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CLOTHES THAT FIT

New York Times, Sunday, November 13, 2016

Author:
Joel Fagliano
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6210/22/200911/18/20186
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
15811810325
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65351
Joel Fagliano

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 132, Blocks: 68 Missing: {JQ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 51 for Mr. Fagliano. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joel Fagliano notes:
One thing I often tussle with when putting together a theme is the balance between consistency and playfulness. On the one hand, it's nice for the solver who has cottoned onto the theme to ... read more

One thing I often tussle with when putting together a theme is the balance between consistency and playfulness. On the one hand, it's nice for the solver who has cottoned onto the theme to have some idea of what the following theme answers will look like. On the other hand, curveballs and surprising theme answers can add extra aha moments to the solve and more satisfaction.

With this theme, I originally had thrown some extraneous words on like SWEATER AND LOUD PANTS for a marathoner, TWO SOCKS AND A BELT for the boxer, and so on. My thinking was the ___ AND ___ format would get too repetitive. But in the end, it felt like it was going to be inconsistent for the solver to encounter some theme answers with extraneous words and others without. My compromise was to put a trio (TURTLENECK, BOA AND CROCS) across the middle, which does break the pattern but in a more constrained way. That was my way of adding an extra "aha".

I'm not sure solvers care about any of this that much, but these are the things constructors agonize over!

Hope everyone enjoys the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
I have to admit I didn't understand this one at all after uncovering PANTS AND A SNEAKER. Of course an aerobics instructor would wear pants! And a sneaker! But why not two? I felt ... read more

I have to admit I didn't understand this one at all after uncovering PANTS AND A SNEAKER. Of course an aerobics instructor would wear pants! And a sneaker! But why not two?

I felt silly when I realized that 1.) it was PANTS AND A SWEATER and 2.) how much fun, that you hear PANTS in an aerobics class, and everyone is a SWEATER (one who sweats). Amusing play on double-meanings of words.

I liked most all the themers, but I loved SLACKS AND LOAFERS for an unemployed person — slacking and loafing are two of my favorite hobbies. And some of the themers also gave me amusing visuals. A gardener wearing BLOOMERS AND HOSE, love it!

I wasn't as much a fan of the central answer because 1.) it was the only one with three items, so I had a hard time figuring out that I needed implied commas in TURTLENECK, BOA, AND CROCS and 2.) TURTLENECK is associated with the turtle (to some extent), as is BOA / feather boa, and CROCS even have a crocodile for a logo — no real wordplay for me here.

Incredibly well-constructed. Plenty of constructors have tried to go down to 132 words, but very few have been successful in creating a both snazzy and smooth product. Joel uses four big corners and a diagonal swath of white in the middle of the puzzle, both of which should result in at least a few dabs of crossword glue, or at least some bleh/neutral answers. I love that lower left, with TRIBUTE BANDS, TAPENADE, WEB APP, (we were) ON A BREAK! ("Friends," anyone?), TEMPEST, with such clean results. Great stuff.

There were a few tiny HICCUPs here and there — as good as L'ETAT, C'EST MOI / DRONE BEE / the ICE MAN are in the upper right, TOOTER feels contrived. And in the lower right, PISTES is a bit esoteric. But to get so much jazzy fill like CHAKRA, KRONOS, CHIPPER, even CANNIBAL with a jokey clue, that's great stuff.

A playful theme plus top-notch execution is a rare feat on a Sunday 21x.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1113 ( 24,477 )
Across
1
Upbeat : CHIPPER
8
Follows the party line? : CONGAS
14
Senator Vinick's portrayer on "The West Wing" : ALDA
18
The rest of China, to Hong Kong and Macau : MAINLAND
19
Interstate highway feature : ONRAMP
20
Chemically treated hairstyle : PERM
21
The aerobics instructor wore ... : PANTSANDASWEATER
23
"Then again ...," to a texter : OTOH
24
British poet laureate Carol ___ Duffy : ANN
25
Get even : TIE
26
Obamacare option, for short : HMO
27
Interstate highway feature : EXITLANE
29
The lawyer wore a ... : SUITANDBRIEFS
34
Horn blower : TOOTER
35
Wooden-soled shoes : SABOTS
36
Curb, with "in" : REIN
37
Floor : AMAZE
40
Airer of 89-Down : CBS
41
Open space in a forest : GLADE
42
Affliction in "Philadelphia" : AIDS
43
"A Fish Called Wanda" co-star Kevin : KLINE
44
Borscht vegetable : BEET
45
Destination of some SAS flights : OSLO
46
The gardener wore ... : BLOOMERSANDHOSE
49
"Whatever satisfies the ___ is truth": Whitman : SOUL
51
Gallows item : NOOSE
52
Bank fig. : INT
53
Everyone's bets : POT
56
Naval jail : BRIG
58
"Fifty Shades of Grey" topic, for short : SANDM
59
Nickname for basketball's George Gervin : ICEMAN
62
The reptile expert wore a ... : TURTLENECKBOAANDCROCS
66
Recipe direction : STIRIN
67
Quarter back? : TAILS
68
"Star Trek" role : SULU
69
"Isn't ___ shame?" : ITA
70
Important : BIG
71
"Death be not proud" poet : DONNE
72
Gilbert Grape portrayer : DEPP
74
The plumber wore a ... : TUBETOPANDCLOGS
79
What fans do : CLAP
83
Word repeated before show : LATE
84
Partner of each : EVERY
85
Logical flaw : HOLE
86
Russian pancakes : BLINI
87
Friend of Tarzan : APE
88
Revise : AMEND
89
Get exactly right : NAIL
90
Much Etsy merchandise : CRAFTS
91
Google Docs, e.g. : WEBAPP
93
The boxer wore ... : SOCKSANDABELT
96
Away from work temporarily : ONABREAK
99
Put on : AIR
100
Hosp. areas : ORS
101
22nd out of 26 : VEE
102
See 9-Down : MANY
103
The happily unemployed person wore ... : SLACKSANDLOAFERS
108
Puts on : ADDS
109
Means of escaping prison, maybe : TUNNEL
110
Smooth and continuous : SEAMLESS
111
It's a loch : NESS
112
Yellow-brown : SIENNA
113
Sex ed topic : CONSENT
Down
1
One looking to serve mankind? : CANNIBAL
2
Successful turn in the game Battleship : HIT
3
Kind of tuition : INSTATE
4
Where the buffalo roam : PLAINS
5
Like a French door : PANED
6
Maze word : END
7
Nutritional amt. : RDA
8
Ranchers : COWMEN
9
With 102-Across, not the only : ONEOF
10
Major D.C. lobby : NRA
11
Arena income : GATE
12
Capital One competitor, for short : AMEX
13
Applied, as cologne : SPRITZED
14
Speed skater ___ Anton Ohno : APOLO
15
Famed claim from Louis XIV : LETATCESTMOI
16
Queen's mate : DRONEBEE
17
Home to Hampshire College : AMHERST
18
Guides : MANUALS
21
Turn a corner in Monopoly : PASSGO
22
Religious branch sometimes spelled with an apostrophe : SHIISM
28
Sole neighbor : TOE
30
Bothers : TODOS
31
Pizazz : BRIO
32
Overhaul : REDO
33
Cleansing substance : SALSODA
38
Noxious emanations : MIASMAS
39
William and Mary's successor : ANNE
42
Aggressive bet : ALLIN
43
Zeus' father : KRONOS
44
Stupid mistake : BONER
46
Van trailer? : BUREN
47
Facilitated : ENABLED
48
Minor setback : HICCUP
50
Accommodate : OBLIGE
53
N.B.A. stat: Abbr. : PTS
54
Excuse : OUT
55
Dread Zeppelin and the Wholigans : TRIBUTEBANDS
57
Shake one's defender : GETOPEN
58
Dope : SKINNY
59
Wastes gas, say : IDLES
60
Patriot ___ : ACT
61
Org. in "Snowden" : NSA
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"Survivor" faction : TRIBE
64
Baseless rumors : CANARDS
65
Gentle reminder : NUDGE
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Plunged : DOVE
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School area that has mice : PCLAB
74
Dip made with olives, capers and anchovies : TAPENADE
75
Violent storms : TEMPESTS
76
Energy point in yoga : CHAKRA
77
Wife on TV's "Family Guy" : LOIS
78
Cantina vessel : OLLA
80
It helps you stay above water : LIFEVEST
81
Two for a buck : ANTLERS
82
Downhill ski runs : PISTES
83
The Doors album with the hit "Riders on the Storm" : LAWOMAN
86
Victoria's Secret event : BRASALE
88
Patriots' Day mo. : APR
89
Spinoff drama featuring LL Cool J : NCISLA
90
Some data storage media : CDROMS
92
Deep gulf : ABYSS
94
Like some wine casks : OAKEN
95
Jonathan who co-created HBO's "Westworld" : NOLAN
97
His: Fr. : ALUI
98
Classic Orson Welles role : KANE
104
Fareed Zakaria's employer : CNN
105
Defense advisory grp. : NSC
106
In excelsis ___ : DEO
107
Swamp : FEN

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

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