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INSIDE OUT

New York Times, Sunday, November 26, 2017

Author:
Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1037/5/201010/31/201962
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678182798
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637232
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 74 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 77 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
By far and away, the biggest complaint I get from solvers is that I put too many rap references into my puzzles (I'm nowhere near some other constructors, I swear!). I have a ton of ... read more

By far and away, the biggest complaint I get from solvers is that I put too many rap references into my puzzles (I'm nowhere near some other constructors, I swear!). I have a ton of interests ranging from quantum physics to contract bridge to children's literature to the Great British Bake-off, and I happen to also love me some old-school rap.

NAS and DRE are ones all solvers need to know due to their very crossword-friendly names, but I have a feeling I'll get some hate mail over POSSE CUT. Before you hit send, do me a favor and listen to "The Grand Finale," featuring crossword biggie DR DRE (warning, NSFW!), and ones that really ought to be in more, MC REN and EAZY E. A POSSE CUT can be even better than a rap battle, a free-for-all melee with rappers dropping their most inspired verses in the game of one-upsmanship. It's an explosion of talented artists spurring each other on to push the envelope, all over a beat you can't help but bob your head to.

Now, if I could just get Stephen Hawking, Zia Mahmood, Sherman Alexie, and Mary Berry to lay down a POSSE CUT …

Jeff Chen notes:
Oh right, the puzzle. After coming up with this idea, I wrote a Python script to help me figure out possibilities. That helped, but it still took several hours to sift through hundreds of ... read more

Oh right, the puzzle. After coming up with this idea, I wrote a Python script to help me figure out possibilities. That helped, but it still took several hours to sift through hundreds of possibilities. Some were cluable in the "X in Y?" format I wanted, some were snappy phrases, but few were both.

Then it was just a matter of figuring out matching lengths, grid creation, roughly eleventy hundred grid iterations, and most of my remaining hair plucked painfully out one by one with red-hot tweezers.

You know, the usual Sunday construction experience.

Aside from POSSE CUT, sometimes I wonder if my assumptions about what educated solvers ought to know are getting skewed. KARPOV to me is a no-brainer — you have to know at least Garry Kasparov and Anatoly KARPOV. HATHA YOGA? No matter where you are within Seattle, you can throw a yoga ball 50 feet in any direction and hit a room full of downward facing doggers. DULCINEA? Come on, you ought to at least recognize the name from "Don Quixote," which you were supposed to have read in HS/college!

Okay, I only pretended to read it, too. Fine!

Overall, I hope there was enough from different walks of life to make everyone a little happy, and not too much to make people feel like it was a trivia quiz rather than an entertaining word game. Probably will be some of the latter folks ... ah well. POSSE CUT!

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1126 ( 24,855 )
Across
1
Per : APIECE
7
Per ___ : DIEM
11
Feature on the back of some pajamas : FLAP
15
Conversation interrupter in a car, at times : GPS
18
Cured salmon : GRAVLAX
19
Jazzy Anita : ODAY
20
Top-shelf : AONE
21
Go bad : ROT
22
Lists about a port on the Black Sea : ROYALTASTERS
24
Guaranteed to succeed : CANTLOSE
26
Auspice : OMEN
27
Referring to this clue within this clue, e.g. : META
28
Neighborhoods surrounded by crime : THEFAREAST
30
1970s-'90s chess champion : KARPOV
33
Fill-in : TEMP
35
___ Store : APP
36
Laura of "ER" : INNES
37
Provide cover for, say : ABET
39
Fad dance move of 2015 : DAB
40
Blue-green hue : TEAL
42
Style of Radio City Music Hall, informally : DECO
43
Metal pin stuck in parts of sinks : DRIVETRAINS
47
Figure skater Sonja : HENIE
49
Shout after seeing Godzilla : RUN
50
Motorsports vehicle : RALLYCAR
51
___ ammoniac : SAL
52
Good times : BLASTS
54
Capital of the world's happiest country, per a 2017 U.N. survey : OSLO
55
QB's cry : HUT
56
Unpleasant : ICKY
58
The dark side : YIN
59
One of the principal deities in Hinduism : SHIVA
61
Sliding item on a car : MOONROOF
64
Carne ___ (taco option) : ASADA
67
___ Dimas, Calif. : SAN
68
Flourishes around monsoon events : BRAINSURGEONS
71
Sample-collecting org. : EPA
73
Lush : DIPSO
75
React to a haymaker : SEESTARS
76
Slack-jawed : AGAPE
78
Pot note : IOU
79
Heaters : GATS
80
Major investors in start-up cos. : VCS
82
Its filling contained lard until 1997 : OREO
83
Dangerous vipers : ADDERS
86
Ka-boom! : BAM
87
1972 #1 hit with the lyric "No one's ever gonna keep me down again" : IAMWOMAN
89
Regret : RUE
90
Ranger's wear : BERET
92
Fear among underground workers : MINDREADERS
95
It goes downhill : SLED
97
First name in 1950s comedy : DESI
98
Actor John of the "Harold & Kumar" films : CHO
99
Nordstrom competitor : SAKS
100
Shades of tan : ECRUS
102
"Pimp My Ride" network : MTV
103
Curry of the N.B.A. : SETH
105
Moves, as a plant : REPOTS
109
Coming up in vetoes : NIXONTAPES
112
Got 100 on : ACED
114
"I'll get this done" : ONIT
115
Licorice-flavored extract : ANISEOIL
116
Crew found inside again and again : THROWINGRICE
120
Spy novelist Deighton : LEN
121
Poet ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA
122
Kook : YOYO
123
"Fawlty Towers" or "The Vicar of Dibley" : BRITCOM
124
Need a lift? : SAG
125
Looking up : ROSY
126
And others, for short : ETAL
127
Gets fresh with : SASSES
Down
1
Nose of a wine : AROMA
2
Single-___ (like a certain health care system) : PAYER
3
Does his name ring a bell? : IVANPAVLOV
4
Pipe joint : ELL
5
"Cool" sort : CAT
6
Reason to pull an all-nighter : EXAM
7
Partner of a crossed "t" : DOTTEDI
8
Creative sort : IDEAMAN
9
Something pressed against a conch : EAR
10
Game predecessor of Riven : MYST
11
Certain spa treatment : FACEPEEL
12
Baker's container : LOAFPAN
13
The "I" of "The King and I" : ANNA
14
___ dish : PETRI
15
Bad puns : GROANERS
16
Song with verses by four or more rappers : POSSECUT
17
Mounties' hats : STETSONS
18
Understand : GROK
23
"Go" preceder : SET
25
Give for a while : LEND
29
Hindu exercise system : HATHAYOGA
31
"Do as I say!" : OBEY
32
Climbing plant in the pea family : VETCH
34
Broadcaster of many Ken Burns documentaries : PBS
38
Something to work through with a therapist : TRAUMA
41
Benghazi native : LIBYAN
43
Waste : DROSS
44
Actress Phylicia of "Creed" : RASHAD
45
"Fighting" collegiate team : ILLINI
46
Stella ___ (beer) : ARTOIS
48
Another name for Dido : ELISSA
51
Hybrid activewear : SKORTS
53
Santa ___ winds : ANA
56
Tailor's measure : INSEAM
57
See 74-Down : CRUST
60
Take in : ABSORB
62
Blood type of a "universal donor" : ONEGATIVE
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Ardent : FERVID
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"Oh heavens!" : DEARME
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Take off an invisibility cloak : APPEAR
69
Lit a fire under : ROUSED
70
Annual event viewed live by hundreds of millions of people, with "the" : OSCARS
72
Big stretches : AEONS
74
With 57-Down, something filling fills : PIE
77
Graceful losers, e.g. : GOODSPORTS
81
Besmirch : SMEAR
83
Magazine places : ARSENALS
84
Don Quixote's unseen beloved : DULCINEA
85
Sign with an antlered pictogram : DEERXING
86
Award won by "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" : BESTPLAY
88
Speedboat follower : WAKE
91
Continues : REMAINS
92
Hosts, for short : MCS
93
Words of empathy : IHEARYA
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"You shouldn't've done that" : NOTCOOL
96
The Blues Brothers and others : DUOS
101
Emulate Snidely Whiplash : SNEER
104
Hack down : HEW
106
Chilled : ONICE
107
Costa Ricans, in slang : TICOS
108
Modern education acronym : STEM
110
Brouhaha : TODO
111
Lid irritant : STYE
113
"I call that!" : DIBS
117
Very in : HOT
118
Second Amendment org. : NRA
119
U.S.O. audience : GIS

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

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