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TRICKY TRIOS

New York Times, Sunday, June 17, 2018

Author: Amanda Chung, Karl Ni and Erik Agard
Editor: Will Shortz
Amanda Chung
TotalDebutCollabs
16/17/20181
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1000000
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000
Karl Ni
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16/17/20181
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1000000
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000
Erik Agard
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2011/6/20127/16/20187
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5312423
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1.61130

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {JQX} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Chung. This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Ni. This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: AMANDA AND KARL: We are from the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoy many shared hobbies, one of which is crossword puzzles. Amanda renewed her interest in crosswords a few years ago and introduced them to Karl ... more
Constructor notes:

AMANDA AND KARL: We are from the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoy many shared hobbies, one of which is crossword puzzles. Amanda renewed her interest in crosswords a few years ago and introduced them to Karl when we first met. After a few attempts at constructing, we got more serious last year after a chance encounter with Erik Agard at ACPT 2017. Erik mentored and guided us as aspiring constructors through several puzzles and is a constant inspiration for us. We are delighted to have one of our collaborations with Erik as our debut NY Times puzzle. We would also like to express gratitude to Will, Sam, Joel, and the rest of the NY Times team for their kind encouragement and invaluable advice.

ERIK: With crossword tournaments, it's more about the people than the puzzles. The 2017 ACPT was fairly painful for me on the competitive front, but I met these two, so on balance, it was a fantastic weekend. I'm grateful to A & K for regularly blowing my mind with fresh ideas, fills, and clues, and for allowing me to be the third banana in this cruciverbal trio.

AMANDA AND KARL: We originally had LASTMANSTANDING as the revealer but realized after brainstorming that there were trios we liked with a non-"man" as the last one listed. Erik came up with LASTONESTANDING which nicely solved this problem. While creating the grid, we struggled with how many theme entries to include and how to "hide" the "standing" names. After many iterations, we decided to go with quality over quantity, and this turned out to be a very good decision, as it made for an open grid that lent itself to better fill for the "standing" names. Erik did an incredible job finding those long downs that cross three(!) theme entries. We shared the rest of the fill and cluing duties and are very happy with the result.

Working with a collaborator like Erik is a joy, with both sides being open-minded and motivated to make the best puzzle we can.

We are also very pleased to be debuting WAITITI and FURIOSA!

Jeff Chen notes: LAST ONE STANDING = final person in a trio oriented vertically. We've highlighted the people below in case you missed them. One thing I thought Amanda, Karl, and Erik did particularly well: the LAST ONEs ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

LAST ONE STANDING = final person in a trio oriented vertically. We've highlighted the people below in case you missed them.

One thing I thought Amanda, Karl, and Erik did particularly well: the LAST ONEs STANDING are buried within such juicy answers. It would have been very easy to place POP into POPE or APOP or something, so POPULAR OPINION is a real treat. NOD within ANNO DOMINI is great too, as is MARY within MAMMARY GLAND.

[Nursing facility?] for MAMMARY GLAND made me giggle. Uncomfortably. Not sure why.

Some lovely fill to spice things up, SHRINKY DINKS, SMALL WORLD, BROCADE. Excellent! Not much glue to hold it together, some TOK, ESL, ANIN, ANAT. Also excellent! Not a surprise to get a well-crafted grid, given Erik's high standards.

Well, except for WAITITI / POTAGE — wow, that's a tough crossing. Maybe we should all know either Taika WAITITI or a thick POTAGE? Not sure that's a reasonable expectation.

The theme did feel a bit thinly un-potage-like, given only four trios, especially since one didn't resonate with me. (I'm sure FRAN, KUKLA AND OLLIE will mean more to others.) Would have been great to get one more, although that would likely have meant reducing the snazzy long stuff like POPULAR DEMAND down to POPE-style shorties. I would have been okay with that.

Will isn't taking many "turning" type puzzles these days, because they've become overdone, but I like one now and again if the rationale is solid. I like today's interpretation of LAST ONE STANDING pretty well.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0617 ( 25,058 )
Across Down
1. Temporarily stops running : STALLS
7. Sport-___ (some vehicles) : UTES
11. Contain, as a spewing oil well : CAP
14. Military bigwigs : BRASS
19. "Pick me!" : OOHOOH
20. Light bite : NOSH
21. Excitement : ADO
22. GPS suggestion : ROUTE
23. Breakfast trio : SNAPCRACKLEANDPOP
26. Classic song : OLDIE
27. ___-backwards : ASS
28. Smuggler's unit : KILO
29. Record label for Pink and Pitbull : RCA
30. Lets off the hook? : UNCLIPS
32. Otello, in "Otello" : TENOR
33. Even : TIED
34. Act as a go-between : LIAISE
35. "You can skip me" : PASS
38. Puppet show trio : KUKLAFRANANDOLLIE
41. Fall guy? : HUMPTY
43. "That's rough!" : OOF
44. Some Canadian natives : CREE
45. In the tradition of : ALA
48. ___ Aldridge, pioneering Shakespearean actor : IRA
49. Lost baggage helpers : IDTAGS
52. Ad biz awards : CLIOS
54. Producer of public radio's "Radiolab" : WNYC
55. Spanish seasoning that's a letter short of its English counterpart : SAL
56. Youngest daughter on "Black-ish" : DIANE
57. Hold tightly : CLASP
58. Dangerous injection : VENOM
59. Capital city with more than 300 islands : HELSINKI
61. Sergey of Google : BRIN
62. "Nobody's here but me" : IMALONE
64. Sailing trio : WYNKENBLYNKENANDNOD
67. Surrounded by : AMONGST
69. "Little Latin ___ Lu" (1960s hit) : LUPE
70. Effervescent citrus beverage : LIMESODA
73. Old Ford vehicles, for short : MERCS
74. Open : OVERT
76. Skyrockets : ZOOMS
77. Open ___ : MIC
78. Strip pokers? : AWLS
79. Fumes : STEWS
80. Some skin art : HENNAS
81. Place for R.N.s : ICU
82. Subj. of "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" : LSD
83. "lol" alternative : HEHE
84. Unnecessary extra : FAT
85. Gilda of "Saturday Night Live" : RADNER
87. Folk trio : PETERPAULANDMARY
92. Rap artist Flo ___ : RIDA
93. Dinero : MOOLAH
95. Throw : HURL
96. State a case : ARGUE
98. Director Taika ___ : WAITITI
99. "Star Wars" nickname : ANI
100. Pronoun in Dixie : YALL
101. Philosopher ___-tzu : LAO
104. Fortune 500 company with an avian symbol : AFLAC
105. Survivor of an all-out brawl ... or a hint to 23-, 38-, 64- and 87-Across : LASTONESTANDING
110. Battle of Leningrad, e.g. : SIEGE
111. Something ratable by number of Pinocchios : LIE
112. Long transmission of folklore, say : SAGA
113. Charlotte Motor Speedway org. : NASCAR
114. Underworld : HADES
115. Camera with a mirror, in brief : SLR
116. Hail on a bridge : AHOY
117. Trash : DELETE
1. Sammy on a 1998 cover of Newsweek : SOSA
2. Heaps : TONS
3. Good crosswords provide lots of them : AHAS
4. Chop (off) : LOP
5. John who wrote "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" : LOCKE
6. Arts-and-crafts kit trendy in the 1970s-'80s : SHRINKYDINKS
7. Open, as a bottle of wine : UNCORK
8. "TiK ___" (Kesha hit) : TOK
9. Class for some immigrants, for short : ESL
10. Foe of Robin Hood : SHERIFF
11. Geographically largest member of NATO : CANADA
12. Interject : ADD
13. In view? : POPULAROPINION
14. Upholsterer's fabric : BROCADE
15. Certain expensive watch, in slang : ROLLIE
16. Autobahn autos : AUDIS
17. Michael of R.E.M. : STIPE
18. Goes with : SEES
24. Jesus on the diamond : ALOU
25. Big name in laptops : ACER
31. Digits ending many prices : NINES
32. Baking meas. : TSP
33. Eponymous New Mexico tribe : TAOS
35. Do email scamming : PHISH
36. Radiant emanations : AURAE
37. "Huh, you know him, too?!" : SMALLWORLD
39. Stadium section : LOGE
40. Police procedural beginning in 2003 : NCIS
42. News : TIDINGS
45. Words before a year : ANNODOMINI
46. City on the Rhône : LYON
47. Zenith : ACME
50. Flee : TAKETOTHEHILLS
51. Have ___ with : ANIN
52. Ernest who wrote "Ready Player One" : CLINE
53. Tall and thin : LANK
54. Joins : WELDS
57. Classic horror film locale : CRYPT
58. Actress/singer Hudgens : VANESSA
60. Matches up : SYNCS
61. Makes fuzzy : BLURS
63. Nursing facility? : MAMMARYGLAND
65. Huffed and puffed : BLEW
66. Southern university whose team is the Phoenix : ELON
67. ___ Clooney, Barbara Walters's "most fascinating person" of 2014 : AMAL
68. Litter sounds : MEWS
71. Chopped up : DICED
72. BMW competitor : ACURA
75. Swerve : VEER
76. Letter that, surprisingly, is not the end of the Greek alphabet : ZETA
79. Assail : SETAT
80. Campus building : HALL
83. Spirals : HELICES
84. Charlize Theron's role in 2015's "Mad Max" reboot : FURIOSA
86. Dr. ___ : DRE
87. Thick soup : POTAGE
88. Sci-fi stunner : PHASER
89. One who cries "Uncle!"? : AUNT
90. Contradict : NAYSAY
91. "Nuts!" : DRAT
93. Underworld : MAFIA
94. Three sheets to the wind : OILED
97. Things near funny bones : ULNAE
98. Load of laundry : WASH
101. Pet peeves? : LICE
102. Med. school course : ANAT
103. Fearsome figure : OGRE
106. Suffer : AIL
107. "Forget about it!" : NAH
108. Freudian area of study : EGO
109. Cable alternative : DSL

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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