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SEE 68-ACROSS

New York Times, Sunday, February 18, 2018

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

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 names off the bottoms of ... more
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 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 …

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0218 ( 24,939 )
Across Down
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
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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