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PARONOMASIA

New York Times, Sunday, February 11, 2018

Author:
Matt Ginsberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
471/17/200811/1/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1603015463
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57330
Matt Ginsberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 46 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.

1
A
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B
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L
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D
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H
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A
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D
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J
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F
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D
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L
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G
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G
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M
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C
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G
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B
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K
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F
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C
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F
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P
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G
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B
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C
H
M
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L
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V
Y
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A
L
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O
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R
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M
B
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A
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L
A
C
E
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T
S
E
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N
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P
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A
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X
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R
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O
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A
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P
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H
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D
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U
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M
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C
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Y
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S
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M
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O
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E
T
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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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