It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge for best results.

TWO OUTS

New York Times, Sunday, December 8, 2013

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: 140, Blocks: 76 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 182 for Mr. Berry. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I've been hesitant to give Patrick Berry POWs! even though most of his puzzles deserve them, in order to give others a chance. But this week I couldn't help it, as I found this Sunday ... read more

I've been hesitant to give Patrick Berry POWs! even though most of his puzzles deserve them, in order to give others a chance. But this week I couldn't help it, as I found this Sunday puzzle so very entertaining. Extremely well done.

It took me a while to figure out exactly what was going on, but it finally dawned on me that Patrick selected phrases/long words, which form different phrases/long words when you delete two letters. For example, "Red wine drinker's paradise?" is SHANGRI-LA SANGRIA. I'll admit that at first I thought it seemed arbitrary to just pick any two letters to remove, but as I went along, it felt more and more like a puzzle within a puzzle; like I was in The Matrix. Darn glad I took the blue pill, because each of the 12 (!) theme entries was a fun challenge within itself.

Normally when there's such high theme content, the fill breaks down all over and Agent Smith is signaled to clean up the glitches in The Matrix. I mean, Patrick stacks theme answers atop each other, and then overlaps more themers atop those! But instead of glitching out, he went all Neo on us today, smoothing the experience with a WEST BERLIN, KLUTZ, CSI: MIAMI, AT REST, OSPREYS, etc., showing us that he knows crossword-fu.

It wasn't perfect, but as we all know from The Machines' experience, total perfection makes humans skeptical, and we think that there's a conspiracy going on. So the TEENA MARIE / ELAM / MARNIE crosses in the southeast corner placate us, leaving us with the impression that our slightly flawed world is still real.

A final note of technical commentary: look at all the cheater squares (black squares which don't affect the word count) Patrick uses. Some have said that cheaters make a puzzle less elegant; that they're a crutch. In some cases, like in some themeless puzzles, I find them to be visually inelegant. But Patrick has said a few times that he'll always choose to add cheaters if it makes the fill smoother. I did notice the preponderance of cheaters (five pairs) at first, but I completely forgot about it as I went. 21x puzzles are so much harder to fill cleanly than 15x's, so I think for this puzzle, Patrick's decision to use so many cheaters is sound.

Fantastic work . Often times I get tired in the middle of doing a Sunday puzzle because it feels like the same old thing over and over again. But even though today's puzzle took me well over my usual time (about 30 minutes vs my usual 15-20), I relished the experience and looked forward to writing all about it. More smooth, fun, uber-professional Sunday puzzles like this, please!

P.S. If you haven't seen The Matrix a few hundred times yet, I forgive you. Maybe. And don't take the red pill.

1
A
2
B
3
B
4
A
5
A
6
M
7
O
8
R
9
E
10
S
11
P
12
A
13
U
14
K
15
E
16
S
17
B
R
A
C
18
E
19
R
O
P
E
R
20
S
H
A
N
21
G
R
I
L
A
22
L
I
B
E
R
23
T
A
R
I
A
N
24
C
U
R
V
E
B
A
L
L
25
E
L
O
26
S
I
M
O
N
L
E
27
B
O
N
28
I
R
A
29
S
L
O
30
W
31
N
I
N
E
32
S
U
N
33
S
L
E
N
34
D
35
E
36
R
37
T
O
N
E
38
L
E
S
S
39
A
T
R
E
40
S
T
41
E
E
R
O
42
S
E
A
43
D
O
G
44
E
E
45
K
46
E
G
O
47
L
48
I
49
T
T
E
R
50
M
51
A
52
T
E
53
M
A
E
L
54
S
55
T
R
O
M
56
A
R
A
B
57
S
I
L
E
N
58
T
59
I
L
D
U
C
E
60
L
I
N
E
61
S
62
G
A
S
O
H
63
O
L
64
S
T
R
E
65
T
66
C
67
H
68
A
N
D
R
E
69
S
70
S
T
I
R
S
I
71
N
72
Z
A
N
I
L
Y
73
W
A
Y
L
A
I
74
D
75
A
D
O
P
T
E
76
D
77
P
A
E
A
N
78
I
M
L
O
79
S
T
80
B
R
I
T
O
81
N
82
M
I
N
D
83
P
84
E
85
N
N
Y
A
N
T
E
86
E
A
S
T
O
87
R
A
N
G
E
88
E
L
I
89
S
K
Y
90
A
91
M
Y
92
M
A
R
93
W
A
L
94
K
95
E
X
96
T
R
A
S
97
C
98
S
I
M
I
99
A
100
M
101
I
102
S
L
E
E
103
K
104
L
Y
105
H
E
R
106
P
A
I
N
107
E
L
A
M
108
P
I
E
109
F
E
A
T
110
H
E
R
B
E
111
D
112
B
R
A
113
B
114
A
115
T
T
L
E
116
C
R
Y
117
H
A
P
P
Y
E
N
118
D
I
N
G
119
B
R
A
I
N
D
E
A
D
120
A
N
S
E
L
121
A
R
N
I
E
122
C
M
O
N
123
S
O
Y
124
S
K
I
T
S
125
J
O
E
S
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1208 ( 23,406 )
Across
1
Palindromic band name : ABBA
5
Tosca's feeling for Cavaradossi : AMORE
10
Spring for a vacation : SPA
13
Hawaiian tourist purchases : UKES
17
"___ yourself" : BRACE
19
Cow catcher : ROPER
20
Red wine drinker's paradise? : SHANGRILA
22
Employee at the Ron Paul Archive? : LIBERTARIAN
24
Pitch that fixes everything? : CURVEBALL
25
"Strange Magic" band, briefly : ELO
26
Dollar bill featuring a portrait of Duran Duran's lead singer? : SIMONLEBON
28
IRS Form 5498 subject : IRA
29
Street caution : SLOW
31
Ball with a yellow stripe : NINE
32
Shiner? : SUN
33
Willowy : SLENDER
37
Like a robot's voice : TONELESS
39
Still : ATREST
41
Architect Saarinen : EERO
42
Blue expanse : SEA
43
Follow closely : DOG
44
Hair-raising shout : EEK
46
"___ te absolvo" (priest's phrase) : EGO
47
The one puppy that can read? : LITTERMATE
53
Creator of perfect whirlpools? : MAELSTROM
56
Baath Party member : ARAB
57
Uncommunicative : SILENT
59
Political title of the 1930s-'40s : ILDUCE
60
Counter formations : LINES
62
Mix in a tank : GASOHOL
64
Overextend oneself? : STRETCH
68
Classical guitarist Segovia : ANDRES
70
Adds to the batter, say : STIRSIN
72
In a kooky manner : ZANILY
73
Buttonholed : WAYLAID
75
Given a home : ADOPTED
77
Triumphant song : PAEAN
78
"This isn't making sense" : IMLOST
80
Whom John Bull symbolizes : BRITON
82
Have an objection : MIND
83
Minor-league championship flag? : PENNYANTE
86
Alienate a New Jersey city? : EASTORANGE
88
Biblical priest of Shiloh : ELI
89
Blue expanse : SKY
90
"Man of Steel" actress Adams : AMY
92
Sully : MAR
93
Go on strike : WALK
95
Film crowd : EXTRAS
97
CBS spinoff that ran for 10 seasons : CSIMIAMI
102
How sports cars are contoured : SLEEKLY
105
"Cover ___ Face" (P. D. James's first novel) : HER
106
Distress : PAIN
107
Actor Jack of oaters : ELAM
108
Cousin of a crumble : PIE
109
Begat a soft place to sleep? : FEATHERBED
112
Burlesque garment : BRA
113
"Charge!," to Duracells? : BATTLECRY
117
Satisfying finale coming to pass? : HAPPYENDING
119
Labeled idiotic? : BRAINDEAD
120
First name in photography : ANSEL
121
Nickname for Palmer : ARNIE
122
"Don't be a spoilsport!" : CMON
123
Savory condiment : SOY
124
Variety show fodder : SKITS
125
Trader ___ : JOES
Down
1
Most qualified : ABLEST
2
Relative of S.O.S : BRILLO
3
Galoot : BABOON
4
One-hit wonder? : ACE
5
Friend of d'Artagnan : ARAMIS
6
Thick bunch? : MORONS
7
Venture a thought : OPINE
8
Unfeigned : REAL
9
Miranda of the Miranda warning : ERNESTO
10
Avoid : SHUN
11
Course listing : PAR
12
Percussion instrument in "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" : ANVIL
13
Sophisticated : URBANE
14
Automaker that started as a bicycle company : KIA
15
Bent pipe : ELL
16
"She's a good old worker and a good old pal," in song : SAL
18
Med. workplaces : ERS
20
Tea go-with : SCONE
21
"Days of Heaven" co-star : GERE
23
Would-be singers' liabilities : TINEARS
27
Little town : BURG
30
Site of a 1963 J.F.K. speech : WESTBERLIN
33
Chargers and coursers : STEEDS
34
Forest game : DEER
35
"By that logic ..." : ERGO
36
Boarder's domain : ROOM
38
Director Daniels of "The Butler" : LEE
39
Of the lymph glands : ADENOID
40
Signet ring feature : SEAL
45
Dropper? : KLUTZ
47
Steven Bochco series : LALAW
48
Youngest of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" : IRINA
49
Eldest Best Actress winner : TANDY
50
Acronymic aircraft name : MIG
51
Wistful remark : ALAS
52
With a will : TESTATE
53
It's "well regulated" in the Constitution : MILITIA
54
Quarrel : SCRAP
55
"Lovergirl" singer : TEENAMARIE
58
Pulsation : THROB
61
Morally degraded : SEAMY
63
Fish hawks : OSPREYS
65
Cross-promotion : TIEIN
66
Streetcar sound : CLANG
67
Chrissie in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : HYNDE
69
Start of a George Eliot title : SILAS
71
N.B.A. team originally called the Americans : NETS
74
Elephant's opposite, symbolically : DONKEY
76
URL component : DOT
79
Zeus swore oaths upon it : STYX
81
Excited Oscars attendee : NOMINEE
83
Nave furniture : PEWS
84
Airline that doesn't fly on religious holidays : ELAL
85
Khartoum's river : NILE
87
Run headlong into : RAM
90
Datum in a house listing : AREA
91
___ Vineyard : MARTHAS
94
Confined : KEPTIN
96
"I thought ____ never leave!" : THEYD
97
Pile on the floor : CARPET
98
Soothsayers of old : SIBYLS
99
Person prone to sunburn : ALBINO
100
Last Hitchcock film with Tippi Hedren : MARNIE
101
Some Google search results : IMAGES
103
Hot pot locale : KILN
104
English film festival city : LEEDS
106
It "hits the spot," per old radio ads : PEPSI
109
Begin to show wear : FRAY
110
Yarn quantity : HANK
111
Hair strands? : DNA
113
"EastEnders" network : BBC
114
Shot spot : ARM
115
Metaphysical concept : TAO
116
Fortune cover subj. : CEO
118
Longtime Sixers nickname : DRJ

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?