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"TEE" TIME

New York Times, Sunday, April 24, 2016

Author:
Kathy Wienberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
61/18/201610/23/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1212000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59010
Kathy Wienberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 2 for Ms. Wienberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kathy Wienberg notes:
I was thrilled to have my first published puzzle occur on a Monday this past January. Now I'm ecstatic that my Sunday puzzle will appear! In both of them, my priority was trying to keep ... read more

I was thrilled to have my first published puzzle occur on a Monday this past January. Now I'm ecstatic that my Sunday puzzle will appear! In both of them, my priority was trying to keep the "gluey" bits and "crosswordese" to a minimum.

The inspiration for this puzzle came when cluing "necktie" for another puzzle as "Casualty of casual Fridays". I searched for other phrases that changed meanings when "TY" was added to the first word and also had second words that could be clued differently. After finding about a dozen viable ones, I decided to try to construct a Sunday puzzle.

First, I attempted to have all 9 theme answers going across, but I could not get a clean grid. Luckily, two of them could be placed going down. My first submission had POTTYBOUND (clued as Headed for the head?) at 44-Down, but I was asked to improve on this. Luckily, again, PETTYROCKS could take its place.

Being that I am so new at this, I am proud that of the clues I wrote for the 9 themers, 6 were unchanged, 2 were modified slightly, and only one was rejected ("Song about Keller Williams" for 89-Across). About half of my other clues remained intact. Thanks to Will and Joel for improving on all the others, especially "Chatty Cathy types", and for coming up with the great title.

Will and Joel's supportive suggestions are helping me to improve. As Joel commented, "It's not the FLASHIEST of grids." I hope that all solvers, even the CASUAL ones, will enjoy working on this puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
Straightforward theme, adding the T sound in the form of TY. I like how consistent Kathy was, always adding the TY to the end of the first word of a two-word phrase. It's pretty easy to ... read more

Straightforward theme, adding the T sound in the form of TY. I like how consistent Kathy was, always adding the TY to the end of the first word of a two-word phrase. It's pretty easy to find words that turn into another word when you add TY (BEAT, BEAU, CHAN, HEAR, etc.) so tightening things up by following the same pattern every time is nice.

I'd chow down on that CHOW MEIN!

And some entertaining results. SAFETY CRACKERS made me smile at today's world filled with overprotective people. Let children cut themselves on Triscuits, I say! PATTY DOWN was funny too, making me visualize an overly dramatic cook. BUSTY FARE, though … ick. Yes, people don't go to Hooters for the wings, but this entry/clue ... ick.

Impressive theme density. Very few constructors can make a Sunday 140-word puzzle, and even fewer will dare to stack theme entries, like CASUALTY FRIDAY and PATTY DOWN, in order to pack ‘em in. Great that Kathy cottoned to the little-known secret that stacking themers is not only pretty easy (if there isn't a lot of overlap), but it makes puzzle construction smoother by creating more space for other themers.

Adhering to the 140-word maximum means incorporating some long fill. Very nice to get some entries like SMIDGEN, CHOW MEIN, TORPEDO, but it felt to me like there was a lot more potential. Entries like LENGTHENS, OPPOSITES, BIMONTHLY … they just aren't the FLASHIEST things in the world. It takes time to develop this skill, and constructing themelesses helps that along. I have a feeling Kathy will get there, as my interactions with her makes me think she's the type of driven individual that can tackle whatever she sets her mind to.

I much appreciated Kathy keeping her grid relatively clean, a very difficult task even for seasoned constructors. The only thing that made me groan was RSTU, as random strings of letters seem like the some of the most inelegant of all crossword glue to me. The minor things like HALER and RES are much more palatable, and there are very few of them. Well done, indeed.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0424 ( 24,274 )
Across
1
Contents of some tubs : LARD
5
Copacetic : AOK
8
Military band : SASH
12
Showy debut : SPLASH
18
Turning brown, as a banana : OVERRIPE
20
Acid head? : AMINO
21
How some papers are presented : ORALLY
22
Nickname for an accident-prone L.A.P.D. sergeant? : CASUALTYFRIDAY
24
___ note : RANSOM
25
Stat : ATONCE
26
Avoided a tag, say : SLID
27
Cry from an errant burger flipper? : PATTYDOWN
29
Chatty Cathy types : TALKERS
31
Bit of pond slime : ALGA
33
Chaps : HES
34
"Able was I ___ I saw Elba" : ERE
35
Brit. reference sets : OEDS
37
Captivate : ENAMOR
40
Bridge : JOIN
44
Victoria's Secret job description? : PANTYHANDLER
47
Copy, briefly : REPRO
48
In better shape : HALER
51
Weather forecast that's hard to predict? : HAIL
52
Low : SAD
53
Milliner's accessory : HATPIN
54
Lemonade go-with in an Arnold Palmer : ICETEA
56
Farmer's place : DELL
58
Some trattoria orders : RISOTTOS
60
Landlord's business : RENTALS
62
Wing it? : SOAR
64
Groups of quail : COVEYS
65
Avant-garde : EDGY
66
Gulf Coast port that's gone bonkers? : BATTYMOBILE
69
Multitalented Minnelli : LIZA
72
Source of add-on damages in a lawsuit : TRAUMA
74
___ Institute (astronomers' org.) : SETI
75
NASA vehicle : ORBITER
77
Literally, "fried noodles" : CHOWMEIN
79
Help for motorcycle daredevils : RAMP
81
Having the most marbles : SANEST
82
List for a recital : PIECES
83
Word with green or brain : PEA
85
Hershey chocolate-and-caramel candy : ROLO
87
Personal highs : BESTS
88
Targets of the Dodd-Frank Act : BANKS
89
Three houses flipped this week, e.g.? : REALTYNUMBER
92
Whedon who directed 2012's "The Avengers" : JOSS
93
Nut : WEIRDO
94
Khan : Mongolia :: ___ : Russia : TSAR
95
N.F.L. QB Newton : CAM
98
Little bit : DAB
99
Feature of the western end of the Champs-Élysées : ARCH
101
Surfer's worry : RIPTIDE
104
Hooters menu? : BUSTYFARE
110
Nap : PILE
112
Cave deposits : GUANOS
113
"Volunteers?" : ANYONE
114
Biscuits with no sharp edges? : SAFETYCRACKERS
117
Deceptive pitch : SINKER
118
Plumbing or bricklaying : TRADE
119
Christ, with "the" : REDEEMER
120
Overage : EXCESS
121
Edit menu option : UNDO
122
"___ your head" : USE
123
Physics units : RADS
Down
1
Put on the map : LOCATE
2
2009 Best Picture nominee set in the 22nd century : AVATAR
3
Fix, as a pump : RESOLE
4
Plastered : DRUNK
5
Airplane maneuverer : AILERON
6
___-in clause : OPT
7
Answer sheets : KEYS
8
Little bit : SMIDGEN
9
Relief : AID
10
Piece of cake : SNAP
11
Georgetown player : HOYA
12
Postal employee : SORTER
13
Speaks up? : PRAYS
14
End of many country names : LAND
15
In addition : ALSO
16
Diamond-shaped road sign : SLOW
17
"All Glory, Laud and Honor," e.g. : HYMN
19
Campaign ... or campaign topic : RACE
20
Botanical cover : ARIL
23
Wearing the most bling, say : FLASHIEST
28
One of the Avengers : THOR
30
First family name : SETH
32
+ + + : ANDS
36
Couple : DYAD
38
Banned fruit spray : ALAR
39
Family name of Pope Leo X, Leo XI and Clement VII : MEDICI
40
Protective covering for a pier? : JETTYLINER
41
Venus and Mars, so to speak : OPPOSITES
42
It's in the eye of the beholder : IRIS
43
Security Council veto : NON
44
Sign seen at a Heartbreakers concert? : PETTYROCKS
45
Field : AREA
46
Subject in metallurgy : ALLOYS
47
Figure on a utility bill : RATE
48
What a limo may be for : HIRE
49
Served well? : ACED
50
What some mascara does to lashes : LENGTHENS
53
Remains suspended : HOVERS
55
iTunes category : ALBUMS
57
Debussy composition : LAMER
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Nerve-racking performance, maybe : SOLO
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"Likewise" : SAME
63
Community service club : ROTARY
67
Country capital with the world's tallest building before the Burj Khalifa : TAIPEI
68
Like AARP The Magazine : BIMONTHLY
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Spice : ZEST
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Part of AMPAS : ARTS
73
Knocks the socks off : AWES
76
Hon : BABE
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"Later" : CIAO
78
Almost : NEAR
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+ : PLUS
82
Simple sandwich, simply : PBJ
84
Actor Alan : ALDA
86
Longtime Sudanese president ___ al-Bashir : OMAR
89
First name in country music : REBA
90
Sabotage : TORPEDO
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Troop group : BRIGADE
93
Communion hosts, e.g. : WAFERS
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Moviedom : CINEMA
96
Dug : ADORED
97
Gentlemen: Abbr. : MESSRS
98
Physics units : DYNES
100
Ticket : CITE
102
Brownish purple : PUCE
103
"Givee" : TAKER
104
Part of a trophy : BASE
105
Operating system developed at Bell Labs : UNIX
106
Align : SYNC
107
It's a drag : TOKE
108
Queue after Q : RSTU
109
Acquire : EARN
111
Sandy shade : ECRU
115
Selfies around 2012-13, e.g. : FAD
116
Low-___ : RES

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

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