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SEE 68-ACROSS

New York Times, Sunday, February 18, 2018

Author:
Elizabeth A. Long
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
137/16/20072/18/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1422310
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58130
Elizabeth A. Long

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 144, Blocks: 80 Missing: {Z} This is puzzle # 13 for Ms. Long. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I find it incredibly frustrating when I can't figure out a theme until late in the game, so the payoff has to be worth it. Definitely the case today! Elizabeth is a NAME DROPPER, hanging ... read more

I find it incredibly frustrating when I can't figure out a theme until late in the game, so the payoff has to be worth it. Definitely the case today! Elizabeth is a NAME DROPPER, hanging names off the bottoms of phrases … and doing so in a way that forms a kooky phrase!

EARLY AM(ERICA)N is a perfect example. EARLY AMEN is amusing, creating an image of a person wishing and praying for church to end. And what a neat find, ERICA in there, with AM(ERICA)N forming AMEN. Very cool.

I love it when a puzzle leaves me with a "how'd the author come up with all of those?" feeling. I imagine it was simply a matter of putting in the time, searching for words that work in this special way, and figuring out what phrases fit with those words. Still, it seems a bit magical that Elizabeth found so many good ones.

I mean, SLUMBER PAY as a fee for testing mattresses is funny. And SLUMBER P(ART)Y as a base phrase is great!

The cross-referencing was necessary, but it sure did increase my grumbling for those first 15 minutes of my solve. There's not much I like less than being forced to jump around, searching for a particular number. This is a crossword, not a number search, goldarnit! But again, the payoff was worth it.

Also worth it was the grid execution. Granted, Elizabeth went to 144 words, four past the usual max, but with so many pairs of intersecting themers, it was likely necessary. I didn't even mind, considering she still gave some bonuses in EXTRA VIRGIN, LOTUS EATERS, SEA LIONS, LIT A FIRE, even the fun PROBITY.

I'd love to see Will change his spec sheet to "max 140 words for a Sunday ... except if the theme complexity warrants 144." There was still a good amount of HIER, CYL, SRTA, etc. kind of stuff, but a tad less than we usually see (in spades) in Sunday puzzles. Not having to slog through a ton of gunk is a fantastic thing.

I considered this for the POW!, given the neat concept and great finds. If only there hadn't been *quite* as much frustration in my first 15 minutes …

1
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L
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B
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W
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Q
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K
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K
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J
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S
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0218 ( 24,939 )
Across
1
___ aisle, part of a church : APSE
5
Prayer books : MISSALS
12
Bit of baloney : FIB
15
Rep : CRED
19
Two, in Toulouse : DEUX
20
Neighbor of New York : ONTARIO
21
Pesticide ingredient : URETHANE
23
Still a contender : INIT
24
Cousins of jaguarundis : OCELOTS
25
City in Los Angeles County : TORRANCE
26
Leave in the dust : OUTRUN
28
European eruption site : ETNA
29
Search engine failure? : BINGERROR
30
Is able to translate what was heard on the wall? : SPEAKSFLY
32
Thwart : FOIL
34
Choler : IRE
35
Not stay the course? : VEER
36
Gin, lime and soda combo : GIMLET
38
Things that are bought and soled : SHOES
40
Arizona tribe : HOPI
43
Scotland's longest river : TAY
45
River through Russia and Kazakhstan : URAL
46
Is expecting : AWAITS
48
Oddity : QUIRK
50
More in order : NEATER
52
Dole (out) : METE
53
Tactic in a war of attrition : SIEGE
54
It goes after go : KART
55
Mattress tester's compensation? : SLUMBERPAY
61
Word after big or oil : RIG
62
Suggestion of what to do, slangily : REC
64
Opposite of ennemies : AMIES
65
Basics of education, briefly : RRR
66
Super superstar : ICON
68
Supercilious sort ... or the title for this puzzle : NAMEDROPPER
72
A bushelful : LOTS
73
Make faces in front of a camera : MUG
74
European capital named after a saint : SOFIA
75
"___ your head!" : USE
76
Monster.com posting : JOB
77
Dress code requirement for the Puritans? : PRIMCOLORS
80
Peak in Suisse : ALPE
83
City on the Erie Canal : UTICA
86
Tops : AONE
87
Goads : EGGSON
89
Test prep aid : TUTOR
90
Dark beer : PORTER
92
France's ___ Noël : PERE
93
What may follow a school period? : EDU
95
Connect, as picture with sound : SYNC
96
Annual CBS awards broadcast, with "the" : TONYS
97
Playoff matchup : SERIES
99
Years ago : ONCE
101
"Mudbound" director Rees : DEE
102
Actress Rowlands : GENA
103
Hoped-for conclusion by someone with sore knees? : EARLYAMEN
108
Make a really long-distance call? : PHONEMARS
113
Rani's raiment : SARI
115
Matador's foe : ELTORO
116
Infamous Chicago bootlegger : ALCAPONE
117
Mediterranean resort island : MINORCA
119
"___ go bragh!" : ERIN
120
Swimmers with flippers : SEALIONS
121
Rufous ruminant : REDDEER
122
Census datum : RACE
123
Sp. miss : SRTA
124
Follower of hi or lo : RES
125
Slips into at a store, say : TRIESON
126
Louver : SLAT
Down
1
"Hasta la vista" : ADIOS
2
Corral : PENUP
3
Software package : SUITE
4
Like high-quality olive oil : EXTRAVIRGIN
5
Nighttime event in the western sky : MOONSET
6
Business magazine : INC
7
Resolve : STEEL
8
Coarse, as language : SALTY
9
Elvis ___ Presley : ARON
10
Engaged in arson : LITAFIRE
11
Request for aid : SOS
12
Pointless : FUTILE
13
Go over one's wardrobe? : IRON
14
Titanic's undoing : BERG
15
Burn a little : CHAR
16
Went wild : RANRIOT
17
Added numbers : ENCORES
18
Many mowers : DEERES
22
Number of i's in "Sicilia" : TRE
27
Hula accompaniment, for short : UKE
29
With 29-Across, surprise in the mail : BILL
31
With 30-Across, is blunt : FRANK
33
Khayyám and others : OMARS
36
Left only the exterior of : GUTTED
37
Green of the L.P.G.A. : TAMMIE
38
Fills : SATES
39
24 heures ago : HIER
40
Central command spots, for short : HQS
41
Sénat affirmative : OUI
42
Polish dumpling : PIEROGI
44
Senate affirmative : YEA
47
Big brand of grills : WEBER
49
Gunpowder holder : KEG
51
Overdue amount : ARREAR
56
Things that might be grabbed by someone in an argument : LAPELS
57
Authority on diamonds? : UMP
58
Uprightness : PROBITY
59
With 55-Across, big sleepover : ART
60
What mos. and mos. add up to : YRS
63
French vineyard : CRU
66
Devilkin : IMP
67
Apt rhyme for "grr" : CUR
68
Everybody's opposite : NOONE
69
New York Titans and Dallas Texans, in '60s sports : AFLERS
70
Mine, in Milano : MIO
71
Plains tribe : OSAGES
72
Lackadaisical sorts : LOTUSEATERS
74
Glaswegians, e.g. : SCOTS
76
Protrude : JUT
78
With 77-Across, red, blue and yellow : MARY
79
Welcome at the front door : SEEIN
81
"The Oblong Box" writer : POE
82
Witch's home : ENDOR
84
Against : CON
85
Electrical connection? : ARC
88
Like fried food vis-à-vis grilled food, typically : GREASIER
90
Fey's co-star in "Baby Mama" and "Sisters" : POEHLER
91
Simple variant of baseball : ONEOCAT
92
Part of Potus: Abbr. : PRES
94
Break, as a habit : UNLEARN
96
QB's feat : TDPASS
98
Way out : EGRESS
100
Three-dimensional fig. : CYL
103
Wear down : ERODE
104
Buenos ___ : AIRES
105
End of story? : MORAL
106
With 103-Across, simple furniture style : ERICA
107
Schubert's "Eine Kleine Trauermusik," e.g. : NONET
109
Lion queen in "The Lion King" : NALA
110
Prefix with dermis : EPI
111
Anchor : MOOR
112
With 108-Across, not talking loudly on a cell, e.g. : ANNE
114
"The King ___" : ANDI
117
"D.C. Cab" co-star : MRT
118
Board hiree, for short : CEO

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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