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PITCH IMPERFECT

New York Times, Sunday, March 27, 2016

Author:
Patrick Blindauer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
657/21/200510/17/201821
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14561317118
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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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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
Down
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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