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PITCH IMPERFECT

New York Times, Sunday, March 27, 2016

Author:
Patrick Blindauer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
677/21/20059/4/201922
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14661417118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59262
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?