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TRICKY TRIOS

New York Times, Sunday, June 17, 2018

Author:
Amanda Chung, Karl Ni and Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
66/17/20181/23/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1122000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57010
Amanda Chung
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
66/17/20181/23/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1122000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57010
Karl Ni
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3211/6/20122/5/201913
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
73435361
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61140
Erik Agard

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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
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Hail on a bridge : AHOY
117
Trash : DELETE
Down
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
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Stadium section : LOGE
40
Police procedural beginning in 2003 : NCIS
42
News : TIDINGS
45
Words before a year : ANNODOMINI
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City on the Rhône : LYON
47
Zenith : ACME
50
Flee : TAKETOTHEHILLS
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Have ___ with : ANIN
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Ernest who wrote "Ready Player One" : CLINE
53
Tall and thin : LANK
54
Joins : WELDS
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Classic horror film locale : CRYPT
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Actress/singer Hudgens : VANESSA
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Matches up : SYNCS
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Makes fuzzy : BLURS
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Nursing facility? : MAMMARYGLAND
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Huffed and puffed : BLEW
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Southern university whose team is the Phoenix : ELON
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___ Clooney, Barbara Walters's "most fascinating person" of 2014 : AMAL
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Litter sounds : MEWS
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Chopped up : DICED
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BMW competitor : ACURA
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Swerve : VEER
76
Letter that, surprisingly, is not the end of the Greek alphabet : ZETA
79
Assail : SETAT
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Campus building : HALL
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Spirals : HELICES
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Charlize Theron's role in 2015's "Mad Max" reboot : FURIOSA
86
Dr. ___ : DRE
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Thick soup : POTAGE
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Sci-fi stunner : PHASER
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One who cries "Uncle!"? : AUNT
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Contradict : NAYSAY
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"Nuts!" : DRAT
93
Underworld : MAFIA
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Three sheets to the wind : OILED
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Things near funny bones : ULNAE
98
Load of laundry : WASH
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Pet peeves? : LICE
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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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?