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RUSH HOUR HEADACHES

New York Times, Sunday, June 10, 2018

Author:
Ruth Bloomfield Margolin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
92/26/201412/20/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3013200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.50100
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. ... read more

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. ... read more

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
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
Down
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
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Not e'en once : NEER
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Like some oil money : QATARI
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Canine coat? : ENAMEL
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"Hmm, the oven was on. Did ___ didn't ..." : IOR
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Time release : ISSUE
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Get to Grand Central right at 5:00? : MAKETHETEEM
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Tool for a blacksmith : GRINDSTONE
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Jason's wife in myth : MEDEA
18
Finger-licking good : TASTY
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Thread: Prefix : FILI
25
San Francisco : BART :: Philadelphia : ___ : SEPTA
31
Sweater damage : SNAG
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"No more for me, thanks" : IMSET
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Force onward : IMPEL
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Utah's ___ Canyon (locale of petroglyphs) : SEGO
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Kale alternative : CHARD
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Fix, as a golf green : RESOD
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Pianist Rubinstein : ARTUR
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Rise above the din, say : YELL
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Somewhere over the rainbow they're blue, in song : SKIES
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Carry-___ : ONS
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Scraped (out) : EKED
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Cleanup target : MESS
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Tax ___ : REBATE
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Queen dowager of Jordan : NOOR
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___ Homme (fashion line) : DIOR
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Awkward : CLUMSY
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Decision point : FORK
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Simple life? : AMOEBA
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Through : VIA
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"Quantico" actress Priyanka ___ : CHOPRA
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Prefix with -phone : XYLO
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"I'm scared by the speed you're going in this traffic!"? : GIMMEABRAKE
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Not sagging at all : TAUT
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No-nonsense quartet? : ENS
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Pout : MOUE
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Elton's johns : LOOS
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Bring in : EARN
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Special soldier : GREENBERET
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Did some theater work, casually : USHED
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Good ol' boy : BUBBA
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Certain vodka order, informally : STOLI
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Up : ATBAT
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Neighbor of Hond. : NIC
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Radiate : EMIT
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Campaign supporter : DONOR
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Expressive facial features : BROWS
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___ Tzu (dog) : SHIH
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Doofus : TWIT
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Take care of : SEETO
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Put on a pedestal : ELEVATE
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Sister of Snow White : ROSERED
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Delaying response to "Is it time?" : NOTYET
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Comic Boosler : ELAYNE
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___ qua non : SINE
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Sends a breakup text, say (tsk!) : ENDSIT
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Helicopter feature : ROTOR
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Refrigerator handle? : AMANA
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Snacks during hora feliz : TAPAS
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N.Z. neighbor : AUST
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Mlle., in Managua : SRTA
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House work? : LAWS
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___ cavity : ORAL
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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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