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IN BAD TASTE

New York Times, Sunday, May 28, 2017

Author:
Andrew Zhou
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/11/20101/5/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3021533
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62241
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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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
Down
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?