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SELFIES

New York Times, Sunday, October 22, 2017

Author:
Tracy Gray
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
259/8/20104/8/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6345610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61441
Tracy Gray

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 23 for Ms. Gray. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tracy Gray notes:
In this social media age of posting, tagging, hashtagging, tweeting, sharing, and TMI, I was inspired to create a crossword that would be interpreted as my Facebook newsfeed, with status ... read more

In this social media age of posting, tagging, hashtagging, tweeting, sharing, and TMI, I was inspired to create a crossword that would be interpreted as my Facebook newsfeed, with status updates and selfies chronicling my imaginary life as I traipsed across the globe. I pored over lists of tourist attractions, theme parks, World Heritage sites, landmarks, museums, sporting and concert venues, bucket list locations, etc. looking for side-by-side "ME" letters and tried to garner a varied and fun list of places where a selfie might be snapped. In fact, I googled every one of the locations I used in the puzzle and not surprisingly, there were scores of selfie images of those who had beaten me to the punch.

Some of my selfies that didn't make it to the grid included visits to TIANANMEN SQUARE, TRANSAMERICA PYRAMID, HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME, METROPOLITAN OPERA, NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, and all but one of every MEMORIAL and MONUMENT you can think of.

Many thanks to Will, Joel, and Sam for their editing, and for coincidentally running the puzzle on the day when I will be visiting 106-across – and yes, taking a selfie!!

Jeff Chen notes:
SELFIES featured today, tourist attractions all with the M-E string — get it, ME in a selfie? Fun idea. Some neat finds, too, the JEFFERSON MEMORIAL, MADAME TUSSAUDS, TIMES SQUARE ... read more

SELFIES featured today, tourist attractions all with the M-E string — get it, ME in a selfie? Fun idea. Some neat finds, too, the JEFFERSON MEMORIAL, MADAME TUSSAUDS, TIMES SQUARE all places people go to visit.

BTW, I cringe every time I hear people say "usie," as in a selfie with more than one person. Old man hanging on to the past, kicking and screaming at newfangled terms!

What with so many tourist attractions across the world, I wondered about some of the ones Tracy picked. People go on vacation to see the MALL OF AMERICA? (Sadly, probably yes.) MET LIFE STADIUM I hear is a neat ballpark, but it felt like it paled in comparison to the grandeur or historical value of the three I mentioned above.

RIVER THAMES felt not as strong, too. Don't people tend to take pictures in front of various tourist attractions, with the Thames in the background? Hard for me to imagine going to England specifically to see the Thames.

The theme clues … tl;dr. The puzzle would have been greatly improved by more concise cluing. References to Facebook felt unnecessary. Also, all the kids tell me Facebook is only for old people now, so that made the puzzle feel behind the times. (They won't tell me what is in, for fear that I'll get on.)

Nice gridwork. Tough to get a Sunday grid perfectly clean, but Tracy got pretty darn close, just a bit of SEM and ORANT (a praying figure). That may not seem like such a feat, but most Sunday grids contain well over 10 gluey bits, making those puzzles feel inelegantly crafted.

And how about those great bonuses? OVEN TIMER as a "dingy" thing … as in it dings! RAT TRAP as a [Bad joint], joint = slang for "place." RED TAPE, CAPTCHA, TETRIS, ALARM BELL, LEFT AJAR — all those helped keep me solving. Tracy did so well with spacing out her themers, using black squares wisely to create good separation for easier filling. She's a pro.

Overall, I thought it was a fun idea that got repetitive much too quickly. Also, the mix of places, statues, river, mall, gave it a lack of tightness that "all places" or "all statues" would have allowed for. I think I would have loved it in a 15x15 puzzle, where all these issues could have been addressed.

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R
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1022 ( 24,820 )
Across
1
Signs off on : OKS
4
Bei Bei and Bao Bao : PANDAS
10
Mike's place : PODIUM
16
Barnyard bleat : MAA
19
Remained unused : SAT
20
Morphine, for one : OPIATE
21
Still : EVENSO
22
Pitches : ADS
23
Facebook Status: "2016 Summer Olympics and a day trip to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World!" : CHRISTTHEREDEEMER
26
Bobs and buns : DOS
27
Tea party girl : ALICE
28
"Repeat ..." : AGAIN
29
Valuable china, e.g. : ARTWARE
31
Facebook Status: "Across the pond! And front-row seats to the Henley Royal Regatta!" : RIVERTHAMES
35
"King ___" (1978 hit) : TUT
37
"Above" and "beyond," e.g. : IAMBS
38
Island ring : LEI
39
Chill out : VEG
40
Okapi feature : STRIPE
42
Salad green : CRESS
43
Lily who played Ernestine : TOMLIN
46
An arm or a leg : LIMB
47
"___ it the truth!" : AINT
48
Dough dispenser : ATM
51
Facebook Status: "Yes! Retail therapy at the largest shopping spot in the U.S.!" : MALLOFAMERICA
54
Cyberaddress : URL
57
Van Susteren of cable news : GRETA
59
Campbell of "Scream" : NEVE
60
Second-___ : RATE
61
___ Miguel (largest island in the Azores) : SAO
62
Use part of : EATINTO
64
Sicilian erupter : ETNA
67
"Am ___ believe ...?" : ITO
68
Analogy connector : ISTO
69
TV host Geist : WILLIE
70
Facebook Status: "Ahhhh ... Sun and surf in Cancún, Mexico! Bring on the unlimited piña coladas!" : CLUBMED
72
Battle of the Atlantic craft : UBOATS
74
"Sleep ___" : ONIT
75
Old United rival : TWA
77
One crossing the line? : SCAB
78
Eminence : STATURE
79
Call, as a game : REF
80
"Live With Kelly and Ryan" co-host : RIPA
82
Gusto : ZEAL
84
10-time French Open champ : NADAL
85
Born : NEE
86
Facebook Status: "Hej from København! This statue turned 100 years old in 2013 but is still a beauty!" : LITTLEMERMAID
90
Double-O sort : SPY
91
Cows and sows : SHES
93
Top that may have a built-in bra : CAMI
94
Exam administered on the forearm : TBTEST
96
Fleur-de-lis, e.g. : MOTIF
98
Bad place for a frog : THROAT
100
Captained : LED
101
___ room : REC
104
Praying figure in Christian art : ORANT
105
It can be smoked : HAM
106
Facebook Status: "10-9-8-7 ... Ringing in the New Year with 1,000,000 of my newest, closest friends!" : TIMESSQUARE
110
Excessive regulation : REDTAPE
112
Swahili "sir" : BWANA
114
Neuter : DESEX
115
QB Manning : ELI
116
Facebook Status: "History abounds! Neo-Classical architecture surrounded by gorgeous cherry blossom trees. Next stop ... the White House!" : JEFFERSONMEMORIAL
121
Sch. with the mascot Mike the Tiger : LSU
122
Anatomical ring : AREOLA
123
Recording studio effect : REVERB
124
J.F.K. posting : ETA
125
Place of Bible study: Abbr. : SEM
126
In an uncivil way : RUDELY
127
Wife, to Juan : ESPOSA
128
Oedipus, for one : REX
Down
1
Its official name is Academy Award of Merit : OSCAR
2
"The Prophet" author Gibran : KAHLIL
3
Shoot (for) : STRIVE
4
Brainteaser : POSER
5
Well-put : APT
6
Niggling detail : NIT
7
Morse word : DAH
8
Elite group : ATEAM
9
Classic blazer fabrics : SERGES
10
Mani-___ : PEDI
11
Dingy part of a kitchen? : OVENTIMER
12
Just-passing mark : DEE
13
Con : INMATE
14
___-friendly : USER
15
Wife on "The Addams Family" : MORTICIA
16
Facebook Status: "Vegas, baby! And who would believe I'm standing next to Beyoncé and Katy Perry!" : MADAMETUSSAUDS
17
Very cute, in slang : ADORBS
18
Judge : ASSESS
24
Seal the deal : ICEIT
25
Where the Santa Ana and Long Beach Fwys. meet : EASTLA
30
Tip off : WARN
32
For 17+ viewers : TVMA
33
"When pigs fly!" : HELLNO
34
Lightsome : AGILE
36
Tongue-lash : UPBRAID
41
Crater's edge : RIM
44
Muscat resident : OMANI
45
Unheard-of : NOVEL
47
Get the better of : ACEOUT
48
Damaged over time : AGEWORN
49
Workplace newbie : TRAINEE
50
Facebook Status: "Nosebleed seats - but home-field advantage! GO GIANTS!!!" : METLIFESTADIUM
52
Ultrasound target : FETUS
53
Cousin of 15-Down : ITT
55
Bad joint : RATTRAP
56
How Mark Twain is often quoted : LOOSELY
58
Bias : TILT
63
Russian "invader" of the 1980s : TETRIS
65
Olympics airer since 1988 : NBC
66
Bowl over : AMAZE
68
Speck : IOTA
70
Challenge to prove you're human : CAPTCHA
71
Critic Roger : EBERT
73
Alabama and Kansas, for two : BANDS
76
Quick thinking : WIT
78
Schedules : SLATES
81
Start of a drill, maybe : ALARMBELL
83
Saunter : AMBLE
86
Still partly open, as a door : LEFTAJAR
87
Punk offshoot : EMO
88
Mazda two-seaters : MIATAS
89
Roadside bombs, for short : IEDS
92
This answer ends in "T," e.g. : HINT
95
More on the mark : TRUER
96
Some edible fungi : MORELS
97
"Otherwise ...!" : ORELSE
98
Prime setter, informally : THEFED
99
Cassiterite, e.g. : TINORE
102
Less strict : EASIER
103
Spawn : CREATE
107
Flowing locks : MANES
108
Chipotle rival : QDOBA
109
You might take it to go : EXLAX
111
Arequipa is its second-largest city : PERU
113
Fay of "King Kong" : WRAY
117
Rival : FOE
118
Series honor, for short : MVP
119
Workplace inits. : EEO
120
Half a couple : MRS

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?