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WITH DRAWL

New York Times, Sunday, December 6, 2015

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
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2287/11/19994/8/20182
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731241679512
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1.54980
Patrick Berry

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 73 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 207 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Sound change puzzle, this one using pairs of words connected by a drawl. MORE to MOWER, HEIGHTS to HYATTS, WRITERS to RIOTERS, it's fun to see the transformations of one real word into another real word. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Sound change puzzle, this one using pairs of words connected by a drawl. MORE to MOWER, HEIGHTS to HYATTS, WRITERS to RIOTERS, it's fun to see the transformations of one real word into another real word.

Passing the bar!

Ah, except SURE to … SHOER — that's not as much of a real word in usage as the others. I give that a pass though, as the resulting themer is funny: PRETTY SHOER as [Attractive blacksmith at a stable?].

As with all PB puzzles, the execution is clean. Very few gluey bits, only the minor kind of GOGH (feels partialish compared to VAN GOGH) and PRU sort of thing. Executing cleanly on a Sunday grid is perhaps one of the hardest construction tasks out there, and PB does it so well.

I appreciate that PB almost always sticks to a 138 or 140 word grid. It's so difficult to get down much lower than that without compromising cleanliness to a level which starts to take away from my solving enjoyment.

PB's puzzles tend to have a "classic" feel to them, a timelessness, a sense that someone could pick them up ten years from now and still enjoy them. That's very different from the puzzles with a "fresh" or "current" feel to them. Both have merits, IMO, and it's fun to get the variety. While I love seeing long fill like CV JOINT, EPICENTER, and PET NAME, sometimes I do feel like I want something with a little more personality out of his longer fill. Then again, my solving enjoyment is almost always made even higher by his stellar cluing:

  • [Bass organs] made me think through all the different types of church organs out there before I stumbled upon GILLS (bass being a type of fish!)
  • POLE VAULT is an [Attempt to pass the bar?] in a kooky way.
  • I've seen variants of [Cold shower?] for SLEET before, but I still like the wordplay.

Some of these might be Will or Joel's clues, but I tend to see a lot of outstanding wordplay in PB's puzzles in general. Just a few of these dotted throughout any puzzle increases my solving pleasure tremendously, and that's even more important in a Sunday-size grid where my attention often wanders.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1206 ( 24,134 )
Across Down
1. Butter? : RAM
4. Out patient's state : COMA
8. Three of a kind, to a poker player : TRIPS
13. Earth, e.g. : SPHERE
19. Marriage agreement? : IDO
20. Take a turn : VEER
21. American hub : OHARE
22. Stacked messily : HEAPED
23. Half a sawbuck : FIN
24. How you might classify a blade, a gas tank cap or a starter handle? : JUSTONEMOWERTHING
27. Reason to stay only at Hiltons or Marriotts? : FEAROFHYATTS
29. "Frozen" reindeer's name : SVEN
30. Giving evasive answers : COY
31. Roll served at a bar : SUSHI
32. Little one : TOT
33. Timeworn words : ADAGE
35. Kind of strength : TENSILE
39. "___ the Housetop" (Christmas song) : UPON
42. Extremely, in dated slang : MONDO
45. Mob that disturbs the peace in new and interesting ways? : CREATIVERIOTERS
49. John of England : ELTON
50. 2013 Spike Jonze dramedy : HER
51. ___ mater (spinal membrane) : PIA
52. Affect in a personal way : SPEAKTO
54. Small, secluded, wooded valley : DELL
55. Maker of indoor cars : OTIS
57. Druggists' implements : PESTLES
59. Hospital worker : ORDERLY
61. Attractive blacksmith at a stable? : PRETTYSHOER
63. Like Paganini, by birth : GENOAN
65. Food service giant based in Houston : SYSCO
66. CPR expert : EMT
67. Corruption : ROT
68. Candy brand since 1901 : NECCO
72. Rough : HOARSE
75. Municipal leaders who work the late shift? : NIGHTMAYORS
78. Director of "Carlito's Way," 1993 : DEPALMA
81. Panasonic rival : TOSHIBA
82. Outback runners : EMUS
83. Songwriter Novello : IVOR
84. Beseech on bended knee : IMPLORE
87. Gaggle : goose :: clowder : ___ : CAT
88. Trident-shaped letter : PSI
89. Bass organs : GILLS
91. Troy, in the "Iliad"? : PRIAMREALESTATE
95. Cold shower? : SLEET
96. Word in a New Year's Eve song : AULD
97. Never closed, as a resort : ALLYEAR
98. "We won" gesture : VSIGN
100. Nonprofit network : PBS
102. One who gets no credit? : EXTRA
105. Historical chapter : ERA
107. "Preparation meeting opportunity," it's said : LUCK
109. Smallest possible aspirin dose? : BAYERMINIMUM
113. Normandy's coat of arms, basically? : DOUBLEYELLOWLIONS
116. Punk subgenre : EMO
117. D-Day invaders : ALLIES
118. Green stuff : MOOLA
119. Wildly enthusiastic : GAGA
120. Jimmy Fallon's employer : NBC
121. Moves quickly, informally : MOTORS
122. Big Easy lunch : POBOY
123. Hang around : STAY
124. "I Ching" concept : TAO
1. Repeated musical phrases : RIFFS
2. Leave-taking : ADIEU
3. Brothers' keepers : MONASTERIES
4. Front-wheel-drive coupling, for short : CVJOINT
5. French ingredient in French toast : OEUF
6. Interlock : MESH
7. Like many student films : ARTY
8. Fictional Potawatomi tribesman : TONTO
9. Butler on a plantation : RHETT
10. Maker of Healthy Naturals food : IAMS
11. Supporting : PRO
12. Wraps (up) : SEWS
13. Least bit : SHRED
14. Honey or pumpkin : PETNAME
15. "Serves you right!" : HAH
16. Seismological focus : EPICENTER
17. City near Lake Tahoe : RENO
18. Pushing the envelope : EDGY
25. Many a 1950s B-movie : OATER
26. Chicago suburb : EVANSTON
28. Mother of Zeus : RHEA
34. First Pierce Brosnan 007 film : GOLDENEYE
36. ___ cup (spillproof container) : SIPPY
37. Northeast octet : IVIES
38. Dogfight preventers : LEASHES
39. College team named for a tribe : UTES
40. Blowtube projectile : PEA
41. TV alien's home : ORK
43. Occupant of a small house : DOLL
44. No more than : ONLY
45. Musician's virtuosity : CHOPS
46. Have another go at : RETRY
47. Castaway's site : ISLET
48. Phone button abbr. : OPER
53. Treasure from una mina : ORO
56. Missouri's original capital : STCHARLES
58. Large volume : TOME
60. Mike's "Wayne's World" co-star : DANA
62. Easily manipulated sort : TOOL
63. Van ___, "Lane in Autumn" painter : GOGH
64. Principled : ETHICAL
67. Stair's face : RISER
69. Bedroom on a train, e.g. : COMPARTMENT
70. Piece of pizza? : CRUST
71. Actor/activist Davis : OSSIE
73. "___ right?" : AMI
74. Unchecked growth : RAMPANCY
75. Expected amount : NORM
76. Kids' outdoor game : TBALL
77. Chum at sea : MATEY
78. Does an investigation : DIGS
79. Maleficent : EVIL
80. Attempt to pass the bar? : POLEVAULT
81. Mr. ___ of "The Wind in the Willows" : TOAD
85. Boston skyscraper, with "the" : PRU
86. "___ Darlin'" (Count Basie number) : LIL
90. Ben of "Zoolander" : STILLER
92. Place for visual aids : EASEL
93. Talking toy since 1965 : SEENSAY
94. City dweller's yell : TAXI
99. Suppose : GUESS
100. Renaissance painter Uccello : PAOLO
101. Road less traveled : BYWAY
103. Dance from Cuba : RUMBA
104. Bygone gas station name : AMOCO
105. Dutch export : EDAM
106. Nestlé candy brand : ROLO
108. Dole's 1996 running mate : KEMP
109. Lava lamp lump : BLOB
110. Oil field sights : RIGS
111. Defensive ring : MOAT
112. Personal assistant in "Young Frankenstein" : INGA
114. Book jacket info : BIO
115. John of England : LOO

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

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