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GRAMMAR LESSON

New York Times, Sunday, January 15, 2017

Author:
Joel Fagliano
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6210/22/200911/18/20186
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
15811810325
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65351
Joel Fagliano

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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
Down
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
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Outback animal : EMU
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Blue Cross competitor : AETNA
11
Muddy mixture : SLURRY
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Makes fizzy : AERATES
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Network standard for smartphones, for short : LTE
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Recipe abbr. : TSP
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Time to go home : CURFEW
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Skinny : INFO
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Truck driver? : DIESELFUEL
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And so on: Abbr. : ETC
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Alphabet string : RST
25
Panegyric : EULOGY
28
Boater's wear : LIFEVEST
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Is off : ERRS
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Foul-smelling : FETID
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Set of principles : ETHIC
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"Will ya look at that!" : ILLBE
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Kind of computing : CLOUD
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Foe of the Cheyenne : PAWNEE
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Something set in a meeting : AGENDA
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Insect that spends its larval stage inside a fruit : FIGWASP
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Hot tubs : SPAS
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Knight club : MACE
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Car company that owns SolarCity : TESLA
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Golfer's need : SCORECARD
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"There it is!" : VOILA
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Grand : EPIC
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Source for "Book of the Marvels of the World," circa 1300 : POLO
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Chinese philosopher Mo-___ : TZE
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Part of a club selling clubs : PROSHOP
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Well-ventilated : AIRY
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After ___ (to some extent) : ASORT
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'Fore : ERE
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HBO political satire : VEEP
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Non-prophet group? : ATHEISTS
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Sch. in Knoxville : UTENN
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Dowdies : FRUMPS
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Cafe : EATERY
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Nickname for a Gilded Age businessman with a penchant for jewelry : DIAMONDJIM
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"In Trump We Trust" author, 2016 : ANNCOULTER
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Distillery item : CASK
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Not we : THEY
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"That deep, blue, bottomless soul," per Melville : OCEAN
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Lacks : HASNT
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Part of un jour : HEURE
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Ghost story? : ATTIC
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Most fit : ABLEST
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Awkward time at family movie night : SEXSCENE
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New York City's ___ River : EAST
94
Almost falls : TEETERS
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Amps, with "up" : PSYCHS
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Vehicle at a ski resort : SNOCAT
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Light cotton fabric : MUSLIN
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Wild : CRAZY
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Long arm : RIFLE
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Covered in frost : RIMED
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Pass over : ELIDE
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Gather : REAP
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See 123-Across : OIL
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Troop grp. : BSA
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Roll call response in une école : ICI
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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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?