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UH-OH!

New York Times, Sunday, February 19, 2017

Author: Bruce Haight
Editor: Will Shortz
Bruce Haight
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
311/3/201311/24/20172
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2995330
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56022

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 vowel-change-theme/ title for a ... more
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 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 meaning is amusing. I also ... more
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 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
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T
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W
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O
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S
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A
L
A
R
M
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R
A
U
L
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I
N
E
P
T
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R
A
P
T
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N
O
T
E
C
24
R
A
C
K
E
25
R
S
U
I
T
E
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I
K
E
A
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K
N
E
W
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A
W
H
E
C
K
29
E
V
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O
K
I
N
G
31
Y
E
S
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O
C
D
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S
T
O
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N
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E
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D
S
I
L
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N
C
E
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A
N
K
A
38
I
V
O
T
E
D
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G
A
S
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C
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A
R
T
E
D
42
H
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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
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I
C
E
U
P
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O
N
I
O
N
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T
I
P
S
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C
O
N
N
54
A
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R
T
I
L
Y
56
P
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A
R
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I
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O
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W
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E
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H
O
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D
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O
G
B
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N
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63
D
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X
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C
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O
P
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D
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G
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G
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Z
M
O
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H
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T
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F
I
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B
O
O
Z
E
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D
W
A
D
E
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A
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T
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H
E
N
A
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B
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R
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A
D
A
N
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D
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B
O
A
T
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T
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L
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U
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D
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S
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E
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A
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V
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D
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W
A
Y
N
E
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P
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S
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P
H
O
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N
E
A
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D
G
A
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M
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E
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S
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E
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A
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D
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I
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X
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M
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U
N
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L
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H
O
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M
102
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N
G
B
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E
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C
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N
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C
H
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S
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C
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X
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0219 ( 24,575 )
Across Down
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
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: 16 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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