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RUSH HOUR HEADACHES

New York Times, Sunday, June 10, 2018

Author: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin
Editor: Will Shortz
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82/26/20146/10/20180
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3013100
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1.48100
Ruth B. Margolin

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 69 Missing: {JZ} This is puzzle # 8 for Ms. Margolin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ruth B. Margolin notes: The idea for this puzzle came to me while driving on the highway, en route home from NYC. I saw a billboard with a weight/wait pun, and it sent me searching for some fun puns of my own. There were plenty, ... more
Ruth B. Margolin notes:

The idea for this puzzle came to me while driving on the highway, en route home from NYC. I saw a billboard with a weight/wait pun, and it sent me searching for some fun puns of my own. There were plenty, so I was able to make a Sunday puzzle and still have some puns left over. If you take the train home after happy hour, for example, do you BOARD SILLY? Or if you had a few too many, do you BOARD OUT OF YOUR MIND?

Then, it was an appropriate fluke that I received the acceptance email from Will and his team while waiting for a connecting train in Newark. Apparently, this theme was meant to be! It has been decades since I left the job that required a daily commute, so now I make my CITY HAUL less regularly and for more casual reasons. And nothing perks up a train trip like a puzzle acceptance email!

I'm thrilled, as always, to have another Sunday puzzle in the beautiful, glossy pages of the Times Magazine! It makes my day, and I hope that it brightened yours a bit, too.

Jeff Chen notes: Homophonic plays on phrases, all relating to commuting. I thought I'd seen everything when it comes to straight-up homophone replacements, but BUSSED YOUR BUTT made me laugh out loud. And given that traffic ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Homophonic plays on phrases, all relating to commuting. I thought I'd seen everything when it comes to straight-up homophone replacements, but BUSSED YOUR BUTT made me laugh out loud.

And given that traffic is terrible in Seattle, I know a ROUTE OF ALL EVIL or two (or eighteen). PAY YOUR FARE SHARE gave me a smile too, so apt for splitting a cab. (I'm too old to trust Uber. Get me a cab, you whippersnappers!)

Sometimes puns and homophones get too tortured for my taste. MAKE THE TEEM = arrive at a bustling spot? Tortured! I NEED TO LOSE WAIT? Wait, what? They just don't make sense to me. I know, you can make them make sense if you stare at them long enough.

*still staring*

Ruth uses a nice trick to squeeze in extra themers, placing two vertically in the NE / SE corners. That often helps to separate themers, allowing for better spacing. It's especially good when there are just seven themers, as you can spread out the five across themers so far apart that they hardly can talk to each other.

With six across themers, this is much more difficult, because you can no longer consistently alternate left/right — check out CRAMPING MY STILE and ROUTE OF ALL EVIL, directly atop each other. That's crampng the themers' style. There's bound to be a lot of vertical entries that need to work with both, and that'll create problems. See: DDR and RESOD.

Likewise, in the symmetrical spot, see BSA / OBLA / MOUE / USHED.

With so much interaction between themers, it wasn't a surprise to get a lot of NEER MGMT ANOS IOR AUST ONEK IS AT, etc. The grid could have used another revision or two; a little gloopy around the edges. Definitely possible to get a smoothish result with eight themers, but it ain't easy.

Sunday 140-word grids are so tough to execute on. I did like some of the bonuses in ARMY MOM, RABBIT HOLE, PRESENT DAY, so along with the themers that tickled me, there was enough to keep me mostly entertained.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0610 ( 25,051 )
Across Down
1. "Me too" : ASAMI
6. Expert on jingles : ADMAN
11. U.K. V.I.P. : QEII
15. Corp. leadership : MGMT
19. Baby's woe : COLIC
20. Nap for a loafer? : SUEDE
21. "Cien ___ de Soledad" (Gabriel García Márquez novel) : ANOS
22. Bailiwick : AREA
23. Lane restricted to allow motorcades through? : CHUTEFORTHESTARS
26. Ribs : KIDS
27. Jerry's adversary, in cartoons : TOM
28. ___ colada : PINA
29. Night vision? : DREAM
30. Early online forum : USENET
32. Honolulu's historic ___ Palace : IOLANI
34. Current : PRESENTDAY
36. Pressing and shoving me as I enter the subway? : CRAMPINGMYSTILE
41. Sounds before sneezes : AHS
42. Word repeated by Romeo in "As mine on ___, so ___ is set on mine" : HERS
43. Brown v. Board of Education city : TOPEKA
44. Last words of a pep talk, perhaps : GOGETEM
48. Not taking a bow? : ASTERN
51. New Haven collegian : ELI
52. Mousetrap brand : DCON
54. Take a hit : TOKE
55. Highway obstructed by accidents, detours and construction? : ROUTEOFALLEVIL
59. Things sometimes stolen in Hollywood : SCENES
61. East Berlin's land: Abbr. : DDR
62. Prosperous period : BOOM
63. Standing Rock tribe : SIOUX
65. Pays attention to : HEEDS
66. Rope for strangulation : GARROTE
69. Package sender to an enlistee, maybe : ARMYMOM
71. Kosher : LEGIT
74. Title kitten in a Key and Peele action comedy : KEANU
76. Not stay in the pail, say : SLOP
77. Youth org. since 1910 : BSA
80. They sit in front of a cox : OARMEN
82. Took public transportation while one's wheels were at the shop? : BUSSEDYOURBUTT
86. City near Provo : OREM
87. "Time ___ a premium" : ISAT
89. Grp. with a co-pay : HMO
90. Bit of dangly jewelry : EARBOB
91. "Star-bellied" Seussian creature : SNEETCH
93. Net fisher : SEINER
96. Song lead-in to "di" or "da" : OBLA
97. Rural turndown : NAW
98. "This tollbooth line will make me late!"? : INEEDTOLOSEWAIT
103. Portal in "Alice in Wonderland" : RABBITHOLE
106. Shellac and myrrh : RESINS
107. Rule against singing : OMERTA
108. Toodle-oos : TATAS
111. Peddle : VEND
112. :-D : LOL
115. Where Scarlett got a letter? : TARA
116. Split an Uber? : PAYYOURFARESHARE
120. Fun run length, for short : ONEK
121. Last thing said before eating? : AMEN
122. Washington, but not Jefferson : STATE
123. Any local in "The Music Man" : IOWAN
124. Matter of interest? : RATE
125. Spot : SITE
126. Like legalized marijuana : TAXED
127. Alternating-current motor inventor : TESLA
1. ___ no. : ACCT
2. Home of many Big Apple galleries : SOHO
3. One with '18 after one's name, say : ALUM
4. Alma mater of Wm. Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard : MIT
5. Colorful summer treat : ICEPOP
6. Like the "s" in "aisle" : ASONANT
7. Dodge S.U.V. : DURANGO
8. Brave adversary : MET
9. Condition for some distracted kids, for short : ADHD
10. Not e'en once : NEER
11. Like some oil money : QATARI
12. Canine coat? : ENAMEL
13. "Hmm, the oven was on. Did ___ didn't ..." : IOR
14. Time release : ISSUE
15. Get to Grand Central right at 5:00? : MAKETHETEEM
16. Tool for a blacksmith : GRINDSTONE
17. Jason's wife in myth : MEDEA
18. Finger-licking good : TASTY
24. Thread: Prefix : FILI
25. San Francisco : BART :: Philadelphia : ___ : SEPTA
31. Sweater damage : SNAG
32. "No more for me, thanks" : IMSET
33. Force onward : IMPEL
35. Utah's ___ Canyon (locale of petroglyphs) : SEGO
36. Kale alternative : CHARD
37. Fix, as a golf green : RESOD
38. Pianist Rubinstein : ARTUR
39. Rise above the din, say : YELL
40. Somewhere over the rainbow they're blue, in song : SKIES
45. Carry-___ : ONS
46. Scraped (out) : EKED
47. Cleanup target : MESS
49. Tax ___ : REBATE
50. Queen dowager of Jordan : NOOR
52. ___ Homme (fashion line) : DIOR
53. Awkward : CLUMSY
56. Decision point : FORK
57. Simple life? : AMOEBA
58. Through : VIA
60. "Quantico" actress Priyanka ___ : CHOPRA
64. Prefix with -phone : XYLO
66. "I'm scared by the speed you're going in this traffic!"? : GIMMEABRAKE
67. Not sagging at all : TAUT
68. No-nonsense quartet? : ENS
70. Pout : MOUE
71. Elton's johns : LOOS
72. Bring in : EARN
73. Special soldier : GREENBERET
75. Did some theater work, casually : USHED
77. Good ol' boy : BUBBA
78. Certain vodka order, informally : STOLI
79. Up : ATBAT
81. Neighbor of Hond. : NIC
83. Radiate : EMIT
84. Campaign supporter : DONOR
85. Expressive facial features : BROWS
88. ___ Tzu (dog) : SHIH
92. Doofus : TWIT
93. Take care of : SEETO
94. Put on a pedestal : ELEVATE
95. Sister of Snow White : ROSERED
99. Delaying response to "Is it time?" : NOTYET
100. Comic Boosler : ELAYNE
101. ___ qua non : SINE
102. Sends a breakup text, say (tsk!) : ENDSIT
103. Helicopter feature : ROTOR
104. Refrigerator handle? : AMANA
105. Snacks during hora feliz : TAPAS
109. N.Z. neighbor : AUST
110. Mlle., in Managua : SRTA
112. House work? : LAWS
113. ___ cavity : ORAL
114. Golden Globe winner Dunham : LENA
117. Friend of Francine : AMI
118. Kind of paper : FAX
119. Help make the bed? : HOE

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle.

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