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WISE MOVE

New York Times, Sunday, October 15, 2017

Author:
John Guzzetta and Michael Hawkins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2110/9/20122/8/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1322463
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
John Guzzetta
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
151/23/20143/27/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1215141
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64100
Michael Hawkins

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 69 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Guzzetta. This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Hawkins. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
JOHN: A few years ago, Michael and I decided to start a friendly competition, a race to see who could hit for the cycle first. I'm thrilled to say that it's a tie! We worked for a few ... read more

JOHN: A few years ago, Michael and I decided to start a friendly competition, a race to see who could hit for the cycle first. I'm thrilled to say that it's a tie! We worked for a few weeks on compiling a list of themers. I've gotten rejections on similar puzzles because the themers just weren't funny enough. So, we waited until Michael was back in Florida and basically focus-grouped the list to both our families at a July 4th picnic, calling them out to kids and adults and seniors alike, to see which got good groans and which got bad groans.

MICHAEL: We trashed many drafts of the layout before we arrived at this one. I'm pleased with how much bonus content we managed to pack into the fill, so that even if the theme isn't your cup of tea, there's plenty to keep you interested. Many of the theme clues were edited for style or space. We had some colorful entries, like "Results of fire hydrant negotiations" for 61-Across and "They might automatically ease out after a big meal" for 98-Across and "Collection featuring 'It Came from the Deli' and 'Clean Up on Aisle Two'" for 114-Across.

Jeff Chen notes:
WISE MOVEs indeed, two-word phrases where the Y sound is moved from the end of the first word to the end of the second. Some great results, doggy treats to DOG TREATIES my favorite. Such ... read more

WISE MOVEs indeed, two-word phrases where the Y sound is moved from the end of the first word to the end of the second. Some great results, doggy treats to DOG TREATIES my favorite. Such an amusing visual of dogs sitting around discussing settlement terms (maybe while playing poker?). Gravy train to GRAVE TRAINEES also worked well for me, as 1.) the base phrase is great, and 2.) cemetery interns, now that's something I'd write a book about! Great stuff.

Most of the others worked decently well, too. County fair to COUNT FAIRIES gave me a fun visual of census takers doing their darndest to get an accurate count while all the fairies flit about. Smartypants to SMART PANTIES made me laugh, too — not exactly sure what data a pair of SMART PANTIES collects. Probably don't want to know.

The only one that I was plus minus on was GROCER STORIES, which seemed duller than the others. A little too close to the base phrase of "grocery stores." YMMV.

Mostly strong work in the grid. Loved CHEEZ IT, EASY NOW, EVEN STEVEN, MAIN MAN, MEDIA STORM, NOSE JOB, OLD SALT, POWER NAP, SOUR MASH, and more. It's rare to get this much bonus material in a Sunday grid — four-ish bonuses is passable for me, so this is well above and beyond. Even if the theme didn't amuse solvers, all these great bonuses provide entertainment.

Not that many blips in the short fill, too — ETTES, IN AS, SDS, etc. is overlookable. Didn't bug me as I went.

The only sticking point for me: the oddballs in NEEDER and TUYERES. That first one is hard to imagine ever using in real life. The second … this mechanical engineer didn't recognize the term. It is a real thing, but it's not the type of mid-length word I'd strive to debut in the NYT crossword. Thankfully, John and Mike made the crossings fair. And I did like learning what a TUYERE is.

I liked this twist on the standard "sound change" type of theme. Done consistently, with a bunch of nice bonuses, and the grid mostly executed well. A nice example of a Sunday that can cater well to a wide audience.

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N
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L
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1015 ( 24,813 )
Across
1
M.I.T. Sloan grad, often : MBA
4
Raven's cry : CAW
7
Steal, slangily : JACK
11
Bridge work? : NOSEJOB
18
Office restoration : POWERNAP
21
"Didn't expect to see you here!" : OHHI
22
Generally : ASARULE
23
Interns at a cemetery? : GRAVETRAINEES
25
Start of a class field trip, maybe : BUSRIDE
26
Had a bead on : EYED
27
New Left org. : SDS
28
Features of Utah's Capitol Reef National Park : MESAS
30
Instants : SECS
31
Endorse : SIGN
32
___ Court (London district) : EARLS
34
Series ender in London : ZED
35
Start over in cards : REDEAL
37
Lead-in to much : INAS
38
Take to social media following a good round of golf? : TWEETBIRDIES
41
Work at, as a trade : PLY
42
Chickadee, e.g. : TOMTIT
44
Brown ermine : STOAT
45
Ready-to-___ : EAT
46
Crown : PATE
47
Have-not : NEEDER
49
Emmy-winning show of both 1976 and 2017, in brief : SNL
50
One sending flowers, say : ADMIRER
52
One holding flowers : VASE
53
Brain readings, for short : EEGS
55
Sounded sheepish? : BLEATED
58
Speed demon : RACER
61
Pacts between packs? : DOGTREATIES
65
Rage : IRE
66
Does penance : ATONES
68
Corp. manager : COO
69
"More than I wanted to hear!" : TMI
70
"Not nice!" : SOMEAN
72
Original Beatle Sutcliffe : STU
73
Ones sharing quarters at the most macho fraternity? : STUDROOMIES
77
Aviary parts : NESTS
78
Places to cool one's jets? : HANGARS
80
Adventurer in Grouchland : ELMO
81
Big tablet : IPAD
83
Nozzles into blast furnaces : TUYERES
85
One of 17 on a Monopoly board: Abbr. : AVE
87
Policy at a wedding's open bar, maybe : NOTIPS
90
Switch on the radio : AMFM
92
Nabokov novel : ADA
93
Excel : SHINE
95
It led to a 1773 protest : TEAACT
97
Amazon peril : BOA
98
Stylish underwear? : SMARTPANTIES
101
Mess maker : SLOB
102
Ill feeling : ANIMUS
104
It doesn't mean "lots of love" : LOL
105
Euphoric : GIDDY
106
Smears, as a reputation : TARS
107
Svelte : TRIM
108
Excite : KEYUP
110
Camping gear retailer : REI
111
See 48-Down : HOTS
112
Homie : MAINMAN
114
Things swapped at a convention of supermarket owners? : GROCERSTORIES
118
"Just about done" : ONETOGO
119
Citrus hybrid : UGLI
120
Starter supply for making bourbon : SOURMASH
121
"Slow down, tiger!" : EASYNOW
122
Fifth-most abundant element in the universe : NEON
123
Court org. : NBA
124
Director Ang : LEE
Down
1
It decreases with acceleration, for short : MPG
2
Get closer to, as the heart of the matter : BOREINON
3
It's played on the road : AWAYGAME
4
Rep : CRED
5
A myrmeke of Greek myth is a giant one : ANT
6
City near where Chopin was born : WARSAW
7
Actor Hamm of "Mad Men" : JON
8
*cough* : AHEM
9
Bit from Sunshine Biscuits : CHEEZIT
10
Yap : KISSER
11
Catches : NABS
12
Big Ten powerhouse, for short : OSU
13
Mouths off to : SASSES
14
Slipped up : ERRED
15
Social gatherings where fruit drinks are served? : JUICEPARTIES
16
Bluejacket : OLDSALT
17
Samantha of 96-Down : BEE
19
Drawn : EVENSTEVEN
20
California ball club : PADRES
24
Some bars in the Caribbean : ISLETS
29
Over-and-above : ADDED
31
"Park it!" : SIT
32
Diminutive suffixes : ETTES
33
Paleolith : STONETOOL
35
Fixes, as a bath area : RETILES
36
Caustic soda : LYE
39
Haymaker? : BALER
40
Some feet : IAMBI
43
Presumptive assertion : IDARESAY
46
Something a shooter shoots : PEA
48
With 111-Across, cinnamon candy : RED
50
"Same here" : ASAMI
51
Speak to, with "with" : RESONATE
54
"Hurry up!" : GETMOVING
56
Q.E.D. part : ERAT
57
Places to hibernate : DENS
58
Unconsidered : RASH
59
Kofi Annan's middle name : ATTA
60
Take attendance in a magical forest? : COUNTFAIRIES
62
Routine problem, for short : OCD
63
Horns in on? : GORES
64
Something kept close to the chest : TIE
67
Watches via Netflix, say : STREAMS
71
Modern-day circus : MEDIASTORM
74
Onetime govt.-prescribed nutritional figure : USRDA
75
Home of Berkshire Hathaway : OMAHA
76
Sloth, for one : SIN
79
Extra product : GUM
82
Another name for hopscotch : POTSY
84
Country rocker Steve : EARLE
86
Complete : ENTIRE
88
Spacious and splendid : PALATIAL
89
"The Departed" director : SCORSESE
90
Court org. : ABA
91
Where the Missouri River begins : MONTANA
93
Be extravagant : SPLURGE
94
Ones holding down things? : EIDERS
96
Station for 17-Down : TBS
98
Call for : SUMMON
99
Cork popper : TOYGUN
100
Early record label : EDISON
103
Like much mouthwash : MINTY
108
Not just think : KNOW
109
___ grounds : POLO
111
Part of un día : HORA
112
Bully in "Calvin and Hobbes" : MOE
113
Long ___ : AGO
115
The Bengals, on scoreboards : CIN
116
Place to soak : TUB
117
"That's all ___ wrote" : SHE

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

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