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WORDS OF INTRODUCTION

New York Times, Sunday, April 28, 2019

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1838/7/19964/28/201916
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
365152018482615
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1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 66 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 183 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Brendan Emmett Quigley is a professional puzzlemaker in Brookline, Mass. He says he'll make puzzles for pretty much any market that will cut him a check — 'not to mention a few ... read more

Brendan Emmett Quigley is a professional puzzlemaker in Brookline, Mass. He says he'll make puzzles for pretty much any market that will cut him a check — "not to mention a few others that still owe me money." Brendan sold his first crossword to The Times in 1996, when he was a senior at the University of New Hampshire.

This is his 183rd puzzle for the paper.

Jeff Chen notes:
Initialisms, all playing on '___ words.' It confused me at first — how could the KOHINOOR DIAMOND possibly be KIND words? Turns out that it can also be written as the KOH-I-NOOR ... read more

Initialisms, all playing on "___ words." It confused me at first — how could the KOHINOOR DIAMOND possibly be KIND words? Turns out that it can also be written as the KOH-I-NOOR DIAMOND. Huh, who knew?

I appreciate that BEQ stuck steadfastly to only in-the-language phrases. It would have been too easy to stray toward loosey-goosey-ness on something like SAFE words. SUCH A FLIMSY EXAMPLE would have been such a flimsy example of this theme.

Even though I so brilliantly managed to drop it into casual conversation.

Mic drop!

Ah, the sub-140 word Sunday puzzle. I case see why BEQ was tempted (he used 136 words) – if a solver is initialismed out (I suffer from that, I admit), try to give them something to hold their attention. Bonuses like I AM A ROCK, SCORSESE, SHOWCASE, UPSTARTS, iN UTERO, SEE THRU do help.

But ORDO. COMTE. FETOR? EDDA ROARK REUEL. Yikes.

Not to mention YSER ACBC AME and the random XOX.

Now, there was more interesting mid-length stuff than usual, ANKARA, TOFFEE, TROPIC, BALKANS, CRACKER, TOUCANS. Definitely not the same, boring 3-5 letter fill that we see all the time.

But overall, I'd have preferred a 140-word puzzle that featured a couple of sizzling long bonuses, even if that meant accepting more of the same-old, same-old 3-5-letter fill. I tend to not notice that short stuff; it becomes part of the background. Just as with the Japanese adage, "The nail that sticks out gets pounded back down," I favor having as few NONFEE ACBC FETOR nails sticking up.

I'd love to see more creativity in the NYT Sunday crossword. It's felt like it's lost its edge in the past year. Not every Sunday puzzle has to be ground-breaking, nor should it be – plenty of people are just fine with tried-and-true, standard themes, thank you very much.

But especially considering how few people are making Sunday puzzles these days — Will just issued a note saying he only has 10 accepted Sundays in the queue — I'm hoping that Will and Joel start more proactively reaching out to certain constructors and guiding them along the difficult Sunday path, working with them to develop creative themes.

ADDED NOTE: Will recently changed his policy for Sunday puzzles! While he still won't take general theme queries for Sunday puzzles — all other editors do, but due to the sheer volume of his submissions (about 125 per week), Will can't make this happen this yet — he will look at unclued grids. That's a step in the right direction — previously, constructors would have to take the 10+ hours to clue up a 21x21 grid before submitting. It was soul-crushing to then find out that Will didn't like the theme, and those 10 hours were a waste of time.

Samll steps. I'm hoping his next move will be to allow "experienced constructors" — those with 10+ NYT puzzles published, say — to submit Sunday theme queries. Maybe limit it to one a month or something, to make it more manageable.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0428 ( 25,373 )
Across
1
Thieves often go by them : ALIASES
8
Do well : THRIVE
14
Rhyme scheme of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" : ABCB
18
A little : NOTMUCH
19
Didn't strictly follow one's diet, say : CHEATED
20
The Princess of Power, in cartoons : SHERA
21
KIND words? : KOHINOORDIAMOND
23
Steadfast : LOYAL
24
Pulitzer-winning playwright Zoë : AKINS
25
Ranking 50th among all states, say : WORST
26
Simon & Garfunkel song about emotional detachment : IAMAROCK
28
Home to the Triple-A Aces : RENO
29
Sports org. based in Indianapolis : NCAA
30
Porridge ingredients : OATS
33
Wife of Jared Kushner : IVANKA
34
Craft measured in cubits : ARK
35
HAS words? : HEARTANDSOUL
38
Retreat : DEN
39
Need for a restricted area : PASSKEY
40
Needs for some touring bands : VANS
41
Data for auto aficionados : YEARS
43
Tributary of the Missouri : PLATTE
45
Title in the House of Saud : EMIR
47
Stand in a boardroom : EASEL
49
English counties : SHIRES
50
Modern-day flood : EMAIL
52
Along with : ASWELLAS
55
Path finder : HIKER
56
Leaves 'em rolling in the aisles : SLAYS
57
Read between the lines : INFER
58
Sábado or domingo : DIA
59
Goose Island products : ALES
60
BIG words? : BELIEFINGOD
62
Of no relevance : MOOT
63
Wartime stat : MIA
64
Bring up to date, say : CUEIN
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Sign up for : ENTER
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Watt-second : JOULE
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The nouveau riche : UPSTARTS
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Stink : FETOR
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"I ___" (what the Latin "veto" means) : FORBID
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Energy : OOMPH
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Latin word on a dollar bill : ORDO
73
Ways of looking at things : SLANTS
74
Spanish meat : CARNE
76
Teacups at an amusement park, e.g. : RIDE
78
Ones who can't change large bills? : TOUCANS
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___ Zion Church : AME
82
ROOT words? : RUNOUTOFTOWN
84
A brace : TWO
87
Ink : TATTOO
90
Render null and void : UNDO
91
Some early January curbside pickups : FIRS
92
___ Nebula, part of the constellation Taurus : CRAB
93
Port on many laptops : ETHERNET
95
Doesn't really know : FEELS
97
Noted Scottish exports : WOOLS
98
Moses' father-in-law : REUEL
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SAFE words? : SETAFINEEXAMPLE
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Ticklish area : TUMMY
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Just imagine : PRETEND
105
Military excursions : SORTIES
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Spheres : ORBS
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Like some credit cards : NONFEE
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Sees coming : EXPECTS
Down
1
World capital said to have been founded by King Midas : ANKARA
2
Attractive person, informally : LOOKER
3
Opinion piece? : ITHINK
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___ acid : AMINO
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Earns a bronze? : SUNS
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Prefix with toxicology : ECO
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"The Price Is Right" prize : SHOWCASE
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"What's ___?!" : THIS
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Charlie of "Stranger Things" : HEATON
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2002 or 2019 Super Bowl player : RAM
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"How was ___ know?" : ITO
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Game meat : VENISON
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Work that includes the Skáldskaparmál : EDDA
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Now, in Nogales : AHORA
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BAD words? : BEYONDALLDOUBT
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What Polly wants : CRACKER
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1990s war locale : BALKANS
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Bank posting : CDRATE
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Macedonian, e.g. : SLAV
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Howard ___, "The Fountainhead" protagonist : ROARK
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"Cool" sum : MIL
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Pest control targets : NESTS
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Motrin competitor : ADVIL
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Bolshevik's foe : TSAR
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Unceasing critic : HATER
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Mate's affirmative : AYEAYE
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Employs as : USESFOR
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Whittles (down) : PARES
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Belgian river to the North Sea : YSER
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Fish that can swim backward : EEL
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Queen Elizabeth's husband : PHILIP
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LAST words? : LIKEASORETHUMB
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Cause of a paper jam : MISFEED
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Gobsmacked : AWED
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Old SeaWorld attraction : SHAMU
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Colonial merchant Samuel after whom a famous island is named : ELLIS
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Chief : MAIN
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Theme of many heavy metal songs : ANGER
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Some fish sauces : AIOLIS
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Full : SATED
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Transparent, informally : SEETHRU
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Mad about : INTO
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Bit of dinner impoliteness : BURP
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Completely : INTOTO
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A.M.s : MORNS
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Hit town : CAME
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National chain selling crafts and fabrics : JOANN
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Lot : TON
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Influential thinker known for his ego? : FREUD
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Imperfections : FLAWS
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Have way too much of : ODON
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Eight-time Best Director nominee who has won only once : SCORSESE
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Target, as a specific audience : CATERTO
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Mickey Mouse : AMATEUR
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Not yet born : INUTERO
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Ruffle feathers, say : OFFEND
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Having a function : UTILE
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Florida governor DeSantis : RON
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Sticky sweet : TOFFEE
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It circles the Earth : TROPIC
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Card carrier? : WALLET
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Fixate : OBSESS
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Overflows (with) : TEEMS
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Airport whose name is also a big brand of nail polish : ORLY
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Dumas's "Le ___ de Monte-Cristo" : COMTE
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Basic cable channel owned by Disney : ESPN
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Strauss's "___ Alpensinfonie" : EINE
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Record defect : WARP
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Attractive person, informally : TEN
101
Explosives org. : ATF
102
Tic-tac-toe loser : XOX

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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