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NEW ENGLAND CHATTER

New York Times, Sunday, April 30, 2017

Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Editor: Will Shortz
Alan Arbesfeld
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1218/27/19814/10/20180
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25724342515
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.605099

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 115 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Alan Arbesfeld notes: I got the idea for New England Chatter (Chowder) after hearing 'It's My Party' on an oldies station, and suddenly hearing PARTY as POTTY. Researching the many AR_ sounds that flip nicely with a Boston accent ... more
Alan Arbesfeld notes:

I got the idea for New England Chatter (Chowder) after hearing "It's My Party" on an oldies station, and suddenly hearing PARTY as POTTY. Researching the many AR_ sounds that flip nicely with a Boston accent was lots of fun — there were so many good possibilities that it was hard to narrow them down.

The idea has been used before, so I also wanted my theme selections to be as fresh as possible. By the way, my two other faves are THE BOD OF AVON and INSTANT COMMA.

Jeff Chen notes: The Boston accent has been played on for crossword fun many a time. I liked most of Alan's themer choices, my favorite = A CALL TO ARMS converting to A CALL TO OMS. Not only does it looks so bizarrely cool as A ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

The Boston accent has been played on for crossword fun many a time. I liked most of Alan's themer choices, my favorite = A CALL TO ARMS converting to A CALL TO OMS. Not only does it looks so bizarrely cool as A CALL TOOMS, but it gave me an amusing image of a yoga instructor acting like a (curiously relaxed) drill sergeant.

SPARK PLUGS to SPOCK PLUGS also gave me a smile, as I'm a huge fan of most Star Trek crews (*giving Captain Archer the stink-eye*). ITS MY PARTY to ITS MY POTTY worked well for this parent of a 2.5-year-old. And I'm all for a LOW COB DIET.

INSTANT COMMA did baffle me, though. Apparently INSTANT KARMA is a … John Lennon song? It has been covered many a time, so perhaps I should know it?

And A SHOT IN THE DOC felt so grammatically tortured that it was hard to enjoy. Still, a majority of themers hit for me; pretty darn good results.

Disappointing to get so much crossword glue in so many places, given that Alan is a seasoned constructor and this is a standard 140-word construction challenge. I don't mind starting a puzzle with SEL and NOU right off the bat. Keep on with ULM / ASLOPE, CCL / KEL, STR / ADIA / AGITA, AGA / STAC, etc. = no bueno.

I would have liked to see this one kicked back for rework, even if it meant going down to eight or even seven themers. Simple theme concepts sometimes make constructors feel like they have to do something extra, but seven themers with above-average fill would have made for a stronger puzzle.

I did like some of the longer bonuses Alan worked in though — PROTEST VOTE, ACID ROCK, TURN IT UP all gave me lifts.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0430 ( 24,645 )
Across Down
1. Part of a crossword : GRID
5. Child's play : ASNAP
10. Measure, as a runner : CLOCK
15. Attachment letters : PDF
18. Number two : AIDE
19. Star of CBS's "Madam Secretary" : LEONI
20. Eighth of a cup : OUNCE
21. Munich missus : FRAU
22. Commercials for a "Star Trek" movie? : SPOCKPLUGS
24. Yoga teacher's invitation? : ACALLTOOMS
26. Head bands? : HALOES
27. Roster shortener : ETALII
29. Can't stand : HATES
30. Naval agreement : AYE
31. Inclined : ASLOPE
33. Flower arrangement : RACEME
36. Weather forecaster in Phoenix? : HOTSPECIALIST
40. Auto frame : CHASSIS
43. Serpent's tail? : INE
44. Where Einstein was born : ULM
45. Gorsuch replaced him : SCALIA
47. Prefix with -partite : TRI
48. "Louder!" : TURNITUP
51. Most in-shape person at a cosmetics company? : THEBODOFAVON
54. Strict Sabbath observer of old : ESSENE
55. Word before green or after deep blue : SEA
57. Narrow passage: Abbr. : STR
58. ___ friends : AMONG
59. Worn things : GARB
61. Back biter, maybe : FLEA
64. Standing directly in front of one another : TOETOTOE
66. Big game : BOWL
69. Ridicule shouted out of a moving car? : PASSINGMOCK
72. Tear apart : REND
73. Short-lived things : EPHEMERA
75. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA
76. Casino draw : KENO
78. Progressive alternative : GEICO
79. "Eww!" : ICK
81. Pan Am rival : TWA
83. Gulf War allies : SAUDIS
87. Quickly added bit of punctuation? : INSTANTCOMMA
91. Space saver in a taxi or bus : DROPSEAT
93. Suffix with beat : NIK
94. "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper : COOLIO
95. Egyptian ___ (spotted cat breed) : MAU
96. Turkish honorific : AGA
97. Tries to mediate : STEPSIN
100. What allowed one physician to get through flu season? : ASHOTINTHEDOC
105. Puts out : DOUSES
107. Articles of faith : TENETS
108. Two-time U.S. Open champ : ELS
109. Unctuous flattery : SMARM
111. Hangs loose : CHILLS
113. J.Crew competitor : LLBEAN
116. Regimen with limited intake of corn? : LOWCOBDIET
119. Toddler's cry upon entering the bathroom? : ITSMYPOTTY
122. Where I-15 meets I-70 : UTAH
123. Cookin', after "on" : AROLL
124. Where "ho" and "hoina" mean "yes" and "no" : NEPAL
125. Tired (out) : WORE
126. Spanish chess piece : REY
127. Chrissie in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : HYNDE
128. Backspace over : ERASE
129. Cross condition : SNIT
1. Nasty cut : GASH
2. Gifford's successor on TV : RIPA
3. Violators of the Second Commandment : IDOLATERS
4. They can throw you off : DECOYS
5. High points of a European vacation? : ALPS
6. Condiment for pommes frites : SEL
7. ___-turn : NOU
8. Cartwright who played one of the von Trapp children in "The Sound of Music" : ANGELA
9. Energetic one : PISTOL
10. Come together : COALESCE
11. First daughter of the 1960s : LUCI
12. Studio warning : ONAIR
13. A quarter of M : CCL
14. Kenan's former Nickelodeon pal : KEL
15. Support for a fringe candidate, maybe : PROTESTVOTE
16. Title for Helen Mirren : DAME
17. Something "kicked up" : FUSS
21. Heads for a bar? : FOAMS
23. Remain fresh : KEEP
25. Mother of Helios : THEA
28. Imitative : APISH
31. Scopes Trial org. : ACLU
32. Nitwits : SIMPS
34. Music genre for Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly : ACIDROCK
35. Elaine ___, cabinet member for both Bush and Trump : CHAO
36. Shere who wrote "Women and Love" : HITE
37. Cross to bear : ONUS
38. Sister of Erato : EUTERPE
39. Things that allow for jumping ahead in line? : TABS
41. Like some transfers : IRONON
42. Burned a bit : SINGED
46. Game with drawings : LOTTO
49. Slight : NEGLECT
50. ___ moment : INA
51. Shire of "Rocky" : TALIA
52. Kind of chance : FAT
53. In the mood : AMOROUS
56. Buffet centerpiece? : EFS
60. Sinatra, for one : BARITONE
62. Squash : END
63. Aggravation : AGITA
65. Just manages : EKESOUT
66. Takes the first step : BEGINS
67. Christmas Day exhortation : OPENIT
68. Removed expeditiously : WHISKEDAWAY
70. 1920s anarchist in a prominent trial : SACCO
71. Big mouth : MAW
74. Extinct cousin of the kiwi : MOA
77. Go out for a while? : NAP
80. Caffeine source : KOLA
82. Make no bones about : ADMIT
84. Completely convinced about : DEADSETON
85. "I hate the Moor" speaker : IAGO
86. Quick and detached, musically: Abbr. : STAC
88. Special Agent Gibbs's beat : NCIS
89. Call wrongly : MISTITLE
90. Bris official : MOHEL
92. Also-___ : RANS
98. Swing site : PORCH
99. Activity in a dohyo : SUMO
101. Site-seeing? : ONLINE
102. Certain Consumer Reports employee : TESTER
103. Beatles song, album or movie : HELP
104. Pasta picks : ELBOWS
106. Discontinued Toyota line : SCION
109. Put-down : SLUR
110. Speck of dust : MOTE
112. Didn't give way : HELD
113. Yankee Sparky who wrote "The Bronx Zoo" : LYLE
114. Abruzzi bell town : ATRI
115. Da's opposite : NYET
117. "Phooey!" : BAH
118. Assist with the dishes : DRY
120. Spring for a vacation? : SPA
121. "No ___!" : MAS

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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