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CALIFORNIA, HERE I COME

New York Times, Sunday, March 29, 2015

Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Editor: Will Shortz
Alan Arbesfeld
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1198/27/198112/4/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
25623342515
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.605099

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 132, Blocks: 64 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 108 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: I was curious why this puzzle was so difficult — my usual Sunday solving time is 20ish minutes, and this one took me twice that. Amazing to see it's a 132 word puzzle. The number won't mean anything to most ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I was curious why this puzzle was so difficult — my usual Sunday solving time is 20ish minutes, and this one took me twice that. Amazing to see it's a 132 word puzzle. The number won't mean anything to most people, but it's the equivalent of making a themed 15x with only 67 words. We keep lists of such accomplishments, and only about a dozen people have managed this feat.

I appreciated the added level of complexity, given that the theme was immediately apparent from the title. What else could CALIFORNIA, HERE I COME be but "add CA into themers for wacky results?" THE LIFE OF PICA gave me a good chuckle, as did YOU MAKE ME WANNA CASH OUT. The latter has such a nice transformation, breaking up SHOUT into CASH OUT. Nice moment of solving discovery.

I wasn't familiar with REALLY BIG SHEW, so REALLY BIG CASHEW made me struggle. Apparently Ed Sullivan was known for this phrase? (I'm ducking in preparation for all the people throwing stuff at me for even questioning their beloved Ed Sullivan.)

170 wasted hours in my life (there were 176 episodes)

For those of you (heathen) non-Trekkies, DEEP SPACE NINE was a series in the Star Trek franchise. It had its moments. Really. Seriously! Okay, not really. It was terrible. As in, "Star Trek: Voyager" terrible. (Again, I'm ducking.) But DEEP SPACE CANINE did evoke an amusing image.

Upon closer inspection, it's amazing how open Alan kept this grid. Those four corners are so open, so themeless-esque in nature. I appreciated how relatively smooth it all was. The only point that bugged me was the raw number of esoteric names required to hold everything together. I like learning a few BALTO, LETITIA, ENZI kind of entries. Makes it really tough though, when a STAEL or a LENI is required to break into a wide-open section.

All in all, a nice experiment into the low word-count arena. Certainly made for a challenging brain workout. Perhaps somewhere in the middle ground — say, a super-smooth 136 worder — is a sweeter spot for solvers? But pushing the boundaries is a great thing; something very few people can do.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0329 ( 23,882 )
Across Down
1. Small drums : TABORS
7. Leaves of grass : BLADES
13. Folded like a fan : PLICATE
20. East Coast national park : ACADIA
21. Early stone tool : EOLITH
22. Go wild : RUNRIOT
23. Ancient Peruvian using Netflix? : STREAMINGINCA
25. Washington post? : EMBASSY
26. Newbie: Var. : TIRO
27. Senator Mike from Wyoming : ENZI
28. 1965 hitmakers Dino, ___ & Billy : DESI
30. Start to lose it : SLIP
31. Exactly 72, maybe : EVENPAR
33. "No fishing here!"? : CASTELSEWHERE
38. Be up : BAT
39. Ending with Vietnam : ESE
40. Vietnam ___ : WAR
41. Like the headline "ELVIS FATHERED MY ALIEN BABY" : LURID
42. Sheer : UTTER
44. Lines from Homer and Erasmus : ADAGES
47. Some art projections : RELIEFS
51. Dog whose rocket went off course? : DEEPSPACECANINE
55. Make the podium : MEDAL
56. Some black-tie events : SOIREES
57. Refrain syllable : TRA
58. "Network," for one : SATIRE
59. Never : NOTONCE
62. "Is that so?" : DOESIT
64. A minimus is a little one : TOE
65. Comment to an annoying blackjack dealer? : YOUMAKEMEWANNACASHOUT
71. TV ET : ALF
72. Pub fixture : ALETAP
73. "Ta-da!" : ITWORKS
74. Up-to-the-minute : LATEST
77. Letters after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's name : DNY
78. Less deserving of a laugh, say : CORNIER
81. Sealer, maybe : ALEUT
82. Part of a jumbo trail mix? : REALLYBIGCASHEW
87. Sorry sort : SADCASE
89. Lit : SAUCED
90. Marie Antoinette, par exemple : REINE
91. First name on the "America's Got Talent" panel : HEIDI
93. State on the Miss. : ILL
94. Bouncer's concern : AGE
96. AAA offering: Abbr. : RTE
97. Agent for Bogart's partner? : BACALLHANDLER
102. Wild : BERSERK
104. Declare : AVER
105. Filmmaker Riefenstahl : LENI
106. Hold it! : HILT
108. "When I was ___ ..." : ALAD
109. President John Tyler's wife : LETITIA
111. "12-Point Type: A History"? : THELIFEOFPICA
116. Tied up : TRUSSED
117. They might grab some food before a flight : TALONS
118. Hard and unyielding : FLINTY
119. Bar order that's not drunk : OYSTERS
120. "Me as well!" : IDOTOO
121. Isn't completely truthful : FUDGES
1. It may be on the tip of your tongue : TASTEBUD
2. Put in play : ACTIVATE
3. It holds a lock in place : BARRETTE
4. Classic theater : ODEON
5. Marshy place, perhaps : RIA
6. Identical to : SAMEAS
7. Auto pioneer Karl : BENZ
8. "When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of ___": Dale Carnegie : LOGIC
9. Will Smith biopic : ALI
10. When repeated, a child's meal : DIN
11. Yadda, yadda, yadda : ETC
12. Tangerine or peach : SHADE
13. Force divided by area, in physics : PRESSURE
14. ___ brothers, inventors of the motion picture (1895) : LUMIERE
15. Having five sharps : INB
16. Cause of a great loss? : CRASHDIET
17. Option for a quick exit : AISLE
18. Quaint letter opener : TOSIR
19. Classic British Jaguar : ETYPE
24. Concerning : INRE
29. Sharp turn : ELL
32. Projected image : PERSONA
34. High-tech surveillance acronym : AWACS
35. Major account : SAGA
36. Site of a 1776 George Washington victory in the Revolutionary War : TRENTON
37. ___ Rudolph, U.S. sprinter who won three golds in the 1960 Olympics : WILMA
43. British racetrack site : EPSOM
44. ___ Hardware : ACE
45. It's in the 60s : DEE
46. Rock singer? : SIREN
48. Photoshop user, e.g. : EDITOR
49. Egyptian king overthrown in a 1952 revolution : FAROUK
50. Wintry mixes : SLEETS
52. Barely touch, as a meal : PICKAT
53. Visibly stunned : AREEL
54. Grp. with a launch party? : NASA
58. Criticism : STATIC
59. Spiral-horned antelopes : NYALAS
60. "C'est magnifique!" : OOLALA
61. Like some titmice : TUFTED
62. Fist bump, in slang : DAP
63. It might say "Happy Birthday!" : ICING
66. Ancient Assyrian foe : MEDE
67. Old lab burners : ETNAS
68. Ambushed : WAYLAID
69. One calling foul? : SWEARER
70. Mess (around) : HORSE
75. Catholic rite : EUCHARIST
76. "Delphine" author Madame de ___ : STAEL
78. Waxing and waning, e.g. : CYCLE
79. U.K. honour : OBE
80. Free : RID
82. Thomas Jefferson and Calvin Coolidge, e.g. : REDHEADS
83. Quiet period : LULL
84. Menial : HIRELING
85. Showstopper? : ENTRACTE
86. When school's open : WEEKDAYS
88. More slapstick : SILLIER
92. Novelist McEwan : IAN
94. ___-bodied : ABLE
95. Board's opposite : GETOFF
97. Maryland's largest city, informally : BALTO
98. ___ Fisher Hall, longtime venue at Lincoln Center : AVERY
99. Whale constellation : CETUS
100. Capone henchman : NITTI
101. Something you might get a charge out of : RHINO
103. Tasty : SAPID
107. "In that case ..." : IFSO
110. China's Lao-___ : TSE
112. Suffered from : HAD
113. Jeff Lynne's band, for short : ELO
114. Patch of land : LOT
115. ___ season : FLU

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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