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1 + 1 = 5

New York Times, Sunday, April 1, 2018

Author:
Sam Ezersky
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
357/28/20128/24/20199
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
311335127
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
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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
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Retailer with a star in its logo : MACYS
8
Flaky entree : POTPIE
9
A, B, C or D : CHOICE
10
Brothel : BORDELLO
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___-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
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Helen Reddy's signature hit : IAMWOMAN
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Malleable : ADAPTIVE
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Tougher : NOTASEASY
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Like a fictional Casey : ATTHEBAT
50
Have as a housemate : LIVEWITH
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"I wanna look!" : LEMMESEE
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___ Zero : COKE
53
Leafy vegetables : KALES
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Acknowledge without words : NODTO
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Irish Spring, e.g. : BARSOAP
63
Pueblo ancestors : ANASAZI
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It's lit : TORCH
68
"Totally, bro" : YEAHMAN
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Four-letter island name with three syllables : OAHU
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Some expensive gowns : DIORS
75
Associate of Athos and Porthos : ARAMIS
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___ Fridays : TGI
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"___ in the Rain" : SINGIN
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Certain bra spec : BCUP
84
Big heads : EGOS
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___ ipsa loquitur : RES
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Hot state : IRE
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Each : APERSON
90
Goal for a tailor : RIGHTFIT
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Beethoven's Third : EROICA
95
Typewriter formatting aid : TABSET
97
Consent (to) : ACCEDE
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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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?