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THE EMOJI MOVIE

New York Times, Sunday, February 9, 2020

Author:
Brian Kulman
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
12/9/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000000
RebusCirclePangram
000
Brian Kulman

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 142, Blocks: 76 Missing: {JQX} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Kulman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Brian Kulman, of Los Gatos, Calif., is a semiretired executive in the technology business. He started solving New York Times crosswords during high school when a teacher said they'd help ... read more

Brian Kulman, of Los Gatos, Calif., is a semiretired executive in the technology business. He started solving New York Times crosswords during high school when a teacher said they'd help improve his SAT vocabulary score. ("It definitely worked!")

He loves movies and collects movie posters. He hopes this puzzle evokes a lot of good memories from movie lovers.

Brian Kulman notes:
I'm a Silicon Valley computer programmer and business founder, currently trying out a new gig — early retirement. When I was a kid, I made simple puzzles for my sister and ... read more

I'm a Silicon Valley computer programmer and business founder, currently trying out a new gig — early retirement.

When I was a kid, I made simple puzzles for my sister and neighbors. For years, I wanted to construct a puzzle for the Times, but I needed a uniquely special concept. When my son Caleb went off to study Film, we frequently texted back and forth about movies. We realized that the "horse face" emoji is evocative of a certain scene in The Godfather, and when The Emoji Movie was released, our idea took hold. Still, it took about two years to finish.

I tried to follow these rules:

  • Represent each movie title with exactly three emojis. [Note: the single artist emoji at 38-across displays on some systems as two emojis — JH]
  • Only use emojis that are part of the current Unicode standard. For example, Raiders of the Lost Ark would be difficult since there are no emojis (yet) for whips, fedoras, or boulders.
  • Don't reuse any emoji.
  • Reference films that are classic, or widely known.
  • Include a variety of different genres.
  • Represent memorable plot elements or characters.
  • Include as many theme answers as possible because guessing movie titles from emojis is fun!

After a ton of reworking and polishing, I was thrilled to (mostly) meet all the rules while including 16 movies and 48 different emojis. I hope solvers love the concept and perhaps even smile and laugh with the recognition of some favorites movie moments.

Jeff Chen notes:
The NYT Magazine has a huge distinction over most crossword formats — its ability to print in color opens so many possibilities for creativity. The NYT crossword doesn't take ... read more

The NYT Magazine has a huge distinction over most crossword formats — its ability to print in color opens so many possibilities for creativity. The NYT crossword doesn't take advantage of this nearly enough, so I love what today's is trying to do. It was a lot of fun to figure out some of the emoji sequences, like the rocketship + gorilla + statue of liberty = PLANET OF THE APES.

I see Will Shortz's hesitation to do this too often, though. What about electronic solvers, especially those using Across Lite or other programs with limited capabilities? It's no fun to open up a file and be alerted that "this puzzle has elements unreproducible in electronic formats." Read: "you're screwed."

If you're one of those disgruntled folks, take a look at what Jim Horne did (below) to display those emoji. Why not buy a paper now and then, and enjoy the innovation that a less modern format can bring?

(NYT printers, I am available for sponsorship.)

Today's grid is a good example of why Will sticks to a 140-word minimum. He allowed Brian to go to 142 words, and while that meant Brian's construction job was easier — especially important for a rookie — there weren't a lot of bonuses. I did like GAL GADOT and STAR TREK (what, no Spock-ear + aliens + Starfleet insignia emoji?), but there wasn't much else otherwise. For people who don't connect to the theme, that can be an important factor.

Given that Brian did an admirable job of keeping his grid clean, a few more bonuses at the cost of more minor glue dabs like ORO and NEG would have helped.

Overall, I love the creative thinking, using the NYT Magazine's distinctive capabilities. I wanted a tighter theme, though, as the movie selection felt scattershot, drawn from the giant pool of thousands of recognizable movies out there. It'd have been incredible if there had been some extra layer — maybe all animated movies?

Jim Horne notes:

The emojis in the clues below the grid here may look different depending on your browser and operating system. For the definitive view, see the PDF. (NYT puzzle subscription required.)

1
K
2
I
3
N
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G
5
H
6
O
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G
8
A
9
N
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P
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R
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O
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T
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I
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P
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L
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F
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A
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20
A
G
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R
A
21
R
A
V
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N
E
22
C
E
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23
T
H
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L
24
O
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D
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H
E
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H
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G
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D
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C
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P
O
R
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31
W
32
H
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E
A
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N
34
S
H
U
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D
A
T
A
36
H
A
N
D
Y
37
O
W
E
T
O
38
T
I
T
A
N
39
I
40
C
41
A
S
T
O
42
C
43
I
T
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Z
E
N
44
K
A
N
E
45
M
O
46
P
47
L
S
A
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48
A
N
T
S
49
E
L
K
S
50
T
A
M
E
51
E
L
I
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R
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P
O
S
53
F
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L
A
K
Y
55
D
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M
B
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D
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L
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O
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E
58
D
I
E
C
I
59
S
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P
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E
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T
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A
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L
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S
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N
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A
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L
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W
D
78
S
T
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M
E
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S
L
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81
O
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82
M
A
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P
84
O
85
P
P
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N
S
86
T
A
P
E
87
D
R
88
A
89
C
U
L
A
90
E
L
L
E
N
91
N
A
M
E
R
92
L
U
G
E
93
N
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I
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A
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D
O
R
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A
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G
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E
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N
Y
100
S
P
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B
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A
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E
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E
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F
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W
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N
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E
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R
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F
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E
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112
T
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D
113
D
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O
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L
S
114
F
U
N
D
S
115
K
O
N
G
© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0209 ( 25,660 )
Across
1
With 115-Across, 🦍 👩 🏢 : KING
5
Energy-efficient Navajo structure : HOGAN
10
"Take this bit of advice ..." : PROTIP
16
🎅 🌃 🎁 : ELF
19
On the briny : ASEA
20
Grecian hub : AGORA
21
Gorge : RAVINE
22
Corporate honcho : CEO
23
💍 🧝 🌋 : THELORDOFTHERINGS
26
👨 💗 📱 : HER
27
Gawked : GAPED
28
Looked over before knocking over : CASED
29
Arrive for duty : REPORT
31
Illinois city or its college : WHEATON
34
Closes : SHUTS
35
80-Down android : DATA
36
Close by : HANDY
37
Have because of : OWETO
38
🚢 🧑‍🎨 🧊 : TITANIC
41
Regarding : ASTO
42
📰 💰 🛷 : CITIZENKANE
45
Unruly head of hair : MOP
47
What a future attorney must now take by tablet, for short : LSAT
48
____ on a log (healthy snack) : ANTS
49
Wapitis : ELKS
50
Not spicy, so to speak : TAME
51
QB Manning : ELI
52
Outbacks taken back, e.g. : REPOS
53
Mentally erratic : FLAKY
55
🐘 🐁 🎪 : DUMBO
56
Get the bugs out of : DELOUSE
58
Cinque x due : DIECI
59
Places atop : SETSON
60
🚀 🦧 🗽 : PLANETOFTHEAPES
64
Removal from power : OUSTER
67
Slow, in music : LENTO
68
Bug-eyed primates : LORISES
72
🚌 🚧 💣 : SPEED
73
Runaway #1 : SMASH
74
Not called for : UNDUE
76
Cartoon character voiced by Hank Azaria : APU
77
Rhyme for rude and crude, appropriately : LEWD
78
Kerfuffle : STIR
79
Rendezvous : MEET
80
Yacht spot : SLIP
81
Gender-neutral pronoun : ONE
82
☂️ 👜 🎠 : MARYPOPPINS
86
Word with recorder or measure : TAPE
87
⚰️ 🦇 🏰 : DRACULA
90
Titular host of TV's "Game of Games" : ELLEN
91
Parent of a newborn, typically : NAMER
92
Sled supinely : LUGE
93
Water spirit : NAIAD
94
Like the Magi : ADORING
96
Unavoidable process : AGEING
99
Goose : NINNY
100
____ climbing, new medal event at the 2020 Olympics : SPORT
101
👨‍👦 🎹 🔮 : BIG
102
⚾ ♀️ 😢 : ALEAGUEOFTHEIROWN
108
"The Loco-Motion" singer Little ____ : EVA
109
Need for curdling milk into cheese : RENNET
110
Knack : FLAIR
111
Buffalo's county : ERIE
112
🧸 🍺 🚬 : TED
113
Shows signs of hunger : DROOLS
114
Object of a Kickstarter campaign : FUNDS
115
See 1-Across : KONG
Down
1
Kit ____ bar : KAT
2
Ending with brack or Black : ISH
3
Originally : NEE
4
Wonder Woman portrayer : GALGADOT
5
____ Productions (media company) : HARPO
6
Poet Nash : OGDEN
7
"Well done" : GOOD
8
Pet sound : ARF
9
First capital of Mississippi : NATCHEZ
10
"Sergeant ____ of the Yukon" (old radio and TV series) : PRESTON
11
Some steak orders : RARES
12
"Metamorphoses" poet : OVID
13
Sardine holder : TIN
14
Unappreciative sorts : INGRATES
15
Former Spanish coin : PESETA
16
Quick comeback? : ECHO
17
Impolite look : LEER
18
Snow construction : FORT
24
Like Cheerios : OATY
25
____ couture : HAUTE
30
🧚 ☠️ 🐊 : PAN
31
Hunted à la Ahab : WHALED
32
Pain in the rear : HASSLE
33
Necessitate : ENTAIL
34
Airline to Geneva : SWISS
35
Penny-ante : DINKY
37
Chancellor von Bismarck : OTTO
38
Superseder of a silent : TALKIE
39
Prayer leaders : IMAMS
40
Fast-food option : COMBO
42
Who famously declared "The die is cast" : CAESAR
43
Indelibly, say : INPEN
44
Actor Stacy : KEACH
46
Lowly worker : PEON
50
Rwanda minority : TUTSI
52
Like notebook paper and monarchies : RULED
53
Manhattan avenue known for its Museum Mile : FIFTH
54
Mother of Apollo and Artemis : LETO
55
Major mower manufacturer : DEERE
57
Chose : OPTED
58
Puts on : DONS
59
Features of teapots : SPOUTS
61
New York city where Mark Twain was married and buried : ELMIRA
62
Lachrymose : TEARY
63
John on the Mayflower : ALDEN
64
Capital on a fjord : OSLO
65
Tip over : UPEND
66
Underground channel : SEWER
69
Ingredient in an Italian sandwich : SALAMI
70
Reaction shot? : EPIPEN
71
Race with gates : SUPERG
73
Old and worn : STALE
74
Looked over slides at home, say : UMPED
75
German refusal : NEIN
78
Customs target : SMUGGLER
80
Space program : STARTREK
83
Charles Schulz strip : PEANUTS
84
They block for the QB, informally : OLINE
85
Postseason game : PLAYOFF
88
🥊 🦋 🐝 : ALI
89
Cruise line that owned the Lusitania : CUNARD
91
Seaweed used to wrap sushi : NORI
93
Brexit politician Farage : NIGEL
94
Garden pest : APHID
95
People of action : DOERS
96
Aid in illegal activity : ABET
97
Bestow : GIVE
98
"Zoinks!" : EGAD
99
Onetime iPod model : NANO
100
Laurel of Laurel and Hardy : STAN
103
Brian in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : ENO
104
Ailment with a "season" : FLU
105
El Dorado gold : ORO
106
Take first : WIN
107
Below zero: Abbr. : NEG

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?