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Puzzle of the Week

DUALITY QUALITY

New York Times, Sunday, May 7, 2017

Author: Natan Last, Finn Vigeland and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Editor: Will Shortz
Natan Last
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
237/17/200711/5/20173
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4111097
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60230
Finn Vigeland
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1410/20/20109/16/20174
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6123011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64220

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Last. This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Vigeland. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: Finn kicked off the generation of this theme by finding the phrase BASELINE VASELINE, which we all thought was evocative of some umpish impishness. Natan always likes adding layers of a theme to the clues, and ... more
Constructor notes:

Finn kicked off the generation of this theme by finding the phrase BASELINE VASELINE, which we all thought was evocative of some umpish impishness. Natan always likes adding layers of a theme to the clues, and the two of us and the class sat together in front of a long list of eye rhymes, composing absurd couplets. We're particularly fond of the silly clues for KOSHER NOSHER and MASSAGE PASSAGE, both group efforts. We were pleased to have enough options to be able to cross themers in the SW and NE corners.

Hopefully the fill's enjoyable, too; we were happy to get some nice longer answers in there, and since we like modern language, Natan (having been charged with reworking a corner with some iffy answers) is glad to see SWOLE has kept its place on the team.

One bright memory of this puzzle is the Sunday we spent working on it in Stamford, the weekend of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Most of the JASA students attend the tournament, so we huddled around a laptop in the lobby, tinkering with the grid. It looks a lot different than it did then; hopefully any of the tournamentgoers who flitted by to guess the theme or offer a new entry have long forgotten, and so this is a brand new puzzle for them.

Jeff Chen notes: The Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) Crossword Class is back, with a theme involving words that seem like they should rhyme — each pair of words is identical, except for the first letter — ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

The Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) Crossword Class is back, with a theme involving words that seem like they should rhyme — each pair of words is identical, except for the first letter — but they don't. Neat finds in KOSHER NOSHER, GARDEN WARDEN, HATCH WATCH. And not only is BASELINE VASELINE a cool discovery, but the image of a baserunner slipping 'n sliding into second — and right past it — amused me to no end.

There are many, many pairs of words that display this property, so I appreciated the extra effort to work in faux-rhymes to the clues as well. At first I wondered why the theme clues were so long — I actually skipped them at first, tl;dr — but then I got a smile when I realized what was going on.

Where I thought this puzzle shined was in its grid execution. Most Sunday 140-word puzzles have globs of crossword glue in them, stuff that most constructors need to stick everything together. But I hardly paused at anything throughout my solve. Even upon a post-solve scan, I could only find an OTRO. An old NEHI. LBOS (leveraged buyouts, which are 100% fine to this MBA).

Beautiful work to keep it to just a few short, minor offenders. Not sure how much rework Natan had to go through in revisions, but it was well worth it.

And great bonus fill. PRO SURFER (I lurve surfing), IM SHOCKED, ACTUAL SIZE, GO TO PRESS, COUGH DROPS, ESCAPISTS, made my solve even more enjoyable.

Intersecting pairs of theme answers (MODEL YODEL and KOSHER NOSHER, HATCH WATCH and GARDEN WARDEN was really smart — if HATCH WATCH had to be worked in horizontally, it would have infringed upon one of the other themers in the bottom half of the puzzle. It's not often possible to get themers to cross like this, but when it is, it often makes the construction so much easier. Does wonders for good spacing.

I did stumble on two entries. MOOC is apparently a "massive open online course." Thank goodness all the crossings were gettable. (And Finn has been working for Columbia University.) SWOLE … that's modern lingo for "bulked up"? Huh. Kids these days.

Fun, interesting theme, with top-notch execution.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0507 ( 24,652 )
Across Down
1. Like the 30 Rock building : DECO
5. Word said three times while smacking the forehead : DUMB
9. Jests : JAPES
14. Tyrion Lannister of "Game of Thrones" and others : IMPS
18. It may be whiffed : ODOR
19. Rose's love on old Broadway : ABIE
20. Little racer : GOCART
21. Lady Gaga's "___ This Way" : BORN
22. "I know my girl enjoys her youth / When this fine sound escapes her mouth" : DAUGHTERLAUGHTER
25. Golden calf, e.g. : IDOL
26. Texter's "Wow!" : OMG
27. Galley propeller : OAR
28. Pretext : GUISE
29. Ends : CEASES
31. 2008 Obama catchword : HOPE
33. Place for a pie to cool : SILL
34. Half of a score : TEN
35. "___ et veritas" : LUX
37. "Right now, it's fine, no five-star food, / But this dessert will soon be good!" : BUDDINGPUDDING
43. Some ancient writings : PAPYRI
45. Cry to a cop : ARRESTHIM
46. Injure badly : MAUL
48. Spa accessory : LOOFA
49. Some Wall St. deals : LBOS
50. Kylo ___ ("Star Wars" villain) : REN
51. Part of an underground network : GASMAIN
54. Shangri-la : EDEN
55. Chump : SAP
56. Off-week, in football : BYE
57. "This mensch looks up and shouts 'Delish!' / While downing snacks with real relish" : KOSHERNOSHER
59. Actor Elgort of "The Fault in Our Stars" : ANSEL
61. Due + sei : OTTO
62. Robert of "Tender Mercies" : DUVALL
63. Acronym for a class taught over the Internet : MOOC
66. Veranda : PORCH
68. Wise : SAGE
69. Skin dyes : HENNAS
71. Gefilte fish fish : PIKE
72. Tassel movers : GRADS
76. "Your will to serve must be mature / To be this keeper of nature" : GARDENWARDEN
78. "Stop right there!" : HEY
80. Intimidate : COW
81. Places : PUTS
82. Like Uncle Sam : GOATEED
83. "___ all good" : ITS
84. "Al ___ Lado del Río" (2004 Oscar-winning song) : OTRO
85. Food items often served with 76-Down : TACOS
87. Goofs : ERRS
88. "Just be cool" : ACTCASUAL
90. Hooter or honker : SCHNOZ
92. "Go down this hallway: There's a couch / If what you seek's relaxing touch" : MASSAGEPASSAGE
95. "See-saw, Margery ___" (old nursery rhyme) : DAW
96. Backing : FOR
98. Begged : PLED
99. Reporters' group : POOL
100. French title : MADAME
102. Bygone NBC drama : LALAW
104. Carry the day : WIN
105. Go "boohoo" : SOB
108. Primary imperative? : VOTE
109. "This may have been the umpire's doing; / Now sliding home is easy going" : BASELINEVASELINE
113. Oct. pennant race : ALCS
114. Cry of jubilation ... or guilt : IDIDIT
115. Hoist : LIFT
116. Color of el mar : AZUL
117. Old pop : NEHI
118. New York county with Lake Placid : ESSEX
119. "Why don't we?!" : LETS
120. Award category word : BEST
1. Blockhead : DODO
2. Cheese sometimes paired with pinot noir : EDAM
3. Suckers' succors? : COUGHDROPS
4. URL suffix : ORG
5. Job with spreadsheets : DATAENTRY
6. Ride offerer : UBER
7. Russian peace : MIR
8. Home to King Philippe : BELGIUM
9. Nudges, in a way : JOGS
10. Post-marathon feeling : ACHE
11. Word before or after "down" : PAT
12. Upright : ERECT
13. "The Iron Lady" star : STREEP
14. Animal avatar of Thoth : IBIS
15. "Kate Upton strikes an alpine pose / And belts this out, with naught to lose" : MODELYODEL
16. One working on the board? : PROSURFER
17. "Celebrity Jeopardy!" show, briefly : SNL
20. Artisans' group : GUILD
23. Kachina doll makers : HOPIS
24. "___ Lang Syne" : AULD
30. Overly fussy : ANAL
32. ___ of Solomon : ODES
33. P.R. task : SPIN
36. Chinese city known for its terra-cotta warriors : XIAN
37. Light wood : BALSA
38. ___ studies (college major) : URBAN
39. Butter in South Asian cuisines : GHEE
40. [!!!!] : IMSHOCKED
41. Identify : NAME
42. Three-pointer shooter, usually : GUARD
44. Funny Amy : POEHLER
47. "Peanuts" boy : LINUS
51. Start printing : GOTOPRESS
52. On, as a horse : ASTRIDE
53. Astronomer's sighting : NOVA
56. Like some light wood : BLOND
57. Keystone officer : KOP
58. Drooping : SAGGY
60. Boston college : EMERSON
64. Force on Earth, informally : ONEG
65. Vessel often stowed upside down : CANOE
67. Blue symbol of Delaware : HEN
69. "I have this duty on my farm / To look as chickens keep eggs warm" : HATCHWATCH
70. Throng : SWARM
73. Not blown up : ACTUALSIZE
74. Rapper topper : DORAG
75. Bulked up, in modern lingo : SWOLE
76. Party bowlful : GUACAMOLE
77. Gillette ___ Plus : ATRA
78. "://" preceder : HTTP
79. Fantasy fiction readers, e.g. : ESCAPISTS
81. Condition once called "shell shock," for short : PTSD
83. Wasted : ICED
84. ___ buco : OSSO
86. Ottoman's partner : SOFA
88. Not go out of date, say : AGEWELL
89. In unison : ASONE
91. Dead man walking? : ZOMBIE
93. Divvy up : SPLIT
94. Country star Jackson : ALAN
97. Goes over : READS
101. Arnaz of 1950s TV : DESI
102. First sentence of a news story : LEDE
103. "The Adventures of ___" (European comics series) : ALIX
104. Float in the air : WAFT
106. Weight : ONUS
107. Wallop : BELT
108. Jones of CNN : VAN
110. Family girl : SIS
111. Go (for) : VIE
112. Test site : LAB

Answer summary: 14 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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