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New York Times, Monday, May 6, 2019

Author:
Peter Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1159/5/19898/19/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
842241411619
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5891611
Peter Gordon

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 113 for Mr. Gordon. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter Gordon notes:
Pret a Manger is my go-to lunch place when it's raining. It's on my block on 45th Street, and I can get there in about 20 steps, so I ... read more

Pret a Manger is my go-to lunch place when it's raining. It's on my block on 45th Street, and I can get there in about 20 steps, so I barely get wet. (I like the tuna and cucumber sandwich.) A few months ago as I left work, I saw the store sign across the street, and pronounced it to myself as "Manger" as in "Away in a Manger." I realized that ?ANGER can have three very different pronunciations, depending on what the first letter is. Before I was halfway to Penn Station, I had the theme, and I even figured I could put EYE coming down from the E of MANGER and cross the other E of EYE with RHYMES. In my head, while I was walking, that was in the lower right corner, but it didn't work out that way.

Another thing that didn't work out was using Margaret Sanger. A 14-letter answer can't go in the middle. I considered using Bernhard Langer (a German golfer who twice won the Masters) as a fourth theme answer, but I wasn't exactly sure if that didn't rhyme with "hanger," and given that his biggest win was 26 years ago, he's hardly a household name.

When submitting puzzles, I always include possible titles for when they are collected in books. My title for this one was "Looks Can Be Deceiving."

Jeff Chen notes:
Great find, three mid-length words that look like they should rhyme, but don't. The technical term for that is EYE / RHYME. I hadn't ... read more

Great find, three mid-length words that look like they should rhyme, but don't. The technical term for that is EYE / RHYME. I hadn't heard of that phrase before doing crosswords, but it's no doubt descriptive.

There was a puzzle two years ago that played on all sorts of EYE RHYMEs. I liked that Peter went above and beyond today, finding not just pairs of longish EYE RHYMEs, but a trio.

It made me wonder, is there a quartet that would fit the bill? Anyone brighter than me out there?

(Clearly, yes. Peter reminded me of COUGH, TOUGH, BOUGH, DOUGH. Now, can anyone think of a set using all words of 6+ letters?)

As much as I enjoyed the trio today, it made for a thin-feeling theme. Phrases of length 11, 13, 11, that's it? Only 35 theme squares? Okay, there is the EYE / RHYME revealer, but the way it's broken up into two shorties, it doesn't feel like it adds to the theme density.

I generally am a strict symmetrist – no exceptions to the rule! (Okay, it's not as much a rule, as a norm.) But I'd have preferred something like Peter's last bending of the norm. In that one, TRIATHLON made the theme feel meatier (and the lack of symmetry surprisingly didn't bother me). Having EYE RHYME as one entry would have made it felt more like 11 + 13 + 11 + 8 = 43 theme squares, which is decent.

Tough grid for a Monday. I liked it, but it's not going to be anyone's gateway drug, not with entries like RESTIVE, NETHER, TRADE ON, PATOOT. Those are all fair game though, and along with the plethora of long bonuses in MERCUTIO, EDIT MENU, EPIDEMIC, ATTA GIRL, even PESTLE, FAKERY, SATIRES, it's colorful and fresh.

The theme is tricky enough – especially if you've never been to a PRET-A-MANGER, or if you've never heard the term EYE RHYME – and the grid so snazz-dense, that it's a great Tuesday or even Wednesday puzzle. Not one I'd give to a NYT newb, though.

1
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0506 ( 25,381 )
Across
1
Poseidon's domain : SEA
4
Mortar accompanier : PESTLE
10
Swirl of smoke : WISP
14
Well-suited : APT
15
Noah's landing place : ARARAT
16
Tennis's Kournikova : ANNA
17
___ for tat : TIT
18
Lone Star State baseball player : TEXASRANGER
20
State whose license plates say "Famous Potatoes" : IDAHO
22
"That was a close one!" : WHEW
23
"It's a mouse!" : EEK
24
Not national, as an airline : REGIONAL
27
Fad : CRAZE
29
Gave off, as radiation : EMITTED
30
"Secret" person who writes a love note : ADMIRER
32
What Marcie calls Peppermint Patty in "Peanuts" : SIR
33
Take unfair advantage of : TRADEON
35
What you might drape a dress or shirt on in a closet : CLOTHESHANGER
40
Got ready to be operated on : PREPPED
41
Loud noise : DIN
43
Foreign ___ (international matters) : AFFAIRS
46
Fidgety : RESTIVE
49
Hands out cards : DEALS
50
Young gallant in "Romeo and Juliet" : MERCUTIO
51
Noah's craft : ARK
52
Drifter : HOBO
55
Lumberjacks : AXMEN
56
Sandwich chain whose name is French for "ready to eat" : PRETAMANGER
60
Time in history : ERA
61
Actress Hatcher of "Desperate Housewives" : TERI
62
Sailor's affirmative : AYEAYE
63
Singer ___ King Cole : NAT
64
River of the underworld : STYX
65
See 59-Down : RHYMES
66
"What's the ___?" (pessimist's cry) : USE
Down
1
Works like "Animal Farm" and "Gulliver's Travels" : SATIRES
2
Rapid spread of a disease : EPIDEMIC
3
"Way to go, sister!" : ATTAGIRL
4
Tushie : PATOOT
5
Bard's "before" : ERE
6
"Wailing" instrument : SAX
7
Fish by dragging a net : TRAWL
8
Place for mascara : LASH
9
Raison d'___ : ETRE
10
Pallid : WAN
11
Out of neutral, as a car : INGEAR
12
"Gesundheit!" elicitor : SNEEZE
13
"Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica ___ : PARKER
19
"You've got to be kidding me!" : AWCMON
21
Top 10 song : HIT
25
Lower in position : NETHER
26
Ones selling commercial time, informally : ADREPS
28
Boxing venue : RING
30
Cling (to) : ADHERE
31
___ than a doornail : DEADER
34
Egyptian cobra : ASP
36
October's birthstone : OPAL
37
Country singer Yearwood : TRISHA
38
Where to find "Cut" and "Paste" : EDITMENU
39
Coastal resort areas : RIVIERAS
42
Someone who was literally born yesterday : NEONATE
43
Makes a screenplay out of : ADAPTS
44
Search (out) : FERRET
45
Flimflam : FAKERY
47
Frightens : SCARES
48
Men's formal attire, informally : TUX
50
"A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it," according to Ambrose Bierce : MONEY
53
Minnesota representative Ilhan ___ : OMAR
54
1990s Indiana governor Evan : BAYH
57
Box office purchases, for short : TIX
58
Pod of whales : GAM
59
With 65-Across, what the last words of 18-, 35- and 56-Across are to each other : EYE

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

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