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WITH DRAWL

New York Times, Sunday, December 6, 2015

Author:
Patrick Berry
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2297/11/199911/4/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
741241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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 ... read more

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.

1
R
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G
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A
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L
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K
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B
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R
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D
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B
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L
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E
M
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A
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M
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G
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N
B
C
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M
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P
O
B
O
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S
T
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T
A
O
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1206 ( 24,134 )
Across
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
Down
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: 11 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?