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RING OUT THE OLD, RING IN THE NEW

New York Times, Sunday, December 31, 2017

Author:
John Lampkin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
912/15/20108/22/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2203011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58001
John Lampkin

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 71 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Lampkin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Lampkin notes:
Add-a-letter and remove-a-letter gimmicks have each been done to the saturation point so today it's challenging to come up with a fresh and entertaining take. Hybrids that combine both ... read more

Add-a-letter and remove-a-letter gimmicks have each been done to the saturation point so today it's challenging to come up with a fresh and entertaining take. Hybrids that combine both these gimmicks have been done but are less common and because of the added layer of complexity, are inherently more interesting.

Hybrids increase constructing options because many entries work both ways. For example, SUM WRESTLER (removing the O) also works by adding an O as DIM SUMO, "Not the brightest mawashi wearer?"

One of my favorites now litters the cutting room floor: TIC-TACO, "All-in-one entrée and breath mint?" For someone who is so easily amused as I am, brainstorming lists of this nonsense with friends is half the fun, and I tip my hat to my bud, Gary Soucie, who has bounced back many a winner over the years without ever wanting credit.

Will rejected my first draft for lack of a coherent rationale and title. Nancy Salomon to the rescue! Nancy, who has mentored many constructors, uncorked the New Year's Eve title which led to acceptance. Thank you, Nancy, and best wishes to all for a Happy & Healthy.

Jeff Chen notes:
Happy new year! John RINGs OUT THE OLD (deletes Os from the themers in the top half) and RINGs IN THE NEW (adds Os to the ones in the bottom half). Nice concept, apt for tonight's ... read more

Happy new year! John RINGs OUT THE OLD (deletes Os from the themers in the top half) and RINGs IN THE NEW (adds Os to the ones in the bottom half). Nice concept, apt for tonight's celebration.

It's tough to come up with amazing themers when it's a simple add-a-letter or delete-a-letter. I thought LAST TANG(O) IN PARIS was the best — great visual of a Frenchman in a beret sipping Tang in a café. In the bottom half, URANIUM ORE(O) made part of me chuckle and part of me disgusted. Chucklegusted?

Otherwise, stuff like POL GROUNDS (from "Polo Grounds") wasn't interesting enough of a transformation for my taste.

(CELL RECITAL plays off a cello recital. I played in many a cello recital as a kid, but it felt a bit arbitrary of a term.)

I didn't realize that CAM GEAR was a themer until I realized that the symmetrical MAD CAP(O) couldn't have been real! It's tough to make these shorties stand out, which is why constructors usually don't use them.

A couple of nice bonuses in the fill, GOLIATH my favorite. GO STAG, THE BABE, YIPPIES were all fun, too.

Not as fun was the slew of prepositional adders, BLAME ON, SEAL UP, OPTED IN, FELL TO, etc. These are fine, if not snazzy, but so many of them make me notice how much potential was left on the table. Those juicy mid-length slots … usually, I'd first point out ALION / AHINT, SMEE / SNERT, CCC / CWT etc. as more egregious, but today all those prepositions stuck out for me.

Nice concept for New Year's Eve, the deleted/added Os calling to be used within a big Sunday-size grid.

It's been a fun ride in 2017, thanks again for reading! One of my goals in life is to be a positive influence — at least, not to be a negative one — so I hope we've made your 2017 a little brighter. If not, let us know how we might be able to do so in 2018.

1
O
2
W
3
N
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C
5
C
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C
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R
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A
9
G
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T
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A
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G
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F
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I
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S
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T
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S
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W
H
O
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S
W
H
O
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F
E
R
R
A
R
I
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I
N
U
I
T
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L
A
S
T
T
A
N
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G
I
N
P
A
R
I
S
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B
A
M
B
A
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S
M
E
E
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S
N
E
R
T
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S
P
A
T
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S
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T
W
I
T
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B
A
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T
T
E
N
S
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P
S
I
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A
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C
U
R
A
S
35
C
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E
L
L
R
E
C
I
T
37
A
L
38
T
39
H
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E
B
A
B
E
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L
I
E
T
O
42
T
E
S
L
A
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S
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I
T
E
M
45
S
46
A
47
P
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O
N
E
H
O
49
P
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I
G
U
51
E
S
S
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G
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E
T
M
E
54
T
E
D
55
P
O
56
L
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G
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R
O
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N
D
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F
E
L
L
T
O
60
S
U
D
A
N
E
S
E
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B
L
A
M
E
O
N
62
A
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L
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F
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M
I
S
S
Y
66
S
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O
L
E
R
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R
O
Y
69
G
O
L
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I
A
T
H
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O
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B
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S
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E
S
S
E
D
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A
T
O
D
D
S
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I
N
E
E
D
A
H
U
G
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O
78
F
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A
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N
81
T
U
P
A
C
82
G
O
S
T
A
G
83
E
S
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P
A
N
A
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E
S
P
86
A
87
S
A
N
88
S
L
A
89
K
90
E
91
D
92
A
H
I
N
T
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Y
94
I
P
P
I
E
95
S
96
U
R
A
N
I
97
U
M
O
R
E
O
98
O
99
L
D
B
O
Y
100
L
101
O
P
102
P
E
N
N
A
N
T
103
B
A
I
O
104
S
105
A
106
D
A
T
107
E
L
M
E
R
108
E
R
109
L
110
E
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E
P
S
O
112
N
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S
E
V
E
114
N
D
A
Y
S
I
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N
M
A
Y
O
116
Y
U
C
K
Y
117
H
A
I
R
P
I
N
118
O
P
T
E
D
I
N
119
S
P
O
S
E
120
E
N
C
O
R
E
121
N
E
H
122
E
N
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1231 ( 24,890 )
Across
1
Have : OWN
4
New Deal org. : CCC
7
Motley : RAGTAG
13
"Dukes" : FISTS
18
V.I.P. list : WHOSWHO
20
Lamborghini rival : FERRARI
21
Arctic people : INUIT
22
Result of a French powdered drink shortage? : LASTTANGINPARIS
24
1959 Ritchie Valens hit, with "La" : BAMBA
25
Hook's right hand : SMEE
26
Hägar the Horrible's hound : SNERT
27
Short rows : SPATS
29
Nincompoop : TWIT
30
Secures at sea : BATTENS
32
Fig. checked during re-tire-ment? : PSI
33
Legends in the automotive world : ACURAS
35
List of things said by Siri? : CELLRECITAL
38
1920s-'30s Yankees nickname : THEBABE
41
Deceive : LIETO
42
Sights at charging stations : TESLAS
44
Thingamajig : ITEM
45
Softhead : SAP
48
What an infielder might field a ball on : ONEHOP
50
"Reckon so" : IGUESS
52
"Savvy?" : GETME
54
___ Conference : TED
55
Washington, D.C.? : POLGROUNDS
59
Was beaten by : FELLTO
60
Neighbors of Egyptians : SUDANESE
61
Attribute to, in a way : BLAMEON
62
Three-foot 1980s sitcom character : ALF
65
Grammy winner ___ Elliott : MISSY
66
Cobbler, at times : SOLER
68
Cowboy Rogers : ROY
69
Giant : GOLIATH
71
Not just focused : OBSESSED
75
Butting heads : ATODDS
76
Struggling sci-fi writer's plea for recognition? : INEEDAHUGO
78
Blade runner? : FAN
81
Hip-hop's Shakur : TUPAC
82
Attend without a date : GOSTAG
83
Country that Menorca is part of : ESPANA
85
If you have it, you might know what this answer is without reading the clue : ESP
86
Middle of a simile : ASAN
88
Quenched : SLAKED
92
"Give me ___" : AHINT
93
Some 1960s radicals : YIPPIES
96
Treat that gives a glowing complexion? : URANIUMOREO
98
Chap : OLDBOY
100
Work as a branch manager? : LOP
102
Flag : PENNANT
103
Scott of "Happy Days" : BAIO
104
Nasser's successor as Egypt's leader : SADAT
107
"What's Opera, Doc?" antagonist : ELMER
108
Film director ___ C. Kenton : ERLE
111
Canon competitor : EPSON
113
Weeklong Irish vacation? : SEVENDAYSINMAYO
116
Gross : YUCKY
117
Like some turns : HAIRPIN
118
Chose to take part : OPTEDIN
119
What if, informally : SPOSE
120
___ performance : ENCORE
121
Book before Esther: Abbr. : NEH
122
Neuron's ends? : ENS
Down
1
"Wise" sorts : OWLS
2
"Pow!" : WHAM
3
Result of a haymaker, maybe : NOSEBLEED
4
1/20 of a ton: Abbr. : CWT
5
Pure : CHASTE
6
Couple : CONNECT
7
Torn : RENT
8
Dadaist Jean : ARP
9
Wimbledon surface : GRASS
10
Archaeological treasure trove : TARPIT
11
"Nessun dorma," for one : ARIA
12
Drift : GIST
13
Statement made while crossing the fingers, maybe : FIB
14
Like the three men of the "Rub-a-dub-dub" nursery rhyme : INATUB
15
One having trouble with basic arithmetic? : SUMWRESTLER
16
Neighbor of the talus : TIBIA
17
Much of a sports recap : STATS
19
Good hunting skill : STEALTH
20
Some Guinness Book records : FIRSTS
23
Lamp polisher's surprise? : GENIE
28
"Quién ___?" : SABE
31
Batch of Brownies? : TROOP
32
Harass incessantly : PLAGUE
34
Photog's bagful? : CAMGEAR
35
Feature of Devonshire cream : CLOT
36
Article in Der Spiegel : EINE
37
"March comes in like ___ ..." : ALION
39
Cottonmouth's warning : HISS
40
Targets in "Men in Black," informally : ETS
43
Stars : SUNS
46
Childish retort : AMTOO
47
Indiana's state flower : PEONY
49
Puts forth : POSITS
51
Historic Mesopotamian city : EDESSA
53
Wand material in the Harry Potter books : ELM
56
Thick and green : LUSH
57
Merchandise: Abbr. : GDS
58
Artificial silks : RAYONS
59
Grow feathers : FLEDGE
61
Like the French sky : BLEU
62
Colorful quartz : AGATE
63
___ position : LOTUS
64
Some loose dancing? : FLOPPYDISCO
65
Godfather after being double-crossed? : MADCAPO
67
Kyrgyz city : OSH
70
Panhandle state: Abbr. : IDA
72
Action in FanDuel and DraftKings : BETS
73
Close tightly : SEALUP
74
"King Lear" role : EDGAR
76
"The Last Days of Pompeii" heroine : IONE
77
___ bin Laden : OSAMA
78
Legitimate business practices : FAIRTRADE
79
Last Stuart queen : ANNE
80
Kind of alphabet : NATO
82
Moo goo ___ pan : GAI
84
"Sh," "th" or "ou" : PHONEME
87
1974 C.I.A. spoof : SPYS
89
Big name in test prep : KAPLAN
90
Opposite side : ENEMY
91
Makes a meal of : DINESON
94
Apple app for viewing reading material : IBOOKS
95
Polish, e.g. : SLAVIC
97
Green : UNRIPE
98
Heeds : OBEYS
99
Eagerly accept : LAPUP
101
County in New Mexico or Colorado : OTERO
105
Court legend Arthur : ASHE
106
Eldest member of an organization : DEAN
107
Falco of "The Sopranos" : EDIE
109
The Eagles' "___ Eyes" : LYIN
110
Forever and ever : EONS
112
December 31: Abbr. : NYE
114
D.C.-based media giant : NPR
115
1st, 2nd, 3rd ... ___ : NTH

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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