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THAT'S ONE WAY TO PUT IT

New York Times, Sunday, October 1, 2017

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

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 rerun! I thought that ... more
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 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 [Layoff] termed as a CAREER ... more
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 [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 Down
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
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
54. 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
73. Bit of wind : PUFF
75. Those, in Tijuana : ESOS
76. Complaining fish? : CARP
79. "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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