to go home : CURFEW
16. Skinny : INFO
17. Truck driver? : DIESELFUEL
18. And so on: Abbr. : ETC
19. Alphabet string : RST
25. Panegyric : EULOGY
28. Boater's wear : LIFEVEST
32. Is off : ERRS
33. Foul-smelling : FETID
34. Set of principles : ETHIC
35. "Will ya look at that!" : ILLBE
36. Kind of computing : CLOUD
38. Foe of the Cheyenne : PAWNEE
39. Something set in a meeting : AGENDA
43. Insect that spends its larval stage inside a fruit : FIGWASP
44. Hot tubs : SPAS
45. Knight club : MACE
46. Car company that owns SolarCity : TESLA
47. Golfer's need : SCORECARD
51. "There it is!" : VOILA
52. Grand : EPIC
58. Source for "Book of the Marvels of the World," circa 1300 : POLO
59. Chinese philosopher Mo-___ : TZE
61. Part of a club selling clubs : PROSHOP
63. Well-ventilated : AIRY
65. After ___ (to some extent) : ASORT
67. 'Fore : ERE
68. HBO political satire : VEEP
69. Non-prophet group? : ATHEISTS
70. Sch. in Knoxville : UTENN
71. Dowdies : FRUMPS
72. Cafe : EATERY
73. Nickname for a Gilded Age businessman with a penchant for jewelry : DIAMONDJIM
77. "In Trump We Trust" author, 2016 : ANNCOULTER
78. Distillery item : CASK
79. Not we : THEY
81. "That deep, blue, bottomless soul," per Melville : OCEAN
82. Lacks : HASNT
83. Part of un jour : HEURE
85. Ghost story? : ATTIC
88. Most fit : ABLEST
90. Awkward time at family movie night : SEXSCENE
91. New York City's ___ River : EAST
94. Almost falls : TEETERS
98. Amps, with "up" : PSYCHS
99. Vehicle at a ski resort : SNOCAT
101. Light cotton fabric : MUSLIN
104. Wild : CRAZY
105. Long arm : RIFLE
106. Covered in frost : RIMED
107. Pass over : ELIDE
109. Gather : REAP
113. See 123-Across : OIL
114. Troop grp. : BSA
115. Roll call response in une école : ICI
116. Wernher ___ Braun : VON
117. Scale note : SOL
119. Dutch financial giant : ING
120. Govt. org. that offers a monthly "Puzzle Periodical" : NSA

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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