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CHANGE OF PROGRAM

New York Times, Sunday, May 25, 2014

Author:
Dan Schoenholz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
235/5/201012/7/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
10244300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64220
Dan Schoenholz

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 72 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Schoenholz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Dan Schoenholz notes:
This was a fun puzzle to create, kind of a personal journey through a lifetime of TV watching. From a construction standpoint, I got lucky: nine theme answers based on well-known shows ... read more

This was a fun puzzle to create, kind of a personal journey through a lifetime of TV watching. From a construction standpoint, I got lucky: nine theme answers based on well-known shows that just happened to break into symmetrical pairs plus a 15-letter central entry. The fill also seemed to come together more easily than usual. May your solving experience be just as smooth and enjoyable!

Jeff Chen notes:
Today we get TV shows with one word homophonically changed, thus CHANGE OF PROGRAM. I liked the fact that Dan chose a wide variety of shows from all walks of life. A soap opera, a sci-fi, ... read more

Today we get TV shows with one word homophonically changed, thus CHANGE OF PROGRAM. I liked the fact that Dan chose a wide variety of shows from all walks of life. A soap opera, a sci-fi, a sitcom, a drama — something for everyone. Except CHAMPIONSHIP BRIDGE with Groucho Marx, that is. Harrumph.

Dan does a really nice job with his spacing today. Note how little overlap there is between most themers? At least two rows between, ideal for a 21x. The closest he gets in the vertical direction is some overlap between DAZE OF OUR LIVES and THE EX FILES, but that's only a mere three letters.

So why doesn't every Sunday constructor do that? The way Dan manages it is that he puts two themers running down, TWIN PEEKS crossing DAZE OF OUR LIVES (and MIAMI VISE crossing AWL IN THE FAMILY). This type of interlock isn't always possible, especially given that many puzzles don't allow a lot of flexibility in choosing a theme set. It's fortuitous here, because it allows him to work in nine meaty answers but still retain great spacing. Very nice job in layout.

The one drawback is that I'd expect those areas with crossed themers to be the roughest places to fill. Any time you cross entries like that, you introduce an extra set of constraints into a grid skeleton. And for me as a solver, I had a difficult time in the NE. The partial A WAVE isn't bad in itself, especially given a surfing-related clue (I love to surf (badly) when I can). But surrounded by RVER and I NEED (sorry LL Cool J, even you can't save that) and GELEE made for a rough patch to complete.

All in all, I think it was worth it, in that the rest of the puzzle came pretty smoothly to me. An ACU here, a ST LO there, that's certainly a passable level of glue. Made for a relatively hiccupless solve. Nice.

Overall, the straightforward homonym theme will likely appeal to a big chunk of Will's solving community. It was a little too straightforward for my personal taste, but I often remind myself that while I tend to like complex, meaty themes, a (great?) majority of Will's audience prefers simpler puzzles. And while I personally love a heavy dose of twisty wordplay clues, there are many solvers out there who like puzzles with less playful cluing. I often have to remind myself that I'm NOT representative of the majority of the NYT's solving audience.

Finally, when you make a silly mistake by putting in SECTS SIN THE CITY (now THERE'S a show I would watch!) it's hard not to smile.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0525 ( 23,574 )
Across
1
Part of a rainbow : INDIGO
7
Blanket : SMOTHER
14
Rear admiral's rear : STERN
19
Invader of 1066 : NORMAN
20
Comment upon heading off : AWAYWEGO
21
Catch ___ (surf) : AWAVE
22
Like farmland : ARABLE
23
Stoners' memoirs? : DAZEOFOURLIVES
25
___ New Guinea : PAPUA
26
Freud disciple Alfred : ADLER
27
Coaches : TRAINERS
28
Leverage in divorce negotiations? : THEEXFILES
30
Mixologist : BARKEEP
32
Went from black to red, say : DYED
33
Home with a view : AERIE
34
Whinny : NEIGH
38
Sound in a hot tub : AAH
41
Mallard relative : TEAL
44
Berth : SLIP
45
Theater opening : SCENEI
46
Dumbstruck duo? : THEAWEDCOUPLE
50
Moolah : SHEKELS
51
Blemished : MARRED
52
Admit (to) : COP
53
Calculus calculation : SLOPE
55
Makes the connection : SEES
56
Zero-star movie : BOMB
57
Balkan capital : SOFIA
59
___ Beach, Fla. : VERO
61
Susan of "L.A. Law" : DEY
62
Tale of metropolitan religious diversity? : SECTSANDTHECITY
67
Word before or after "down" : PAT
70
Yam or turnip : ROOT
71
They're big in barns : DOORS
72
Huskers' targets : EARS
75
'12 or '13, now : ALUM
77
Western followers? : POSSE
80
Wire service inits. : UPI
81
Some lapses : ERRATA
83
Like many men's ties : STRIPED
85
Grant Wood portrayal? : AMERICANIDYLL
88
"The Canterbury Tales" inn : TABARD
89
Yemeni port : ADEN
90
Wrapped (up) : SEWN
91
Conciliatory gesture : SOP
92
Kitchen drawer? : AROMA
93
Some sites for sightseers : RUINS
94
Eke ___ living : OUTA
97
Maltreated : ILLUSED
99
Having trouble slowing down? : BRAKINGBAD
105
Like radon among all gaseous elements : HEAVIEST
108
Popped up : AROSE
109
"Appointment in Samarra" novelist : OHARA
110
Cobbler's heirloom? : AWLINTHEFAMILY
113
Bet : STAKED
114
Aplomb : POISE
115
"Spamalot" writer and lyricist : ERICIDLE
116
Forward : RESEND
117
Heavens : SKIES
118
Clear-cuts, e.g. : DENUDES
119
Off course : ASTRAY
Down
1
Not on point : INAPT
2
Jones of jazz : NORAH
3
Hang (over) : DRAPE
4
Saturated : IMBUED
5
Samsung smartphone : GALAXY
6
With 10-Down, certain punch : ONE
7
Marshy lowland : SWALE
8
Features of many kids' place mats : MAZES
9
Legal hearing : OYER
10
See 6-Down : TWO
11
Star of reality TV's "The Girls Next Door," briefly : HEF
12
Immodest display : EGOTRIP
13
Oscar nominee for "The Wrestler" : ROURKE
14
Highlight : SALIENCE
15
Double takes? : TWINPEEKS
16
Gutter site : EAVE
17
One with a home away from home : RVER
18
Crime-fighting Eliot : NESS
20
Extra: Abbr. : ADDL
24
Actress ___ Dawn Chong : RAE
26
Mentored, e.g. : AIDED
29
Celebrated : FETED
30
Poe poem, with "The" : BELLS
31
"The Tempest" spirit : ARIEL
33
Hieroglyphic symbol : ASP
35
"___ Love," 1987 LL Cool J hit : INEED
36
Stylist's goop : GELEE
37
___ fit : HISSY
38
Rest stop convenience, for short : ATM
39
1956 Gregory Peck role : AHAB
40
"Don't be a ___!" : HERO
42
Confronts : ACCOSTS
43
Certain back-scratcher : LOOFA
45
"The Rapture of Canaan" author Reynolds : SHERI
47
See 49-Down : ARMS
48
Big name in barbecue grills : WEBER
49
With 47-Down, angry : UPIN
50
Building needs, informally : SPECS
54
Not straight up : OVERICE
57
Tolerated : STOOD
58
Focusing problem, for short : ADD
60
Ferrell's cheerleading partner on "S.N.L." : OTERI
63
Dealt (with) : COPED
64
A musical might be on one : TOUR
65
Neighbors of Navajos : HOPIS
66
Sale site, maybe : YARD
67
Popular pre-marathon meal : PASTA
68
Wedding site : ALTAR
69
Engine booster : TURBO
73
Tropicana Field team : RAYS
74
W.W. II invasion site : STLO
76
Tight spot in South Florida? : MIAMIVISE
78
___ Hawkins Day : SADIE
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Correct : EMEND
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Taedium vitae : ENNUI
82
View from Lake Como : ALP
84
Relatives of turtles : PRALINES
86
Neon frame? : ENS
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Stirred : AWOKE
89
Spare : AUSTERE
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In a hurry : RUSHED
95
Govt. securities : TNOTES
96
Left open-mouthed, say : AGHAST
98
Rent : LET
99
Wedding sight : BRIDE
100
Fancy wheels, familiarly : ROLLS
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"... so long ___ both shall live?" : ASYE
102
Part of an old military alphabet : BAKER
103
Big band's booking : ARENA
104
Pops : DADDY
105
Comes to pass, old-style : HAPS
106
"Star Wars" furball : EWOK
107
Others, to Ovid : ALII
108
In : AMID
111
End of un film : FIN
112
Puncture preceder : ACU
113
Mme.'s cousin : SRA

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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