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TOE TAGS

New York Times, Sunday, October 6, 2013

Author:
Patrick Berry
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2297/11/199911/4/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
741241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980
Patrick Berry

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 72 Missing: {X} This is puzzle # 180 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Always a delight to see Patrick Berry's name on a byline, because I know I'll get a cleanly-filled puzzle, polished to a high shine. Today is no different. Two years ago we were blessed by ... read more

Always a delight to see Patrick Berry's name on a byline, because I know I'll get a cleanly-filled puzzle, polished to a high shine. Today is no different. Two years ago we were blessed by a ridiculously awesome puzzle suite by the man, the myth, the legend. Although I'm not a religious person, sometimes I get down on my hands and knees to pray that one day I'll think of something so ingenious. I'm kind of glad I've never met Patrick in person, because I'd have a hard time not letting out a fanboy "SQUEE!" in his face.

Fine offering today; in-the-language phrases with the "TOE" sound appended to the last word. TOE TAGS seems a touch morbid, so I prefer to imagine ten little piggy-wiggies running around playing freeze tag. Note to self: make sure to delete that last sentence before this goes live.

I appreciate how Patrick switches up the modifications so it's not always a simple addition of the letters TO or TOE. We do have that in GUIDED MISTLETOE and GARBAGE CANTO, but the ending words are transmogrified for CUP OF TITO and BUY ONE GET ONE FRITO to good effect. And check out how Patrick tosses in nine long theme answers like it wasn't any big deal, even going as far as to stack the first two and the last two. An overlap of six letters apiece often causes an awkward two-letter series, but Patrick not only gives us buttery smoothness, but crosses those stacks with CANOODLE and REPRINTS. I'm working to suppress my squees.

I attempted to locate some pieces of questionable fill just to demonstrate that almost every puzzle construction contains trade-offs, but all I could come up with was ALEE and ATRA. Therefore, I will continue to use the modifier "almost". There is the travesty that 37A wasn't clued as "Philosopher King and Benevolent Overlord Chen" but I shall forgive him and Will this once.

(pause to order minions to assemble)

As if that wasn't enough, look at the word count: 136. As I've said before, it's hard enough to construct a smooth 21x puzzle with 140 words, and that much harder to reduce the word count to 136. I really like the fact that Will is trying something new, and I like even more the fact that Patrick laughs, not even bothering to reduce his theme density in order to lower his word count.

One nit I'll pick though, is that while there are some great pieces of fill (CANOODLE, BUCKLE UP, RUMBLE SEATS, JUST DESERTS, HYMN BOOK, BONE DRY, enough to make any Sunday puzzle very good), I would love to see someone achieve Will's goal of incorporating, say, 10+ great pieces of long fill to make a true hybrid of a 21x and themeless. Not a knock on this puzzle, but if anyone can achieve that (without sacrificing quality of the other fill) it's PB.

SQUEE!!! oops.

1
D
2
A
3
S
4
H
5
B
6
A
7
B
8
A
9
R
10
S
11
T
12
Y
13
E
14
S
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C
16
A
17
L
18
P
19
E
B
A
Y
20
O
V
I
N
E
21
M
E
E
T
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K
A
T
I
E
23
P
E
R
M
24
A
N
E
N
T
P
25
R
E
S
T
O
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I
D
O
L
S
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P
L
A
N
T
E
R
S
28
R
O
L
L
I
N
29
G
P
I
N
T
O
30
B
E
D
S
31
P
I
N
T
A
32
O
O
Z
E
S
33
U
34
P
35
R
O
A
R
36
R
E
N
D
S
37
J
38
E
F
F
39
G
L
O
O
M
Y
40
G
U
S
T
O
41
C
U
P
O
F
42
T
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I
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T
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O
46
L
E
A
K
47
A
M
T
S
48
P
O
S
E
R
49
A
G
R
A
50
Y
A
M
51
B
52
I
L
B
O
53
N
O
L
T
E
54
F
I
L
E
T
55
L
A
P
E
L
56
R
A
B
I
D
57
C
A
N
O
E
S
58
B
U
Y
O
N
E
59
G
E
T
O
N
E
60
F
R
I
T
O
61
D
62
O
L
L
E
D
63
S
A
U
C
Y
64
S
O
A
R
S
65
Y
I
E
L
D
66
W
E
L
S
H
67
T
E
R
M
S
68
B
69
A
70
G
71
A
L
E
E
72
S
H
A
L
E
73
C
A
R
T
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B
O
N
O
75
N
Y
P
D
76
B
L
U
T
O
77
M
A
S
T
E
78
R
79
Q
U
I
T
O
80
L
I
P
S
81
L
A
N
E
S
82
E
U
C
L
I
D
83
S
84
P
85
O
O
N
86
M
O
T
O
R
87
W
E
A
K
88
G
A
R
B
A
G
89
E
90
C
A
N
T
O
91
M
I
N
I
L
92
A
93
B
94
S
95
A
S
Y
E
T
96
G
U
I
D
E
D
97
M
I
S
T
L
E
T
O
E
98
W
H
O
S
E
99
O
R
Z
O
100
L
O
S
E
R
101
U
R
S
A
102
P
A
R
E
D
103
S
E
E
N
104
E
M
O
R
Y
105
P
A
S
S
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1006 ( 23,343 )
Across
1
Tach site : DASH
5
"Histoire de ___" (children's classic) : BABAR
10
Ocular ailment : STYE
14
Where roots grow : SCALP
19
Tech company in the Fortune 500 : EBAY
20
Like Lincolns : OVINE
21
Comply with : MEET
22
Holmes of Hollywood : KATIE
23
Magic word that never loses its power? : PERMANENTPRESTO
26
Autograph seekers' targets : IDOLS
27
Company with a monocled mascot : PLANTERS
28
1970s Ford on the move? : ROLLINGPINTO
30
Twins, possibly : BEDS
31
Old trans-Atlantic voyager : PINTA
32
Exudes : OOZES
33
More than a murmur of discontent : UPROAR
36
Ruptures : RENDS
37
Bezos who founded Amazon : JEFF
39
Enthusiastic enjoyment of one's unhappiness? : GLOOMYGUSTO
41
The Josip Broz Memorial Trophy? : CUPOFTITO
46
Lapse in secrecy : LEAK
47
Balance sheet nos. : AMTS
48
Stumper : POSER
49
Hindustan capital of old : AGRA
50
Common ingredient in Nigerian cuisine : YAM
51
Bag End resident : BILBO
53
"North Dallas Forty" star : NOLTE
54
Tenderloin cut : FILET
55
Hands-free microphone's place : LAPEL
56
More than ardent : RABID
57
Camp rentals : CANOES
58
Stingy snack vendor's special offer? : BUYONEGETONEFRITO
61
Gussied (up) : DOLLED
63
Impertinent : SAUCY
64
Rises dramatically : SOARS
65
Say uncle : YIELD
66
Like the word "cwm" : WELSH
67
Settlement stipulations : TERMS
68
Capture : BAG
71
Away from the wind : ALEE
72
Rock used for flagstones : SHALE
73
Country club vehicle : CART
74
Dublin-born musician : BONO
75
Big Apple cop who's looking to bust Popeye? : NYPDBLUTO
77
Learn all about the capital of Ecuador? : MASTERQUITO
80
Conversation openers? : LIPS
81
Track assignments : LANES
82
Teacher at Alexandria : EUCLID
83
Skimming utensil : SPOON
86
Tootle : MOTOR
87
Unsound, as an argument : WEAK
88
Portion of Dante's "Inferno" that was wisely excised? : GARBAGECANTO
91
Photo processing centers : MINILABS
95
To date : ASYET
96
Christmas decoration that automatically steers toward lovers? : GUIDEDMISTLETOE
98
"Here lies One ___ Name was writ in Water" (words on Keats's tombstone) : WHOSE
99
Tiny pasta : ORZO
100
Sad sack : LOSER
101
Constellation animal : URSA
102
Whittled (down) : PARED
103
Spotted : SEEN
104
Goizueta Business School's university : EMORY
105
Slip by : PASS
Down
1
People's Sexiest Man Alive ... twice : DEPP
2
Genesis victim : ABEL
3
1979 Fleetwood Mac hit : SARA
4
Service manual? : HYMNBOOK
5
Waterless : BONEDRY
6
Maintains : AVERS
7
Rubbermaid wares : BINS
8
Lead bug in "A Bug's Life" : ANT
9
You may have had issues with them in the past : REPRINTS
10
Extracts metal from : SMELTS
11
Car company based in Palo Alto, Calif. : TESLA
12
Seven-foot (or so) cryptid : YETI
13
English school : ETON
14
Leave surreptitiously : SKIPOFF
15
Southernmost province of Spain : CADIZ
16
Compensate (for) : ATONE
17
Pleasant vocal qualities : LILTS
18
Spanish "weight" : PESO
24
Elite squad : ATEAM
25
Sonata segment : RONDO
29
Take a stab at : GOFOR
31
Genoese delicacy : PESTO
33
Frightful : UGLY
34
Defendant's declaration : PLEA
35
Incur cellphone charges, maybe : ROAM
36
Model A features : RUMBLESEATS
37
Fitting punishment : JUSTDESERTS
38
Sport with a French name : EPEE
40
Ancient Hellenic healer : GALEN
41
___ Kaepernick, Super Bowl XLVII QB for the 49ers : COLIN
42
Spoils : TAINTS
43
Round house : IGLOO
44
Golfer's obstacle : TREE
45
Stable diet? : OATS
48
Submarine : POBOY
51
Sang in the moonlight, maybe : BAYED
52
Player in a pocket : IPOD
53
"But of course!" : NATCH
54
Some fund-raisers : FAIRS
55
Pacified : LULLED
56
Get more mileage out of : REUSE
57
Learn fast, say : CRAM
58
[unmentionable] : BLEEP
59
Wine Country surname : GALLO
60
Area in which one shines : FORTE
61
Cannon who married Cary Grant : DYAN
62
Like sulfuric acid : OILY
66
Lick : WHUP
67
Dart gun : TASER
68
Seethe : BOIL
69
Prefix with septic or tank : ANTI
70
"I'm glad!" : GOOD
72
Rock launcher : SLING
73
Make out : CANOODLE
74
Driver's recommendation : BUCKLEUP
76
Overlarge : BLOATED
77
Paint option : MATTE
78
Orbital decay result : REENTRY
79
Small game : QUAIL
81
Three-time Olympics host : LONDON
83
One of the Obamas : SASHA
84
Seinfeld called him "the Picasso of our profession" : PRYOR
85
Overlarge : OBESE
86
Mesoamerican crop : MAIZE
87
Tempered by experience : WISER
88
Stare stupidly : GAWP
89
Impediments to teamwork : EGOS
90
Medical breakthrough : CURE
91
___ soup : MISO
92
Sensor forerunner : ATRA
93
Give orders to : BOSS
94
Poseidon ruled them : SEAS
97
Pop lover : MOM

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?