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TRAPPED MOISTURE

New York Times, Sunday, May 8, 2016

Author:
David J. Kahn
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1813/15/199412/12/20185
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4451224571326
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5514211
David J. Kahn

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 142, Blocks: 72 Missing: {PQXZ} This is puzzle # 167 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David J. Kahn notes:

This type of rebus puzzle has been done more frequently in the last few years but the goal here was to make the Across themed clues and answers funny. The original working title of the puzzle was actually "Aqueous Humor".

Jeff Chen notes:
David uses WATER in one direction to form kooky theme phrases, and HHO (a representation of H20) in normal crossing entries. As a whole, the themers weren't quite kooky enough for my ... read more

David uses WATER in one direction to form kooky theme phrases, and HHO (a representation of H20) in normal crossing entries. As a whole, the themers weren't quite kooky enough for my taste, but I did enjoy the image of Republicans saying "He's as GOOD AS GOLDWATER!"

Doesn't this look like it should have a LOLcat caption?

It was also fun to uncover some of the long HHO entries. Loved that most of them spanned across two words, making it even trickier to suss out that odd HHO string. GROWTH HORMONE and JEWISH HOLIDAY were particularly nice.

Some of the long fill was new to me, like SAND CAT and SLICE SERVE. But they're definitely legit, and they were fun to learn about. They didn't give me the same rush as uncovering the snazzy HIGH OCTANE or THE HUSTLER, but they still work just fine. And I bet there will be tennis fans who love seeing SLICE SERVE. I seem to remember Michael Chang had a pretty wicked changeup, which I think was technically a SLICE SERVE.

Working with six pairs of crossing theme entries is not an easy task, so David does pretty well, spreading out just minor gluey bits like OSOS, NEALS, GARS (isn't the plural of gar still gar?), A RIOT, NSEC, throughout the grid. The only really troublesome bit to me was IERE, which is gluey enough by itself, but crossing it with OLEANNA puts it on the edge of unfair. Glad that the clue provided another chance for the solver to get that square right. Normally I don't care for cross-referencing, but I think telling us that IERE is an anagram of EIRE is a smart decision to better insure a fair victory for solvers.

It would have been nice to have some more time between this one and the puzzle Jim points out below, as that one came immediately to my mind. This one is slightly different, but I would have liked a few more years separating them.

Jim Horne notes:

Finn Vigeland used a similar gimmick in 2013.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0508 ( 24,288 )
Across
1
Wise ones : SAGES
6
Suffered from : HAD
9
Opened a bit : AJAR
13
Presto : FAST
17
Central courts : ATRIA
18
Dentist's request : BITE
19
"O.K., I'm game" : SURE
20
Lock opener? : INTER
22
Like some statements : SWORN
23
City in "Slumdog Millionaire" : AGRA
24
Tricky start to a tennis rally : SLICESERVE
26
Spoke hesitatingly : HAWED
27
Advice to captains plagued by pirates? : CHANGEYOURWATERWAYS
29
Slyness : ART
30
When repeated, toy on a track : CHOO
32
Double-crosser : RAT
33
The Dixie Chicks, e.g. : TRIO
34
Sweaty : WET
35
Direction taken by a large pipe? : WATERMAINCOURSE
39
Give the once-over : SKIM
41
Class taken for kicks? : KARATE
43
Propose tentatively, with "out" : TOSS
44
Impress, and then some : WOW
47
Musical ___ : SCALE
50
Segment of the 47-Across : REMI
51
Bibbled : DRANK
53
"Ta-da!" : DIDIT
55
How many a medical problem ends? : ITIS
56
With 36-Down, New England college town : ORONO
58
Santa ___, Calif. : ANA
59
Beethoven's "Kreutzer," for one : SONATA
60
Fraction of time: Abbr. : NSEC
61
Very small distinction : FINELINE
63
Container to keep a canine cool? : DOGGYWATERBAG
65
Timeout sign : TEE
66
Magazine with an annual "500" list : INC
67
C.I.A. concern : MOLES
68
Noggin : NOB
69
Part of Pres. Monroe's signature : JAS
72
Telegrams sent by those in trouble? : HOTWATERWIRES
74
Handyman's accessory : TOOLBELT
76
Mediocre : SOSO
79
Out of business : RUINED
80
Nonstandard: Abbr. : IRR
81
"That smarts!" : YOWIE
82
Help badly? : ABET
83
Country music's K. T. ___ : OSLIN
84
Pay "tribute" to, as a comedian : ROAST
86
"You ___ Seen Nothing Yet" (1974 #1 hit) : AINT
87
1982 coming-of-age movie : DINER
89
Dark time for poets : EEN
90
Clinched, with "up" : SEWN
91
Things held, in a saying : HORSES
93
Musical curve : SLUR
95
Conservative's opinion of the Republican presidential candidates? : GOODASGOLDWATER
98
Give the once-over : EYE
100
Expanses of H2O : SEAS
103
"I need a sweater in here!" : BRR
104
French suffix that's an anagram of 4-Down : IERE
105
Chocolate ___ : LAB
108
Oceans? : SALTWATEROFTHEEARTH
112
With 45-Down, jazz singer who worked with Woody Herman : ANITA
114
1961 movie featuring Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats : THEHUSTLER
115
Within bounds : FAIR
116
Djokovic rival : NADAL
117
Canadian rowdy : HOSER
118
One of the Saarinens : EERO
119
___ weight : TROY
120
Actress Patricia and others : NEALS
121
Animals in un zoológico : OSOS
122
Reddish-brown : ROAN
123
Chamber worker: Abbr. : SEN
124
Safe places : ASYLA
Down
1
One of the Obamas : SASHA
2
Battling it out : ATWAR
3
Somatotropin, e.g. : GROWTHHORMONE
4
Samuel Beckett's homeland : EIRE
5
Desert feline : SANDCAT
6
Very powerful : HIGHOCTANE
7
Gillette product : ATRA
8
1960s secretary of state : DEANRUSK
9
Real estate and the like : ASSETS
10
Hot time : JULY
11
Running rampant : ARIOT
12
Come back : RECUR
13
Bait holders : FISHHOOKS
14
From the start : ANEW
15
Tatamis, e.g. : STRAWMATS
16
Milkman made famous by Zero Mostel : TEVYE
18
Burger topper : BACON
21
Pause : REST
25
Dwarf planet more massive than Pluto : ERIS
28
Long-jawed fishes : GARS
31
Rushed : HIED
36
See 56-Across : MAINE
37
Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA
38
"Dallas" family : EWINGS
40
Sugar coating? : ICING
41
Longtime "60 Minutes" reporter : KROFT
42
High retreat : AERIE
45
See 112-Across : ODAY
46
How excellent students graduate : WITHHONORS
48
Be prone : LIE
49
Mac key : ESC
52
Home on the range : RANCHHOUSE
53
Venetian dignitaries of old : DOGES
54
Proscribed : TABOO
57
Some of this, some of that : OLIO
59
Like clogs, say : SOLED
62
Prelude : INTRO
63
Poet Mark Van ___ : DOREN
64
In a masterly manner : ABLY
67
Taking a dig at? : MINING
69
Passover, e.g. : JEWISHHOLIDAY
70
Garment cut : ALINE
71
Leaves alone, in a way : STETS
72
Trump International, e.g. : HOTEL
73
Magician's skill : WILE
74
Go from male to female or vice versa : TRANSITION
75
Cooperative leaders? : BOARD
76
In a blue state : SAD
77
Tokyo wrap : OBI
78
Beyond comprehension : SENSELESS
80
Setting for "The Music Man" : IOWA
84
Second and third versions : REDRAFTS
85
Marvel Comics hero : THOR
88
Causes of congestion : RUSHHOURS
90
Ticked : SORE
92
David Mamet play : OLEANNA
94
Some vintage autos : REOS
96
Second-largest moon of Uranus : OBERON
97
Designer of Spain's Guggenheim Museum : GEHRY
98
Tallinn native : ESTH
99
Google rival : YAHOO
101
Following : AFTER
102
Fifth-century pontiff : STLEO
106
The tiniest bit : ATALL
107
Model wood : BALSA
109
Baseball executive Epstein : THEO
110
Olympian deity : HERA
111
Tag in some dictionary definitions : RARE
113
Dundee disavowals : NAES

Answer summary: 15 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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