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New York Times, Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
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531/3/20132/10/20205
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3161410460
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1.59043
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJQVX} This is puzzle # 46 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
My clearest memory from this puzzle construction is sitting in a hotel on a rainy day in Peru (March 2017) trying to think of theme ... read more

My clearest memory from this puzzle construction is sitting in a hotel on a rainy day in Peru (March 2017) trying to think of theme entries. I had three, but the last two were just not coming. Compounding the problem was the fact that I was in Cusco, at over 11,000 feet elevation, and the reduced oxygen was crippling my 63-year-old brain. My Sudoku times were running 50% over normal.

I emailed pun zen master Erik Agard (gluttonforpun.blogspot.com) and begged him to come up with two more theme entries and co-construct it. He wrote back an hour later "Sorry, dude, my brain does not work that way, but good luck!" It took me several more hours (at sea level) to come up with those last two.

A big thanks to Will and his team for smoothing out the clues, and for leaving all my theme clues untouched when they HAD to have been tempted to change one or two of them. If I were asked to pick one puzzle that speaks to me as a constructor and puts out a vibe that I would like to be remembered for, this would probably be the one. Puns are not for everyone, but would I mind being labeled as an insufferable punster? Noh whey!

Hope solvers enjoy it.

Jeff Chen notes:
'___, we can't do without lactose products for our Japanese theater production!'*rimshot* (see below for answer) I enjoyed these. ... read more

"___, we can't do without lactose products for our Japanese theater production!"*rimshot* (see below for answer)

I enjoyed these. We've seen a ton of homophone puzzles, but there's something hilarious about taking a phrase, homophonizing both words, and then cluing it in a way that hints at both the base phrase and the resulting one.

But wait! Do these jeans make me look like I've put on BUTT WEIGHT?

*snicker*

You guys and that crazy EWE GUISE. I groaned hard at that one, but I think that's the sign of a successful pun.

All of them worked for me. Impressive that Bruce found five solid examples of common conversational phrases where both words have a sound-alike.

Solid gridwork, too. It's tough to get a lot out of 3x7 corners, but Bruce has worked so hard to develop his abilities in this arena, and it shows. So much goodness: LAB TECH, TOOLBAR, CHATEAU, HOT SEAT, HOW TRUE, EYE ROLL, THAT'S IT!

I had to laugh at SCREAMO. It's not something I would ever listen to, but it's amusingly self-descriptive.

It's hard to make a homophone theme stand out, but I gave this one some POW! consideration, especially considering the excellent craftsmanship.

*NOH WHEY

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0116 ( 25,271 )
Across
1
Lid attachment : LASH
5
Mixes in : ADDS
9
Make art on glass or metal : ETCH
13
Billy the Kid vis-à-vis Henry McCarty : ALIAS
15
Lecherous person : ROUE
16
Boutique-filled N.Y.C. neighborhood : SOHO
17
"___, do these jeans make me look fat?" : BUTTWEIGHT
19
Perfectly : TOAT
20
"You're oversharing!" : TMI
21
Levine of Maroon 5 : ADAM
22
Big swigs : BELTS
23
Part of a movie that can be spoiled : ENDING
25
"___! The flight attendant just swatted a bug!" : AISLEBEE
28
Smooth sailing site : CALMSEA
30
Place with treatments : SPA
31
Club with travel advice, for short : AAA
32
Pay attention to : HEED
33
Mark that's just above average : CPLUS
35
Place where you can get stuck : RUT
36
"___, would you like to purchase some religious music?" : BUYCHANTS
40
Not just any : THE
43
Peer through a window, maybe : SEEIN
44
Myriad : HOST
48
Mr. Rogers : ROY
49
The Na'vi in "Avatar," e.g. : ETS
50
Meet (with) at midday, say : DOLUNCH
53
"___ and those crazy sheep costumes!" : EWEGUISE
56
Bakery-cafe chain : PANERA
57
Bikini part : STRAP
58
Actor Neeson : LIAM
60
"On the other hand ..." : YET
61
Where Paris took Helen : TROY
62
"___! Petr, I'm begging you again to let me get this!" : CZECHPLEAS
65
Break in the action : LULL
66
Really cool, in slang : SICK
67
"Me, too!" : SOAMI
68
Slippery : EELY
69
Teensy : ITTY
70
Harness racing gait : TROT
Down
1
Research assistant, informally : LABTECH
2
Female graduates : ALUMNAE
3
Not get used : SITIDLE
4
Makeshift receptacle for ballots : HAT
5
"O mio babbino caro," e.g. : ARIA
6
Foundational teachings : DOGMA
7
"Obviously, Sherlock!" : DUH
8
Wimbledon unit : SET
9
First name in perfumes : ESTEE
10
Windows strip : TOOLBAR
11
The Louvre, originally : CHATEAU
12
Spot where one might get grilled : HOTSEAT
14
Some origami birds : SWANS
18
Advantage : EDGE
22
Quarry noise : BLAST
24
Website for film buffs : IMDB
26
Upscale kitchen feature : ISLAND
27
Told, as tales : SPUN
29
Hacker's goal : ACCESS
34
Fraternity letter : PHI
37
Exhaust : USEUP
38
Dubious Tibetan sighting : YETI
39
Ostracize : SHUN
40
Part of a bridge : TRESTLE
41
"Amen!" : HOWTRUE
42
"Puh-leeze!," in facial form : EYEROLL
45
Lease term, often : ONEYEAR
46
Loud subgenre of punk : SCREAMO
47
"Bingo!" : THATSIT
51
Colorful fish : OPAH
52
Genie holders : LAMPS
54
In a jovial way : GAYLY
55
Choose : ELECT
59
Ugh-worthy : ICKY
62
TV drama of 2000-15 : CSI
63
Benzoyl peroxide target, informally : ZIT
64
Fate : LOT

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle.

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