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UH-OH!

New York Times, Sunday, February 19, 2017

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
511/3/20137/29/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
315149460
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59043
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 73 Missing: {Q} Scrabble average: 1.70 This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
Eye surgery patients are always telling me that 'Uh-Oh....' is a phrase they don't want to hear during their operation, but it occurred to me one day that it might make a great ... read more

Eye surgery patients are always telling me that "Uh-Oh...." is a phrase they don't want to hear during their operation, but it occurred to me one day that it might make a great vowel-change-theme/ title for a Sunday puzzle. This proved to be pretty challenging because to do it right I had to change every "uh" sound in each phrase. Common words like "a" and "the" and "one" and "up" suddenly became dealbreakers.

Once I scrounged up suitable theme entries the puzzle went smoothly — I submitted it about November 1st, it was accepted December 15, and published about two months later since the Sunday queue is apparently rather short.

Will and Joel said their favorite entries were STONED SILENCE and HOT DOG BONE. I also like JANKY and "OH, WAIT!". Jeff must like those also since he gave them high scores on his XWord Info Word List.

(psst, Jeff ... how long do I have to keep promoting the word list?)

(Jeff: *passing Bruce a wad of unmarked bills*)

Jeff Chen notes:
Sound change, from UH to OH, thus UH-OH! I laughed at NO GOATS NO GLORY, the motto of the saddest goatherder in the world. It's a great base phrase, 'no guts no glory,' and the change in ... read more

Sound change, from UH to OH, thus UH-OH! I laughed at NO GOATS NO GLORY, the motto of the saddest goatherder in the world. It's a great base phrase, "no guts no glory," and the change in meaning is amusing. I also like STONED SILENCE, from "stunned silence" ... although aren't stoned folks usually giggling and chatty?

That's what my friends tell me, anyway. Ahem.

None of the others did much for me, unfortunately. BREAD AND BOATER feels stilted. A hummingbird feeder and a HOMING BIRD FEEDER seem too similar. And I don't have great associations with Confederate Era Dixie, so DIXIE COPES left a bad taste in my mouth.

I did like that Bruce chose some interesting spelling changes; CUPS to COPES, FUN to PHONE, etc. Much better than a simple letter substitution of *UH* to *OH*.

Great work on the short fill; hardly anything stood out. Minor ENS, NENES, hardly anything else. IMMUNO is a prefix, but it's interesting. Big thumbs-up for the super-smooth solve.

Some fun long fill, too, especially that nice WAKING UP / OPEN CASE / STAGE SET triple. None of those blew my mind, but they're all good.

I do wish there was a little more long fill. There are some CRAWDADS, AP TESTS, HACKERS strewn about, but it felt like most of the puzzle was dominated by four or five-letter answers, with not much to break up that sensation.

Not a fan of that big diagonal slash across the middle, as it hindered my solving flow. It makes grid construction so much easier, as once you work through part of the NE and SW corners, you can effectively fill the halves of the puzzle separately. Opening one or two spaces along that diagonal would have helped a ton. Or opening up the spaces at the ends of it, perhaps by moving that set of three black squares under NEOPET down one row.

The theme didn't do much for me, but I did appreciate a lot of the grid execution, especially the very smooth fill. It was so smooth, in fact, that I would have loved to get some more long bonus entries in exchange for a couple more dabs of crossword glue.

1
J
2
A
3
B
4
B
5
A
6
C
7
E
8
D
9
E
10
H
11
U
12
L
13
A
14
S
15
T
16
W
17
O
18
S
19
A
L
A
R
M
20
R
A
U
L
21
I
N
E
P
T
22
R
A
P
T
23
N
O
T
E
C
24
R
A
C
K
E
25
R
S
U
I
T
E
26
I
K
E
A
27
K
N
E
W
28
A
W
H
E
C
K
29
E
V
30
O
K
I
N
G
31
Y
E
S
32
O
C
D
33
S
T
O
34
N
35
E
36
D
S
I
L
E
N
C
E
37
A
N
K
A
38
I
V
O
T
E
D
39
G
A
S
40
C
41
A
R
T
E
D
42
H
43
A
44
C
K
E
R
S
45
M
U
S
E
46
N
O
G
O
A
T
S
47
N
O
G
L
O
R
Y
48
N
49
E
O
P
E
T
50
I
C
E
U
P
51
O
N
I
O
N
52
T
I
P
S
53
C
O
N
N
54
A
55
R
T
I
L
Y
56
P
57
A
R
T
I
58
O
59
W
60
E
61
H
O
T
D
62
O
G
B
O
N
E
63
D
I
X
I
E
C
64
O
P
E
S
65
E
N
S
66
D
O
I
N
G
67
G
I
Z
M
O
S
68
H
I
L
T
69
F
I
R
S
70
B
O
O
Z
E
71
D
W
A
D
E
72
A
73
T
74
H
E
N
A
75
B
76
R
E
A
D
A
N
77
D
78
B
O
A
T
E
R
79
T
O
A
D
80
L
O
U
R
D
E
S
81
E
E
R
I
E
R
82
A
T
V
83
D
84
W
A
Y
N
E
85
P
S
S
T
86
P
H
O
87
N
E
A
N
D
G
A
88
M
89
E
90
S
91
E
T
A
92
D
93
I
94
X
95
R
E
L
E
A
S
E
96
I
M
M
97
U
N
O
98
L
U
R
E
99
I
M
I
N
100
H
O
101
M
102
I
103
N
G
B
I
R
D
F
104
E
E
D
E
R
105
C
A
N
E
106
E
N
O
C
H
107
E
L
S
E
108
S
T
E
N
O
109
E
X
E
S
110
S
E
O
U
L
111
R
E
A
D
112
C
O
D
E
X
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0219 ( 24,575 )
Across
1
Bloblike "Star Wars" character : JABBA
6
Give over : CEDE
10
Great shakes? : HULAS
15
Low rolls : TWOS
19
Auto feature : ALARM
20
Julia of Hollywood : RAUL
21
Ham-handed : INEPT
22
Enthralled : RAPT
23
Office for decoding messages? : NOTECRACKERSUITE
26
The average size of its stores is 300,000 square feet : IKEA
27
Had more than an inkling : KNEW
28
"Rats!" : AWHECK
29
Bringing to mind : EVOKING
31
"Indubitably!" : YES
32
Anxious condition, briefly : OCD
33
What one might sit in at a Cheech & Chong movie? : STONEDSILENCE
37
"Puppy Love" singer, 1960 : ANKA
38
Election Day affirmation : IVOTED
39
Oomph : GAS
40
Hauled (away) : CARTED
42
WikiLeaks associates : HACKERS
45
Inspiration : MUSE
46
Herder's mantra? : NOGOATSNOGLORY
48
Virtual dog or cat, maybe : NEOPET
50
Glaciate : ICEUP
51
Fake news site, with "The" : ONION
52
Sign on a jar at a bar : TIPS
53
Mass. neighbor : CONN
54
In a pretentious manner : ARTILY
56
Series opener : PARTI
58
Fall behind : OWE
61
Quality control problem at Oscar Mayer? : HOTDOGBONE
63
Title of a book about Southern Reconstruction? : DIXIECOPES
65
Nav. rank : ENS
66
Word before or after nothing : DOING
67
Doohickeys : GIZMOS
68
Sword handle : HILT
69
They may be decorated for the holidays : FIRS
70
Sauce : BOOZE
71
Nickname for a Miami 12-time N.B.A. All-Star : DWADE
72
Goddess usually pictured with a helmet : ATHENA
75
Two sights in a yacht's galley? : BREADANDBOATER
79
Prey for a heron or garter snake : TOAD
80
French pilgrimage site : LOURDES
81
Stranger : EERIER
82
Off-road transport, informally : ATV
83
___ Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock : DWAYNE
85
Sound heard by an exam proctor, say : PSST
86
Helpful things for killing time nowadays? : PHONEANDGAMES
91
Fraternity letter : ETA
92
Number of French kings named Charles : DIX
95
Catch's partner : RELEASE
96
Prefix with therapy : IMMUNO
98
Draw : LURE
99
"Sign me up!" : IMIN
100
Pigeon trainer, at times? : HOMINGBIRDFEEDER
105
Crook, e.g. : CANE
106
Book of ___ (ancient Jewish text) : ENOCH
107
"Who ___?" : ELSE
108
Kind of pad : STENO
109
Past partners : EXES
110
1988 Olympics site : SEOUL
111
Studied : READ
112
Ancient manuscript : CODEX
Down
1
Of poor quality, in modern slang : JANKY
2
Set apart : ALONE
3
College in Lewiston, Me. : BATES
4
Steep : BREW
5
Big movie theater chain : AMC
6
Miniature lobster lookalikes : CRAWDADS
7
Every : EACH
8
They may be put up before a fight : DUKES
9
President-___ : ELECT
10
Starts of many emails : HIS
11
Burma's first prime minister : UNU
12
Warm welcome at Waikiki : LEI
13
Exams for some H.S. students : APTESTS
14
Singer/guitarist ___ Ray Vaughan : STEVIE
15
Early wheels : TRIKE
16
Rousing : WAKINGUP
17
Unsolved crime : OPENCASE
18
Theater backdrop : STAGESET
24
Clamor : RACKET
25
Onetime MGM rival : RKO
30
Trite : OLD
32
Coming up : ONTAP
34
Canon rival : NIKON
35
Hardly ___ : EVER
36
Fishing vessel : DORY
37
In the neighborhood : AROUND
40
Changing room? : COCOON
41
Go-betweens : AGENTS
42
Fine-tuning : HONING
43
Acrobatic : AGILE
44
Be overly sweet : CLOY
45
Hip-hop's ___ Def : MOS
46
Cubbyhole : NICHE
47
Performing beneath one's usual level : NOTON
48
Late times, in ads : NITES
49
Bigger than big : EPIC
52
The Bee Gees, for much of their career : TRIO
54
Ancient market : AGORA
55
Ruth's 2,214 : RBIS
56
Circular things that arrive in square boxes : PIZZAS
57
Lumberjacks : AXMEN
58
Narcotic : OPIATE
59
One carrying a torch? : WELDER
60
Ending with poly- : ESTER
62
Valhalla V.I.P. : ODIN
63
Certain vacuum tube : DIODE
64
"Actually, come to think of it ..." : OHWAIT
67
Egg on : GOAD
69
Hiking group, with "the"? : FED
70
Greek city mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles : BEREA
71
Backs, anatomically : DORSA
72
With consequences : ATAPRICE
73
As much as possible : TOTHEMAX
74
Motor oil brand : HAVOLINE
75
"The Lord of the Rings" actor Billy : BOYD
76
Step up or down : RUNG
77
Relied (on) : DEPENDED
78
Theme for an annual city-magazine issue : BESTOF
80
The inside track : LANEONE
83
Narc's org. : DEA
84
Arroyos : WASHES
87
Spanish kids : NENES
88
Cold War flier : MIG
89
Glow in the dark? : EMBER
90
"Say cheese!" : SMILE
92
Dressed to the nines, with "up" : DUDED
93
Goddess of peace : IRENE
94
Canon rival : XEROX
97
___ Major : URSA
98
Mother of Artemis : LETO
101
Farm call : MOO
102
Post-O.R. stop : ICU
103
Grp. of Senators : NHL
104
PC key : ESC

Answer summary: 14 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later.

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