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MATCH PLAY

New York Times, Sunday, October 28, 2018

Author:
Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4411/6/20128/26/201920
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
95566391
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62160
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.

1
T
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A
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H
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G
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A
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H
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W
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A
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D
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N
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A
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H
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Y
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O
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V
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M
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T
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D
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W
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C
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M
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B
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L
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A
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U
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O
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S
C
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B
E
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S
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P
E
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S
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K
O
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T
O
W
© 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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?