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SILENT FINALES

New York Times, Sunday, November 25, 2018

Author:
Joon Pahk
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
248/5/200812/22/20185
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41224281
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63000
joon pahk

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 23 for Mr. pahk. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
joon pahk notes:
the most interesting behind-the-scenes story about this puzzle is that it began with an idea that didn't end up in the puzzle. it occurred to me that HEARING AIDE could be clued as a ... read more

the most interesting behind-the-scenes story about this puzzle is that it began with an idea that didn't end up in the puzzle. it occurred to me that HEARING AIDE could be clued as a person who helps out at a trial, perhaps {Court stenographer?}. the "add a terminal E that does not alter the pronunciation" wordplay mechanism then seemed like the way to go, so i came up with a whole bunch more possibilities. looking over the whole list, i noticed that i actually preferred the ones where the changed word and the original word were not just versions of the same word, like AID/AIDE are, so the seed entry ended up on the cutting room floor. i do still like that clue, though.

cluing a 140-word puzzle is always a big job, but on this one, i think i wrote something like 90% the clues on the first sitting, and then spent several days trying to think of a good clue for MISSPELL, which seemed ripe for a fun clue. i'm pleased that my clue was kept in, both because it reminds me of my days as a physics teacher and because i enjoy at least thinking about the possibility that somebody might be double-double-crossed, thinking that "F in physics" might refer to force.

Jeff Chen notes:
SILENT FINALES … or SILENT FINAL ES? A-ha! I loved UNCALLED FORE (from 'uncalled for') as what a golfer might forget to say. And SEMI PROSE (from 'semi-pros') made me chuckle. ... read more

SILENT FINALES … or SILENT FINAL ES? A-ha! I loved UNCALLED FORE (from "uncalled for") as what a golfer might forget to say. And SEMI PROSE (from "semi-pros") made me chuckle.

At first, I was a bit shruggy on this idea, seeming like it was a simple E addition puzzle. But the more I thought about it, the more impressed I was with joon's finds. The difference between RUNNING LAPS and RUNNING LAPSE is huge! The tremendous transformations were impressive.

I could have used a little more snazz in the bonus fill. UMPTEEN and MAIN DRAG are solid gold. I understand that there's not much real estate left after the nine (!) themers are in place. But given that the shorties, EITHER ORE and CASTE LOTS, didn't do a lot for me, swapping them out for a pair of great bonuses of the UMPTEEN-level would have been nice.

I was surprised to see a good amount of crossword glue in this one, especially knowing how meticulous joon is (definitely check out his "Outside the Box" subscription service!). It's about average in terms of Sunday puzzles, with things like LOGY, ARAL, RASA, EFTS, ERLE, ESSES, and the tough ISSEI. But I have such high expectations when I see joon's byline.

It's tough to impress me with a standard(ish) theme type, but I enjoyed this one. Not quite homophones, not quite letter additions, and certainly not sound additions. A sweet spot somewhere in the middle, with some humorous theme finds.

1
A
2
R
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E
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T
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H
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A
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L
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A
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I
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M
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M
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L
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G
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E
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N
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A
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P
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T
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B
100
E
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D
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H
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H
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O
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W
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U
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N
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D
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S
E
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E
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122
A
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B
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T
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R
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1125 ( 25,219 )
Across
1
Late Queen of Soul : ARETHA
7
Places for bears or villains : LAIRS
12
What a recipe may be written on : NOTECARD
20
Puts up : RAISES
21
Veep under Nixon : AGNEW
22
Formal defense : APOLOGIA
23
Photo caption for the winning team's M.V.P. being carried off the field? : ASTARISBORNE
25
Get an F in physics? : MISSPELL
26
Bert of "The Wizard of Oz" : LAHR
27
Powerful swell : SURGE
28
In the style of : ALA
30
First-generation Japanese-American : ISSEI
31
Houdini feat : ESCAPE
33
Rey, to Luke, in "The Last Jedi" : PROTEGEE
36
Place for a stud to go : EAR
38
What you're effectively saying when you sign a waiver? : BYEALLRIGHTS
41
Longtime athlete on the U.S. Davis Cup team : ASHE
45
Line through one's teeth? : FLOSS
47
Torment : AGONY
48
Full of subtlety : NUANCED
50
Capital of Albania : TIRANE
52
Atlas or Titan, for short : ICBM
53
Street through the middle of town : MAINDRAG
54
Energy secretary Chu under Obama : STEVEN
55
___ neutrality : NET
56
Actress Long : NIA
58
Extended diatribe : TIRADE
59
Moon race? : EWOKS
61
Router attachments : MODEMS
63
It's just below 0: Abbr. : OPER
64
Medieval poets : BARDS
67
Piece of writing that's half in verse? : SEMIPROSE
70
Some paid rides, informally : UBERS
71
First leg of an itinerary : ATOB
72
Avenging spirits in Greek myth : FURIES
73
Bad thing to hit with a hammer : THUMB
75
"Casey at the Bat" poet Ernest : THAYER
77
Wee bit : TAD
78
"I'm f-f-freezing!" : BRR
80
Coined money : SPECIE
84
Aids for determining pregnancy, e.g. : TESTKITS
86
Pizazz : BRIO
87
Fellini's "La ___" : STRADA
88
Inducing forgetfulness : LETHEAN
89
Outlook alternative : GMAIL
91
Dollar signs without the bars : ESSES
92
Word after who or how : ELSE
93
Dropping the baton in a relay race, e.g.? : RUNNINGLAPSE
98
Bit of ink : TAT
99
Optimum : BESTCASE
101
Senator Feinstein : DIANNE
103
Blues legend Waters : ETHEL
106
"___ complicated" : ITS
107
Area near the shore : SHELF
109
Publicans' servings : ALES
112
Area near the shore : SHALLOWS
115
Warning not given on a golf course? : UNCALLEDFORE
118
Something on the rise today : SEALEVEL
119
Actress Belafonte : SHARI
120
Start to inhabit : SETTLE
121
Baja California city : ENSENADA
122
"The Zoo Story" playwright : ALBEE
123
Movie trailer, e.g. : TEASER
Down
1
Name of what was once the world's second-largest saltwater lake : ARAL
2
Tabula ___ : RASA
3
"Hematite, magnetite -- take your pick"? : EITHERORE
4
Line that ended with Nicholas II : TSARS
5
"___ Grace" (title of address) : HER
6
"To quote myself ..." : ASISAY
7
Los Angeles neighborhood next to Beverly Grove : LABREA
8
Wide-eyed : AGOG
9
Memo starter : INRE
10
Half of a cartoon duo : REN
11
Make official? : SWEARIN
12
Super Bowl III M.V.P. : NAMATH
13
Nail polish brand with the colors Teal the Cows Come Home and Berry Fairy Fun : OPI
14
Talking-___ (reprimands) : TOS
15
Big female role on HBO's "Westworld" : ELSIE
16
Two things you might find in Sherwood Forest? : COPSEANDROBBERS
17
As long as one can remember : AGES
18
Work (up) : RILE
19
"The Hallucinogenic Toreador" painter : DALI
24
Apartment building V.I.P. : SUPE
29
Mentally sluggish : LOGY
32
Producer of "60 Minutes" : CBSNEWS
33
Seniors' big night out : PROM
34
European stratovolcano : ETNA
35
Astronauts' wear : GSUITS
36
Young newts : EFTS
37
Came down : ALIT
39
Spike : LACE
40
Human Rights Campaign inits. : LGBT
42
Minor altercation : SCRAPE
43
Soccer shot resulting from a corner kick, often : HEADER
44
Lawn tools : EDGERS
46
Like Tara, several times in "Gone With the Wind"? : SAVEDBYTHEBELLE
49
Singer DiFranco : ANI
51
Multi-time music collaborator with Bowie : ENO
52
Some magazine perfume ads : INSERTS
53
Conductor : MAESTRO
56
Country on the Arctic Circle: Abbr. : NOR
57
"Yes for me" : IDO
60
The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. : KSU
61
Brit. legislators : MPS
62
[Shrug] : MEH
64
Forcibly oppose : BATTLE
65
Following close behind : ATHEEL
66
Some celebrity charity events : ROASTS
68
Shirking work, maybe, for short : MIA
69
"The Hurt Locker" menace, briefly : IED
70
Scads of : UMPTEEN
72
Club known for 66-Down : FRIARS
74
Enterprise starter : USS
76
Barely make (out) : EKE
78
Two-masted vessel : BRIG
79
Small stream : RILL
81
Places for specific social classes to park? : CASTELOTS
82
"Any ___?" : IDEA
83
Heading in the right direction? : EAST
85
Fastener with a flange : TNUT
86
Bête noire : BANE
89
Small bother : GNAT
90
Pageant whose 1986 runner-up was Halle Berry : MISSUSA
94
Procedural spinoff starring LL Cool J : NCISLA
95
Antarctic penguin : ADELIE
96
Person who's hard to take : PILL
97
Most conservative : SAFEST
100
Page of a movie script? : ELLEN
102
1994 tripartite treaty : NAFTA
103
De bene ___ (legal phrase) : ESSE
104
In those days : THEN
105
Tommy of tennis : HAAS
107
Temporary cover : SCAB
108
Hopper : HARE
110
Writer ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
111
Tiresias, in "Oedipus Rex" : SEER
113
Some gametes : OVA
114
Join : WED
116
Capitals' org. : NHL
117
Ruby of "A Raisin in the Sun" : DEE

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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