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THAT'S ONE WAY TO PUT IT

New York Times, Sunday, October 1, 2017

Author:
Robert Fisher
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
310/11/201010/1/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1200000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robert Fisher

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 22 Words: 148, Blocks: 72 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Fisher. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Robert Fisher notes:
My ears perked up when the radio announcer said with some fanfare that 'The following is an encore presentation.' A few seconds later I realized it was something I'd already heard. It was just a ... read more

My ears perked up when the radio announcer said with some fanfare that "The following is an encore presentation." A few seconds later I realized it was something I'd already heard. It was just a rerun! I thought that was like calling a used car a certified pre-owned vehicle. And then the penny dropped --maybe a crossword theme there.

After a final list of theme entries was settled on, designing and filling the grid proved to be very challenging. The long horizontal themers, including two 22-letter spanners, plus the fact that Will wanted them in a set order going from bad to increasingly worse events, greatly restricted options with fill. My first two attempts were judged to have too much unappealing dreck/glue. The third time around I started from scratch with an emphasis on keeping the fill as clean as possible and it finally made the cut. Whew!

Jeff Chen notes:
Not sure the best way of expressing this concept — mincing one's words? I've heard 'it's not a problem, it's an opportunity' countless times in the business arena, so it was fun to get a ... read more

Not sure the best way of expressing this concept — mincing one's words? I've heard "it's not a problem, it's an opportunity" countless times in the business arena, so it was fun to get a [Layoff] termed as a CAREER SHIFT OPPORTUNITY. (Note to self: think about adding "crisitunity" to my word list.)

I think these are meant to be not as much humorous as wry, so not many of them entertained me. Guess I'm looking for something more upbeat in my crossword than an alternative way to say [Dead]. I ended up with an error in PAST RETIREMENT instead of POST-RETIREMENT, but both of them made me feel uncomfortable.

Unusual these days to get a wide puzzle — 22x21, to accommodate ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH and CAREER SHIFT OPPORTUNITY. (Most editors are fairly well constrained to work with 21x21.) It could be argued that the max word count should be allowed to float higher than the usual 140, perhaps proportionally to 146 or 147. But Sundays are so big to begin with that I'd rather see it kept at 140, to make sure solvers don't lose interest, what with so many clues to wade through.

Robert went up to 148, which did allow him to get the fill perhaps a touch smoother than average Sundays. Yes, there are SEHR API EFS SIE STET EDT HADA PLUMR LIMN, but that's not too bad for a Sunday grid.

What it didn't allow for though, is much bonus fill, which is so important in keeping my attention if the theme isn't achieving that purpose. There's not a single 8+ letter piece of fill, and those long slots are so important, much easier to make into colorful entries than 7-letter or shorter slots. I did like AL DENTE, RAT RACE, MACHETE, CHEAPOS, but that wasn't nearly enough for me.

Overall, a good seed of an idea, but none of the themers tickled me.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1001 ( 24,799 )
Across
1
Draw in : ATTRACT
8
Tight garment : CORSET
14
Come before : PREDATE
21
Stingy sorts : CHEAPOS
22
Blogger's pick for a pic : AVATAR
23
Utility worker : LINEMAN
24
Falling down : TESTINGGRAVITY
26
Mean : AVERAGE
27
Very: Ger. : SEHR
28
Earth goddess : GAIA
29
G.P.A. killers : EFS
30
"Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
31
Robert of "The Sopranos" : ILER
32
Speeding ticket : AWARDFORFASTDRIVING
37
Prep for the runway, maybe : DEICE
40
Ball ___ : PEEN
41
Besmirch : TAR
42
Emotionally demanding : NEEDY
43
Climbing Mount Everest, e.g. : ORDEAL
45
Be Kind to Editors and Writers Mo. [for real!] : SEPT
48
Notable features of Stockholm and Amsterdam : CANALS
51
It "exists when one goes against one's conscience," per Pope Francis : SIN
52
Fire places : PITS
55
D.C. lobby for seniors : AARP
57
Locale for two of the Quad Cities : IOWA
58
Egyptian cobra : ASP
61
Lying : ECONOMICALWITHTHETRUTH
66
Heat, as to soften metal : ANNEAL
67
"u r hilarious!" : LMAO
68
How scallops are often prepared : SEARED
69
French horticulturist after whom a variety of fruit is named : BOSC
72
Cause of insomnia, maybe : DRIP
74
Design detail : SPEC
77
Google ___ : MAPS
78
Run too far or lift too much : OVERDO
81
Go over in blackjack : BUST
84
In working order : USABLE
87
Layoff : CAREERSHIFTOPPORTUNITY
94
Old sitcom character who was 229 years old : ALF
95
Utah's ___ Canyon : SEGO
96
Get 29-Across : FAIL
97
Railway offshoot : SPUR
98
"So that's it!" : AHA
99
Florae and faunae : BIOTAS
101
Down : GLUM
103
Mariners : SEAMEN
105
TWA competitor : USAIR
108
Classic Jag : XKE
110
Who "can't buy you love" in an Elton John hit : MAMA
113
"There, there" : ITSOK
114
Tax increase : BUDGETREINFORCEMENT
120
Cheers in un estadio : OLES
121
Canon camera : EOS
122
Take off quickly : JET
123
"If I ___ penny for every ..." : HADA
124
Some W.S.J. topics : IPOS
128
Summer Olympics host after Barcelona : ATLANTA
130
Dead : POSTRETIREMENT
133
Custom-fits : TAILORS
134
Took off quickly : LITOUT
135
Pasta recipe phrase : ALDENTE
136
Show contempt for : SNEERAT
137
At the scene : ONSITE
138
"We should avoid doing that" : LETSNOT
Down
1
New Testament book : ACTS
2
Pilgrims' pronoun : THEE
3
Radio host John : TESH
4
Life in the big city, to some : RATRACE
5
Bee: Prefix : API
6
Dance with a kick : CONGA
7
John Irving protagonist portrayed by Robin Williams : TSGARP
8
Wine holders : CARAFES
9
Spermatozoa targets : OVA
10
Dance party enthusiast : RAVER
11
Wooden : STIFF
12
Worries no end : EATSAT
13
Five-point rugby play : TRY
14
Stripes mismatch, traditionally : PLAID
15
Amazon, e.g. : RIVER
16
Oklahoma City-to-Tulsa dir. : ENE
17
Develops (from) : DERIVES
18
Charlotte ___, Virgin Islands : AMALIE
19
Very last part : TAGEND
20
Pep : ENERGY
25
André ___, 1947 Literature Nobelist : GIDE
30
Narrow waterway : STRAIT
33
Part of an accusation in Clue : WEAPON
34
Laker named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 : ONEAL
35
Small anatomical container : SAC
36
Landing post-E.T.A. : INLATE
37
12 cc, maybe : DOSE
38
Country star Church : ERIC
39
Alternative to a name: Abbr. : IDNO
44
Draw, as a scene : LIMN
46
Ratcheting wheel mechanism : PAWL
47
Adjust with Photoshop, maybe : TRIM
49
Japanese drama : NOH
50
Knocks over : AWES
53
Even : TIED
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Trauma reminder : SCAR
56
School support grps. : PTAS
58
Corona, for one : AURA
59
Repeated cry at a dance class : STEP
60
Most profs : PHDS
62
Mother-of-pearl : NACRE
63
Out in court : ALIBI
64
Boost the horsepower of : HOPUP
65
Dish served with chopsticks in a bowl : RAMEN
69
Florida beach city, informally : BOCA
70
Like the head of a tennis racket : OVAL
71
Lowly worker : SERF
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Bit of wind : PUFF
75
Those, in Tijuana : ESOS
76
Complaining fish? : CARP
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"Hots" : DESIRE
80
"Creme sandwich" introduced over a century ago : OREO
82
Animal depicted in Edwin Landseer's "The Monarch of the Glen" : STAG
83
Work, work, work : TOIL
85
Air-conditioner fig. : BTUS
86
Entrap : LUREIN
88
Army NCO : SGT
89
Alien autopsies, crop circles and the like : HOAXES
90
Liquid-___ : PLUMR
91
Pet food with a paw print logo : IAMS
92
Where to accent "Laotian" : THEO
93
Pinstriper : YANK
99
Store blowout : BIGSALE
100
Suffix with brew : SKI
102
Underbrush clearer : MACHETE
104
Occasionally : ATTIMES
105
W.W. II shipping worries : UBOATS
106
Oman's leader, e.g. : SULTAN
107
Antarctic penguin : ADELIE
109
Officially prohibit : ENJOIN
111
Lamb, e.g. : MEAT
112
It goes up to about 1700 : AMDIAL
115
Aquarium fish : TETRA
116
Swelter : ROAST
117
Holiday celebrations : FESTS
118
Holy Roman emperor called "the Great" : OTTOI
119
Country rocker Steve : EARLE
125
One of the Ivies : PENN
126
Not conned by : ONTO
127
Let stand, editorially : STET
129
Neither's partner : NOR
130
U.N. observer since '74 : PLO
131
Day-in-and-day-out pattern : RUT
132
D.C. summer setting : EDT

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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