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New York Times, Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Author:
Peter Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1189/5/19892/25/20200
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9422514116110
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5891611
Peter Gordon

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 77, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 118 for Mr. Gordon. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter Gordon notes:

My suggested title for when it's collected in a book: Eureka Moment.

Jeff Chen notes:
Peter's suggested titles crack me up. Not because they're funny, but because they make me laugh at my own idiocy. I read 'Eureka moment' and ... read more

Peter's suggested titles crack me up. Not because they're funny, but because they make me laugh at my own idiocy. I read "Eureka moment" and figured he accidentally referenced a different puzzle. No? My train (wreck) of thought:

  • Eureka … how is Aristotle involved? Knowing Peter, Aristotle's name might be hidden somewhere?
  • D'oh! It wasn't Aristotle in the bathtub. It was … hey Kool-aid Man! I mean, hey, Siri!
  • Siri: ARCHIMEDES, dummy.
  • That's what I meant all along. Stupid brain and SIRI, you thought I was being serious? SCREW you! Get it? Archimedes screw? Ha ha, I'm so clever!
  • Archimedes screw. Huh! Answers screw up the grid in some way?
  • (down an hour-long rabbit hole)
  • EUREKA means "I've found it." That's so not applicable to me vis-a-vis Peter's meaning.
  • WTF does "vis-a-vis" mean, anyway? What's it doing on a Tuesday puzzle's revealer?
  • (down another rabbit hole--hey, "vis-a-vis a visa" is funny!)
  • (after an hour) Brain: Jeff, didn't you grow up in California?
  • Siri: California, you know, whose STATE MOTTO is …
  • QUIET, YOU! I KNEW THAT!

Amazingly tight set of themers. I didn't recognize any of the words as STATE MOTTOs, but perusing the Wikipedia page in a vain attempt to make myself appear more educated than I really am (yes, I have two master's degrees), I discovered that there are only five states with one-word (English) mottos. Amazing that they can all start reasonable phrases!

I wonder if shading the words FRIENDSHIP, HOPE, FORWARD, INDUSTRY, would have been a better approach. Given that exactly 0.002 out of 100 Americans could identify these STATE MOTTOs, it's not like it would have given away the game, and it would have helped them stand out.

How about running them vertically … so that the MOTTOs looked like they were at the top of a flag! (Brain: you know that not all state flags have their motto — ENOUGH ALREADY, BRAIN!) That could have helped with the layout, too, allowing for STATE / MOTTO to be in mirror positions instead of oddly broken up at the last and second-to-last across slots.

It's not a clean or newb-accessible grid, what with a whole lot of ARNO CBER NEHI NIMH, etc., but I appreciated the theme more and more over time. It was the right balance of teaching something without feeling teachy.

1
J
2
O
3
N
4
A
5
S
6
S
7
P
8
O
9
R
10
T
11
L
12
A
13
S
14
S
15
R
E
A
C
H
16
E
R
R
O
R
17
A
N
E
W
18
S
U
I
T
E
19
N
I
T
T
I
20
V
I
D
I
21
F
R
I
E
22
N
D
S
H
I
P
23
G
A
M
E
S
24
I
T
I
S
S
O
25
O
I
L
E
R
S
26
R
27
A
28
C
I
S
M
29
E
L
L
A
30
O
R
B
31
H
32
O
33
P
34
E
D
I
A
M
35
O
36
N
37
D
38
O
N
E
39
A
40
M
41
L
E
V
Y
42
S
P
R
E
E
43
F
O
R
W
A
44
R
D
P
A
S
45
S
46
C
H
E
47
S
K
E
E
48
O
49
R
50
C
H
I
D
51
L
52
I
53
C
H
E
N
54
H
55
A
56
R
B
O
R
57
I
N
D
U
S
T
58
R
Y
L
E
A
D
E
59
R
60
S
61
N
A
R
C
62
A
I
D
E
D
63
H
E
A
T
64
S
65
E
W
O
K
66
L
O
R
R
Y
67
A
P
N
E
A
68
D
E
M
S
69
S
T
A
T
E
70
M
O
T
T
O
© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0225 ( 25,676 )
Across
1
Polio vaccine developer Salk : JONAS
6
The "S" of S.U.V. : SPORT
11
Glasgow gal : LASS
15
Get in touch with : REACH
16
Mistake : ERROR
17
From the start : ANEW
18
Connected set of rooms in a hotel : SUITE
19
Frank ___, Al Capone henchman : NITTI
20
"Veni, ___, vici" : VIDI
21
International competition for countries that boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics [Texas] : FRIENDSHIPGAMES
24
"Quite true" : ITISSO
25
Edmonton's hockey team : OILERS
26
Theme of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Do the Right Thing" : RACISM
29
Jazzy Fitzgerald : ELLA
30
Sphere : ORB
31
45 1/2-carat gem at the National Museum of Natural History [Rhode Island] : HOPEDIAMOND
38
Time in Boston when it's midnight in Austin : ONEAM
41
Impose, as a tax : LEVY
42
Shopping binge : SPREE
43
QB's downfield throw [Wisconsin] : FORWARDPASS
46
Michael of "S.N.L." : CHE
47
___-Ball (carnival attraction) : SKEE
48
Corsage flower : ORCHID
51
Growth on a tree : LICHEN
54
Place for tugboats : HARBOR
57
Companies that have big market shares [Utah] : INDUSTRYLEADERS
61
Drug cop : NARC
62
Helped out : AIDED
63
Preliminary races : HEATS
65
Furry critter in "Return of the Jedi" : EWOK
66
Vehicle with 18 tyres, maybe : LORRY
67
Sleep problem : APNEA
68
Pols with a donkey party logo : DEMS
69
With 70-Across, what the first word of each long Across answer is vis-à-vis the bracketed place in its clue : STATE
70
See 69-Across : MOTTO
Down
1
Upper-class members: Abbr. : JRS
2
"Why do the French have only one egg for breakfast? Because one egg is an ___" (old joke) : OEUF
3
Brand to use "if you dare wear short shorts" : NAIR
4
When Hamlet gives his "To be, or not to be" soliloquy : ACTIII
5
500 things in a ream : SHEETS
6
Transmits : SENDS
7
Strait-laced person : PRISS
8
Big name in lawn care : ORTHO
9
Indian flatbread : ROTI
10
North African city in the lyrics to the "Marines' Hymn" : TRIPOLI
11
Blobby light popular in the 1960s-'70s : LAVALAMP
12
Japanese cartoon style : ANIME
13
Meal with the Four Questions : SEDER
14
___ Army knife : SWISS
22
"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of ___" (Robert C. O'Brien children's book) : NIMH
23
Large lizards of the Southwest : GILAS
26
Upper part of the mouth : ROOF
27
Florence's river : ARNO
28
Person who might say "10-4, good buddy" : CBER
29
"Grand" brand of ice cream : EDYS
32
Ye ___ Shoppe : OLDE
33
Liveliness : PEP
34
Longoria of "Desperate Housewives" : EVA
35
Theater sect. near the stage : ORCH
36
Fruity soda brand : NEHI
37
Homeowner's document : DEED
39
Phrase akin to "Darn it all!" : AWSHUCKS
40
Manufactures : MAKES
44
Cars for vacationers : RENTALS
45
Japanese noodles : SOBA
49
Hillary ___ Clinton : RODHAM
50
Sleazeball : CREEPO
51
Queued (up) : LINED
52
Really impressed : INAWE
53
PC spinner : CDROM
54
Freshwater polyp : HYDRA
55
Paying attention : ALERT
56
Change from artificial blond back to brunet, say : REDYE
58
Prison uprising : RIOT
59
Rave's partner : RANT
60
"Leave as is," to a proofreader : STET
64
___ Paulo, Brazil : SAO

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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