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MATCH PLAY

New York Times, Sunday, October 28, 2018

Author:
Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3011/6/201212/15/201812
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73335351
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1.60140
Erik Agard

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 79 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Erik Agard notes:

Here are the clues for some scrapped theme answers:

  • [Jacked in]
  • [ABC powers]
  • [Ring-a-levio]
  • [Arlen Specter]
Jeff Chen notes:
A disclaimer, I've seen (and made) so many anagram crosswords that it's tough for me to get excited about another one. Erik himself had one last year and another earlier this year. There ... read more

A disclaimer, I've seen (and made) so many anagram crosswords that it's tough for me to get excited about another one. Erik himself had one last year and another earlier this year. There has to be some extra level going above and beyond if it's going to be memorable.

Color me impressed with many of Erik's finds today. I thought the concept was pretty good in the first place: X AND Y phrases, with the letters of X and Y anagrammed into other in-the-language phrases/words. It's not easy to come up with a normal-sounding phrase like "trade punches" – makes you want to STANDUP and CHEER!

Then to cap it off with a solid revealer in MIXED DOUBLES – pretty darn good.

Also pretty darn good: gridwork that holds up even to the high standards I have for Erik. He's one of the top people in the business, and to work in such goodies as DON'T PLAY, BLACULA, SCROOGE, ALMOND COOKIE – it really ought to be ERIK THE MAN, not STAN THE MAN.

Erik the … Mesmeric?

MESMERIK!

*rushing off to trademark that before Erik can*

Sometimes I worry about Erik the Esoteric, though. I remember seeing APOLUNE in a tournament crossword and thinking that something had to be wrong with the answer key. I happened to know what a SHIBA INU is, but man that's gonna look bizarre as SHIBAINU or SHI BAINU or even SHIB AINU. (AINU is crosswordese for a Japanese native.)

Along with the tough-to-spell EERO SAARINEN, BACHATA, CUESTAS, it cumulatively felt like a lot of very tough fill to me. I don't think that's necessarily bad, just prone to leaving some solvers grumbling.

But overall, a strong concept in the heavily-used anagram theme category.

Jim Horne notes:

This is a great example of a crossword where, once you figure out the theme, it jump-starts the rest of the solve. Fun puzzle.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1028 ( 25,191 )
Across
1. Chunks of land : TRACTS
7. "Be on the lookout" messages, for short : APBS
11. Person to take complaints to, informally : DOC
14. Polo of "The Fosters" : TERI
18. Popular Dominican dance : BACHATA
20. Leave quickly : BOLT
21. Musical Yoko : ONO
22. Get a ___ on someone : READ
23. Sou'wester : SWEETANDSOUR
25. Abbr. in many blood type names : NEG
26. "Logic dictates ..." : ERGO
27. It's usually put in the middle of a table : ANTE
28. Late hours : HEARTANDSOUL
31. Messes up : ERRS
35. Downfall in pinball : TILT
37. Music export from Tokyo, for short : JPOP
38. Sciences' counterpart : ARTS
39. "Jeez!" : SHEESH
41. Princess who says "I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board" : LEIA
43. Campy 1972 vampire film : BLACULA
45. Peace marches : PEACHESANDCREAM
48. Grub : EATS
51. Part of a preschool day : NAPTIME
52. Opinion : TAKE
53. Nirvana seeker : YOGI
56. Sorority letter : RHO
57. Forbiddance : BAN
58. Masthead list, for short : EDS
60. More lit, perhaps : SUNNIER
62. "After Earth" : TARANDFEATHER
69. Pothead : STONER
70. ___ Lama : DALAI
71. Do the wave? : SURF
72. What un desierto lacks : AGUA
74. Lyrical lament : ELEGY
75. Not able to catch something : IMMUNE
77. Growth ring : RIGHTANDWRONG
80. Farthest point in an orbit around the moon : APOLUNE
82. This woman : SHE
83. Closure opening? : DIS
84. Vote in France : NON
85. Blue swaths on maps : SEAS
87. They follow oohs : AAHS
90. Like the simplest instructions : ONESTEP
95. Talk show host Cohen : ANDY
97. Trade punches : STANDUPANDCHEER
100. Hills with gentle slopes on one side and steep slopes on the other : CUESTAS
103. Fake : SHAM
104. Verdi tragedy : OTELLO
105. "Grand Ole" venue : OPRY
106. Say whether or not you'll attend : RSVP
108. Blow out : SPEW
110. Imbroglio : MESS
111. Prostates : STOPANDSTARE
115. French 101 verb : ETRE
117. Collaborative site : WIKI
118. Snatch : COP
119. Game suggested by this puzzle's theme : MIXEDDOUBLES
125. Racer Luyendyk : ARIE
126. Half of dos : UNO
127. Taking care of things : ONIT
128. Nickel-and-diming sort : SCROOGE
129. They might break out in hives : BEES
130. Cockapoo or cockatoo, maybe : PET
131. Cpls.' superiors : SGTS
132. Act obsequiously : KOWTOW
Down
1. Atlanta-based cable inits. : TBS
2. Cold and wet : RAW
3. Term in tennis, golf and baseball, all with different meanings : ACE
4. Hero interred in Santa Clara, Cuba : CHE
5. "Later, luv" : TATA
6. Rhyming nickname in Cardinals history : STANTHEMAN
7. Midriff muscles, for short : ABS
8. "Oh, quit being silly!" : POOH
9. Sailor in the Navy : BLUEJACKET
10. Seatbelt, e.g. : STRAP
11. "C'mon, be serious" : DONTPLAY
12. ___ Day vitamins : ONEA
13. Rémy Martin product : COGNAC
14. Bridge-supporting frame : TRESTLE
15. Dulles designer : EEROSAARINEN
16. Pasta sauce brand : RAGU
17. Longtime singing talent show, familiarly : IDOL
19. ___-vaxxers : ANTI
24. Singer Reese : DELLA
29. Garment worn by John Roberts that's hidden in his name : ROBE
30. R&B's ___ Hill : DRU
31. Bristol, Conn.-based cable inits. : ESPN
32. Sister and wife of Cronus, in myth : RHEA
33. Collect from the soil : REAP
34. Result of a religious schism : SECT
36. Camping need : TENT
40. Japanese dogs with turned-up tails : SHIBAINUS
42. Neighbor of Wyo. : IDA
44. Commercial rhyme for "Famous" : AMOS
46. Transmits : SENDS
47. Part of a Mario costume : REDHAT
49. Part of a "Which came first?" dilemma : THEEGG
50. Comment before "I missed that" : SORRY
54. Director Van Sant : GUS
55. Cross : INTERSECT
59. Maker of the game Zaxxon : SEGA
61. ___ contendere : NOLO
62. Pad alternative : TAMPON
63. Chinese New Year treat : ALMONDCOOKIE
64. One of the Castros : RAUL
65. Shed material : FUR
66. Dwarf planet with more mass than Pluto : ERIS
67. Good throw? : AFGHAN
68. "Get outta here!" : RUN
70. ___ Taurasi, all-time W.N.B.A. scoring leader : DIANA
73. Supplementary item : ADDON
76. Suffix with methyl : ENE
78. Gymnastics flip : HEADSPRING
79. Arizona capital of the Navajo Nation : WINDOWROCK
81. ___ Germany : EAST
86. Relatively cool stellar phenomenon : STARSPOT
88. "Come again?" : HUH
89. Some bathroom installations : SPAS
91. Brother of Ham : SHEM
92. Play starter? : TELE
93. Sand-burrowing marine creatures : EELS
94. Reasons to do something : PROS
96. Quaint demographic grouping : YUPPIES
98. Number two: Abbr. : ASST
99. Revved up : AMPED
101. Timeline part : ERA
102. Align : SYNCUP
107. "¡Let's go!" : VAMOS
109. Some flight board info : ETDS
111. Mop : SWAB
112. Poop out : TIRE
113. Over : DONE
114. ___ interview : EXIT
116. Coin in Köln : EURO
120. Sci-fi C.G.I. creations : ETS
121. Debut, metaphorically : BOW
122. Dealership expanse : LOT
123. I problem? : EGO
124. Hem but not haw? : SEW

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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