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IN BAD TASTE

New York Times, Sunday, May 28, 2017

Author: Andrew Zhou
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1611/11/20109/23/20180
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3021532
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1.64241
Andrew Zhou

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 82 Missing: {JQ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Zhou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Zhou notes: The challenge here was finding fully plausible cooking instructions (grammatically) with indisputably unsavory connotations. In other words, you gotta have a verb and an object, so CUT IN LINE, for example, ... more
Andrew Zhou notes:

The challenge here was finding fully plausible cooking instructions (grammatically) with indisputably unsavory connotations. In other words, you gotta have a verb and an object, so CUT IN LINE, for example, would be a no-go on both counts. I am particularly fond of 96A, which twists my linguistic processing a bit to get the original and contextual meaning of the idiom to jibe.

Original clue for 47A: Reciprocated sin? Not sure if that implies some sort of revenge film-type scenario.

Will kicked this puzzle back due to my original entry at 39A: MIX YOUR METAPHORS, asking if I could change it to what it is now. The original thinking there was that recipes would likely direct you to either "mix the metaphors" (aforementioned with the correct quantity in the ingredients list) or "mix your metaphors." (The latter, I suspect, is far more prevalent among those homey food blogs that Pinterest every step of the process, so that even a sink full of dirty dishes comes out looking Country Crock®-chic.*

On a related note, there was a second revision I sent later that mysteriously didn't make it to print. It contained a tiny revision in the upper-right corner, making 22A: VAPE and 26A: ETTA. Those with eagle eyes might spot why that emendation was made...

*I actually secretly love those blogs.

Jeff Chen notes: It's A RECIPE FOR DISASTER … using phrases that contain a word common to recipes … and that mean generally bad things? That didn't feel tight enough for my taste. I appreciate the STIR, MIX, BEAT, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

It's A RECIPE FOR DISASTER … using phrases that contain a word common to recipes … and that mean generally bad things? That didn't feel tight enough for my taste. I appreciate the STIR, MIX, BEAT, POUR, CUT, SERVE order — akin to brownies — but BEAT A DEAD HORSE is gross in this context, while MIX ONES METAPHORS is more quaint.

Huh.

Pushing that all aside, the grid is executed very well, not surprising given how good a constructor Andrew is. He puts on a clinic for making a smooth Sunday 140-word puzzle. It's such a rough task (which is why some other editors allow up to 144 words, making the job a ton easier).

You're always going to have some themeless-esque big white spaces in a 140-word Sunday puzzle. What separates the great grids from the clunky ones is 1.) developing an intuitive feel for how big a white space is too big, and 2.) doing a ton of testing to figure out where one's long fill can go without causing too many problems.

Andrew did well in the upper left, for example. It's not easy to work in two long slots up there, but THIRD BEST and COSECANT do a nice job. They don't shine as fill, but they have so many easy-to-work-with letters that Andrew can escape with hardly a blemish. (PIMA might be hard for some, granted.)

Another nice area is the PASHAS / OCTAVES / UNAWARE section. Look how well Andrew blocked it off from the rest of the puzzle to make it doable. OCTAVES is the only snazzy entry there, what with its great misdirectional [Scales span them] clue. But such a clean, professional result.

It's a tricky business. It's inevitable that you'll need some long fill in a 140-word puzzle, and it's so hard to place these entries without causing problems in the short fill.

Great execution in this grid. I wish the theme had grabbed me better, especially without the eew factor of BEAT A DEAD HORSE within a recipe.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0528 ( 24,673 )
Across Down
1. "___ Davis Eyes," 1981 #1 hit : BETTE
6. Some lookout notices, for short : APBS
10. One thrown for a loop? : LASSO
15. Musical genre for "Gangnam Style" : KPOP
19. Sundance Film Festival local : UTAHN
20. Sack : LOOT
21. Venusian or Jovian : ALIEN
22. Pointer for a weather person? : VANE
23. Vertical part of a plane : YAXIS
24. Soprano on TV : TONY
25. Drifting sort : NOMAD
26. America's Cup, e.g. : EWER
27. Step 1: Raise hell : STIRUPAHORNETSNEST
31. Opus ___ : DEI
32. "Golly!" : BOY
33. ___ Picchu : MACHU
36. Wild guess : STAB
39. Step 2: Make some literary gaffes : MIXONESMETAPHORS
47. Reciprocal in trigonometry : COSECANT
49. Targets of a cleanse : TOXINS
50. Undecided, on a sked : TBA
51. Many residents of Holmes County, Ohio : AMISH
52. Movie release day, often: Abbr. : FRI
54. Had pants? : GASPED
55. ___ rock : GLAM
56. Step 3: Devote energy to something hopeless : BEATADEADHORSE
59. Prefix with second : NANO
60. One who's been tapped on the shoulder : SIR
61. West Coast news inits. : LAT
62. Numbers after a decimal point: Abbr. : CTS
65. Activewear brand : AVIA
66. Step 4: Be a financial wastrel : POURMONEYDOWNTHEDRAIN
74. Doxycycline target : ACNE
75. Refusals : NOS
76. When doubled, a drink with vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice : WOO
77. Address not in a phone book : URL
78. ___ film : STAG
79. Step 5: Look pretty schlubby : CUTAPOORFIGURE
87. Partner of hems : HAWS
88. Eliot's "Silas ___" : MARNER
90. Employer of the Bond girl in "The Spy Who Loved Me," for short : KGB
91. Where 84-Down is, colloquially : SOCAL
92. Actress Gardner : AVA
93. Figure out : DECODE
94. Zoology class : REPTILES
96. And finally: Has divided loyalties : SERVESTWOMASTERS
101. Org. involved in a probe : NASA
102. 1990s tennis phenom : SELES
103. Company with a lightning bolt in its logo : RCA
104. Lee on a set : ANG
106. What 27-, 39-, 56-, 66-, 79- and 96-Across together make up? : ARECIPEFORDISASTER
116. "Such is life" : ALAS
119. A Wayans brother : DAMON
120. Israeli magazine holders : UZIS
121. "Pipes" : VOICE
122. Buddha, for one : YOGI
123. Made some calls : UMPED
124. "Ain't I sumthin'!" : TADA
125. Zac of "Dirty Grandpa" : EFRON
126. ___ asst. : EXEC
127. Tweets, e.g. : POSTS
128. Bank deposit? : SNOW
129. Hospital opening? : STENT
1. Totally believes : BUYS
2. Nouveau-Mexique, e.g. : ETAT
3. Prepare to take off : TAXI
4. Like a bronze medalist : THIRDBEST
5. Follow : ENSUE
6. Resort in the Wasatch Mountains : ALTA
7. "Oh, nuts!" : POOH
8. Chimpanzee variety : BONOBO
9. William who wrote "The Confessions of Nat Turner" : STYRON
10. Running track part : LANE
11. Much : ALOT
12. Family in a computer game : SIMS
13. Trump spokesman Spicer : SEAN
14. TV-watching option : ONDEMAND
15. Bellyache : KVETCH
16. Handle roughly : PAW
17. With 18-Down, distribution limitation, informally : ONE
18. See 17-Down : PER
28. High-grade cotton : PIMA
29. C.E.O. of the Planetary Society starting in 2010 : NYE
30. Depletes : SAPS
34. Stream coming down a mountain? : HOTLAVA
35. Pope who initiated the First Crusade : URBANII
36. One crossing the line? : SCAB
37. "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare," e.g. : TOME
38. It spans 11 time zones : ASIA
40. Conflagration : INFERNO
41. More, in ads : XTRA
42. Navigator's aid : STAR
43. Shaded growth : MOSS
44. Anticipate : EXPECT
45. Lace : TIE
46. Nonvoting member in the U.S. House of Representatives : SAMOAN
48. Gulf : CHASM
53. Without forethought : IDLY
54. Begin fighting : GOTOWAR
55. Growl like a dog : GNAR
57. Best-selling Canadian singer of all time (with 200+ million record sales) : DION
58. Duped : HAD
63. James who wrote "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" : THURBER
64. Medieval toiler : SERF
66. Grand viziers, e.g. : PASHAS
67. Scales span them : OCTAVES
68. Napping, so to speak : UNAWARE
69. Rules and ___ : REGS
70. Some money set aside : ESCROW
71. Doo-___ : WOP
72. Recess : NOOK
73. Like minor celebrities : DLIST
80. Repeal : UNDO
81. Be swarming (with) : TEEM
82. "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" villain : OGRE
83. Melting : GOINGSOFT
84. It has a noted school of theater, film and television : UCLA
85. Pulitzer winner Armantrout and others : RAES
86. "Frozen" princess : ELSA
88. Really not O.K. : MESSEDUP
89. Part of a musical : ACT
93. Ovine : sheep :: cervine : ___ : DEER
95. Ad Council output, for short : PSAS
97. Pickle brand : VLASIC
98. Pound sound : ARF
99. Talent seekers : SCOUTS
100. Whom Kala reared : TARZAN
105. Altar approaches : NAVES
107. Some G.I. wear, for short : CAMO
108. Little hellions : IMPS
109. Brooke or Brooks : POET
110. Closes : ENDS
111. Character with the aria "When I am laid in earth" : DIDO
112. "Vidi" : ISAW
113. Fade : TIRE
114. Major before going to B-school, maybe : ECON
115. Big figure in Manhattan? : RENT
116. Response that's often repeated : AYE
117. Bagel topper : LOX
118. ___-appropriate : AGE

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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