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THE DOWNSIZING OF NATHANIEL AMES

New York Times, Sunday, January 8, 2017

Author:
Peter Broda and Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
34/16/20131/8/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1010001
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.66000
Peter Broda
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3211/6/20122/5/201913
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
73435361
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61140
Erik Agard

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 71 Missing: {FQ} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Broda. This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Agard. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
erik: it's always a pleasure to collaborate with peter (an indie crossword legend + one of the most brilliant people i have the good fortune of knowing) and this puzzle was no exception. ... read more

erik: it's always a pleasure to collaborate with peter (an indie crossword legend + one of the most brilliant people i have the good fortune of knowing) and this puzzle was no exception.

i'm happy we were able to sneak a shoutout to another indie puzzling titan into the grid. did you spot it?

also, a tough bonus puzzler: what's a 2-word, 10-letter phrase that consists of two names "downsized" like the ones in this theme? hint: the names are both actresses, one from the ‘60s and one contemporary.

Jeff Chen notes:
I was baffled for the longest time — was PROSE POETRY supposed to be PROSE ROSE POETRY or something? Headslap moment when I realized it was P. ROSE POETRY. Brilliant! So many celebs ... read more

I was baffled for the longest time — was PROSE POETRY supposed to be PROSE ROSE POETRY or something? Headslap moment when I realized it was P. ROSE POETRY. Brilliant! So many celebs go by their first initial and their last name (or part of it), like D Wade (Dwyane Wade), J Law (Jennifer Lawrence … or Jude Law?), etc. Great idea, cluing all these normal phrases as if they were parsed into celeb-ish names.

And the poetry for P. ROSE! "Charlie Hustle is my name / I am banned from the Hall of Fame" = fantastic. Great entry and even better clue, like something Muhammad Ali might have said in taunt. (I didn't know the MALI EMPIRE, but I really liked learning about this historical powerhouse.)

I did find it odd to get Stephen HARPER's first name right in the clue, but I'm the first to admit that I couldn't have guessed who Stephen Harper was, even given eleventy-billion guesses. So I appreciated the hint.

These young guns are two of the best in the new generation. I love me some Agard puzzles — his indies are some of my favorites out there — and Peter Broda blew my mind with a hero metapuzzle a while back.

Sometimes with the indies, I have a hard time getting into the hot / trendy people they throw in; names that you either know or don't, ones that either elate you or leave you shrugging.

So to get fresh, juicy bonus entries that even this old crotchety fella can appreciate was great. VICE UNIT! BEER DARTS! (I didn't know that one, but it wasn't hard to figure out from the clue.) URL HIJACKING! And HARRY HOUDINI with its appropriately confounding clue about when Houdini was buried (for a stage trick) vs. his death = brilliant.

There were a few tough themers — if you never watched "Friends," CHANDLER BING would be rough. And even rougher if you don't know who C. HANDLER (Chelsea Handler) is.

But overall, loved, loved, loved it. Such fun to do the puzzle, and even more fun to analyze why that was. More please, sirs!

P.S. RETCON = retroactive continuity. Even as a writer, I didn't know that — fun to learn!

Jim Horne notes:

I love the title on this one.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0108 ( 24,533 )
Across
1
Loops in, in a way : BCCS
5
Goddess with a throne headdress : ISIS
9
Tempo : PACE
13
Figs. on drivers' licenses : HTS
16
When repeated, a Pacific tourist destination : BORA
17
Fish whose name is a celebrity's name minus an R : OPAH
18
Old bandleader with an Egyptian-inspired name : SUNRA
19
Outrigger projections : OARS
20
Things smoked by singer Courtney? : CLOVECIGARETTES
23
Scandalmaker in 2002 news : ENRON
24
Speed demon : RACER
25
Headwear the N.B.A. banned in 2005 : DORAG
26
Game involving sharp projectiles and alcohol : BEERDARTS
28
Parrot's cry : AWK
29
1950s prez : IKE
31
"Charlie Hustle is my name / I am banned from Hall of Fame," e.g.? : PROSEPOETRY
33
Fist bump : DAP
34
"Yes, ___!" : SIRREE
36
Put a coat on : PAINT
37
"Eureka!" moments : AHAS
40
Press : IRON
42
Cloth colorist : DYER
43
Feature of Africa : HORN
44
___ oil : CANOLA
46
Televangelist Joel : OSTEEN
48
Alternative to "News" and "Maps" in a Google search : VIDEOS
50
Road restriction : NOUTURN
51
Pugnacious Olympian : ARES
53
Relative of a ferret : MINK
54
Cold and wet : DANK
55
F.B.I.'s div. : DOJ
56
Hoopster Steph not playing at home? : SCURRYAWAY
60
Riffraff : SCUM
62
Japanese watchmaker : SEIKO
64
Like Granny Smith apples : TART
65
Endless chore : SLOG
66
Dickens's Uriah : HEEP
68
Sega Genesis competitor, in brief : SNES
69
Radiant : AGLOW
71
Intersect : MEET
73
The sport of boxing in the 1960s and '70s, essentially? : MALIEMPIRE
75
"Nothing to write home about" : MEH
76
Groups with co-pays, briefly : HMOS
78
Jockey strap : REIN
80
"Star Trek: T.N.G." role : TROI
81
Installment : EDITION
83
Personalized gifts for music lovers : MIXCDS
85
Valet in P. G. Wodehouse stories : JEEVES
89
Contemporary hybrid music genre : NUJAZZ
90
Sots' sounds : HICS
91
Nickname for Louise : LULU
93
Feast : DINE
94
Sail support : SPAR
95
In unison : ASONE
97
Echo effect : REVERB
99
El operator in the Windy City, briefly : CTA
100
Hat for pop singer Corey? : CHARTTOPPER
103
Anthem contraction : OER
104
"Uhh ..." : ERM
105
Show what you know, say : TAKEATEST
107
"In all probability" : IDBET
109
Regular : USUAL
111
Obstinate one, astrologically : ARIES
112
Two-time Best Actor winner arriving early? : THANKSINADVANCE
115
Four-star rank: Abbr. : GENL
116
Monopoly purchase : HOUSE
117
Singer/songwriter Laura : NYRO
118
Little foxes : KITS
119
Slump : SAG
120
___ cosa (something else: Sp.) : OTRA
121
Wanders (about) : GADS
122
They begin in juin : ETES
Down
1
Original airer of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" : BBCRADIO
2
Pop competition : COLAWARS
3
Something smoked by comic Chris? : CROCKPOT
4
Hang on to : SAVE
5
Org. against doping : IOC
6
Spindly-limbed : SPIDERY
7
Shakespeare villain : IAGO
8
Photo of Canada's former prime minister Stephen? : SHARPERIMAGE
9
"Stay ___" : PUT
10
Aardvarks, by another name : ANTBEARS
11
Enter surreptitiously : CREEPIN
12
Press lightly, as the brakes : EASEON
13
He was buried in 1915 and died in 1926 : HARRYHOUDINI
14
Dressage gait : TROT
15
Invoice figs. : SSNS
18
___ lily : SEGO
19
Fulminating : ONARANT
21
Dwarf planet more massive than Pluto : ERIS
22
Atypical : RARE
23
Summer hrs. in Phila. : EDT
27
Literary device used to address plot inconsistencies : RETCON
30
Nephrologists study them : KIDNEYS
32
Spies, informally : SPOOKS
35
M.L.K.'s title: Abbr. : REV
38
"Today" personality : ALROKER
39
Shark's home : SANJOSE
41
Close by : NEARTO
43
Egg producer : HEN
45
Arctic fliers : AUKS
47
Blow it : ERR
49
Like a handyman's projects, for short : DIY
50
"Anything! Anything at all!" : NAMEIT
52
Shade of pink : SALMON
54
Sword fight, e.g. : DUEL
56
Filament sites, in botany : STAMENS
57
Imprisoned : CAGEDUP
58
Underhanded use of someone else's domain name : URLHIJACKING
59
Troubles : WOES
61
Cherry for talk show host Chelsea? : CHANDLERBING
63
Glimpsed : ESPIED
67
Forswear : PERJURE
70
Genius : WHIZ
72
Arm muscle, informally : TRICEP
73
___ drop : MIC
74
Miney follower : MOE
77
"Idomeneo" composer : MOZART
79
"All My ___ Live in Texas" : EXS
82
U.N.C. student : TARHEEL
83
Figure at the center of a maze : MINOTAUR
84
Tahoe, for one : SUV
86
Entourage of a 1990s white rapper? : VICEUNIT
87
Musical intermission : ENTRACTE
88
Continuous : SEAMLESS
90
Flamboyantly successful sort : HOTSHOT
92
Trampolinist's wear : LEOTARD
96
Start to -scope : STETHO
97
Cincinnati squad : REDS
98
Dude, in British lingo : BRUV
101
Smallish batteries : AAS
102
Long spear : PIKE
105
Makes "it" : TAGS
106
Zone : AREA
108
"Dark Sky Island" singer : ENYA
110
Drink sometimes served hot : SAKE
113
"Snowden" org. : NSA
114
___, cuatro, seis, ocho ... : DOS

Answer summary: 17 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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