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PITCH IMPERFECT

New York Times, Sunday, March 27, 2016

Author: Patrick Blindauer
Editor: Will Shortz
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1.59252
Patrick Blindauer

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 68 Missing: none – this is a pangram. Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 62 for Mr. Blindauer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Patrick Blindauer notes: Out of the 60+ puzzles I've done for the NYT since 2005, it looks like this is only my 4th solo Sunday: 'Overcharged' was constructed under the tutelage of Nancy Salomon; 'Secret Santa's Helpers' was made ... more
Patrick Blindauer notes:

Out of the 60+ puzzles I've done for the NYT since 2005, it looks like this is only my 4th solo Sunday: "Overcharged" was constructed under the tutelage of Nancy Salomon; "Secret Santa's Helpers" was made during my holiday phase (see also Halloween and the 4th of July); and "Figure of Speech" was one where I got lucky with crossing theme answers. This latest Sunday was lots of fun to make, and there were a slew of entries that didn't make the grid for one reason or another. Some favorites:

  • OH, WHAT A FLEEING (14) "Excellent exodus!"?
  • GOOD TO THE LAST PROD (17) Cowpoke's credo for maintaining cow-poking quality all day?
  • THAWS IN YOUR WALLET (17) Melts where one's money is?
  • EXPECT ROME, PAY LESS (17) Slogan for a discount Italian travel agency?
  • IT'S FRINGE-LICKIN' GOOD (19) Reply to "Why are you dippin' that tassel in honey mustard"?
  • THE SAN FRANCISCO TATER (20) Bay Area spud?
  • THE QUICKER PIP-PUCKERER (21) What gives one of Gladys's backup singers a sour face?
Jeff Chen notes: PITCH IMPERFECT an apt title, hinting at advertising pitches with one word anagrammed. Some really fun results, DON'T SQUEEZE THE RICH MAN (Charmin) bringing up an image of a protesting Warren Buffett. A queen ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

PITCH IMPERFECT an apt title, hinting at advertising pitches with one word anagrammed. Some really fun results, DON'T SQUEEZE THE RICH MAN (Charmin) bringing up an image of a protesting Warren Buffett. A queen shouting THIS DUBS (Bud's) FOR YOU, the order to OBEY YOUR T-SHIRT (thirst), etc. = also funny. THE FABRIC OF OUR VEILS wasn't as amusing to me, and YOU DESERVE A BAKER TODAY didn't do a lot either. Humor is so subjective.

No touching!

Interesting that Patrick chose two McDonald's slogans: "We love to see you smile" and "You deserve a break today." With so many well-known taglines out there, I thought that was odd. It would have been awesome to get all McDonald's slogans, or all fast-food, which would have made for a super-tight theme. But it is hard to find slogans with an anagrammable word that still parses as a sentence, so a wide diversity would have been fine too.

Patrick gives us a few nice bonuses in long fill, NICE SHOT, and NAILED IT really singing in symmetrical spots. He otherwise sticks to mostly single-word entries (which tend to be more neutral than assets), but he does well with EXACTITUDE, the modern UNFRIENDED, ESCAPISM, and the delicious CANNELLONI. JEOPARDOUS is … a word. I can't imagine using it in lieu of "risky" or "perilous" though.

There's more gluey bits than I'm used to seeing in a Blindauer puzzle — I have a feeling it's due to the challenge of a 140-word Sunday puzzle; so tough to execute on cleanly. I've come to expect a little glue here and there from any Sunday puzzle, but it's nice if it doesn't come from the same areas: ERES, SEI, RIEN, DREI (deeper foreign words). AERO, ENDO, SNO (prefixes/suffixes). ERNO, IVOR, MURESAN (esoteric names). The concentrations made it tough for me to ignore everything.

Great clue for PEDESTAL, [Bust supporter] making fun of all the "bra" clues in crosswords. And I loved [Gray matter?] for BOTANY — think about the crossword-friendly Asa Gray!

A few rocky spots, but generally an entertaining result.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0327 ( 24,246 )
Across Down
1. Comment after a bull's-eye : NICESHOT
9. Distress : TORMENT
16. When Hamlet says "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio" : ACTV
20. Sponsor of classic radio's "Little Orphan Annie" : OVALTINE
21. Lindbergh, e.g. : AVIATOR
22. Japanese noodle : SOBA
23. Warren Buffett's rule about hugging? : DONTSQUEEZETHERICHMAN
26. Toymaker Rubik : ERNO
27. Cone head? : SNO
28. Actor Stephen : REA
29. Like some prose : PURPLE
30. You are, in español : ERES
33. Math ordinal : NTH
35. Tiger Stadium sch. : LSU
38. Skyscraping : TALL
39. Encouraging words from slug enthusiasts? : WELOVETOSEEYOUSLIME
45. Word said with right or rise : ALL
46. Nothing: Fr. : RIEN
47. Grp. that gets the lead out? : NRA
48. Bust supporter : PEDESTAL
51. Fifth-to-last word in the Lord's Prayer : GLORY
53. "Sharp" fashion : SPIKEHEELS
56. Creature on the Australian coat of arms : EMU
57. Mozart's "___ kleine Nachtmusik" : EINE
58. Tiny powerhouse : ATOM
59. Rap's Dr. ___ : DRE
60. Hayek of "Frida" : SALMA
62. Longtime soap actress Hall : DEIDRE
64. Shout to one about to be knighted? : THISDUBSFORYOU
69. One side of a quad, say : DORM
71. Milo of stage and screen : OSHEA
72. Voice from a phone : SIRI
73. Take a clothing slogan too seriously? : OBEYYOURTSHIRT
78. Like Loyola and Xavier universities : JESUIT
82. Clobbers : WAXES
83. Fish eggs : ROE
84. 1 + 2, in Germany : DREI
86. Prefix with -scope : ENDO
87. Investment sometimes pronounced as a name : IRA
88. Risky : JEOPARDOUS
92. Surmise : INFER
93. Video game playing, e.g. : ESCAPISM
96. ___ Day (Hawaiian holiday) : LEI
97. SEAL Team 6 mission : RAID
99. Chinese calendar animal : RAT
100. Tulle, to brides? : THEFABRICOFOURVEILS
104. Carriage : MIEN
105. Dundee turndown : NAE
106. Messenger of biochemistry : RNA
107. French film director Clair : RENE
108. Gray matter? : BOTANY
110. Have in view : EYE
112. ___-d'Oise (French department) : VAL
115. "American Greed" channel : CNBC
118. "After all that hard work, I'll order some cake"? : YOUDESERVEABAKERTODAY
124. Latin word on the back of a dollar bill : ORDO
125. Compact : ENTENTE
126. People holding things up : IMPEDERS
127. Bellyache : BEEF
128. Antarctic waters : ROSSSEA
129. "Perfecto!" : NAILEDIT
1. Terminal in a computer network : NODE
2. Composer Novello : IVOR
3. Cylindrical pasta : CANNELLONI
4. The matador's foe : ELTORO
5. Peter and Francis: Abbr. : STS
6. Peg solitaire puzzle brand : HIQ
7. Burden : ONUS
8. Member of Generation Z : TEEN
9. Looney Tunes devil, for short : TAZ
10. Possible reply to "Where are you?" : OVERHERE
11. Confirmation, e.g. : RITE
12. Thanks, in Hawaii : MAHALO
13. Juillet et août : ETE
14. Ibsen's homeland: Abbr. : NOR
15. Hit the ground running? : TRIP
16. Indian retreats : ASHRAMS
17. Hook, line and sinker : COMPLETELY
18. Game for little sluggers : TBALL
19. Fan part : VANE
24. Huge spans : EONS
25. Little darling : CUTIE
31. "Climb ___ Mountain" : EVRY
32. Sicilian six : SEI
34. Long race, in brief : TENK
36. Top-notch : SUPERB
37. Like most trivia, in the real world : USELESS
39. Carried on : WAGED
40. Kemper of "The Office" : ELLIE
41. Try : TEST
42. Stoned : ONPOT
43. Derisive cry : YAH
44. Mormons, for short : LDS
49. What a bandoleer holds : AMMO
50. Party with pu pu platters : LUAU
52. Cotton candy additive : REDDYE
54. Mummy in "The Mummy" : IMHOTEP
55. Saverin who co-founded Facebook : EDUARDO
58. Musical lead-in to -smith : AERO
60. Like some losers : SORE
61. Up : ARISEN
63. Rogers, Orbison and Yamaguchi : ROYS
65. Magazine edition: Abbr. : ISS
66. "Hey, I want to listen here!" : SHH
67. Roman gods : DEI
68. Country whose name is one letter different from a mountain : FIJI
70. Gheorghe ___, former 7'7" N.B.A. player : MURESAN
73. "Ooh, dat hurt!" : OWIE
74. 1-5 on a cellphone screen : BARS
75. Precision : EXACTITUDE
76. iRobot vacuum : ROOMBA
77. Cape Cod town : TRURO
79. Cut ties with, in a way : UNFRIENDED
80. Best : IDEAL
81. Law school class : TORTS
85. Whom "I saw" on a seesaw, in a tongue twister : ESAU
88. Peter Pan rival : JIF
89. Ring master : ALI
90. Play : RECREATE
91. One-named hitmaker of the 1950s-'60s : DION
92. Word with two apostrophes : IDVE
94. Leading : AHEADOF
95. Pasta whose name is Italian for "feathers" : PENNE
98. Sale tag abbr. : IRR
101. "Speed" star : REEVES
102. ___ bean : FAVA
103. Make secret : ENCODE
104. "Where to Invade Next" filmmaker : MOORE
108. Letters of invitation? : BYOB
109. 1914 battle site : YSER
111. Desires : YENS
113. Comparable (to) : AKIN
114. Golf's Champagne Tony : LEMA
116. City and province of southern Italy : BARI
117. Anatomical sac : CYST
119. Composer of the Windows 95 start-up sound : ENO
120. Some offensive linemen: Abbr. : RTS
121. "___ sport!" : BEA
122. New York engineering sch. : RPI
123. ___ Aviv : TEL

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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