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"LOOKIN' GOOD!"

New York Times, Sunday, December 8, 2019

Author:
Emily Carroll
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
118/22/20161/30/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2113310
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53230
Emily Carroll

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {Q} Scrabble average: 1.75 This is puzzle # 10 for Ms. Carroll. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Emily Carroll, of New York City, is a 2016 medical school graduate who just finished her residency. She is applying for fellowships and expects to get news (fingers crossed!) around the ... read more

Emily Carroll, of New York City, is a 2016 medical school graduate who just finished her residency. She is applying for fellowships and expects to get news (fingers crossed!) around the time this crossword is published. The genesis of the puzzle was 41-Across, with its unusual letter pattern. Part of that pattern led her to think of 110-Across, which became the puzzle's "revealer" entry.

This is Emily's 10th crossword for The Times and her second Sunday.

Emily Carroll notes:
I wanted to find a way to get BOYZIIMEN into a puzzle because I think the 'YZII' is such a fun, bizarre string of letters. Initially, I was going to attempt to do so in a themeless puzzle, ... read more

I wanted to find a way to get BOYZIIMEN into a puzzle because I think the "YZII" is such a fun, bizarre string of letters. Initially, I was going to attempt to do so in a themeless puzzle, but as I was trying to work it into the bottom of a stack the idea of something being "on the eyes" came to me so I went in this direction instead. Will Shortz had the suggestion to make EASY ON THE EYES one of the answers when I originally had it as the title, which I think is a great tweak that makes the puzzle much less obvious and hopefully more fun for solvers!

If I were to go back and do this again, I'd probably get rid of one of the theme answers to let things breathe a little more. As it stands now, I think there are some pretty rough spots in terms of the fill.

Jeff Chen notes:
I love it when constructors give an honest critique of their work. So many pat themselves on the back, saying how proud they are of the product, while only paying lip service to the flaws. ... read more

I love it when constructors give an honest critique of their work. So many pat themselves on the back, saying how proud they are of the product, while only paying lip service to the flaws. The ability to step back and objectively point out what one could have done better, pulling no punches, is essential for moving to the next level. Saying "myb" is hard, but important.

Ah, the older generations probably don't know the new slang, "myb." It's a nonsense syllable, pronounced "meeb," which needs to be trilled in an ululating, high-pitched scream, lasting at least five seconds. It's best used as a surprise exclamation, to catch people off guard. Try it out so you can finally be cool, like the young kids!

(It's short for "my bad.")

I enjoyed the crazy letter patterns today. Not only was there the curious -YZIIM- string, but catching all those Zs was anything but sleep-inducing. All those rare letters made Emily's task of producing a smooth Sunday puzzle even harder — plural OZZIES crossing ECKO and LOLZ might have been a killer for some — but it's an interesting trade-off between snazzy and smooth.

Back to MYB, Emily debuted a good handful of entries to the Shortz era. I was on the fence for MYB, since I fear many solvers won't get it, but I loved MD PHD, an audacious joint degree for docs who want to do research. I wasn't so big a fan of STEPA, since instructions are usually given in numbers, not letter steps.

Fantastic clue for GNOME! [Part of a short race] had me fixated on relay races, perhaps the 4x100. GNOME is already a fun entry, and the clue makes it sizzle.

Overall, I enjoyed the overall concept, but it would have been much better in a weekday 15x15 puzzle. Once you get the theme, the EZ/IIs quickly got repetitive; not so easy on the eyes. Moving to a 15x15 grid would have also allowed for a much cleaner, more polished overall product.

1
J
2
A
3
R
4
A
5
S
6
C
7
A
8
P
9
A
10
B
11
B
12
O
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T
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U
15
T
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E
17
S
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A
F
E
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W
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K
E
L
S
O
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T
R
U
L
Y
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F
E
T
A
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B
R
E
E
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Z
I
N
E
S
S
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R
E
C
A
P
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F
A
H
D
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B
A
L
I
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N
D
O
N
E
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S
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A
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E
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D
I
T
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D
31
E
M
E
R
G
E
S
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H
A
D
33
T
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O
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E
Z
I
N
E
36
R
E
D
D
37
T
I
38
R
39
A
40
D
E
41
B
O
Y
42
Z
I
I
M
E
N
43
N
I
N
E
T
O
44
D
I
N
E
A
T
45
E
S
S
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I
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N
48
A
49
S
E
C
50
S
H
O
51
R
I
N
G
52
M
Y
53
B
54
N
A
D
I
A
55
G
E
E
Z
E
R
56
U
57
S
B
58
E
59
C
60
K
61
O
62
K
R
I
S
T
63
E
N
W
I
I
G
64
N
E
H
I
65
L
O
L
Z
66
E
N
D
67
O
D
O
68
S
E
E
69
T
O
70
I
A
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M
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N
E
Z
73
R
I
A
74
L
75
I
M
76
A
M
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N
I
N
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T
E
N
D
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O
W
I
I
80
S
A
S
E
81
F
E
M
82
S
T
R
E
W
S
83
P
L
A
N
E
84
X
85
V
I
86
A
87
B
U
S
I
V
E
88
W
H
Y
Y
E
S
89
O
90
P
91
S
92
W
E
93
E
Z
E
R
94
N
E
R
95
V
E
D
96
J
A
C
97
O
B
R
I
I
S
98
A
G
R
E
E
R
99
S
100
P
101
C
102
A
103
I
L
U
V
U
104
S
N
I
105
P
S
106
N
E
107
S
T
E
R
S
108
B
E
L
U
G
109
A
110
E
A
S
111
Y
112
O
113
N
T
H
E
E
Y
E
S
114
W
A
L
L
115
L
116
U
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N
G
S
118
O
V
E
R
E
X
P
O
S
E
119
A
L
E
E
120
A
M
I
E
S
121
D
I
N
A
R
122
A
T
T
N
123
S
E
R
S
124
S
P
A
D
E
125
A
D
E
L
E
126
E
S
T
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1208 ( 25,597 )
Across
1
Unpleasantly surprise : JAR
4
Music-licensing org. : ASCAP
9
Big brother? : ABBOT
14
Some Pac-12 athletes : UTES
18
Three or four, say : AFEW
20
Ashton Kutcher's role on "That '70s Show" : KELSO
21
"Cross my heart" : TRULY
22
Ingredient in spanakopita : FETA
23
Carefree quality : BREEZINESS
25
Synopsis : RECAP
26
Saudi king before Abdullah : FAHD
27
Popular Asian honeymoon destination : BALIINDONESIA
29
Ready for publication : EDITED
31
Comes into view : EMERGES
32
Was given no other option : HADTO
35
Online publication : EZINE
36
Funny Foxx : REDD
37
Rant : TIRADE
41
Top musical group of the 1990s, per Billboard : BOYZIIMEN
43
51 past : NINETO
44
Patronize, in a way : DINEAT
45
Slow start? : ESS
46
Momentarily : INASEC
50
Supporting, with "up" : SHORING
52
"I messed up," in slang : MYB
54
Comaneci of gymnastics : NADIA
55
One shouting "Get off my lawn!" : GEEZER
56
PC port : USB
58
Clothing designer Marc : ECKO
62
"S.N.L." alum who co-starred in 2016's "Ghostbusters" : KRISTENWIIG
64
Classic soft drink : NEHI
65
Response to a funny meme : LOLZ
66
Stopping point : END
67
Lead-in to meter : ODO
68
Manage : SEETO
70
Follower of Sam or will. : IAM
72
Pince-___ glasses : NEZ
73
Iranian currency with a 75-Across on its bills : RIAL
75
See 73-Across : IMAM
77
Game console introduced in 2006 : NINTENDOWII
80
It's often included with an R.S.V.P. card : SASE
81
Like most Italian singular nouns finishing in -a: Abbr. : FEM
82
Scatters about : STREWS
83
United way? : PLANE
84
The most recent Pope Benedict : XVI
86
Like some "#@&!" language : ABUSIVE
88
"Actually, I do" : WHYYES
89
Photo ___ : OPS
92
"Buddy Holly" band, 1994 : WEEZER
94
Braced (oneself) : NERVED
96
New York social reformer whose name is on a Manhattan housing project : JACOBRIIS
98
Amenable sort : AGREER
99
Pet lovers' org. : SPCA
103
Phrase on a candy heart : ILUVU
104
Impertinent sorts : SNIPS
106
Birds or wasps : NESTERS
108
Caviar source : BELUGA
110
Good-looking ... or a phonetic hint to a feature found five times in this puzzle : EASYONTHEEYES
114
What may follow fire or stone : WALL
115
Pulmonologist's expertise : LUNGS
118
Give too much light : OVEREXPOSE
119
One way to turn a ship : ALEE
120
Members of une sororité : AMIES
121
National currency which, if you drop its second letter and read the result backward, spells another national currency : DINAR
122
Memo header : ATTN
123
Knights' titles in "A Game of Thrones" : SERS
124
Heart topper, in bridge : SPADE
125
"Someone Like You" hitmaker, 2011 : ADELE
126
Jokey suffix with most : EST
Down
1
Prattle : JABBER
2
Triangular construction : AFRAME
3
Was taken aback : REELED
4
Unable to move well : AKINETIC
5
Submits : SENDSIN
6
Former TV psychic Miss ___ : CLEO
7
The "A" of W.N.B.A.: Abbr. : ASSN
8
Ask : POSE
9
Parts of hearts : ATRIA
10
Wonderful receptacle? : BREADBIN
11
Tampa Bay N.F.L.er : BUC
12
Rock-___ (jukebox brand) : OLA
13
Romantic preference : TYPE
14
Where to see Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" : UFFIZI
15
Three or four, say : TEATIME
16
Colorless gases : ETHENES
17
Turns blue? : SADDENS
19
"Well, that's quite a coincidence ..." : WEIRD
24
Sudden turn : ZIG
28
Ewe or sow : SHE
30
One with superhuman powers : DEITY
33
Spanish or Portuguese : TONGUE
34
"___ Como Va" (Santana hit) : OYE
38
Make alterations to : RESEW
39
State of disbelief : ATHEISM
40
Humdinger : DOOZIE
42
Lusaka native : ZAMBIAN
43
"Swell!" : NEATO
44
NNE or SSW : DIR
46
Tattoo artists : INKERS
47
Fictional land of books and film : NARNIA
48
"Impossible Is Nothing" sloganeer : ADIDAS
49
Family nickname : SIS
51
University officials : REGENTS
53
___ canto : BEL
55
Part of a short race : GNOME
57
Draws back : SHIES
59
Washington's Kellyanne or George : CONWAY
60
Little: Ger. : KLEINE
61
Smith and Nelson : OZZIES
63
Teacher : EDIFIER
64
Emphatic denial : NONEVER
69
Arduous : TIRING
71
Degree for a research scientist : MDPHD
74
Latin law : LEX
76
New York Mets epithet : AMAZIN
78
Quaint contraction : TWERE
79
West Coast brew, for short : OLY
82
France's Boulogne-___-Mer : SUR
85
Disney's Herbie, for one : VWBUG
87
Under attack : BESIEGED
88
Visitors' announcement : WEREHERE
89
"The Song of Hiawatha" tribe : OJIBWAS
90
Sierra Nevada, e.g. : PALEALE
91
Oar : SCULLER
93
Frozen Wasser : EIS
95
Counterpart of dorsal : VENTRAL
97
Immature eggs : OVULES
98
Doofus : ASS
99
First part in an instruction manual : STEPA
100
Hallucinogen sometimes called a "divine messenger" : PEYOTE
101
Parts of waves : CRESTS
102
Give the green light : ASSENT
105
No longer in style : PASSE
107
Reason for a TV-MA rating, perhaps : SEX
109
"Say it ain't so!" : ALAS
111
Jedi guru : YODA
112
Poet who wrote "Jupiter from on high laughs at lovers' perjuries" : OVID
113
World's rarest goose : NENE
116
A count manager : UMP
117
Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : NIA

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

See NYT Crosswords for info.