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"NO DUH!"

New York Times, Sunday, December 30, 2018

Author:
Luke Vaughn
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
27/3/201412/30/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000100
RebusCirclePangram
101
Luke Vaughn

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Vaughn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Luke Vaughn notes:
I started constructing this puzzle with the nine theme answers arranged horizontally, but I couldn't get a good skeleton grid. Finally, I tried crossing four pairs of themers, and it ... read more

I started constructing this puzzle with the nine theme answers arranged horizontally, but I couldn't get a good skeleton grid. Finally, I tried crossing four pairs of themers, and it worked out without me having to change any of them! I don't know what the probability of that is, but it seems pretty low.

When all theme answers run horizontally, a handful of fun long non-themers can run vertically. But because my themers run both ways, I kept all the fill to a maximum of seven letters. So instead of some shiny mid-length answers, I tried to keep the short answers non-ugly. ISERE crosses SERE, which I don't love. Other than that, the ones that bother me the most are IEST, RIN, SNEE, and RRN--er, MMI! (RRN means Random Roman Numeral.)

Anyway, I hope you find the puzzle as funny as I do. BEHIND scenes, get it?!?!

Jeff Chen notes:
Day 7 of WTF? Week at XWI! I love having the chance to tell people What I'm Thankful For. Just a simple removal of a word theme, yeah? Subtract THE to get kooky answers? But look ... read more

Day 7 of WTF? Week at XWI! I love having the chance to tell people What I'm Thankful For.

Just a simple removal of a word theme, yeah? Subtract THE to get kooky answers? But look how much the meanings change:

BEHIND THE SCENES to BEHIND (rump) SCENES

WELL OFF THE MARK to WELL-OFF MARK (Zuckerberg)

SEAL THE DEAL to (barking) SEAL DEAL

Every one of these nine themers made me stop and admire the magnitude of change caused by omitting such a simple word. Bravo!

I also appreciated that NW corner. It's wide-open enough that it'd pose a challenge to most constructors. To finish with so many assets – HOT TUB, BLIMEY, HUBBUB, TWITCH – and not a single drop of crossword glue? It's a coup.

A friend of mine told me that people often judge a crossword by its 1-Across, sometimes abandoning ship to do other things if it's ugly. Not only does today's puzzle have a lovely 1-Across, but that NW corner just sings.

And thus ends WTF? Week. But let me finish it by saying another thank you to everyone who reads the stuff I have to say. Special thanks to Will, Joel, and Sam for their continual support and feedback.

Jim and I are lucky people.

1
H
2
O
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T
4
T
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U
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B
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I
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M
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B
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R
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E
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I
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A
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U
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U
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R
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G
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A
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B
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I
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B
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O
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L
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B
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U
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S
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I
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P
D
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B
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W
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L
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M
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J
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U
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G
H
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A
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O
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A
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F
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L
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M
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E
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F
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A
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V
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E
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T
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A
C
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A
69
O
U
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O
F
70
B
L
U
E
71
S
72
L
O
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H
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R
A
P
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B
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R
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S
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D
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B
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A
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P
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S
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A
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C
K
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M
A
Y
S
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L
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I
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S
B
O
N
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X
R
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A
Y
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H
I
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R
A
B
L
E
90
P
O
P
Q
U
E
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S
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T
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N
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N
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E
A
R
E
R
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N
W
A
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F
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A
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A
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G
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99
A
100
I
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N
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A
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K
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F
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L
M
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V
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M
M
I
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E
N
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A
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M
E
L
S
111
M
E
L
E
E
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H
Y
P
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A
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C
R
O
S
S
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L
A
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R
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A
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S
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E
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T
A
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S
H
O
W
E
R
120
S
T
U
N
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E
D
121
U
N
L
A
C
E
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K
I
D
N
A
P
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S
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D
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E
V
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S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1230 ( 25,254 )
Across
1
Fixture on a ski lodge deck : HOTTUB
7
Sound quality : TIMBRE
13
West African capital : BISSAU
19
Like counting your chickens before they've hatched : UNWISE
20
Going great guns, as business : ROARING
22
Come to terms with : ACCEPT
23
"Good golly!," across the pond : BLIMEY
24
Close enough : INRANGE
25
Cloaklike garment : SERAPE
26
Nosh : BITE
27
Goes around : ORBITS
29
Hardly a right-minded individual? : LIBERAL
31
N.C.A.A. rival of Duke : UNC
32
To which one might respond "Salud!" : SNEEZE
33
Superlative suffix : IEST
34
Summer setting in Seattle: Abbr. : PDT
36
Reason for an R rating? : BEHINDSCENES
39
McGregor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi : EWAN
42
Gobble : EAT
44
Quaint photos : SEPIAS
45
Cuban or Zuckerberg? : WELLOFFMARK
48
Archie's pal at Riverdale : JUGHEAD
51
Dry as a bone : SERE
52
Largest species of the genus Leopardus : OCELOT
53
Fighting : ATIT
54
Sprang : LEAPT
57
More ready to go : EAGERER
60
Show stopper? : FINALE
62
Pure and simple : MERE
64
Part of the eye where vision is sharpest : FOVEA
65
Old hand : VET
68
Maker of the MDX luxury S.U.V. : ACURA
69
Needing certain ink for a color printer? : OUTOFBLUE
71
Epitome of laziness : SLOTH
73
Freestyle, e.g. : RAP
74
Harbor city of NW France : BREST
76
Went to court, say : SUED
77
It may be right under your nose, informally : STACHE
78
Fixture behind the bar : BEERTAP
80
IHOP order : STACK
82
Billy of infomercial fame : MAYS
83
Only European capital on both a river and an ocean : LISBON
86
Kind of vision : XRAY
88
Fit for the job : HIRABLE
90
Impetus behind a paternity test? : POPQUESTION
93
Not so far : NEARER
95
"Straight Outta Compton" group : NWA
96
"The path to the dark side," per Yoda : FEAR
97
On a Paleo diet, say? : AGAINSTGRAIN
102
Slow boat : ARK
104
___ Studies (college major) : FILM
106
Big Starbucks orders : VENTIS
107
Year the Office of Homeland Security was created : MMI
108
Some paints : ENAMELS
111
Rumbles : MELEES
112
"The world's greatest ...," e.g. : HYPE
113
Opposite : ACROSS
115
Capital of Thessaly : LARISSA
117
Washington air hub : SEATAC
119
Post-workout activity : SHOWER
120
Unusually short : STUNTED
121
Start to take off, in a way : UNLACE
122
Shanghai : KIDNAP
123
Accents and Sonatas : SEDANS
124
100-meter and 200-meter : EVENTS
Down
1
Commotion : HUBBUB
2
Connected : ONLINE
3
Reaction to a really bad pun : TWITCH
4
Something you might need to kill : TIME
5
Treat like an object : USE
6
Really, really needing some sun? : BEYONDPALE
7
Neighborhood north of the World Trade Center : TRIBECA
8
Charges : IONIZES
9
Weasel's relative : MARTEN
10
Beach tops : BRAS
11
___ Tin Tin : RIN
12
2003 Economics Nobelist Robert : ENGLE
13
One's most ardent supporters : BASE
14
Finisher of cakes : ICER
15
86 : SCRAP
16
Buy one circus animal, get one circus animal free? : SEALDEAL
17
Most newspapers have one : APP
18
Sport-___ : UTE
21
Theodor ___ (Dr. Seuss's real name) : GEISEL
28
Live : RESIDE
30
Stealth bomber, familiarly : BTWO
32
Partner of snick : SNEE
33
French Alpine river : ISERE
35
Root of Polynesia : TARO
37
Mesopotamian mother goddess : ISHTAR
38
Female in a pen : EWE
40
In front of, old-style : AFORE
41
Cowboys' home, for short : NFCEAST
43
It's more than a warning: Abbr. : TKT
46
Street handout, maybe : LEAFLET
47
View from la plage : MER
48
"Aladdin" villain : JAFAR
49
City between Albany and Rochester : UTICA
50
Stimulate : GINUP
51
2017 World Series winner, for short : STRO
55
Something required : AMUST
56
Dog or cat transporter : PETTAXI
58
Often-smoked cheese : GOUDA
59
First lady : EVE
61
Shia of "Transformers" : LABEOUF
63
Beginnings of fame and fortune? : EFS
65
Some SAT study : VOCAB
66
Kind of alcohol : ETHYL
67
"___ Days" (1990s platinum Bon Jovi album) : THESE
69
Anthem contraction : OER
70
On another call : BUSY
72
Hedy ___, subject of the 2017 documentary "Bombshell" : LAMARR
75
Woman's name meaning "born again" : RENEE
77
Installment of a women's clothing catalog? : SKIRTISSUE
78
Common potato chip flavor, in brief : BBQ
79
Hybrid tourney style : PROAM
81
Pure : CHASTE
83
Worker at a hosp. : LPN
84
Waterloo's home : IOWA
85
Something up for grabs on a fishing boat? : SPAREROD
87
Director Lee : ANG
89
Rules, informally : REGS
91
Untagged : SAFE
92
Quavering sounds : TRILLS
93
Rating somebody? : NIELSEN
94
The Supreme Court and the Muses : ENNEADS
98
Zoroastrianism's sacred text : AVESTA
99
Author of "The Joy Luck Club" : AMYTAN
100
Collision : IMPACT
101
Barbara and Jenna Bush, to Jeb : NIECES
103
Famous : KNOWN
105
Exams for future J.D.s : LSATS
109
Traveling from coast to coast, maybe : ASEA
110
Car sticker fig. : MSRP
111
"Do you ___?" : MIND
112
Robust : HALE
113
Part of A.M.A. : ASK
114
X : CHI
116
Medicinal plant : RUE
118
Part of S.A.S.E.: Abbr. : ENV

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?