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INITIAL DESCRIPTION

New York Times, Sunday, April 2, 2017

Author: Jerry Miccolis
Editor: Will Shortz
Jerry Miccolis
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
37/17/201611/14/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2010000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 75 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Miccolis. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jerry Miccolis notes: I've long been fascinated with self-referential stuff, from the mildly amusing (e.g., the Liar's Paradox, 'This statement is false'), to the visually dazzling (Escher's 'Drawing Hands,' 'Print Gallery,' ... more
Jerry Miccolis notes:

I've long been fascinated with self-referential stuff, from the mildly amusing (e.g., the Liar's Paradox, "This statement is false"), to the visually dazzling (Escher's "Drawing Hands," "Print Gallery," etc.), to the deeply troubling (Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and its mathematical foundation-rattling), to the cosmically profound (Wheeler's Participatory Anthropic Principle of the universe, and the like).

While on the amusing side, I had stumbled upon self-referencing acronyms — so-called "apronyms," or "aptonyms." It recently occurred to me, "What great fodder for a crossword!" My first submission had five of them, including a few that Will wasn't that crazy about (e.g., ENERGETIC LITTLE FELLOW). But he and Joel were sufficiently intrigued that they offered to workshop the idea with me.

I shared a bunch more of my favorites, culled over time from various sources and my own addled brain. With Will and Joel adding their deft touches to a couple (A TOME LOCATING A STREET became AID TO LOCATE A STREET, for example), we ultimately landed on the six you see. Squeezing in six of such length made it challenging to keep the fill lively, and meant having to lose payoff entries such as the four-theme-word-crossing SELF-REFERENTIAL (and thus settling for the more subtle reveal in 69- and 120-Across), but I was very pleased with the final result and hope you had fun with it.

Once again, it was a huge pleasure working with Will and Joel. I was happy to see so many of my clues survive their expert and uncompromising editor's scalpel. It was also gratifying to sneak in a reference to our youngest grandniece, ABIGAIL, who I hope will appreciate the "tribute" when she learns to read.

Overall, I was sufficiently encouraged by the almost simultaneous acceptance of this and a not-yet-published weekday puzzle submission, after a disappointingly steady run of (however gracious and constructive) rejections following my "beginner's luck" first submission last year, that I think I'll stick with this new-found hobby/budding passion of mine for a while longer and see how it goes. Besides, Beebo (Abby) has quite a few siblings and cousins who may demand equal time.

Jeff Chen notes: Jerry wrote to me with this idea a while back. I thought it had potential, but I felt it was too easy to make theme phrases using just about any short word. Without something to link them all in some interesting ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Jerry wrote to me with this idea a while back. I thought it had potential, but I felt it was too easy to make theme phrases using just about any short word. Without something to link them all in some interesting way, I estimated only a medium chance of acceptance.

Shows what I know!

THREE ROLLED INTO ONE was my favorite. It sounds natural, and it's a nice description of TRIO. It's not perfect, as "rolled" feels off compared to "harmonized." But it gave me a smile.

AID TO LOCATE A STREET worked much better than the original Jerry proposed, but it did feel like an awkward dictionary definition. And does anyone call MARS a SPHERE? (Maybe poets?) And wouldn't one say SWIMMER WITH (AN) ARCHED NECK? (Says the annoying grammarian in me.)

Anyone have natural-sounding ones they've personally made up? I'll publish the best one below.

Any Sunday 140-word puzzle is difficult to build with smoothness and snazziness. Jerry gives himself a slightly easier than average task, incorporating only six themers (most have seven or more these days).

Jerry does a good job of spacing out his themers — note how there are at least two rows of space between each pair. He also uses left-right alternation — look at the placement of MOSTLY ARID RED SPHERE and AID TO LOCATE A STREET — a strategy that minimizes overlap between themers.

Mostly decent fill, although I wish Jerry had gone up to 140 words (he uses 138) to smooth out the north section. That ABOLLA / DOTARDS crossing … both are words that I'd worry about as a constructor. I hate eliciting grumbling from solvers. Crossing them together accentuates their presence, if not making for an unfair crossing.

As a solver, I don't mind some minor IOC, DAR, ECUA — short offenders that are figure-out-able — but with the addition of EVAH, ATNOS, TARARA, RAPA, etc. the crossword glue dragged down my solve. I would have liked to see a revision for better overall smoothness. Jerry's a hard worker — I'm confident that his next puzzle will have less crossword glue.

Overall, I liked that the concept spurred me on to think about what would make for some perfect examples.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0402 ( 24,617 )
Across Down
1. Ascribes, with "up" : CHALKS
7. Title film character played by Tyler Perry : MADEA
12. Hails : SALUTES
19. Showy gymnastics maneuver : AERIAL
20. Togalike Roman cloak : ABOLLA
22. In an attentive manner : CLOSELY
23. SWAN : SWIMMERWITHARCHEDNECK
26. Crunchy green vegetable : SNAPPEA
27. Profitable : GAINFUL
28. Sportscaster Johnson : ERNIE
29. Show up : APPEAR
31. Wet blanket? : DEW
33. They contain libidos : IDS
34. MARS : MOSTLYARIDREDSPHERE
43. Largest city of Yemen : SANAA
44. French region now part of the Grand Est : ALSACE
45. Ally (with) : SIDE
46. Hershey product similar to a Heath bar : SKOR
47. Part of a domain name : DOT
49. Gists : NUBS
51. Foreboding atmosphere : MIASMA
55. ATLAS : AIDTOLOCATEASTREET
60. Fixed fee : SETRATE
63. Spa sound : AAH
64. "Once in Love With ___" : AMY
65. Objectivist Rand : AYN
66. Fat substitute brand : OLEAN
67. Pride parade letters : LGBT
69. Self-referential : META
71. Fifth-century pope dubbed "the Great" : STLEO
73. An evergreen : FIR
74. Martinique, par exemple : ILE
75. Exist : ARE
76. Musical instruments that lie flat : ZITHERS
78. TRIO : THREEROLLEDINTOONE
84. Jose ___ (tequila brand) : CUERVO
85. ___ the Explorer : DORA
86. Chapel Hill sch. : UNC
87. It's a long story : SAGA
91. Squealed : SANG
93. Really bothers : NAGSAT
96. Drew useful material from : MINED
97. OKAY : OTHERWISEKNOWNASYES
101. Fiery end? : ASH
103. ___ es Salaam : DAR
104. Of a heart chamber : ATRIAL
105. Direct : STEER
108. Stop, in sailor's lingo : HEAVETO
112. Shudder of emotion : FRISSON
117. WASP : WINGEDANDSTINGINGPEST
120. Opening letters? : ACRONYM
121. One of the Wahlbergs : DONNIE
122. One way to pay : INCASH
123. Introversion : SHYNESS
124. Idol worshiper : PAGAN
125. Yoga poses : ASANAS
1. Musical Mama : CASS
2. Cut : HEWN
3. Something delivered by a diva : ARIA
4. Droopy : LIMP
5. Capital of Uganda : KAMPALA
6. Nearly out? : SLEEPY
7. Gullet : MAW
8. Second first lady : ABIGAIL
9. Foolish oldsters : DOTARDS
10. K thru 12 : ELHI
11. King who spoke at Kennedy's inaugural ball : ALAN
12. Lugs : SCHLEPS
13. Samuel Adams, e.g. : ALE
14. Rich supply : LODE
15. Natl. Guard counterpart : USNR
16. Small, as Beanie Babies : TEENIE
17. 1961 title role for Charlton Heston : ELCID
18. A comic called Wanda : SYKES
21. Burglar frightener : ARF
24. ___ Nui (Easter Island) : RAPA
25. Mooers' mouthfuls : CUDS
30. Muse of lyric poetry : ERATO
32. Flight of fancy : WHIMSY
34. Publisher's pile: Abbr. : MSS
35. ___ Park, Ill. : OAK
36. Commercial lead-in to Caps : SNO
37. "___ Boom-De-Ay" : TARARA
38. Certain house ... or house dressing : RANCH
39. Land next to Peru: Abbr. : ECUA
40. Obligation : DEBT
41. Drop a line, say : EDIT
42. Raise : REAR
47. Banned insecticide : DDT
48. Desdemona's husband, in opera : OTELLO
50. Candidate's goal : SEAT
52. Bobby of the Black Panthers : SEALE
53. Stephenie who wrote the "Twilight" series : MEYER
54. Periodic table figs. : ATNOS
56. Actor Holm : IAN
57. Where cultures thrive? : LAB
58. Horse bit : OAT
59. Wonder Woman is one : AMAZON
60. City, but not county, leader? : SOFTC
61. Yale of Yale University : ELIHU
62. La ___ (notre planète) : TERRE
68. Neuter : GELD
69. Med. scan : MRI
70. Poetic time : EEN
71. Stop: Abbr. : STN
72. That life evolves, to Darwin : THESIS
74. Pressed : IRONED
75. Apothegm : ADAGE
77. Global sports org. : IOC
79. German for "first" : ERST
80. Cole Porter's "Well, Did You ___?" : EVAH
81. Actress Anderson : LONI
82. They may match presidential administrations : ERAS
83. Train : TUTOR
88. Nonspecific amount : ANY
89. Mild exclamation : GEE
90. Supplemental work for actors : ADS
92. Golden ___ (General Mills cereal) : GRAHAMS
94. Winter Olympics activity : SKATING
95. Willa Cather's "My ___" : ANTONIA
96. Bad-mouths : MALIGNS
97. Writer who coined the term "banana republic" (1904) : OHENRY
98. Drab songbird : WREN
99. Airport amenity : WIFI
100. Realm chronicled by C. S. Lewis : NARNIA
101. ___ expected (predictably) : ASWAS
102. 1991 Wimbledon champ Michael : STICH
106. Ghostbuster Spengler : EGON
107. ___ Préval, two-time president of Haiti : RENE
109. Say further : ADD
110. Brandy grade, briefly : VSOP
111. Volcano at the meeting point of the African and Eurasian plates : ETNA
113. Pet protection agcy. : SPCA
114. White House spokesman Spicer : SEAN
115. Greek peak : OSSA
116. Some degrees : NTHS
118. Bad start? : DYS
119. Col.'s superior : GEN

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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