It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge for best results.

PREPOSITION PROPOSITION

New York Times, Sunday, April 15, 2018

Author:
Alex Bajcz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
45/6/20148/29/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1011100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Alex Bajcz

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 66 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Bajcz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Alex Bajcz notes:
Bucket list item achieved—I've got my first NYT Sunday puzzle! Yay! I don't know about other constructors, but I can't 'force' a good theme out of me. I have to be lucky enough ... read more

Bucket list item achieved—I've got my first NYT Sunday puzzle! Yay!

I don't know about other constructors, but I can't "force" a good theme out of me. I have to be lucky enough for one to "come to me," and thankfully this one did. It was inspired by WALK ON WATER, which felt worthy of building a puzzle around. After batting around some ideas, I somehow noticed that WALK ON could become WALK-ON, which changes its meaning in a way I liked. So, I hunted for other, similar phrases, and when I realized I had found at least nine, I had to make the scary decision: whittle, or go for a Sunday puzzle? I guess I chose correctly!

Because my themers were short and easy to arrange, the grid design and filling went (for a Sunday) pretty smoothly. The SW fought with me, but I ultimately won out. MISSES A CUE was a big help--I got it from XWord Info, I think!

By far the biggest challenge was the NE corner. Originally, I had EAT SUPPER at 13-D, which allowed that corner to fill easily. Will didn't enjoy this phrase though, so I had to try doing without it. That proved tricky; the first several fills all introduced dupes—sometimes, even three or more! The dupe Gods seemed determined to get me. I'm bummed the final fill has TRISTE, BAL, AT A, and APEAK in the NE, since that is more "glue" than I would normally allow myself, but I'm still pleased with the zippiness I was able to get into the long fill overall. I hope everyone has fun with this one!

PS. See if you can think up any good theme entries like mine with these phrases I couldn't use: TIE-IN, LIE-IN, COME-ON, MAKE-UP, TAKE-IN.

Jeff Chen notes:
I stared at the title for a long time before staring the puzzle. How neat, that PREPOSITION and PROPOSITION are the same except for that third letter. I didn't quite figure out how it ... read more

I stared at the title for a long time before staring the puzzle. How neat, that PREPOSITION and PROPOSITION are the same except for that third letter. I didn't quite figure out how it applied to the theme – prepositions joined up to produce kooky themers – but I suppose you could call a theme a "proposition," as in a "plan of action."

I enjoyed most of the themers. STAND-IN LINE as a delivery from an understudy felt clever. PULLUP STAKES as the wager for an exercise bet, too. PUT-ON NOTICE as a [Scam alert], too! I was surprised at how different these common phrases became with just that slight hyphen/space change. Amusing theme.

I was glad to read Alex's note, as that NE corner stuck out to me, too. Here's a case where going to 142 words could have been a good option. I do like PINCH RAN and ANTI RIOT a lot, but breaking those up into two words apiece would have allowed for some cleanup on aisle APEAK. Probably would have allowed Alex to upgrade TOSSES TO into something more sizzly, too.

I thought Alex did a nice job with his fill, except for all those prepositional fillers. For a theme based on prepositions, where you're already going to have some UP / IN / ON / TO dupes, having more of the SHAKE UP / UP ONE / PUSH IN / OD ON / FLIES TO / TOSSES TO is less than ideal. That kind of fill is neutral at best in average puzzles. But here, not only do they muddy up the theme a bit, but there's just such a huge quantity of prepositions floating around.

And GOOK. Yes, it's clued as GO OK, but come on. Seriously? NO NO!

But I enjoyed the theme, those seemingly innocent hyphen changes creating huge and entertaining shifts in meaning. A sharp theme can almost always overcome a couple of infelicities in grid execution.

1
P
2
F
3
F
4
T
5
S
6
H
7
A
8
K
9
E
10
U
11
P
12
A
13
D
14
E
15
N
16
O
17
N
18
O
19
E
L
I
E
20
T
O
N
N
E
A
U
21
P
I
N
22
C
H
R
A
N
23
P
U
L
L
24
U
P
S
T
A
K
E
S
25
E
S
C
A
L
A
D
E
26
S
E
L
L
S
27
T
O
P
S
28
H
29
O
A
G
I
E
30
T
I
P
31
S
E
32
V
E
N
S
33
P
I
C
K
U
P
S
34
T
E
A
M
35
N
36
O
37
S
T
R
I
L
38
A
39
G
E
N
T
40
S
H
A
W
41
U
N
E
A
S
E
42
I
C
O
N
43
A
T
E
R
I
44
G
45
H
46
T
47
N
A
T
L
48
W
49
A
L
K
O
N
50
W
51
A
T
E
R
52
N
O
O
R
53
T
E
54
C
55
R
I
S
K
56
E
G
A
D
57
P
E
T
R
I
58
L
59
O
O
S
E
60
T
E
A
61
P
I
E
62
B
E
S
O
T
S
63
A
T
M
64
D
E
A
D
65
O
66
N
A
R
R
67
I
68
V
A
L
69
P
O
T
70
Y
O
U
71
S
E
E
72
D
E
W
73
S
A
L
T
74
M
I
N
E
75
M
O
S
E
S
76
S
77
H
O
E
78
A
79
C
A
I
80
S
I
E
81
A
L
I
E
82
S
T
A
N
D
83
I
N
L
I
N
84
E
85
S
C
86
A
87
T
88
N
E
C
K
89
T
I
E
S
90
S
K
I
D
91
L
92
O
S
E
R
S
93
T
E
R
P
94
M
95
I
L
A
N
96
F
L
I
E
S
T
O
97
P
98
U
99
T
O
N
N
O
100
T
I
C
E
101
I
102
D
E
A
L
S
103
I
P
A
104
S
O
U
R
C
E
105
I
C
A
N
106
E
A
107
S
108
Y
109
A
110
T
O
S
111
S
E
S
T
O
112
R
113
U
N
I
N
C
114
I
R
C
L
E
S
115
A
N
T
I
R
I
O
T
116
U
N
T
A
K
E
N
117
U
R
L
S
118
S
E
E
P
119
R
F
S
120
N
O
O
N
E
R
S
121
E
S
P
N
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0415 ( 24,995 )
Across
1
Sound of a dud : PFFT
5
Personnel overhaul : SHAKEUP
12
End of the block? : ADE
15
Pitcher's feat, slangily : NONO
19
Peace activist Wiesel : ELIE
20
Rear seating compartment in old automobiles : TONNEAU
21
Replaced someone on a base : PINCHRAN
23
Wagers for a gym exercise? : PULLUPSTAKES
25
Big name in luxury S.U.V.s : ESCALADE
26
Successfully persuades : SELLS
27
At the most : TOPS
28
Sub : HOAGIE
30
Opposite of stiff : TIP
31
Figures on slots : SEVENS
33
Bad thing to see under a truck's hood? : PICKUPSTEAM
35
Small breather? : NOSTRIL
38
Customer service worker : AGENT
40
"Man and Superman" playwright : SHAW
41
Anxious feeling : UNEASE
42
Wastebasket or folder, maybe : ICON
43
Avoided trans fats and refined sugars, say : ATERIGHT
47
Part of NASA: Abbr. : NATL
48
Unrecruited athlete's bottleful? : WALKONWATER
52
___ al-Hussein (Jordanian royal) : NOOR
53
Private eye : TEC
55
Word after flight or credit : RISK
56
"Zounds!" : EGAD
57
___ dish : PETRI
58
It's not in the bag : LOOSETEA
61
Intake in many an eating contest : PIE
62
Makes drunk : BESOTS
63
Certain note passer, for short : ATM
64
Timely entrance? : DEADONARRIVAL
69
Kitty : POT
70
"Here's the thing ..." : YOUSEE
72
Lawn coating : DEW
73
Grueling workplace, so to speak : SALTMINE
75
Man first mentioned in Exodus 2 : MOSES
76
Something removed at a T.S.A. checkpoint : SHOE
78
Purple smoothie flavorer : ACAI
80
German "you" : SIE
81
Caught in ___ : ALIE
82
Understudy's delivery? : STANDINLINE
85
Nonsense singing : SCAT
88
Closet rackful : NECKTIES
90
Suffer from a lockup : SKID
91
Zeros : LOSERS
93
"Fight, fight, fight for Maryland!" singer, familiarly : TERP
94
Duke of ___, character in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" : MILAN
96
Reaches by plane : FLIESTO
97
Scam alert? : PUTONNOTICE
101
Paragons : IDEALS
103
Hoppy brew : IPA
104
Info provider : SOURCE
105
Optimist's credo : ICAN
106
What an A.P. class likely isn't : EASYA
110
Throws at : TOSSESTO
112
Fight clubs? : RUNINCIRCLES
115
Serving to quell violent protests : ANTIRIOT
116
Free, as a seat : UNTAKEN
117
Web links, briefly : URLS
118
Trickle : SEEP
119
Certain baseball positions: Abbr. : RFS
120
Lunchtime errands, e.g. : NOONERS
121
___ Classic (cable channel) : ESPN
Down
1
Juices (up) : PEPS
2
Something a chimney sweep sweeps : FLUE
3
Permeate : FILL
4
Gossips : TELLSTALES
5
Pennzoil competitor : STP
6
Low-cost lodging : HOSTEL
7
Playwright Chekhov : ANTON
8
Bags that might have drawstrings : KNAPSACKS
9
Startled squeals : EEKS
10
Neighbor of Oman, for short : UAE
11
Press, as a button : PUSHIN
12
Vertical, to a sailor : APEAK
13
Saying "Eww!," say : DISGUSTED
14
Make hard to read : ENCIPHER
15
Org. that's nearly one-fourth Canadian : NHL
16
Speak before Parliament, e.g. : ORATE
17
Comaneci of Olympics fame : NADIA
18
Time in Tokyo when it's midnight in New York : ONEPM
22
___ salad : CAESAR
24
App customers : USERS
29
10/ : OCT
32
Scene : VIEW
33
Founder of Philadelphia : PENN
34
Strong strings : TWINES
35
Sister : NUN
36
Man ___ mission : ONA
37
Soundtrack for a brawl? : SETTOMUSIC
39
Proceed well enough : GOOK
42
Story featuring divine intervention : ILIAD
43
___ premium : ATA
44
Compositions often chosen for encores? : GOTOPIECES
45
Seuss title character : HORTON
46
Sad, in San Juan : TRISTE
49
Department : AREA
50
Small dam : WEIR
51
Smoking or stress : AGER
54
Forfeits : CEDES
57
Hits with snowballs : PELTS
58
Nonexpert : LAYMAN
59
Portrayer of Mr. Chips : OTOOLE
60
Ball support : TEE
61
Something "shaken" in a trick : PAW
62
The Ravens, on scoreboards : BAL
65
Take too much of, briefly : ODON
66
Call for : NEED
67
"To repeat ..." : ISAID
68
Self-absorbed : VAIN
71
Hope that one may : SEEKTO
74
Doesn't go on at the right time : MISSESACUE
76
Exit : STEPOUTOF
77
Gives birth to : HAS
78
"Eso Beso" singer : ANKA
79
Doctor treating patients : CLINICIAN
82
G.I. reply : SIRNOSIR
83
Any of the Galápagos : ISLE
84
Singer known for her 85-Across : ELLA
86
Skill : ART
87
Chinese menu name : TSO
89
More likely to escalate : TENSER
92
Member of a four-time Stanley Cup-winning team in the 1980s : OILER
94
Emcee's item : MIC
95
Spring river breakup : ICERUN
96
Certain Summer Olympian : FENCER
97
Gyro holders : PITAS
98
Barely ahead, scorewise : UPONE
99
Interior decorator's asset : TASTE
100
Brisk paces : TROTS
102
Gracias : Spanish :: ___ : German : DANKE
105
Avid about : INTO
107
Some Nikons, for short : SLRS
108
Go "Ow, ow, OW!" : YELP
109
Professional grp. : ASSN
111
Apt rhyme of "nip" : SIP
113
Card game cry : UNO
114
Some doorways : INS

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?