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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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