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OH, WHO?

New York Times, Sunday, May 18, 2014

Author:
Joe DiPietro
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1338/26/199511/7/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
291072342283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59336
Joe DiPietro

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 119 for Mr. DiPietro. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
What a fun theme, common words and phrases reimagined in Irish ways. ANGIOGRAM becomes ANGIE O'GRAM and WILLOW TREES becomes WILL O'TREES, for example. Neat that Joe found nine of these, ... read more

What a fun theme, common words and phrases reimagined in Irish ways. ANGIOGRAM becomes ANGIE O'GRAM and WILLOW TREES becomes WILL O'TREES, for example. Neat that Joe found nine of these, most all of which amused me. Not often that a punny type theme works for me, but this one did it. I mean, JEAN O'TYPING, that's brilliant!

Joe does well with his layout, putting as much space between his themers as possible. Note the two themers in row three and the two themers in row nineteen. Anytime you can get two (shorter) theme entries into one row, that helps immensely.

Ah, the devilish constructions that are Sunday puzzles. Even going up to Will's maximum word count (140), 21x puzzles are almost never easy to put together. Long fill is not just a nicety but a requirement, given the specifications. I can understand that in some ways — it's awfully nice to get some long fill to spice up a grid — but boy does it make for a challenge. I liked PUT ER THERE and TOSS A SALAD quite a bit, but BIG IN JAPAN felt awfully arbitrary. I'm mixed on CLERKS TALE, which clearly is part of "Canterbury Tales," but I fear that opens up the floodgates for any of the 20+ tales.

Although I bet there's a hilarious joke if you smash up THE NUNS PRIESTS TALE and THE MAN OF LAWS TALE. A nun, a priest, and a lawyer walk into a ye olde alehouse...

Check out where WEINSTEIN sits below ANGIEOGRAM. Because of the word count maximum, long bits need to be incorporated in many places. I do like the wide-open look this subsection has. The INRI / EGAN / CESTA pileup did feel a little inelegant though. A tough trade-off; a very difficult task to place an entry as long as WEINSTEIN right in between two theme entries (same goes for the symmetrical spot, with the unknown to me PAPER LACE and the SAREE variant). An almost surefire way to create high constraints.

Sometimes I wonder if opening up the maximum of 140 to 144 (which is what Rich Norris allows at the LAT and Patti Varol allows at the Crosswords Club) might be useful. I do love me some long fill, but I also value smoothness of solve. I hate to admit how irked I get at little bits, but struggling for minutes and then revealing TOPEE / SCREED wasn't very satisfying.

So although I struggled a bit with the fill, I really enjoyed the theme. A clever interpretation of in-the-language phrases with amusing results.

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D
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0518 ( 23,567 )
Across
1
Pat : DAB
4
Nosed around : PRIED
9
Univ. divisions : DEPTS
14
Early third-century year : CCIV
18
Univ. in Troy, N.Y. : RPI
19
Quarter back, possibly : CHANGE
20
Like some workers : APIAN
21
Edison's middle name : ALVA
22
Irish chemist? : ANGIEOGRAM
24
Irish arborist? : WILLOTREES
26
Harvey of Hollywood : WEINSTEIN
27
China's Zhou ___ : ENLAI
28
How pastrami is usually ordered : ONRYE
29
Serenaded : SANGTO
30
"Scary Movie," for one : SPOOF
31
Love letters? : SWAK
32
Irish secretary? : JEANOTYPING
36
Targets for a delivery : SHIPSTO
39
One may take you in : SCAM
41
Mists : SPRAYS
42
Bird on a Canadian dollar : LOON
43
All-human bridge? : TOO
44
Barely bite : NIPAT
46
When the day's done, to Donne : EEN
47
Irish algebra teacher? : COREYOGRAPH
51
Missile Command maker : ATARI
52
Noodges : NAGS
54
Big name in restaurant reviews : ZAGAT
55
"Hard ___!" (nautical command) : ALEE
56
Digs of pigs : PEN
57
When the day's done, to Denis : NUIT
59
End of a game? : ALAI
61
Long, angry complaint : SCREED
63
Irish woodworker? : PATTYOFURNITURE
67
Lie : REPOSE
70
Part of a dishwasher : RACK
71
California county or its seat : NAPA
72
Beat : TOP
75
Jack-in-the-pulpit, e.g. : ARUM
76
Finger-pointer : NAMER
79
___ City (Baghdad area) : SADR
81
Lie : STORY
83
Irish mountain climber? : NATEOSUMMIT
86
Family nickname : SIS
87
Canadian blockhead : HOSER
88
Suffix with zinc : ITE
89
Victory goddess : NIKE
90
Set crowd, maybe : EXTRAS
93
Where the Storting meets : OSLO
94
Light reddish-brown horses : SORRELS
96
Irish dogsled racer? : JUNEOALASKA
99
1979 Roman Polanski film : TESS
100
Places for fuel : TANKS
101
Places for panels : DAISES
104
Fall shade : OCHRE
106
Some investment bonds, for short : MUNIS
107
Band with the 1974 #1 hit "The Night Chicago Died" : PAPERLACE
110
Irish health care worker? : MAEOCLINIC
112
Irish painter? : MELOYELLOW
113
Do sometimes called a "natural" : AFRO
114
Support : BRACE
115
"So true" : IAGREE
116
Yard filler, maybe : ALE
117
Snorkeling locale : REEF
118
Director von Sternberg : JOSEF
119
Put up with : STAND
120
"___ not!" : DID
Down
1
Ties : DRAWS
2
Problem in bed, for some : APNEA
3
Like some bands with only modest Western popularity : BIGINJAPAN
4
Light quanta : PHOTONS
5
Burning sensation? : RAGE
6
Calvary inscription : INRI
7
Richard of "A Summer Place" : EGAN
8
___ Bums (Brooklyn Dodgers nickname) : DEM
9
Suddenly strike : DAWNON
10
Novel ending : EPILOG
11
Rice dish : PILAF
12
Anklebones : TALI
13
___-Caps (candy) : SNO
14
Steal, as a vehicle : CARNAP
15
Chaucer work that invokes the book of Job, with "The" : CLERKSTALE
16
Tony-winning actress Judith : IVEY
17
Still-life subject : VASE
19
Jai alai basket : CESTA
23
___ Johansson, 1959-60 world heavyweight champion : INGEMAR
25
AAA service : TOWING
27
Protestant denom. : EPISC
30
One who bugs people? : SPY
31
Riddles with bullets : SHOOTSUP
33
Christmas Day urging : OPENIT
34
Compact : TREATY
35
Positive principle : YANG
36
Versatile bean : SOYA
37
Pith helmet : TOPEE
38
Voiced some pleasure : OOHED
39
Breeze : SNAP
40
Quote : CITE
42
Advantage, with "up" : LEG
45
"Tony n' ___ Wedding" : TINAS
48
Springfield Plateau area : OZARKS
49
Pour : RAIN
50
Numismatist's classification : RARE
53
Preinstalled iPhone browser : SAFARI
58
Setting set : UTENSILS
60
Montréal suburb Côte St.-___ : LUC
62
Hard drive malfunction : CRASH
63
Pear or quince : POME
64
Utah city : OREM
65
One of the Gandhis : INDIRA
66
Foot bone : TARSAL
67
Indian princesses : RANIS
68
Orphic hymn charmer : ERATO
69
"Let's shake!" : PUTERTHERE
72
Prepare the first course, say : TOSSASALAD
73
Pitcher Hershiser : OREL
74
Lighting expert? : PYRO
77
"Great" birds : AUKS
78
Marie Curie, e.g.: Abbr. : MME
80
About : ASTO
82
Got sick : TOOKILL
84
"I'll be right with you" : ONESEC
85
Some distance races : TENKS
91
Marks (out) : XES
92
Depressed-looking : SADEYED
95
Cover with new shingles : REROOF
96
She married Bobby on "The Sopranos" : JANICE
97
Social welfare org. : UNICEF
98
Eastern wrap: Var. : SAREE
100
Bonito relatives : TUNAS
102
Possible water contaminator : ECOLI
103
Tailored : SEWED
104
Barbra's "Funny Girl" co-star : OMAR
105
___ noir : CAFE
106
"The Hunter (Catalan Landscape)" painter : MIRO
107
Fertilizer ingredient : PEAT
108
Bit of stagnant-water growth : ALGA
109
Lucrative Internet biz : PORN
111
War on Poverty prez : LBJ
112
What can open files? : MIS

Answer summary: 17 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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