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IT'S ALL AN ELISION

New York Times, Sunday, November 6, 2016

Author: Joe DiPietro
Editor: Will Shortz
Joe DiPietro
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1308/26/19953/15/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
281072142283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59326

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 62 Missing: {JZ} This is puzzle # 126 for Mr. DiPietro. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joe DiPietro notes: this one came about when i heard HIP TO BE SQUARE on the radio. next entry i thought of was SIOUX YOU KNOW. that one channeled merl, i think. i worked more than 12 hours to remove a cheater square. i am not well. hope most people know what an ELISION is.
Jeff Chen notes: I loved this concept, 'IT'S ___' phrases elided for kooky results. It took the longest time for me to figure out what was going on, and the wait was worth it. I got a good laugh out of IT'S TOUGH OUT THERE going ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I loved this concept, "IT'S ___" phrases elided for kooky results. It took the longest time for me to figure out what was going on, and the wait was worth it. I got a good laugh out of IT'S TOUGH OUT THERE going to STUFF OUT THERE. Amusing visual of a taxidermist's spouse pleading to not mess up the living room with entrails. ITS WHO YOU KNOW was another standout, especially with that crazy IT'S WHO to SIOUX spelling change. And although the spelling change from IT'S OUR LITTLE SECRET to SOUR LITTLE SECRET was simple, I chuckled at the thought of the Oompa Loompas at the SweeTarts factory carefully guarding their precious formula.

SIP TO BE SQUARE didn't resonate with me, though. Great base phrase in IT'S HIP TO BE SQUARE but the clue felt off. "…BE SQUARE" is usually a bad thing, as in "be there or be square," yeah? So I couldn't imagine a wine geek embracing this slogan. Also, what happened to the H? Wouldn't SHIP TO BE SQUARE (as a fun UPS slogan!) be more consistent?

And STEW DAMN HOT ... I tried to insert some punctuation to make it feel fine, like a menu listing such as STEW (DAMN HOT!), but it just didn't work for me.

A couple of nice bonuses in GENTLE BEN (great clue about the show's 650 pound star), ANNIE HALL and HELEN HUNT. CAR PHONES are outdated, but they have historic appeal. Funny to think about people holding those gigantic monsters to their ears while driving, almost needing two hands to operate them. And ROLL-ONS is a pretty good bonus already, but the innocent [Sure things] made it really stand out. ("Sure" is a deodorant brand.)

REEDING was a tough one, but it looks to be a perfectly legit entry, referring to both grooves in a column as well as the little grooves on the sides of coins.

Joe does well with his short stuff, keeping the crossword glue to very minor bits like EUR and XENO. REFIX felt more gloppy, but to keep all the crossword glue to such a small quantity is good work.

I would have loved to not have STEW DAMN HOT, and to have more strong bonus fill. Eliminating that themer, plus going from 138 to 140 words, might have helped convert more neutral stuff like TENURES and AREOLAS to really fun entries. A shame — a few improvements here and there and this would have been my POW!

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1106 ( 24,470 )
Across Down
1. Point of greatest despair : NADIR
6. Terms of service : TENURES
13. Laid out for printing : TYPESET
20. Unchallenged : ALONE
21. Lift : RAISEUP
22. Sure things : ROLLONS
23. "Do your taxidermy on the patio instead!"? : STUFFOUTTHERE
25. "You can't make me" : IREFUSE
26. Of the highest quality : TOPLINE
27. Republican, on an election map : RED
28. "Da Coach" : DITKA
30. Place to get stuck : RUT
31. "Double" or "triple" feat : AXEL
32. Discipline for paper tigers? : ORIGAMI
34. Newcastle Brown and others : ALES
35. Thrown : CAST
38. Harley, in slang : HOG
40. A foot on the ground in Phoenix? : SNOWSURPRISE
43. It's just for openers : ANTE
44. "Venus in Fur" playwright David : IVES
46. "Today" rival, for short : GMA
47. Get on one's high horse? : MOUNT
48. Kind of replication : RNA
49. Miasma : STENCH
51. "___, captain!" : AYE
53. Some Campbell's offerings : BROTHS
56. Skinflints : PIKERS
58. It makes tracks : TREAD
60. See 41-Down : ILER
62. "___ it go" : LET
63. Ones who have it coming to them? : HEIRS
64. "Silence is the ___ that nourishes wisdom": Bacon : SLEEP
65. Classical pianist Levit : IGOR
66. Composer Bartók : BELA
67. Reaction of dismay : OHNO
68. Comfort food causing oral discomfort? : STEWDAMNHOT
70. Selfish sort : USER
71. Harpies : NAGS
72. Where many connections are made : HUBS
73. Huge quantities : RAFTS
74. Surgical tube : STENT
75. Common New England street name : ELM
76. Lyft offering : RIDE
77. Groove-making needles : STYLI
78. With 96-Across, bit of Chinese cuisine : LITCHI
79. Many, after "a" : SLEWOF
81. "Not interested" : NAH
83. Like some tales or details : SORDID
85. Broadcast : RUN
86. Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan : FOUTS
88. Trendy jeans feature : RIP
90. Extract used in brewing : WORT
91. Foreign: Prefix : XENO
92. Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and that's probably it? : SIOUXYOUKNOW
96. See 78-Across : NUT
97. Memo abbr. : ATTN
98. Cab stopper? : CORK
99. Up against it : INASPOT
101. Genesis of an idea : GERM
103. Amaze : AWE
104. Deadly nerve gas : SARIN
106. Artist who awards a biennial Grant for Peace : ONO
107. Real sport : TROOPER
111. Adjust, as a currency : REVALUE
113. Slogan for wine geeks? : SIPTOBESQUARE
116. Field of vision : EYECARE
117. Nipple rings : AREOLAS
118. Set free : UNTIE
119. "Noble" thing : RAREGAS
120. Mack of early slapstick : SENNETT
121. ___ Muggs, girl in "Archie" : ETHEL
1. Harper's Weekly cartoonist Thomas : NAST
2. Kind of clef : ALTO
3. Prettify : DOUP
4. Blow up : INFLATE
5. Do more repairs on : REFIX
6. "The Princess Bride" theme : TRUELOVE
7. Put groceries away : EAT
8. It blows things up, in brief : NITRO
9. Some wedding figures : USHERS
10. Small semicircular grooves on a column : REEDING
11. Port. is part of it : EUR
12. Left in a hurry : SPEDAWAY
13. Radioactive form of hydrogen : TRITIUM
14. Pennsylvania city : YORK
15. "S O S," e.g. : PLEA
16. Middle-earth inhabitant : ELF
17. Mystery ingredient in SweeTarts? : SOURLITTLESECRET
18. Comes later : ENSUES
19. Insect that folds its wings : TSETSE
24. Nearly throws a perfect game against, maybe : ONEHITS
29. Uses WhatsApp, say : IMS
33. Snap : GOMAD
34. River to the Ligurian Sea : ARNO
35. Communication devices for commuters, once : CARPHONES
36. Best Picture between "Rocky" and "The Deer Hunter" : ANNIEHALL
37. Always putting up my entry fees? : STAKINGMEFOREVER
39. 1960s TV show whose star weighed 650 pounds : GENTLEBEN
41. With 60-Across, player of Tony Soprano's son : ROBERT
42. Engine sound : PURR
45. Pressure, so to speak : SCREWS
49. Fraternity and sorority leaders, usually: Abbr. : SRS
50. Follow closely : HEED
52. Rough choice? : EIGHTIRON
54. "Mad About You" co-star : HELENHUNT
55. Begin to tongue-lash : STARTINON
57. February 14th figure : EROS
59. Divorced : APART
61. London lavs : LOOS
64. Bit of jewelry : STUD
65. Opposite of outflux : INFLOW
66. Ram : BUTT
68. Hard to pin down : SHIFTY
69. Giant among Giants : MAYS
74. Punk rocker Vicious : SID
76. Gravy thickener : ROUX
77. They might need guards : SHINS
78. Drops to the ground? : LITTERS
80. Herman who wrote "This Is My God" : WOUK
82. Home of Walmart : ARKANSAS
84. New employee requirement, maybe : DRUGTEST
87. Formal wingdings : SOIREES
89. What an overstuffed suitcase might do : POPOPEN
91. Unknown quantity : XAMOUNT
92. Bogeyman : SCARER
93. Informal words of thanks : IOWEYA
94. Athlete's wear, informally : UNI
95. Soup dumpling : WONTON
100. John Kennedy ___, author of "A Confederacy of Dunces" : TOOLE
102. Game with mallets played on a hard-surfaced court : ROQUE
104. Criticize, in British slang : SLAG
105. Vibe : AURA
108. Maze solution : PATH
109. Pennsylvania city : ERIE
110. Walk while dizzy : REEL
112. War hero : ACE
114. High dudgeon : IRE
115. Giant image over Gotham : BAT

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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