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MESSAGE TO BUYERS

New York Times, Sunday, January 31, 2016

Author: Yaakov Bendavid
Editor: Will Shortz
Yaakov Bendavid
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
62/28/20101/31/20160
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6000000
RebusCirclePangram
001

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 66 Missing: {JZ} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Bendavid. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Yaakov Bendavid notes: From come-ons plastered on billboards to disclaimers and warnings in tiny print or read at lighting speed at the end of radio ads, we're inundated with ad and packaging copy. So why should the Sunday ... more
Yaakov Bendavid notes:

From come-ons plastered on billboards to disclaimers and warnings in tiny print or read at lighting speed at the end of radio ads, we're inundated with ad and packaging copy. So why should the Sunday crossword be an exception?

I hope solvers enjoy the alternate definitions for some familiar phrases in this, my 6th NY Times puzzle.

One clue/theme entry I would have liked to fit: [Disclaimer on a poker school price list?] DEALER PREP EXTRA.

And one clue that didn't get in with the entry that did: [Audition notice encouraging forgetful actors?] CONTAINS SMALL PARTS.

My NYT puzzles have all been Sundays, and I've been asked ‘why only Sundays?'. Well, before embarking on the actual construction, I spend a lot of time gathering theme entries and possible clues, and I want to have 20 or more candidates from which to choose 6 to 9 entries that pair up and allow for a nice-looking grid, clean fill, and clever/funny clue-answer combinations. Having phrases up to 21 letters as opposed to 15 for a non-Sunday puzzle gives me many more phrases from which to choose.

Thanks to Will and Joel Fagliano for their editing and patience through two revisions.

Jeff Chen notes: I like puzzles with kooky interpretations of real-life phrases. My favorite was STORE IN A DRY PLACE, 'store' getting a neat change from a verb to a noun. NO MONEY DOWN was also funny, the idea of advertising free ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I like puzzles with kooky interpretations of real-life phrases. My favorite was STORE IN A DRY PLACE, "store" getting a neat change from a verb to a noun. NO MONEY DOWN was also funny, the idea of advertising free pillow stuffing pretty amusing.

Two small quibbles:

  1. I could have done with SOME added to ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. It just doesn't feel complete to me without the SOME, and to kick off the puzzle with this one doesn't feel very strong.
  2. INTEL INSIDE and NO MONEY DOWN feel out of place to me. The rest of the themers feel so much tighter — all things you'd see in or around a packaging box. Mixing a specific and a general marketing slogan into the theme made it feel unfocused and not as specific as I would have liked.

BANDOLERO!

For a 138-word puzzle, Yaakov executes nicely. I'd usually expect a dozen or so pieces of minor crossword glue given this challenging feat, but I only noticed around half of that (KPS, LALA, YET TO, TER, etc.). And there was a good amount of longer fill that spiced up the puzzle — BON MOT, TIME OUT, DEADPAN, LOW POINT, SPUTNIK, etc.

I also enjoyed the challenge of the SW and the NE corners, spaces as big as you'd usually see in a themeless. Not surprisingly, these were the last two areas to fall for me, and I appreciated the battle. MANS MAN / SABOTAGE / PROMOTER / BANDOLERO is a great quartet of answers, and to hold them together with just STOL (short takeoff and landing) is awfully nice.

Usually I don't like it when constructors try to dip below the 140-word maximum because of the prices the solver has to pay, but I liked it today.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0131 ( 24,190 )
Across Down
1. Aspect : FACET
6. They're not tipped very much nowadays : HATS
10. ___ Bay, former U.S. base on Luzon : SUBIC
15. County center : SEAT
19. Pope John X's successor : LEOVI
20. Latin 101 verb : AMAT
21. Italian fashion label : PRADA
22. Weigh station unit : AXLE
23. Notice regarding voting in a state legislature? : ASSEMBLYREQUIRED
26. In ___ land : LALA
27. Fake : NOTREAL
28. Prurient material : SMUT
29. Cool, once : RAD
30. Pride : lions :: mob : ___ : EMUS
31. Some G.I. duties : KPS
32. Suited to serve : ONEA
34. Sign on the N.S.A.'s entrance? : INTELINSIDE
37. Something to chew on : CUD
38. Unchanging : STATIC
41. Person of interest to the I.R.S. : EARNER
42. Explorer for England who mistook Canada for Asia : CABOT
45. Deg. for a teacher-to-be : BSED
46. Command and Control : KEYS
49. Runs into : MEETS
50. Biblical prophet : AMOS
51. Spanish royalty : REINAS
53. Nomadic northerner : LAPP
55. Ace : PRO
56. Audition caution for a movie with a cast of thousands? : CONTAINSSMALLPARTS
60. One side in "The Terminator" : HUMANS
61. Mexican cigar brand : TEAMO
62. Squirrel away : STOW
63. Blue : SAD
66. Shoreline problem : EROSION
68. Brings good news to skiers, say : SNOWS
70. See 45-Down : STILLER
72. It ends in Nov. : DST
73. Sporty car roof : TTOP
75. Pickled garnish : CAPER
77. "Seinfeld" role : ELAINE
78. Note on a watered-down assault indictment? : BATTERYNOTINCLUDED
81. Where to get a mud wrap : SPA
83. Numerical prefix : OCTA
84. Abstain : SITOUT
85. Screen meas. : DIAG
86. 1914 battle locale : MARNE
88. Chick magnets? : HENS
90. Some safari camping gear : NETS
91. Unable to get it, say : DENSE
92. Houses : ABODES
94. Feature of the Devil : GOATEE
96. ___ Hots : RED
97. Offer of free pillow fill? : NOMONEYDOWN
100. Second-largest moon of Saturn : RHEA
102. Beauty : GEM
105. Many a bush plane, in brief : STOL
106. Thrice, in prescriptions : TER
107. Center of a Scrabble board : STAR
110. Typically active voting group, with "the" : ELDERLY
112. Chum : MATE
113. Desert supermarket? : STOREINADRYPLACE
116. Stress, it's said : AGER
117. Bewildered : ATSEA
118. Ex-Yankee Martinez : TINO
119. Buzzing : ASTIR
120. During whose reign Peter was crucified : NERO
121. Formal letter opener : TOSIR
122. Panache : ELAN
123. Cell towers for cellphones, for example : NEEDS
1. Steak cut : FLANK
2. "The Old Lion" storyteller : AESOP
3. Overhead items : COSTS
4. Always : EVER
5. Break : TIMEOUT
6. Berry that's much sought after? : HALLE
7. Musical documentary/biopic of 2015 : AMY
8. Smears : TARS
9. Stick in the ground? : STEM
10. News sensation of 10/4/1957 : SPUTNIK
11. Ocean State sch. : URI
12. Ballet dancer's support : BARRE
13. 10, say : IDEAL
14. Bag carrier : CADDIE
15. Ones doing demos, maybe : SALESREPS
16. Bay Area newspaper : EXAMINER
17. Suggest : ALLUDETO
18. Promos : TEASERS
24. Wedding expense : BAND
25. Computer command : QUIT
33. Court stat : ASSIST
35. Infection fighter : TCELL
36. "Forrest Gump" setting, for short : NAM
37. Longtime Olympics TV host : COSTAS
39. Conjugation factors : TENSES
40. Mulishness : ADAMANCY
42. Squirreled away : CACHED
43. Trysters : AMOURS
44. Witticism : BONMOT
45. With 70-Across, member of Hollywood's Frat Pack : BEN
47. Blathers : YAPS
48. Old-timey footwear accessory : SPATS
51. Dish that's stirred constantly when being made : RISOTTO
52. Neighbors of Fijians : SAMOANS
54. Guard : PROTECT
57. Soul singer Baker : ANITA
58. Nadir : LOWPOINT
59. Herringbone, for example : TWILL
63. Tried to avoid a tag, say : SLIDIN
64. Defender of Troy : AENEAS
65. Clear, as a channel : DREDGE
67. Belt mark : NOTCH
69. Parlor piece : SETTEE
71. Held in high esteem : LAUDED
74. Super Bowl-winning coach Carroll : PETE
76. Target of a curfew, maybe : RIOTER
78. Old Southwest outlaw : BANDOLERO
79. Title chameleon of a 2011 animated film : RANGO
80. Fraternity letters : NUS
81. Throw a monkey wrench into : SABOTAGE
82. Concert V.I.P. : PROMOTER
86. Masculine icon : MANSMAN
87. Poetic twilight : EEN
89. Low-quality material, in a saying : SOWSEAR
91. Unsmilingly : DEADPAN
93. Attacks : SETSAT
95. Opposing voice : ANTI
96. Count (on) : RELY
98. "The best is ___ come" : YETTO
99. Impurity : DROSS
101. Graceful bird : HERON
102. Hazard for high heels : GRATE
103. 1961 Charlton Heston title role : ELCID
104. Fort ___, Fla. : MYERS
108. Penny ___ : ANTE
109. Commuter option : RAIL
111. Alternatively : ELSE
114. Big name in camping gear : REI
115. Strands in a lab : DNA

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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