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LET'S PLAY TWO!

New York Times, Sunday, May 6, 2018

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1788/7/19965/6/201816
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354152017472614
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1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {J} This is puzzle # 178 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brendan Emmett Quigley notes:

As much as I like, nay love pizza, no 3-Down for me. Plus, I'm lactose intolerant.

Jeff Chen notes:
There are a lot of smash-two-titles-together puzzles like this, usually containing kooky results or amazingly natural-sounding ones. KOOKY: CONNECT FOUR CHECKERS gave me a little ... read more

There are a lot of smash-two-titles-together puzzles like this, usually containing kooky results or amazingly natural-sounding ones.

KOOKY: CONNECT FOUR CHECKERS gave me a little smile, sort of a less horrifying "human centipede." (Do yourself a favor and don't look that up on the interwebs. It's horrifying.)

NATURAL: MEMORY TROUBLE is a real thing, a very cool finding. What a coincidence that two well-known games can combine to form this phrase! It's not a perfect phrase, as "memory loss" seems much more common. But it's still a neat discovery.

I found it odd to have a mix of the two theme types. Felt like a lack of consistency. I think BEQ was going for the latter theme type, but CONNECT FOUR CHECKERS threw everything out the window — no way to interpret that one as anywhere near real.

ACQUIRE apparently was "one of the most popular games in the 1960s"? I'm clearly not the target demographic.

There's some nice fill – I loved BERNIE MAC in "Ocean's 11", SIBELIUS, RYAN GOSLING – but also a lot of gloopy short fill. ABEAM, A YEAR, ANOS, ATA … well, did you EVAH? Not BEQ's best gridwork. The Sunday 140-word grid, with seven long themers, can cause so much trouble, even for the best.

I like the "mash-ups forming real-sounding things" genre. SORRY DIPLOMACY is exactly what we're doing with North Korea! (Not sure whether to laugh or cry.) I wish BEQ had eliminated CONNECT FOUR CHECKERS and rejiggered things to have perhaps just six real-esque themers, which would also allow for a smoother grid.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0506 ( 25,016 )
Across
1. Perpendicular to the ship's middle : ABEAM
6. "Let's do this!" : ITSTIME
13. Larger of Mars's two moons : PHOBOS
19. Proof of purchase for some contests : BOXTOP
21. Maines of the Dixie Chicks : NATALIE
22. Out of date? : LONELY
23. Underwater mine? : BATTLESHIPRISK
25. Some end-of-season announcements : AWARDS
26. ___ Plus (grooming brand) : ATRA
27. "Insecure" star Issa : RAE
28. Comparison middle : ASA
29. Peaceful protest : SITIN
30. Get a copy of a 1965 #1 Beatles hit? : ACQUIRETICKETTORIDE
37. South America's ___ Picchu : MACHU
39. Left-winger : LIB
40. U.N. worker protection agcy. : ILO
41. "___ Music's golden tongue / Flatter'd to tears this aged man ...": Keats : ERE
42. Actor Milo : OSHEA
43. Minute Maid Park player, informally : STRO
45. Formed for a particular purpose : ADHOC
47. Sultan Qaboos's land : OMAN
48. Something to be defended : THESIS
50. Rather poor ambassador's skill? : SORRYDIPLOMACY
53. School in development? : ROE
54. Hat, informally : LID
56. Bomb with the audience : DIE
57. Brand with an arrow through its logo : SUNOCO
58. Grp. getting a pay cut? : IRS
59. "Roll Tide!" school, for short : BAMA
62. Rolled ___ : OATS
65. Prefix with warrior : ECO
66. Formerly known as : NEE
67. Reason a computer program wouldn't open? : MEMORYTROUBLE
70. Some touchdown scorers, for short : RBS
73. Zippo : NIL
74. "Am ___ sensitive?" : ITOO
75. Existed : WERE
76. Thanksgiving serving : YAM
77. Things folded in the kitchen : BLINIS
80. "Cinderella" mouse : GUS
82. Big-eared animal : ASS
84. Past : AGO
85. Incredibly hard puzzle? : CRANIUMTWISTER
90. One with a confession to make : SINNER
92. Consume : HAVE
93. Responds wistfully : SIGHS
94. First name in fashion : YVES
96. Impressive hole : EAGLE
97. "___ reconsidered" : IVE
98. Padre's hermano : TIO
99. Prefix with pressure : ACU
100. "Eww!" : GROSS
101. Link a quartet of supermarket employees? : CONNECTFOURCHECKERS
109. Aid for a tracking shot : DOLLY
110. Jumpy sort, for short? : ROO
111. Vehicle that often rolls over, in brief : IRA
112. ___ mater : ALMA
115. Angry Shakespearean cry : FIEFIE
117. Something you're not allowed to do in math? : TABOOOPERATION
121. Mistakes : ERRATA
122. Bit of nonsense in a #1 Ella Fitzgerald hit : ATASKET
123. Not ruling out : OPENTO
124. Gadget for lemons : ZESTER
125. Goes back and forth (with) : BANTERS
126. A cylinder has two : EDGES
Down
1. Band with a symmetrical logo : ABBA
2. Bath toy : BOAT
3. Pizzeria order : EXTRACHEESE
4. Some lawyers' cases : ATTACHES
5. Kind of biol. : MOL
6. Picks up later in life? : INHERITS
7. Red ___ (sushi fish) : TAI
8. Irish icon, for short : STPAT
9. Ankle bones : TARSI
10. Relating to the pelvis : ILIAC
11. Prefix with communication : MIS
12. Hair-raising cry : EEK
13. Pigtail, e.g. : PLAIT
14. Many a "... For Dummies" book : HOWTO
15. Transmitting : ONAIR
16. Comic who acted in "Ocean's Eleven" : BERNIEMAC
17. Smelling of mothballs : OLD
18. Part of O.S.: Abbr. : SYS
20. Original home of Paddington Bear : PERU
24. Moves effortlessly (through) : SAILS
29. Streetside hangouts : STOOPS
31. Draw back in fear : QUAIL
32. River that rises in the Cantabrian Mountains : EBRO
33. Player/coach Jason of the N.B.A. : KIDD
34. K-12 : ELHI
35. Constellation between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor : DRACO
36. Kids' rhyme starter : EENY
37. Big name in pain relief : MOTRIN
38. Onto land : ASHORE
44. Code on a bag to Chicago : ORD
45. Annually : AYEAR
46. Like a space cadet : CLUELESS
47. 1847 novel of the sea : OMOO
49. "Finlandia" composer : SIBELIUS
51. Rollickingly funny : RIOTOUS
52. "Time was ... " : ONCE
55. Feature of a millpond : DAM
60. "You couldn't possibly mean me!?" : MOI
61. Oil field? : ART
63. Kind of job : TOW
64. ___ Bird, 10-time W.N.B.A. All-Star : SUE
67. Bite-size, say : MINI
68. Teaching positions can be part of their work : YOGIS
69. Chest protector : BRA
70. "La La Land" actor : RYANGOSLING
71. Rolls out of bed in the morning? : BAGELS
72. Messy treats : SMORES
73. Fluorine's atomic number : NINE
77. "Way to go!" : BRAVO
78. Purple flowers : LAVENDERS
79. Longtime Walter Berndt comic strip : SMITTY
81. Spot for wallowing : STY
83. All-out attack : SIEGE
85. Stylish : CHIC
86. Cry at a happy hour, maybe : TGIF
87. Cry of excitement : WHOO
88. "Well, Did You ___?" : EVAH
89. Gate : RECEIPTS
91. Did some documentary work : NARRATED
95. Bolivian capital : SUCRE
102. 0%, in the dairy aisle : NOFAT
103. Highest-level : ELITE
104. Nice forecast : CLEAR
105. Population classification : URBAN
106. Settle down for the night : ROOST
107. Sam who sang "Twistin' the Night Away" : COOKE
108. Corn syrup brand : KARO
113. Tiny bit : MOTE
114. They always come with mayo : ANOS
115. Flat-topped hat : FEZ
116. Heat : IRE
117. Keyboard key : TAB
118. ___ minimum : ATA
119. Anthem contraction : OER
120. One rampaging in 2018's "Rampage" : APE

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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