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SELFIES

New York Times, Sunday, October 22, 2017

Author:
Tracy Gray
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
249/8/20106/12/20185
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6245610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60431
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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© 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.

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