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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
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
307/17/20079/25/20197
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
7123098
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60360
Natan Last
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1810/20/20109/1/20194
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
9123012
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64230
Finn Vigeland

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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
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"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
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"Why don't we?!" : LETS
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Award category word : BEST
Down
1
Blockhead : DODO
2
Cheese sometimes paired with pinot noir : EDAM
3
Suckers' succors? : COUGHDROPS
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URL suffix : ORG
5
Job with spreadsheets : DATAENTRY
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Ride offerer : UBER
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Russian peace : MIR
8
Home to King Philippe : BELGIUM
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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
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One working on the board? : PROSURFER
17
"Celebrity Jeopardy!" show, briefly : SNL
20
Artisans' group : GUILD
23
Kachina doll makers : HOPIS
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"___ Lang Syne" : AULD
30
Overly fussy : ANAL
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___ of Solomon : ODES
33
P.R. task : SPIN
36
Chinese city known for its terra-cotta warriors : XIAN
37
Light wood : BALSA
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___ studies (college major) : URBAN
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Butter in South Asian cuisines : GHEE
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[!!!!] : IMSHOCKED
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Identify : NAME
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Three-pointer shooter, usually : GUARD
44
Funny Amy : POEHLER
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"Peanuts" boy : LINUS
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Start printing : GOTOPRESS
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On, as a horse : ASTRIDE
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Astronomer's sighting : NOVA
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Like some light wood : BLOND
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Keystone officer : KOP
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Drooping : SAGGY
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Boston college : EMERSON
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Force on Earth, informally : ONEG
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Vessel often stowed upside down : CANOE
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Blue symbol of Delaware : HEN
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"I have this duty on my farm / To look as chickens keep eggs warm" : HATCHWATCH
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Throng : SWARM
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Not blown up : ACTUALSIZE
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Rapper topper : DORAG
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Bulked up, in modern lingo : SWOLE
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Party bowlful : GUACAMOLE
77
Gillette ___ Plus : ATRA
78
"://" preceder : HTTP
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Fantasy fiction readers, e.g. : ESCAPISTS
81
Condition once called "shell shock," for short : PTSD
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Wasted : ICED
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___ buco : OSSO
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Ottoman's partner : SOFA
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Not go out of date, say : AGEWELL
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In unison : ASONE
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Dead man walking? : ZOMBIE
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Divvy up : SPLIT
94
Country star Jackson : ALAN
97
Goes over : READS
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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
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Jones of CNN : VAN
110
Family girl : SIS
111
Go (for) : VIE
112
Test site : LAB

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?