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QUESTION OF RESPONSIBILITY

New York Times, Sunday, January 20, 2019

Author:
Richard Crowe
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
11/20/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000000
RebusCirclePangram
000
Richard Crowe

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 68 Missing: {JQZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Crowe. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Richard Crowe notes:
Constructing crossword puzzles is very new to me. I find the creative but constraint-driven process of working out themes absorbing, the creation of fill frustrating and a bit of a slog, ... read more

Constructing crossword puzzles is very new to me. I find the creative but constraint-driven process of working out themes absorbing, the creation of fill frustrating and a bit of a slog, and clue writing great fun. For this puzzle, theme answer ideas were easy to come up with, but tying them to a profession not always so. I wish I could have included WHY THE HELL NOT with Atheist as its clue.

When I write clues, it's simple enough to get a sense of difficulty level for individual answers, but I don't feel particularly adept at sensing how hard a puzzle is, as a whole. Or, maybe I just like to write nasty clues. For this puzzle, I think the editors felt the clues had to be pulled back a bit. For example, they added the word "bowling" to the clue for 7-Down, thereby saving the solver from mistakenly filling in HOV. Darn!

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm going to go to a local museum just so I can ask the docent HOWS IT HANGING. Tee hee! Similarly, I'm not much of a baseball fan, but I'm going to work on my swing, so I can ... read more

I'm going to go to a local museum just so I can ask the docent HOWS IT HANGING. Tee hee!

Similarly, I'm not much of a baseball fan, but I'm going to work on my swing, so I can innocently say ANYBODY HOME to the ump as I jog past home plate.

Morbidly amusing to think about a CDC worker pointing to an Ebola victim, asking (in a Steven Wright deadpan), WHATS EATING HIM?

WHOS CRYING NOW, on the other hand, is not funny. It's abhorrent. There are two little kids in my house, Richard! TWO LITTLE KIDS CRYING AT BEDTIME, THAT'S WHO'S CRYING!

(There may be some personal bias in that last paragraph.)

I wasn't as keen on IS THAT A FACT, as it seems a bit too close to something you'd actually ask a copy editor. But overall, there was a lot of humor in these themers.

A decent grid, especially considering 1) it's a debut and 2) it's a Sunday 136-word puzzle. Those two shouldn't generally go together, as the sub-140 grid isn't for the faint of heart. I liked some of the bonus fill, like FARMHOUSE, AIRBRUSH, IT'S A DEAL.

LITTERBOX and WET WILLY with their graphic clues, not as much. I appreciate the humor in the [… latest poop] clue, but being a cat owner, reminders of dingleberries aren't welcome. And did we need to get the over-descriptive "moistened finger" in the WET WILLY clue?

Speaking of cringing, that GARY / GLI cross. Yikes! It'd have been passable if GARY had been easier. But CARY and MARY both seemed reasonable (CLI or MLI instead of GLI, why not?), so it felt like a guess. With quite a bit of AMF ANOS EADS ECOL SSR etc., I don't think the 136-word effort was successful. Could have been a much cleaner and colorful grid by going up to 140 words. Shifting and adding black squares to break up ORIENTATE would be one area I'd have targeted.

Grid issues aside, I appreciated the humor in this theme.

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H
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0120 ( 25,275 )
Across
1
Moolah : CLAMS
6
Measured with steps : PACED
11
Part of a chapel : APSE
15
Bits of roasted cocoa beans : NIBS
19
Lays into : HASAT
20
Act over the top : EMOTE
21
Executor : DOER
22
Natl. Audubon Society concern : ECOL
23
Copy editor : ISTHATAFACT
25
Going coast to coast, maybe : ASEA
26
Like many a distance runner : WIRY
27
Spanish pastries often dipped in chocolate : CHURROS
28
Emmy, Grammy and Academy Award winner : CHER
30
"Agreed!" : ITSADEAL
32
Straight : HETERO
33
Political strategist : WHERESTHEPARTY
35
February 13, e.g. : IDES
36
Some punches : HOOKS
38
Yelled "S, P, I, R, I, T! - spirit!," say : CHEERED
39
Make toast? : DOOM
40
Laundry basketful : LOAD
41
The "Odyssey," for one : SAGA
45
Museum curator : HOWSITHANGING
51
The, in Milan : GLI
54
When doubled, a dessert : BON
55
Provinces : AREAS
56
Toffee-nosed sorts : SNOOTS
57
Sartorial choice for Lieutenant Columbo : RAINCOAT
59
"O.K., I see" : GOTCHA
61
Major California paper, for short : LAT
62
It may have corn on the side : FARMHOUSE
63
Football line judge : WHOSESIDEAREYOUON
67
Get situated, in Britspeak : ORIENTATE
69
Cell material : RNA
70
Teensy bit : SMIDGE
73
Shoulder muscles : DELTOIDS
74
30-year investments, informally : TBONDS
77
Cartoon style : ANIME
78
One of the fish in Italy's Feast of the Seven Fishes : EEL
79
Monopoly foursome: Abbr. : RRS
80
Maternity room nurse : WHOSCRYINGNOW
82
"The ___ in love with you" (misheard lyric in a Herb Alpert hit) : SKYS
84
Influence on Castro and Mao : MARX
85
Gendered suffix : ENNE
86
Classic song with the lyric "I love your kiss" : ESOBESO
90
Secret store : STASH
92
Actress Blanchett : CATE
96
Parasitologist : WHATSEATINGHIM
100
How Vito Corleone treated Tom Hagen in "The Godfather" : ASASON
102
Pretty up, as a photo : AIRBRUSH
103
Geraint's love in "Idylls of the King" : ENID
104
Menace with teeth exposed : SNARLAT
105
"___ Dinka Doo" (theme song of Jimmy Durante) : INKA
106
Cognac letters : VSOP
108
Baseball scorekeeper : ANYBODYHOME
110
Banking org. since 1933 : FDIC
111
Ohio nine : REDS
112
Place for a candidate to speak : STUMP
113
Stock valuation phrase : NOPAR
114
What hearts do when things look bad : SINK
115
Website for handmade items : ETSY
116
Southwest tribe : HOPIS
117
Blooms : OPENS
Down
1
In style and letting everyone know it : CHICHI
2
Whipped : LASHED
3
Sharp-minded : ASTUTE
4
Twins Phil and Steve who won gold and silver in Sarajevo : MAHRES
5
Fab Four name : STARR
6
Subject of early genetics research : PEAS
7
Letters on some bowling lanes : AMF
8
Duke basketball legend, informally : COACHK
9
Draws on glass, say : ETCHES
10
Frighten (from) : DETER
11
___-compliant : ADA
12
Not yet proven : POSITED
13
Boil : SEETHE
14
Occasional aid in crossword solving : ERASER
15
Ones handing out cigars, stereotypically : NEWDADS
16
More aloof : ICIER
17
Title film character with the catchphrase "Very nice!" : BORAT
18
How cheaters deal cards : SLYLY
24
One of Goldilocks's complaints : TOOHOT
29
Some drone missions, in short : RECONS
31
Parrot : APE
33
Year of the ___ (2018) : WOMAN
34
Thick rug style : SHAG
37
Thrilled cries : OOHS
39
Shame : DISHONOR
40
Where to get the latest poop? : LITTERBOX
42
Teem with : ABOUNDIN
43
Dress like for a Halloween bash : GOAS
44
Up the ___ : ANTE
45
"Hansel and Gretel" character : HAG
46
___ Valley, Ariz. : ORO
47
Moistened finger in another's ear : WETWILLY
48
Pouch at the bottom of an armoire : SACHET
49
"Honest!" : NOLIE
50
Provoke : GOAD
51
SpongeBob's pet snail : GARY
52
Line at an awards show : LIMOS
53
Cruel : INHUMANE
57
Issa who wrote "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" : RAE
58
Talking to a baby, maybe : COOING
60
Moving about : ASTIR
62
Money in Geneva : FRANC
64
___ Bridge (historic span across the Mississippi) : EADS
65
Duane and Reade, in N.Y.C. : STS
66
Years, in Madrid : ANOS
67
Poems of admiration : ODES
68
Stink : REEK
71
Non-___ (food label) : GMO
72
"Yuck" : EEW
74
High chair? : THRONE
75
Be unrealistic : DREAM
76
Destiny and fate, e.g.: Abbr. : SYNS
80
"So ___" (words of agreement) : WASI
81
Under control : INHAND
83
Hinder : SETBACK
84
Techniques : METHODS
87
Georgia, once: Abbr. : SSR
88
Work of a lifetime : OEUVRE
89
Kind of hound : BASSET
90
Traditional religion of Japan : SHINTO
91
Unclutter : TIDYUP
92
Job at a drive-in joint : CARHOP
93
Not level : ASLOPE
94
Unanimously : TOAMAN
95
Writes in : ENTERS
96
Homeless children : WAIFS
97
Language from which "dungarees" comes : HINDI
98
Alan of "The In-Laws" : ARKIN
99
Grind : GNASH
101
Turn down an offer : SAYNO
104
Concessions : SOPS
107
"Gangnam Style" rapper : PSY
109
Royalty-focused grp. : BMI

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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