It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

SOUND ARGUMENT

New York Times, Sunday, October 4, 2015

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

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 ... read more

"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, ... read more

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.

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
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
Down
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, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?