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SOUND ARGUMENT

New York Times, Sunday, October 4, 2015

Author: Jeremy Newton
Editor: Will Shortz
Jeremy Newton
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
176/15/20083/9/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
13011200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.81663

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 81 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Newton. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeremy Newton notes: 'Sometimes an idea will wait 20 years to be a puzzle.' - Merl Reagle I dedicate today's puzzle to the late, legendary puzzle master Merl Reagle. This theme was first attempted and submitted as 'IS TOO!' ... more
Jeremy Newton notes:

"Sometimes an idea will wait 20 years to be a puzzle."
- Merl Reagle

I dedicate today's puzzle to the late, legendary puzzle master Merl Reagle. This theme was first attempted and submitted as "IS TOO!" to the Times six years back, filled with phrases + the "is" sound. After getting rejected for some shaky theme answers, I kept it around in my hopper over the years, surviving a handful of theme redesigns. This year I landed on a riff on the back-and-forth argument: IS NOT! vs. IS TOO! Sometimes a theme needs some time to percolate before it finds its legs.

Merl Reagle carried around a notepad for brainstorming ideas, always ready for when inspiration strikes. I mostly use my phone to keep track of puzzle concepts. I imagine all of us crossword constructors have our own favorite place we keep our brewing themes, waiting for their chance.

I'm sad that Merl didn't have the chance to flesh out all of the fun and clever theme contenders that lined his notepad. But I'm grateful for all the genius he got to share with us. His wrangling of the English language was unrivaled, and I'll personally miss his raw creativity and witty voice in crosswords.

Thanks, Merl!

Jeff Chen notes: A ton of theme material packed in today — eight long ones plus the symmetrical IS NOT / IS TOO revealer. It got a little confusing to me, including a few I had to really think about, so here's a listing in ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

A ton of theme material packed in today — eight long ones plus the symmetrical IS NOT / IS TOO revealer. It got a little confusing to me, including a few I had to really think about, so here's a listing in order:

Add or Subtract "IS"? Themer Base Phrase
Subtract FICKLE THERAPIST PHYSICAL THERAPIST
Add DANCING CUISINE DANCING QUEEN
Subtract BEA AS A BEAVER BUSY AS A BEAVER
Add BUY ONE GET ONE FRIZZY BUY ONE GET ONE FREE
Subtract MURRAY LOVES COMPANY MISERY LOVES COMPANY
Add DIG UP DESSERT DIG UP DIRT
Subtract AUTUMN SPECTRUM AUTISM SPECTRUM
Add ARE YOU FOR ISRAEL ARE YOU FOR REAL

I really liked DANCING CUISINE, a crazy sound addition from DANCING QUEEN. FICKLE THERAPIST was my second favorite, as it took me forever to figure out that it subtracted the sound of IS from PHYSICAL THERAPIST. Neat how every one of the eight themers utilizes a huge spelling change, not just adding/subtracting the letters IS.

ABBA's "Dancing Queen"

It's hard to pack in eight themers, and really hard to pack in eight long ones. Check out the pairs of themers, either directly stacked or just one row apart — that's crazy hard to do with so many pairs. I'm not used to seeing the smattering of glue like SSR, SSS, YSER, A B OR C from Jeremy, but it's understandable given how difficult it is to pack this much theme in.

Overall, I would have liked to separate the IS NOTs to the top half, and the IS TOOs to the bottom. The word transmogrifications were hard enough to figure out that I couldn't keep straight which themer was *starred and which was **double-starred. Additionally, some of the sound changes felt a bit strained to me. MISERY to MURRAY for example — the UR sound in MURRAY doesn't really match the ER sound in MISERY.

Finally, Jeremy is so good with his fresh fill that I might have preferred just three themers of each type in order to get more of the KERPLUNKS and OH HELL NO kind of material.

Some neat themers though, and an entertaining solve.

1
T
2
A
3
T
4
A
5
R
6
A
7
I
8
T
9
T
10
F
11
I
12
R
13
J
14
L
15
O
16
I
V
A
N
17
D
O
D
D
E
R
18
E
T
O
19
B
20
L
U
E
S
21
F
I
C
K
22
L
E
T
H
E
R
A
23
P
I
S
T
24
R
A
J
A
H
25
F
A
T
H
O
M
26
D
A
N
C
I
N
G
C
27
U
I
S
I
N
E
28
I
S
N
O
29
T
30
S
E
E
T
O
31
N
E
S
T
E
A
32
N
33
Y
C
34
A
35
R
36
C
37
S
O
38
L
I
39
S
S
S
40
B
E
A
41
A
42
S
43
A
B
E
A
44
V
45
E
46
R
47
D
E
C
48
K
49
O
U
T
50
C
A
L
L
O
N
51
I
F
E
V
E
52
R
53
T
E
E
D
54
B
U
Y
55
O
N
E
G
E
T
O
56
N
E
F
R
I
57
Z
58
Z
59
Y
60
S
61
N
62
O
63
N
A
H
64
L
A
M
E
R
65
P
L
E
A
S
66
C
O
D
67
E
D
68
H
69
A
70
R
71
K
72
P
O
O
R
73
L
E
D
G
E
74
A
B
O
R
C
75
E
L
E
N
76
A
77
I
78
C
U
79
S
S
R
80
M
U
R
R
A
81
Y
L
O
V
E
S
82
C
83
O
84
M
P
A
N
85
Y
86
O
R
E
L
87
S
A
T
I
V
A
88
S
K
O
89
K
90
I
91
E
92
P
93
A
R
D
O
N
94
S
95
D
I
G
U
P
96
D
E
S
S
E
R
T
97
Y
E
N
98
M
O
A
99
T
100
M
S
U
101
N
E
A
102
E
T
A
103
L
104
I
A
105
T
W
106
I
107
S
108
T
109
I
110
S
111
T
112
O
O
113
A
U
T
U
M
N
114
S
P
E
C
T
R
115
U
116
M
117
H
A
G
G
118
L
119
E
120
S
N
O
R
E
121
A
R
E
Y
O
U
F
O
122
R
I
S
R
A
E
L
123
T
I
M
E
D
124
W
E
T
125
R
E
O
P
E
N
126
E
M
I
L
127
Y
A
Y
128
S
P
Y
129
E
S
S
E
X
130
S
E
A
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1004 ( 24,071 )
Across Down
1. Bye at Wimbledon : TATA
5. Bonnie who sang "Nick of Time" : RAITT
10. Needle holder : FIR
13. Pop star with the fragrance Miami Glow : JLO
16. Scientist Pavlov : IVAN
17. Move unsteadily : DODDER
18. Ike's charge during W.W. II : ETO
19. What King was king of : BLUES
21. *Shrink who's always changing his diagnosis? : FICKLETHERAPIST
24. Piece in early Indian chess sets : RAJAH
25. Grasp : FATHOM
26. **What ballet patrons dine on? : DANCINGCUISINE
28. One side of a childish debate ... or a phonetic hint to the answers to the four starred clues : ISNOT
30. Take care of : SEETO
31. Lipton rival : NESTEA
32. 30 Rock's location : NYC
34. Bend : ARC
37. Arias, typically : SOLI
39. Aerosol sound : SSS
40. *Oregon State's mascot played by actress Arthur? : BEAASABEAVER
47. Festoon : DECKOUT
50. Pick in class : CALLON
51. Assuming it's even possible : IFEVER
53. Cross, with "off" : TEED
54. **A deal on Afro wigs? : BUYONEGETONEFRIZZY
60. Commercial lead-in to Balls or Caps : SNO
63. "Couldn't be" : NAH
64. Not so awesome : LAMER
65. Court positions : PLEAS
66. In need of a cracker, perhaps : CODED
68. Listen to Christmas carolers? : HARK
72. Slipshod : POOR
73. Overlook : LEDGE
74. Multiple-choice options : ABORC
75. Justice Kagan : ELENA
77. Post-op locale : ICU
79. Cold War-era territory: Abbr. : SSR
80. *How actor Bill feels about houseguests? : MURRAYLOVESCOMPANY
86. Hershiser of the 1980s-'90s Dodgers : OREL
87. Cannabis ___ (marijuana) : SATIVA
88. Chicago suburb : SKOKIE
92. Removes from a can? : PARDONS
95. **Find cake or Jell-O in the back of the fridge? : DIGUPDESSERT
97. Hunger : YEN
98. Drawbridge locale : MOAT
100. The Spartans of the N.C.A.A. : MSU
101. PBS benefactor : NEA
102. And other stuff : ETALIA
105. Misconstrue, as words : TWIST
109. Other side of a childish debate ... or a phonetic hint to the answers to the four double-starred clues : ISTOO
113. *Fall colors? : AUTUMNSPECTRUM
117. Talk down? : HAGGLE
120. Yawnfest : SNORE
121. **Question from El Al security? : AREYOUFORISRAEL
123. Like lightning rounds : TIMED
124. Tear-stained, e.g. : WET
125. Investigate, as a cold case : REOPEN
126. Pianist Gilels : EMIL
127. "Woo-hoo!" : YAY
128. Half of a classic Mad magazine feature : SPY
129. County of Salem, Mass. : ESSEX
130. High ___ : SEAS
1. Small scrap : TIFF
2. New Balance competitor : AVIA
3. Employing strategy : TACTICAL
4. Pyramid crosses : ANKHS
5. Rubbish : ROT
6. Cause of some impulsive behavior, for short : ADHD
7. It might begin with a "What if ...?" : IDEA
8. Beach walkers : TERNS
9. Mere vestige : TRACE
10. They may have you going the wrong way : FEINTS
11. Announcer's cry after a field goal : ITSGOOD
12. What knows the drill, for short? : ROTC
13. It has a variety of locks and pins : JUJITSU
14. Like buffalo meat vis-à-vis beef and pork : LEANEST
15. Vegas casino with the mascot Lucky the Leprechaun : OSHEAS
17. Show piece : DEMO
19. French cheese : BRIE
20. Miss : LASS
22. ESPN's McEachern a.k.a. the Voice of Poker : LON
23. Edible entry at a county fair : PIE
27. Social welfare grp. with a Peace Prize : UNICEF
29. Neighbor of a " ~ " key : TAB
32. 30 Rock grp. : NBC
33. Pro's position : YEA
35. Check : REIN
36. Brunch spot : CAFE
38. "Fire away!" : LETERRIP
41. Dress at the altar : ALB
42. PC part of interest to audiophiles : SOUNDCARD
43. Author Seton : ANYA
44. Kick back : VEG
45. First name in long jumps : EVEL
46. Open again, as a keg : RETAP
48. Sounds of fall? : KERPLUNKS
49. Odette's counterpart in "Swan Lake" : ODILE
52. QB Tony : ROMO
55. "Over my dead body!" : OHHELLNO
56. Prefix with realism : NEO
57. London jazz duo? : ZEDS
58. Sudden turns : ZAGS
59. Belgian river to the North Sea : YSER
60. Play for a fool : SCAM
61. Restaurant chain founded by a celebrity chef : NOBU
62. Febreze target : ODOR
67. Goof : ERROR
69. Greeting on el teléfono : ALO
70. Supercharges, with "up" : REVS
71. Get one's hands on some dough? : KNEAD
76. Alternative to Soave : ASTI
78. Nominative, e.g. : CASE
81. Administrative worker on a ship : YEOMAN
82. Smoke : CIG
83. Bank asset that's frozen? : OVUM
84. Google ___ : MAPS
85. Rap shouts : YOS
89. Casino activity with numbered balls : KENOGAME
90. Dander : IRE
91. Part of a flight plan, for short : ETA
92. Pig with pigtails : PETUNIA
93. Body of science? : ANATOMY
94. Kaplan course for H.S. students : SATPREP
96. Hwy. violation : DUI
97. Like bread dough and beer : YEASTY
99. Looney Tunes bird : TWEETY
103. Play the siren to : LURE
104. Chatted with, in a way : IMED
106. Emotionally distant : ICY
107. Arsenal : STORE
108. Aligns : TRUES
110. Where capri pants stop : SHIN
111. #2s at college : TAS
112. Inhumane types : OGRES
114. Lumber mill equipment : SAWS
115. Hover craft? : UFOS
116. Brood : MOPE
118. Film character who says "I'd just as soon kiss a Wookiee!" : LEIA
119. Some pipe joints : ELLS
122. King of old Rome : REX

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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