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TO-DO LIST (ABRIDGED)

New York Times, Sunday, May 17, 2015

Author: Joe Krozel
Editor: Will Shortz
Joe Krozel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
877/7/20066/14/201815
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4147242621
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48057

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 78 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 79 for Mr. Krozel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joe Krozel notes: I originally titled this puzzle 'Multitasking' because certain words serve more than one purpose and the individual tasks would overlap — much as they seem to do when one is multitasking. But alas, not ... more
Joe Krozel notes:

I originally titled this puzzle "Multitasking" because certain words serve more than one purpose and the individual tasks would overlap — much as they seem to do when one is multitasking. But alas, not everything survives the edit.

At any rate, it's a complex theme idea today ... one which took many more hours to flesh out than a simple rebus or letter subtraction would. (Just try to create your own string of three overlapping tasks: PUSH A BUTTON, BUTTON A SHIRT ... oops I'm stuck). Plus, I don't particularly enjoy solving those "conventional" forms I mentioned — and that's just me — so I never make them. Instead, I push really hard for something new and unexpected — the sort of theme I myself would most enjoy solving. Lets hope that's what solvers got today.

Jeff Chen notes: I appreciate the innovation Joe has been bringing to Sunday puzzles. Today's title was spot-on perfect — ABRIDGED should be read as A-BRIDGED, i.e. the phrases are bridged by connecting As. Neat how Joe ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I appreciate the innovation Joe has been bringing to Sunday puzzles. Today's title was spot-on perfect — ABRIDGED should be read as A-BRIDGED, i.e. the phrases are bridged by connecting As.

Neat how Joe found so many "X a Y" phrases that are both in the language and are linkable. RUN A LIGHT A FIRE A SHOT was especially colorful, each one of the three "to-do list tasks" strong phrases in their own right.

I know karate kicks. Er, kung fu.

The only one I paused at was MAKE A CATCH, as its clue felt off. [Play baseball] is so generic; something like [Field a fly] would have been better (although, see Will's very valid point below — super difficult to clue this phrase!). The bigger issue is that I debated for a long time whether or not MAKE A CATCH is actually in-the-language or not. "The outfielder is going to make the catch!" feels fine. "The outfielder is going to make a catch!" … not so much.

Loved the start of the puzzle, two clever clues kicking off the upper left corner. [Group of companies] had me thinking about big business and corporate takeovers, but it meant military companies in the MARINE CORPS. And [Pod part, perhaps] threw me off, entering OKRA. Clever, a "pod" being a group of ORCAs.

On that MARINE CORPS note, I also appreciated Joe adding to the solving experience by giving us some big corners, with such snappy entries like TV ANTENNA and KARATE KICKS. Getting down to 138 words is awfully difficult to do cleanly — I didn't care for seeing two plural names so close to each other (MARCS and KARENS) — but that's a very small price that I'm willing to accept in order to get those big corners. And there are enough KARENS in the world; not like it was a plural EZIOS or something.

I would have liked the clues amped up in difficulty, as for most of the themers I was able to drop them in without a single crossing answer. But overall, I enjoyed seeing something completely different in my Sunday puzzle.

Will Shortz notes: It couldn't be "Field a fly," because that repeats the "a." If anyone has a better suggestion than mine, I'm all ears. Joel and I spent quite a while on this!
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0517 ( 23,931 )
Across Down
1. Rye and others : BREADS
7. Egg-shaped tomato : ROMA
11. Racetrack figure : ODDS
15. A cherry may be served with it : STEM
19. Group of companies : MARINECORPS
21. Doesn't freak out : KEEPSCOOL
23. Set time / Go to theater / Engage in tomfoolery : WINDAWATCHAPLAYAPRANK
25. Festive season : NOEL
26. ___ Maria : TIA
27. What may follow bigger or better : THAN
28. Byways : ROADS
29. "Absolutely, brother!" : AMEN
31. Part of a giggle : HEE
32. Put in a hold : STOW
33. Hitchhike / Surf / Show patriotism : THUMBARIDEAWAVEAFLAG
42. To a smaller degree : LESSSO
43. Dashboard abbr. : RPM
44. Meal for a seal : EEL
45. Harbor whistler : TUG
47. Good rep : CRED
48. Unshiny : FLAT
50. Place to pick up prints : CRIMESCENE
54. Somersault / Start football game / Invent some language : DOAFLIPACOINAPHRASE
58. Not pay attention : SNOOZE
59. Painters' picks : HUES
60. Gets established : SETSIN
61. Co. that produced "Lou Grant" : MTM
64. "I said ___!" : NOW
65. Nurse : SIP
66. Flashy neckwear : BOA
67. J.F.K. posting : ETA
68. Post-deluge sight : ARARAT
70. Shopper stopper : SALE
72. Staples of protests : CHANTS
75. Not stop at intersection / Warm up / Use rifle : RUNALIGHTAFIREASHOT
79. Taxi's locale : CITYSTREET
80. Additions : SUMS
81. "Employees must wash hands before returning to work," e.g. : RULE
84. Georgia, once: Abbr. : SSR
85. Law school accreditor, for short : ABA
86. Walton with a club : SAM
87. Diamond worker : BATBOY
89. Play baseball / Take public transportation downtown / Clean up after diners leave : MAKEACATCHABUSATABLE
96. Some red marks : ACNE
97. Biblical preserver : ARK
98. Fudges, in a way, as an expense report : PADS
99. Earth : WORLD
101. Farming prefix : AGRI
103. Balkan repub. : ALB
104. Wedge or sledge : TOOL
108. Finish taxes / Visit library / Plan vacation : FILEARETURNABOOKATRIP
113. Rabbit ears : TVANTENNA
114. People with belts do them : KARATEKICKS
115. Dict. material : DEFS
116. Tiny bit : ATOM
117. Herring type : SHAD
118. Pro responses : YESSES
1. 3 Series producer : BMW
2. Makeup of some sheets : RAIN
3. Cubemeister Rubik : ERNO
4. West Wing worker : AIDE
5. Forensic facilities : DNALABS
6. Do a darn good job? : SEW
7. Twisty pasta : ROTINI
8. Pod part, perhaps : ORCA
9. Dashboard abbr. : MPH
10. Coordinately : ASATEAM
11. Where I-35 and I-40 meet: Abbr. : OKLA
12. Graduation ceremony V.I.P. : DEAN
13. "L.A. Law" actress : DEY
14. Home of the 300 in the film "300" : SPARTA
15. Many a prescription? : SCRAWL
16. Despicable one : TOAD
17. A seeming eternity : EONS
18. January honoree, for short : MLK
20. Do the dishes? : CATER
22. "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," e.g. : SPOOF
24. "That was close!" : PHEW
30. Iconic figure in a Warhol work : MAO
31. Seven: Prefix : HEPTA
32. City in 1965 headlines : SELMA
33. Soft touch, for short? : TLC
34. H.M.S. part : HER
35. Like trade-ins : USED
36. PCs once ran on it : MSDOS
37. Window dressing : DRAPE
38. Home on high : AERIE
39. Circulation needs : VEINS
40. Not stiff : ATEASE
41. Puts the pedal to the metal : GUNSIT
46. Davis of Hollywood : GEENA
48. Showerhead adjustment : FLOW
49. Diamond-loving Taylor : LIZ
50. Masterstroke : COUP
51. Some printers : EPSONS
52. Safe place for a knife : SHEATH
53. Many an old monitor, in brief : CRT
55. Record of the year? : ANNALS
56. Go by walking : FOOTIT
57. Top cop : CHIEF
61. Cohn and Chagall : MARCS
62. "It is what it is," e.g. : TRUISM
63. "No pain, no gain," to many a bodybuilder : MANTRA
65. Bed support : SLAT
66. Rural calls : BAAS
69. ___ of hope : RAY
70. Biblical queendom : SHEBA
71. Steadily annoyed : ATEAT
72. Piece of cake : CRUMB
73. One left in stitches : HEM
74. Approximately, informally : SORTA
76. It's a blessing : GRACE
77. Chris who sang "Wicked Game" : ISAAK
78. Country singer Ernest : TUBB
82. "U R so funny" alternative : LOL
83. Word with public or private : EYE
86. Head analysts? : SHRINKS
87. Corrupt : BAD
88. On the line : ATSTAKE
90. Carpenter and others : KARENS
91. Sizzle : ECLAT
92. Renaissance artist ___ del Sarto : ANDREA
93. Late media journalist David : CARR
94. Digital transfer : UPLOAD
95. Peasant shoe : SABOT
99. Take as a bride : WIVE
100. Count of Lemony Snicket : OLAF
101. "... ___ extra charge!" : ATNO
102. Stop on the first trans-Pacific air route : GUAM
103. Spelling start? : ABRA
105. Lex Luthor's main henchman in "Superman" : OTIS
106. Villains of fantasy : ORCS
107. Facebook action : LIKE
108. Busy co. around Feb. 14 : FTD
109. Sinus doc : ENT
110. "So-o-o comfy!" : AAH
111. Very important : KEY
112. Remarks akin to "btw" : PSS

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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