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PARONOMASIA

New York Times, Sunday, February 11, 2018

Author:
Matt Ginsberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
481/17/200811/1/20187
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1603015464
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1.57330
Matt Ginsberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 47 for Mr. Ginsberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matt Ginsberg notes:
This was such a fun puzzle to make; I hope it was as much fun to solve! Since everything is a word, Dr.Fill rips through it with no mistakes in a few seconds. Will was very kind to my ... read more

This was such a fun puzzle to make; I hope it was as much fun to solve! Since everything is a word, Dr.Fill rips through it with no mistakes in a few seconds.

Will was very kind to my clues this time, using the vast majority of them and, as always, I found some of his changes interesting. I had gone with the slightly edgier [Bridgegate locale] for 19-D and with [Death of a telethon host?] for 35-A. Not sure what people will think of those. Will also removed my slightly political [Company that recalled 18 million products after outsourcing production to China in 2002] for 40-A. I had clued 9-D as [Start of something big] and was sorry to see that changed.

I never know where to clue fill as an abbreviation. So, for example, my clue for 100-D involved a couple of actresses. 110-D was [Am partner], and 106-A was [Baby/pigeon commonality]. I'd love to hear what people think of these changes, and I'll hopefully learn something!

Mostly, though, I had a great time finding the ever-so-painful puns and then subjecting everyone where I work to them. Hopefully, all of you groaned as much as they did. I guess I'd be remiss not to include some of the words that wound up on the cutting room floor. Here are the clues; the answers are below in a random order.

  • What a wild stallion may do
  • Asked for help
  • Like "go fly a kite"
  • Plain ol' spud
  • Drag Karl around
  • Passover celebration for the staff
  • COMMENTATOR
  • SAUTEED
  • CRUSADER
  • BUXOM
  • HALLMARKS
  • FORWARDS
Jeff Chen notes:
What cool finds! ORCHESTRATES sounds like 'orca straits' = a neat a-ha moment. I love it when you're left with a 'how in heck did the author find those?' feeling. I missed some of them as ... read more

What cool finds! ORCHESTRATES sounds like "orca straits" = a neat a-ha moment. I love it when you're left with a "how in heck did the author find those?" feeling. I missed some of them as I solved, so I highlighted them below. I don't want anyone to miss WHEATIES as "wee tees"!

The overall solving experience wasn't nearly as fun as the themers, though. EDH in the starting corner didn't bode well. I glunked through about a dozen of these gluey bits, making my solve feel inelegant. A couple of nice bonuses in HOT MIC and ORATORIO didn't alleviate that.

Why so much gloop? Take another look at the grid highlights below. While it's an amazing feat to get so much themage interlocked, there's isn't a subspace that doesn't have two or more themers running through it. No Bueno!

After highlighting the themers, my opinion of the puzzle changed — I would have expected more crossword glue than Matt needed. It's an amazing job, given the fact that a standard 140-word Sunday puzzle is hard enough to make …

But it's still too much fluff. And it was so easy to miss those themers, that even I — an inconceivably anal constructor — didn't see or appreciate the interlock until I did my highlighting. Heck, I missed highlighting a themer and then had to go back through a third time! So I don't think it's a good layout for the NYT's mass audience. Doesn't do the themers justice.

But some great finds that made me want to go back and appreciate each one. I think it could have been a standout puzzle if the themers had been pared back and then presented in such a way to make them easily noticeable — perhaps all in the across direction, or even shading the theme squares.

It's tough when your themers are normal words/phrases, and BORDEAUX is the same length as ORATORIO, DINETTES, IS HE DEAD, ALL ROUND. Way too easy to confuse what's theme and what's not.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0211 ( 24,932 )
Across
1. Like most seamen, supposedly : ABLE
5. Writer who said "Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood" : WILDE
10. Holiday celebrating the arrival of spring : TET
13. Islam's final pillar : HADJ
17. Non-irons : WOODS
19. Two make a Hamilton : FIVERS
20. Handel's "Messiah," e.g. : ORATORIO
22. Narrow passages for killer whales? : ORCHESTRATES
24. Kitchen nooks : DINETTES
25. Zodiac feline : LEO
26. Backs down : RELENTS
27. Fable about smoked salmon? : LOCKSMITH
28. Kvetches : MOANERS
30. Balneotherapy site : SPA
32. "Yeah, right" : ASIF
33. Raised some vegetables? : GROUPIES
35. Decrease in the number of people named Gerald? : GERIATRICIAN
40. Hot Wheels maker : MATTEL
41. Are no longer : WERE
42. Mother ___ : LODE
43. Gulager of "The Return of the Living Dead" : CLU
44. In amongst : AMID
45. Number of bits in a byte : EIGHT
48. Gradually diminishes : EBBS
50. Abstract artist Mondrian : PIET
51. First mass consumer product offering Wi-Fi : IBOOK
53. Sticks for breaking things : CUES
54. Belts for a Chinese leader? : MOUSETRAPS
57. Chaney who was called "The Man of a Thousand Faces" : LON
58. Oakland's Oracle, for example : ARENA
60. Not budging : FIRM
61. Cry from the mizzen top : SAILHO
62. Conveyance in "Calvin and Hobbes" : SLED
63. Overused : TIRED
65. Storm harbinger, maybe : CALM
66. Gave a pick-me-up : LIFTED
69. Josip Broz, familiarly : TITO
70. Like many a campfire story : EERIE
72. Responsibility lesson for a child : PET
75. Inventors' diaries? : IDEALOGUES
77. So-called "Island of the Gods" : BALI
78. Ordinary Joe : SCHMO
80. Impose : LEVY
81. Afterthought indicator : ALSO
82. Well-known Cuban export : RUMBA
84. Fancy collar material : LACE
85. Lao-___ : TSE
86. Crucifixion letters : INRI
88. Guerre's opposite : PAIX
90. MGM's lion, e.g. : ROARER
92. Cloudophobia? : STRATOSPHERE
95. Opposite of a strong boil? : DULCIMER
97. Pandora's release : ILLS
98. Like Verdi's "La donna è mobile" : INB
99. As-yet-undeciphered Cretan script : LINEARA
100. What brings the rocket to the pad? : MISTLETOE
104. Archaeologists' study : ORIGINS
106. Managerial exec : COO
109. Mark Twain farce about a painter who fakes his own demise : ISHEDEAD
110. Jewelry for the oracle at Delphi? : PROFITEERING
112. Versatile : ALLROUND
113. Subleases : RELETS
114. Arafat of the P.L.O. : YASIR
115. What Simon does : SAYS
116. Classic British roadsters : MGS
117. Rank things : ODORS
118. Trix alternative : ETTE
Down
1. Not reporting as instructed, maybe : AWOL
2. Induce ennui in : BORE
3. Fuss about "The West Wing" actor Rob? : LOCOMOTION
4. Old English letter : EDH
5. Electricians : WIRERS
6. Several Russian czars : IVANS
7. Resident of Riga : LETT
8. Cousin of a highboy : DRESSER
9. Part of a road test track : ESS
10. List heading : TODO
11. Runner Liddell depicted in "Chariots of Fire" : ERIC
12. Pub container : TANKARD
13. It might pick up a passing comment : HOTMIC
14. Contrived : ARTIFICIAL
15. Beverly Hills ___ : DIET
16. Kid : JOSH
18. Colorful shawl : SERAPE
19. Neighbor of Palisades Park, N.J. : FTLEE
21. Chanteuse O'Shea : TESSIE
23. Declining due to age : SENILE
27. China's Chou En-___ : LAI
29. Best : OUTDO
31. Early arrival : PREEMIE
33. Service with more than a billion users : GMAIL
34. Recurring role for Stallone : RAMBO
35. Groks : GETS
36. Philatelist's item : ALBUM
37. Turn's partner : TOSS
38. Hebrew leader : ALEPH
39. Wack : NUTSO
41. Small undergarments? : WHEATIES
46. Like some sprains and champagnes : ICED
47. Rev : GUN
49. Carried cash around? : BORDEAUX
50. Schoolmarmish : PRIM
52. Superman's birth name : KALEL
55. Morales of "NYPD Blue" : ESAI
56. Some Poe works : TALES
59. Mulligan : REDO
60. Un-to : FRO
62. Legal pause : STAY
64. "Come on in!" : ITSOPEN
65. Home, in slang : CRIB
66. Buoyant cadences : LILTS
67. "That is," to Caesar : IDEST
68. At a frantic pace : FEVERISHLY
69. ___ bulb : TULIP
71. Wood often used for bow-making : ELM
72. Help with the harvest? : PHARMACIST
73. V.I.P. at the Oscars : EMCEE
74. What's human, they say : TOERR
76. Needle-nosed fish : GARS
77. Grocer's wheel : BRIE
79. "___ de Lune" : CLAIR
83. Garfield's girlfriend in "Garfield" : ARLENE
86. Tepid approval : ITLLDO
87. Small, biting fly : NOSEEUM
89. Lined with trees : ARBORED
91. Playwright Sean who wrote "Juno and the Paycock" : OCASEY
93. Lets out, e.g. : ALTERS
94. Step on it : HIE
95. All thumbs : DIGITS
96. Second and fifth : UNITS
99. Career employee : LIFER
100. G.I.s of concern : MIAS
101. Cuba, por ejemplo : ISLA
102. Drink disliked by Buzz Aldrin [true fact!] : TANG
103. Strangely enough, they're often even : ODDS
105. Hershey chocolate : ROLO
107. Doing the job : ONIT
108. Shrek, for one : OGRE
110. Voting affirmatively : PRO
111. Arctic explorer John : RAE

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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