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RETRONYMS

New York Times, Sunday, December 11, 2016

Author:
Tom McCoy
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3311/14/20139/29/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
18815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61362
Tom McCoy

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 24 for Mr. McCoy. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes:
For this puzzle, it was fun to brainstorm a long list of potential theme entries. Some of my favorite answers that didn't make the grid were CONTINENTAL US, BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORE, SITDOWN ... read more

For this puzzle, it was fun to brainstorm a long list of potential theme entries. Some of my favorite answers that didn't make the grid were CONTINENTAL US, BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORE, SITDOWN RESTAURANT, and BLACK-AND-WHITE TV.

The grid might look pretty unconstrained, but in fact it does have the constraint that there need to be black squares above the E in BRITISH ENGLISH, the M in SNAIL MAIL, the N in REAL NUMBER, etc. (because, without these black squares, there would not be numbers everywhere that they are needed). Having eight black squares cemented in place from the get-go has a surprisingly large effect in terms of making the overall construction difficult. In general, flexibility in black square placement is very helpful in cleaning up messy grid sections, so having some black squares fixed in place can be a challenge.

As always, a huge thanks to Will and Joel for getting the puzzle into its final form!

Jeff Chen notes:
RETRONYMS are words/phrases that are coined after a technological leap has been made, i.e. before email was invented, SNAIL MAIL was just MAIL. I love how Tom 1.) found so many good ... read more

RETRONYMS are words/phrases that are coined after a technological leap has been made, i.e. before email was invented, SNAIL MAIL was just MAIL. I love how Tom 1.) found so many good examples of these, and 2.) used a "non-existent" across number to refer to the old word — neat how he puts a black square above the M of MAIL so that he can refer to "34-Across" for MAIL.

Also really enjoyed the bonus entries Tom worked in. CAPRI PANTS, THAT HURTS, COW TIPPING, SUIT AND TIE — great stuff. Some may wonder if EPIC BATTLE is a real thing or not, but this Lord of the Rings fan says to haters YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

Ahem. Ignore me.

The bonus entries were much appreciated, since halfway through, I had already figured out the trick, and the impact of the theme didn't quite last all the way through the puzzle. It's a good thing I kept hitting nice entries, PET CRATE, SAYS ME, ALL MINE, ROBOTIC, and DEAR GOD giving me lifts everywhere.

There was just slightly too much crossword glue for my taste — AGUE is so old-timey, CMDR, CTS, the odd EFT, along with more minor stuff — but I'm totally fine with it as the price to pay for getting so much good bonus fill.

That amount of crossword glue is atypical of a Tom McCoy puzzle — I think he's one of the best in the business when it comes to entertaining, smooth, Sunday puzzles with bonus fill. He brings up a good point about the "fake across entry" trick giving him a little more inflexibility than usual. I built one with this trick a while back, and it was surprising how much more difficult the grid became. It's already so hard to execute on a Sunday 140-word puzzle, and any additional constraint, like cementing so many black squares into place at the outset, makes the gridwork even tougher.

Although I wondered if that would have been better as a Thursday puzzle, where the impact might have more easily lasted all the way through a 15x grid, I still enjoyed it a ton. Love experiencing concepts I've never quite seen before.

1
A
2
M
3
E
4
R
5
I
6
C
7
A
8
A
9
D
10
I
11
E
12
U
13
S
14
A
15
S
16
H
17
A
18
P
A
P
I
S
T
S
19
O
N
E
T
O
N
20
M
U
T
U
A
L
21
B
R
I
T
I
S
H
22
E
N
G
L
I
S
H
23
A
R
M
I
N
G
24
C
U
T
25
N
U
L
L
S
26
A
27
G
U
E
28
T
O
A
29
A
30
B
B
A
31
C
32
E
A
S
E
S
33
S
N
A
I
L
34
M
A
I
L
35
R
E
A
L
36
N
U
M
B
E
R
37
E
T
D
S
38
Y
A
N
39
E
F
T
40
O
B
O
L
S
41
T
R
U
S
T
42
S
43
Y
D
44
S
45
P
E
T
46
C
R
A
T
E
47
S
H
I
N
48
R
O
49
B
O
T
I
50
C
51
A
L
L
M
I
N
E
52
B
L
A
C
K
53
L
I
C
O
R
I
C
E
54
S
L
E
D
55
S
56
A
Y
I
T
57
I
C
K
Y
58
E
K
E
59
R
60
H
61
O
62
R
E
D
H
63
O
64
T
S
65
S
S
66
N
67
A
68
B
69
C
70
A
N
71
T
I
72
U
B
O
A
73
T
74
A
75
C
76
T
77
S
78
F
L
A
79
T
H
E
A
D
80
S
81
C
R
E
W
82
I
83
S
84
A
D
O
R
A
85
T
O
P
R
A
N
K
86
C
I
T
Y
87
G
E
T
S
A
W
A
Y
88
C
R
Y
89
D
E
90
R
A
T
S
91
W
A
R
E
S
92
T
I
S
93
I
M
94
P
95
S
A
L
E
96
S
I
L
E
N
T
97
F
I
L
M
98
P
99
A
P
E
R
100
C
O
P
Y
101
I
T
L
L
D
O
102
I
P
S
E
103
A
L
A
104
E
O
N
S
105
E
C
O
L
I
106
A
R
P
107
G
E
N
108
R
E
S
109
O
110
R
G
A
N
I
C
111
F
112
A
R
M
I
113
N
114
G
115
E
X
T
E
N
T
116
N
O
O
N
E
S
117
A
L
I
E
N
E
E
118
R
A
S
P
S
119
G
I
S
T
S
120
D
E
A
R
G
O
D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1211 ( 24,505 )
Across
1
"The cauldron of Democracy" : AMERICA
8
Leaving word : ADIEU
13
Figure skater Cohen : SASHA
18
Opponents of the Protestant Reformation : PAPISTS
19
Pickup truck's capacity, maybe : ONETON
20
Common word in insurance company names : MUTUAL
21
Dialect that was called 22-Across before the age of colonialism : BRITISHENGLISH
23
Giving heat? : ARMING
24
Share : CUT
25
Dummy symbols in ciphers : NULLS
26
Fever fit : AGUE
28
___ point : TOA
29
"Fernando" band : ABBA
31
Stops : CEASES
33
System that was called 34-Across before the Internet : SNAILMAIL
35
Concept that was called 36-Across before research into the square root of negatives : REALNUMBER
37
Airport figs. : ETDS
38
PBS's "___ Can Cook" : YAN
39
Small newt : EFT
40
Coins that pay for passage over the River Styx : OBOLS
41
Believes (in) : TRUSTS
43
Gridiron gains: Abbr. : YDS
45
Terrier carrier : PETCRATE
47
___ splints (runner's ailment) : SHIN
48
Machinelike : ROBOTIC
51
Cackle from a greedy person : ALLMINE
52
Food that was called 53-Across before Twizzlers and the like : BLACKLICORICE
54
Skimobile, informally : SLED
55
"Tell me how you really feel!" : SAYIT
57
Gross : ICKY
58
Squeeze (out) : EKE
59
Symbol for density : RHO
62
Cinnamon candies : REDHOTS
65
Personal datum: Abbr. : SSN
67
Jackson 5 #1 hit : ABC
70
Against : ANTI
72
W.W. II danger : UBOAT
74
Source of the saying "It is more blessed to give than to receive" : ACTS
78
Fastener that was called 80-Across before a rounded design was implemented : FLATHEADSCREW
82
Dancer Duncan : ISADORA
85
Belonging to the highest level : TOPRANK
86
Part of the names of four state capitals : CITY
87
Escapes : GETSAWAY
88
Whoop : CRY
89
Rids of vermin, in a way : DERATS
91
Peddler's stock : WARES
92
Quaint contraction : TIS
93
Nickname of a "Game of Thrones" dwarf, with "the" : IMP
95
Realtor's goal : SALE
96
Entertainment category that was called 97-Across before talkies : SILENTFILM
98
Object that was called 100-Across before electronic documents : PAPERCOPY
101
"Good enough" : ITLLDO
102
___ dixit : IPSE
103
Part of Dixie: Abbr. : ALA
104
Ages and ages : EONS
105
Something you might have a gut feeling about? : ECOLI
106
Painter Jean : ARP
107
Horror and mystery : GENRES
109
Activity that was called 111-Across before pesticides : ORGANICFARMING
115
Degree : EXTENT
116
Not belonging to anybody : NOONES
117
Property recipient : ALIENEE
118
Aids in filing : RASPS
119
Main points : GISTS
120
"Oh, jeez!" : DEARGOD
Down
1
Police broadcast, for short : APB
2
Disfigure : MAR
3
Climax of many a fantasy novel : EPICBATTLE
4
Mass, e.g. : RITUAL
5
Doubter's question : ISIT
6
Small monetary amts. : CTS
7
Light-colored wood : ASH
8
Rod user : ANGLER
9
Apple alternatives : DELLS
10
Reply to 5-Down : ITIS
11
"Rosy-fingered" Greek goddess : EOS
12
Releases, dramatically : UNHANDS
13
Without a doubt : SURELY
14
Something to bank on : ATM
15
Look for business? : SUITANDTIE
16
Site of the infamous Hoa Lo Prison : HANOI
17
___ bloom (result of fertilizer pollution) : ALGAL
19
Burdens : ONUSES
20
Home of Haleakala National Park : MAUI
22
Empower : ENABLE
27
Stomach-related : GASTRIC
29
South American corn cakes : AREPAS
30
Happened to : BEFELL
31
Mark of success in business? : CUBAN
32
Portrays feelings : EMOTES
33
Was horrible : STUNK
34
Onetime title for Bernie Sanders : MAYOR
36
"Me neither" : NORI
37
Former attorney general Holder : ERIC
41
"Oof!" : THATHURTS
42
They go about two feet : SOCKS
44
Ailing : SICK
46
Spock's rank: Abbr. : CMDR
47
Declined : SLID
49
Target demographic for Hot Wheels : BOYS
50
Bee follower : CEE
52
"Ta-ta!" : BYE
53
"The Simpsons" girl : LISA
56
Like the planet in "Dune" : ARID
60
"lol" : HAHA
61
Upright : ONEND
63
Observe : OBEY
64
Drag away : TOW
66
Zilch : NADA
67
Opposite of fore : AFT
68
Tea Partiers in Congress, e.g. : BLOC
69
Apparel also called clamdiggers : CAPRIPANTS
71
Agrees to fight : TAKESON
73
Like many wedding cakes : TIERED
75
Purported rural shenanigan : COWTIPPING
76
Lags : TRAILS
77
Argument-ending reply : SAYSME
79
"Go ahead, I'm listening" : TRYME
80
Like snakes : SCALY
81
Ticket : CITE
83
Court reporter, e.g. : STENO
84
Helper: Abbr. : ASST
87
Caesar's "Commentaries on the ___ War" : GALLIC
90
"The Real Slim Shady," for one : RAPSONG
91
Actor Bruce : WILLIS
94
Primps : PREENS
96
"Brown Sugar" band, with "the" : STONES
97
Not as lax : FIRMER
98
Vibrating device : PAGER
99
Siri : iPhone :: ___ : Amazon Echo : ALEXA
100
Go for : COST
101
"___ even" : ICANT
105
I's : EGOS
106
"O mio babbino caro," for one : ARIA
108
Be an agent (for) : REP
110
Charles, par exemple : ROI
111
Ice Bucket Challenge, for one : FAD
112
Quaff in Middle-earth : ALE
113
Opposite of paleo- : NEO
114
Goal for some dropouts, for short : GED

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?