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1 + 1 = 5

New York Times, Sunday, April 1, 2018

Author:
Sam Ezersky
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
307/28/201212/16/20189
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
311334105
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.71210
Sam Ezersky

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 74 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Ezersky. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Ezersky notes:
No April fooling; one week after my A.C.P.T. playoff puzzle, I actually have a Sunday publication in the Times! This achievement has eluded me for years, so I'm super stoked to finally ... read more

No April fooling; one week after my A.C.P.T. playoff puzzle, I actually have a Sunday publication in the Times! This achievement has eluded me for years, so I'm super stoked to finally "hit for the cycle" on being published throughout the week.

Funny enough, I originally built the 15x16 grid below (shown at left), intending the puzzle for a Thursday. I didn't want a single rebus-ized letter to be repeated anywhere else, and figured the special squares should always appear at the ends of answers. My only hitch was whether or not the last example, THERE'S NOT A LOT I CAN DO, was an unfair inconsistency or a fun final twist.

When I showed it all to Joel on a Subway ride, he not only thought the former was true, but that my other restrictions were unnecessary. He wondered if the idea would be best in Sunday form altogether, and it took me maybe a half-second to excitedly agree.

If I may say, I'm super thrilled with how this thing turned out. These theme answers seem like a fun set in themselves, and I'm glad to have worked in four sets of triple-stacked 8s as well as fun bonuses in YEAH MAN, BAR SOAP and NICE DAY. The clues for TOBACCO and OLES feel like some of my best work, and even the angles for OMAN, ALABAMA and AVE MARIA have a fresh feel. Did anyone catch the "It's lit" and "Totally, bro" one-two punch? That was — *sigh* — very intentional.

Curious to see how people feel about RIGHT FIT. I could've easily made this RIGHTFUL, but I thought the former was a interesting, lexical phrase. You hope that a new setting is the right fit for someone, no? Or, as I clued it, that your clothing has the right fit on you? Two certain people that I work with closely seem to feel otherwise ... so I guess I should brace myself for an earful in the comments :)

Happy solving, and may this puzzle not fool you as much as yesterday's early surprise!

Jeff Chen notes:
OMG so frustrating for a good solid 10 minutes! I could not figure out what was going on. I had things like HURRICANE ___, and knew it had to be some sort of rebus. But what? And was I ... read more

OMG so frustrating for a good solid 10 minutes! I could not figure out what was going on. I had things like HURRICANE ___, and knew it had to be some sort of rebus. But what? And was I really supposed to remember the names of various hurricanes, for goodness sakes?

Wow, did everything flip for me when I *finally* got it. HURRICANE SANDY got reimagined as HURRICANE S and Y, the crossing answer using just the SY to complete NOT AS EA(SY). Mind-bendingly clever! Sam does make some PANDA puzzles – P and A for Puns and Anagrams — so that should have nudged me toward the puzzle theme much earlier. D'oh!

Jim once mentioned that he loved themes that were necessary to understand to solve the puzzle. I sort of got what he meant, but that notion fully clicked for me today, unable to figure out SANDY until I grokked the theme. Very cool.

I would have thought that the very limiting constraint of "word must follow the X AND Y pattern" would have produced some boring themers. Not so! LANDO CALRISSIAN, PANDA EXPRESS, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY made me a KID IN A CANDY STORE. Wonderful job of uncovering so many great phrases while adhering to a tough constraint.

A couple of minor dings here and there, most notably the GMEN / YEAH MAN dupe (crossing each other, oof), but I didn't mind at all because I was so delighted by the innovative theme. (Sorry Sam, I'm with Will and Joel on the iffiness of RIGHT FIT.) Along with super solid execution – some nice COMO ESTA, LEMME SEE, GO STEADY, AVE MARIA bonuses, with a pretty small amount of ignorable TGI, ECTO, DECI gluey bits – it was a big winner for me. POW!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0401 ( 24,981 )
Across
1. Hardly : FARFROM
8. Chemicals proscribed by '70s legislation : PCBS
12. Like some legal damages : PUNITIVE
20. 2018 N.C.A.A. football champs : ALABAMA
21. "I know the answer!" : OHOH
22. Final song in "Fantasia" : AVEMARIA
23. Excited sort : KIDINACANDYSTORE
25. Chinese restaurant chain : PANDAEXPRESS
26. Actress Green of 2006's "Casino Royale" : EVA
27. Tasteless : INSIPID
28. 7 1/2-hour exam, for short : MCAT
29. Component of a summer cloud : GNAT
30. One doing the lord's work : SERF
32. Something you hope people have when they leave? : NICEDAY
34. Bee ___ : GEES
35. Business bigwigs : SUITS
39. Caught morays : EELED
40. What a spoiler spoils : PLOT
42. Crush : CREAM
44. Heroic figure in "Star Wars" films : LANDOCALRISSIAN
49. "I need everyone's help!" : ALLHANDSONDECK
54. "Geez, that was tiring!" : IMBEAT
55. Rumpus : ADO
56. Many a cereal box toy : TIEIN
57. Speckled horse : ROAN
59. Big name in nail polish : ESSIE
60. Bathtub accessory : MAT
61. Rating for "Game of Thrones" and "House of Cards" : TVMA
62. Area for filming in Hollywood : BACKLOT
65. ___ favor : ASA
66. Org. that oversaw F.D.R.'s Federal Project Number One : WPA
67. Haw's go-with : HEM
68. Patriotic song lyric before "Mind the music and the step" : YANKEEDOODLEDANDY
71. Regulation followers, in brief : OTS
72. Shorn animal : EWE
73. An ace has a low one : ERA
74. Relatives of channels : STRAITS
75. Gallic gal pal : AMIE
76. Dumbbell curls build them, for short : BIS
77. Aides: Abbr. : ASSTS
80. ___ Rios, Jamaica : OCHO
81. Cry to a prima donna : BRAVA
82. Had : ATE
83. Hero : HOAGIE
85. Natural disaster of 2012 : HURRICANESANDY
88. Magician known for debunking paranormal claims : THEAMAZINGRANDI
91. IV bag contents : SERUM
92. Big ___, nickname of baseball's David Ortiz : PAPI
93. Fetch : GOGET
96. Photo-editing option : SEPIA
98. 4-Down personnel, informally : GMEN
100. Item in a sink : DISHRAG
102. Lasting, unpleasant memory : SCAR
105. Match (with) : PAIR
106. Move to solid food : WEAN
108. Something used in a pinch? : TOBACCO
112. Social ___ : CUE
113. Stretchable wrappers : ELASTICBANDS
115. 1988 crime comedy rated 93% positive on Rotten Tomatoes : AFISHCALLEDWANDA
117. Spanish 101 question : COMOESTA
118. They may be loaded in a casino : DICE
119. Device many use in bed : EREADER
120. Massé, e.g. : SPINSHOT
121. On the double : STAT
122. Go down : DESCEND
Down
1. Deceptive moves : FAKES
2. Partner of well : ALIVE
3. Cockpit devices : RADARS
4. "Enemies: A History of the ___" (2012 best seller) : FBI
5. Delhi dignitary : RANI
6. Country whose total land area is less than .01% forested : OMAN
7. Retailer with a star in its logo : MACYS
8. Flaky entree : POTPIE
9. A, B, C or D : CHOICE
10. Brothel : BORDELLO
11. ___-crab soup : SHE
12. Vatican jurisdiction : PAPACY
13. Eye part : UVEA
14. Call from behind a counter : NEXT
15. The "Home Alone" boy, e.g. : IMP
16. Things to shoot for ... or shoot at : TARGETS
17. Ryan of "The Beverly Hillbillies" : IRENE
18. Embassy issuances : VISAS
19. Big ___ Conference : EAST
24. Sermon topic : SIN
28. Señora, across the Pyrenees : MADAME
31. Reddish-purple : FUCHSIA
33. Prefix with liter : DECI
34. Have an exclusive relationship : GOSTEADY
36. Nutrient in lentils and liver : IRON
37. X : TEN
38. Pathetic : SAD
40. Make easier to plow, in a way : PRESALT
41. Makes a connection : LIAISES
43. Pfizer competitor : MERCK
45. Dieting units: Abbr. : LBS
46. Helen Reddy's signature hit : IAMWOMAN
47. Malleable : ADAPTIVE
48. Tougher : NOTASEASY
49. Like a fictional Casey : ATTHEBAT
50. Have as a housemate : LIVEWITH
51. "I wanna look!" : LEMMESEE
52. ___ Zero : COKE
53. Leafy vegetables : KALES
58. Acknowledge without words : NODTO
62. Irish Spring, e.g. : BARSOAP
63. Pueblo ancestors : ANASAZI
64. It's lit : TORCH
68. "Totally, bro" : YEAHMAN
69. Four-letter island name with three syllables : OAHU
70. Some expensive gowns : DIORS
75. Associate of Athos and Porthos : ARAMIS
78. ___ Fridays : TGI
79. "___ in the Rain" : SINGIN
81. Certain bra spec : BCUP
84. Big heads : EGOS
86. ___ ipsa loquitur : RES
87. Hot state : IRE
89. Each : APERSON
90. Goal for a tailor : RIGHTFIT
94. Beethoven's Third : EROICA
95. Typewriter formatting aid : TABSET
97. Consent (to) : ACCEDE
98. Ballroom dance in duple time : GALOP
99. City near Biscayne National Park : MIAMI
100. Touches, as with a tissue : DABSAT
101. "This is SO frustrating!" : GAH
103. Poet who wrote "For the Time Being" and "Another Time" : AUDEN
104. Figure on a poster : REWARD
105. Bench presses build them, for short : PECS
106. Well thought? : WISH
107. Prefix with -derm : ECTO
109. Kept in the loop, in a way : CCED
110. Prudence : CARE
111. Whoops? : OLES
114. French possessive : TES
115. Billboards, e.g. : ADS
116. France's ___ du Bourget : LAC

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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