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DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB

New York Times, Sunday, November 16, 2014

Author:
Andrew J. Ries
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
188/13/20076/8/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
31111542
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56020
Andrew Ries

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 66 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Ries. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Ries notes:
Someone mentioned to me a couple years ago that they once had a dentist named Dr. Hurt. That was the inspiration for the theme, but it was a little tough to come up with enough answers for ... read more

Someone mentioned to me a couple years ago that they once had a dentist named Dr. Hurt. That was the inspiration for the theme, but it was a little tough to come up with enough answers for a Sunday. I wanted the last names to not be homophones (no LINDA TRIPP being a bad dancer, e.g.), and the toughest part was getting symmetrical partners for everyone.

I submitted the puzzle with GLORIA ALLRED as a bad tanning-salon owner; I think I like that better than the current clue. Either way, seeing as Ms. Allred is probably the least well-known member of the bunch, it's probably the weakest theme answer. I noticed the RED dupe with RED SEA far too late for it to be excised from the grid; apologies for the inelegance.

For the STEVIE NICKS clue, I gave the option of using mohel or barber. I preferred mohel for the humor (which is why I put it at the end, a page out of the Merl Reagle textbook). Honestly I thought that the safer barber choice would be used, so I'm pleasantly surprised that mohel "made the cut" (pun intended).

If you want to solve more of my puzzles, you're in luck. I currently run two email-delivery puzzle subscription services. I write a weekly standard crossword with varying difficulty at www.ariesxword.com and a bi-weekly Rows Garden variety crossword at www.ariespuzzles.com. There are some freebies on each site too; check them out!

Jeff Chen notes:
Easy-breezy theme, people reinterpreted for jobs that would be horrible for them. Man oh man, would I hate for my mohel to be STEVIE NICKS! (Don't look up 'mohel' if you're squeamish.) ... read more

Easy-breezy theme, people reinterpreted for jobs that would be horrible for them. Man oh man, would I hate for my mohel to be STEVIE NICKS! (Don't look up "mohel" if you're squeamish.) Entertaining bunch of themers, BRAM STOKER and GLORIA ALLRED my favorite because of their surprising interpretations.

I usually don't care about "debut words" — many of them are new only to the NYT, or new but glue-y entries — but today I'm making an exception because Andrew has a really interesting assortment. EXHIPPIES is a true debut (as far as can tell based on the cruciverb database and Matt Ginsberg's extensive clued database) and a fantastic answer in my book. SPIN A YARN is nice, but it's been in CrosSynergy, the LAT, and the WSJ before. CHIME IN ON as well — made its first appearance in the LAT a while back.

Shoe lasts

GRAD PHOTO ... it's a debut, but it sounds odd to my ear, and it's marginal on the Google hit count (122K). If Andrew loved grad photos or had a business doing it, that would be one thing. But I personally wouldn't use it unless I had to, in order to make something really nice work. SHOE LAST, I'm mixed on. Clearly it's a thing and it Googles well, but it feels neutral to slightly ugly to me. Anyway, I appreciate the diversity within the constructor community — I'm sure I'll hear from people saying that I'm crazy; that everyone should love GRAD PHOTO. (I'll agree on the former.)

I often talk about specificity, and this puzzle is a good example of that. It's totally fine as it is, but given how many famous people have a last name that would work in this theme, I would have loved an extra layer. Maybe all singers. All related professions. Some extra layer that pulls everything together even more strongly. I understand where Andrew's coming from though, giving a wide assortment so that there's something for everyone helps play to a very varied and large NYT solving audience. Just feels a bit too loosey-goosey for me, personally.

Anyway, a fun solve, and I liked seeing Andrew's unique voice shine through with his assortment of newish entries.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1116 ( 23,749 )
Across
1
Charged things : IONS
5
Actress Normand of the silents : MABEL
10
Like some textbook publishers : ELHI
14
Wee bit : DROP
18
Instruments with flared bells : OBOES
20
Perfume with an accent in its name : ESTEE
21
Locker room user : TEAM
22
Motorola smartphone : RAZR
23
Oscar winner who would make a lousy anesthesiologist? : WILLIAMHURT
25
Spotlight : EMPHASIZE
27
Who's there? : ATTENDEES
28
Glove box item : SCRAPER
30
N.F.L. rarity : TIE
31
It's faster than the blink of an eye: Abbr. : NSEC
32
Scrubs wearers, for short : RNS
33
Punk rocker who would make a lousy grocer? : JOHNNYROTTEN
35
Milk dispenser : TEAT
37
Bieber Fever, e.g. : MANIA
38
Piano-playing cat, once : MEME
39
Horror author who would make a lousy firefighter? : BRAMSTOKER
43
Fr. title : MLLE
45
Cold : ALGID
49
Red Baron, e.g. : AIRACE
50
Pitcher of milk? : ELSIE
52
"That feels goo-oo-ood" : AAH
54
Cosmetician ___ Laszlo : ERNO
55
La Scala segment : SCENA
56
Inclined : APT
57
Action star who would make a lousy free-range farmer? : NICOLASCAGE
60
Singers do it : SEW
61
Historian's interest : PAST
63
Smooths : SANDS
64
Scholarship name : RHODES
65
"The Hunger Games" and others : EPICS
67
Theme park with a spherical landmark : EPCOT
68
Defeat decisively : STOMP
69
Fiery : ARDENT
71
Jones of the original Stones : BRIAN
72
Contest winner's feeling : GLEE
73
Consumed : HAD
76
Bygone comic who would make a lousy baker? : GEORGEBURNS
78
Work at : PLY
79
Byzantine emperor known as "The Philosopher" : LEOVI
81
Like dollhouse furniture : TINY
82
French nobleman : DUC
83
Early eight-bit computer maker : ATARI
85
Tom ___, big role in "The Purple Rose of Cairo" : BAXTER
86
Blades that sound like an allergic reaction : SNEES
88
Elapse : GOBY
90
Cabaret pianist who would make a lousy electrician? : BOBBYSHORT
92
The gamut : ATOZ
94
Dog-___ : EARED
96
Where to learn to draw? : ARTI
97
Lawyer who would make a lousy anti-Communist leader? : GLORIAALLRED
101
Electronic music's Daft Punk, e.g. : DUO
102
Junior's challenge, for short : PSAT
106
Org. replaced by the N.R.C. : AEC
107
Elaborate : EXPOUND
108
Set side by side : JUXTAPOSE
110
More than plump : FATASAPIG
112
Singer who would make a lousy mohel? : STEVIENICKS
114
German title : FRAU
115
Michael of "Arrested Development" : CERA
116
Bother : EATAT
117
Feints : DEKES
118
___ of the earth : ENDS
119
Helmeted god : ARES
120
Window's counterpart : AISLE
121
Word before or after lime : SODA
Down
1
John Wayne or Johnny Carson, by birth : IOWAN
2
Newspaper dept. : OBITS
3
"Cape Fear" co-star : NOLTE
4
New England town official : SELECTMAN
5
Class ring, e.g. : MEMENTO
6
Parliaments produce them : ASHES
7
Air-conditioner fig. : BTUS
8
Always, in verse : EER
9
Reveals : LETSON
10
God, with "the" : ETERNAL
11
Genève's lake : LEMAN
12
Toy holder : HAPPYMEAL
13
"Present" : IMHERE
14
Residents, eventually: Abbr. : DRS
15
Bonnie who sang "Nick of Time" : RAITT
16
15-time All-Star shortstop Smith : OZZIE
17
Primp : PREEN
19
Trig function : SIN
24
Cost for some plugs : ADRATE
26
Drifter outside a coffee shop? : AROMA
29
Add one's two cents about : CHIMEINON
33
Shocks : JARS
34
Sprint, e.g. : TELECOM
36
Con's plan : ESCAPING
37
Short-order sandwich : MELT
39
Deepest part : BASS
40
See 44-Down : RICE
41
"Can I leave now?" : AREWEDONE
42
Possessed : KEPT
44
Big producer of 40-Down : LAOS
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Yearbook feature : GRADPHOTO
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"Picnic" playwright : INGE
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"That ___ it!" : DOES
51
Immobilized, as one's arm : INACAST
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Twain contemporary : HARTE
56
Jerk : ASS
58
Summer setting in the Midwest: Abbr. : CDT
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Cobbler's aid : SHOELAST
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Wasn't really : ACTED
63
Fabulize : SPINAYARN
66
Annually : PERYEAR
67
Fumble, say : ERR
68
Like some grins : SLY
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Many authors have them: Abbr. : AGTS
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Horse halter : REIN
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Osso ___ : BUCO
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Supersmooth : GLIB
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Asseverate : AVER
75
Gossip : DIRT
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Barbecue fryer? : BUGZAPPER
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Elbow, maybe : PROD
80
Many boomers, now : EXHIPPIES
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Still snoozing, say : ABED
85
One way to learn : BYROTE
87
Farm homes : STIES
89
Caviar sources : BELUGAS
91
Main source of aluminum : BAUXITE
93
Neighbor of Chiapas : OAXACA
95
Modern name of Mare Mecca : REDSEA
97
Campaign setback : GAFFE
98
Grasp : LEARN
99
The planets, now : OCTAD
100
Subject of many a Turner landscape : LOIRE
101
Golfer David : DUVAL
103
Terrif : SOCKO
104
Posed : ASKED
105
"The Gondoliers" girl : TESSA
108
Things aircraft carriers carry : JETS
109
With : AND
111
Alpine land: Abbr. : AUS
113
___ chi : TAI

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?