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CROPPED

New York Times, Sunday, June 25, 2017

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3449640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.597100
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {JQWZ} This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Rebus today, VEGETABLE SHORTENING interpreted as 'cramming the theme vegetables into two-letter chunks.' I'm a huge 'Seinfeld' fan, so OKRA inside COSM(O K)(RA)MER was fun. Neat how it ... read more

Rebus today, VEGETABLE SHORTENING interpreted as "cramming the theme vegetables into two-letter chunks." I'm a huge "Seinfeld" fan, so OKRA inside COSM(O K)(RA)MER was fun. Neat how it breaks OKRA across two words, too — I usually think across-word-breaks are more interesting than within-word finds, but I did like SYMP(TO)(MA)(TO)LOGY. Neat discovery!

Before I get flooded with mail, yes, I also noticed that there was a huge flaw, that TOMATO is a fruit, not a vegetable. I was just about to write Frank (Longo, one of Will's fact checkers) when I learned that they're considered "culinary vegetables." It still doesn't sit right for me, but it's not technically 100% incorrect. Enough wiggle room to let this one by. Perhaps.

Nice construction, mostly Stulbergian execution (a lot of interesting long fill and not many short gluey bits). I especially liked how he ran some long answers through the rebus squares, TRENCH(CO)AT and NO PROB(LE)MO my favorites. Typically, rebus squares are executed with short crossing answers like LEA(RN), as this constrains the grid much less than something like TO(OK) IT EASY taking up so much real estate.

I didn't like was the BRANDON / MIDI crossing. I don't mind a lot of proper names in a puzzle, but when they're toughies like NIGEL, HAAS, RABBITT, allowing for the possible error of BRANNON seems underhanded. I even watched some 90210 (I'll never admit that if pressed) and still got that square wrong. Maybe a more direct clue where MIDI and MINI weren't both valid.

Fun solve, although the gimmick didn't have the staying power to keep my attention through a 21x grid. I'm a bit rebused out these days, but a 15x grid would have kept me entertained, given the apt revealer lending a strong reason for the rebus squares. Too bad VEGETABLE SHORTENING wouldn't fit in a 15x!

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O
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V
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P
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A
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BE
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B
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N
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F
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RN
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KA
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H
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K
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D
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C
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D
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E
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T
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O
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L
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A
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M
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TO
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MA
TO
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Y
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C
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M
OK
RA
M
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C
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P
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U
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N
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N
O
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N
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A
V
E
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S
K
I
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P
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T
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T
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A
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V
E
G
E
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A
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B
L
E
S
H
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O
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T
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N
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G
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A
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M
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G
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S
A
K
E
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A
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D
A
N
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G
O
T
T
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M
E
E
T
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A
M
E
N
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S
C
A
R
E
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O
B
E
S
E
122
E
S
S
E
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N
U
D
E
124
Y
E
L
L
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0625 ( 24,701 )
Across
1
Weary : SPENT
6
Flaky stuff : MICA
10
Deal watcher, informally : NARC
14
Like most grapes : OVATE
19
___ bear : POLAR
20
"Because Freedom Can't Protect Itself" sloganeer, briefly : ACLU
21
Finished : OVER
22
British politician Farage : NIGEL
23
Rummage (through) : RIFLE
24
Rummage (through) : ROOT
25
Southern bread : PONE
26
Crept furtively : SLUNK
27
Tree-damaging pest accidentally introduced to the U.S. in 1996 : ASIANLONGHORNEDBEETLE
31
Ache : YEN
32
One likely to have lots of perks : CEO
33
Neither good nor bad : SOSO
34
"Casablanca" woman : ILSA
35
"Olé! Olé! Olé!," for one : CHANT
37
Eddie with the #1 country hit "Every Which Way but Loose" : RABBITT
40
The "doll" in Ibsen's "A Doll's House" : NORA
44
Southwest tourist destination : FOURCORNERS
48
Having a variegated, changing pattern : KALEIDOSCOPIC
50
Lost : ATSEA
51
Tech company founder Michael : DELL
53
Tie up : MOOR
54
Matey's cry : AVAST
55
Sword go-with : SHEATH
57
Residence of the Japanese imperial family for more than 1,000 years : KYOTO
59
Baseball no-nos : BALKS
60
Life is a bad one : TERM
61
Request : ASKFOR
63
Outdoor game for the very young : TBALL
67
Yearbook sect. : SRS
68
Constitution holder : NATIONALARCHIVES
70
Some notebooks, in brief : PCS
73
Second-largest city in Vermont : ESSEX
74
Give : DONATE
75
Give a damn : CARE
76
Rehab procedure : DETOX
80
Singer Rimes : LEANN
81
High : STONED
83
Ham-handed : INEPT
84
Swiss river to the Rhine : AARE
87
Skirt option : MIDI
89
Hold forth : ORATE
90
MCAT subject : SYMPTOMATOLOGY
93
"Seinfeld" character : COSMOKRAMER
95
Don : CAPO
96
Salve : UNCTION
98
Dieter's salad order request : NOOIL
99
Church area : NAVE
101
Pair on a slope : SKIS
103
Kitty : POT
104
Gatekeeping org.? : TSA
107
Canful in a cupboard ... or a hint to parts of six answers in this puzzle : VEGETABLESHORTENING
112
___ friends : AMONG
114
Three-time N.H.L. All-Star Kovalchuk : ILYA
115
Rice-based drink : SAKE
116
Actor Quinn : AIDAN
117
Big name in organized crime, once : GOTTI
118
Come together : MEET
119
"You said it!" : AMEN
120
Alarm : SCARE
121
Like those who really have guts? : OBESE
122
Latin 101 verb : ESSE
123
Titian's "Venus of Urbino," e.g. : NUDE
124
Cheerleaders' practice : YELLS
Down
1
Sunscreen option : SPRAY
2
Good quality in a model : POISE
3
Puckish : ELFIN
4
Lion in "The Lion King" : NALA
5
Spy's attire, stereotypically : TRENCHCOAT
6
Like Robinson Crusoe : MAROONED
7
Desktop sight : ICON
8
Hard shoes to run in : CLOGS
9
Often-doubled cry at a play : AUTHOR
10
"Sure thing!," jocularly : NOPROBLEMO
11
Shakespeare's stream : AVON
12
Former Haitian president Préval : RENE
13
Loan shark, for one : CREDITOR
14
Starts : ONSETS
15
The Wildcats of the Big East Conference : VILLANOVA
16
Feverish fit : AGUE
17
Base ___ : TEN
18
Animal on Michigan's flag : ELK
28
Be apprised (of) : LEARN
29
Where Sanyo and Panasonic are headquartered : OSAKA
30
Slugs : BELTS
35
Beat handily : CREAM
36
Many a character on "The Big Bang Theory" : TREKKIE
38
Science class, informally : BIO
39
Personal commitment? : IDO
41
Birthstone after sapphire : OPAL
42
Game played on a map : RISK
43
Does something : ACTS
44
Observes Ramadan : FASTS
45
Else : OTHER
46
Manual's audience : USERS
47
Cunning sort : SLYFOX
49
Lift things? : CABLES
52
Minnesota's state bird : LOON
56
Tennis great Tommy : HAAS
58
Bricklaying or pipefitting : TRADE
62
GPS display: Abbr. : STS
63
___ acid (wine component) : TANNIC
64
Brenda's twin on "Beverly Hills 90210" : BRANDON
65
German digit : ACHT
66
Video game count : LIVES
68
Adjoining : NEXTTO
69
Fertile soil : LOAM
70
___ Games : PANAM
71
Island south of the Cyclades : CRETE
72
Commemorative meal with wine : SEDER
75
Round up : CORRAL
76
Frisbee, e.g. : DISC
77
Singer heard in the first "Lord of the Rings" movie : ENYA
78
Work day by day, say : TEMP
79
Bush and Gore, in 2000 : OPPONENTS
80
Do House work : LEGISLATE
82
Relaxed : TOOKITEASY
84
Formerly : ATONETIME
85
Vodka or gin: Abbr. : ALC
86
Codswallop : ROT
88
Petroleum byproduct used to make synthetic rubber : ISOPRENE
91
Violet shade : MAUVE
92
Join together : YOKE
94
Like some points : MOOT
97
Leaf producer : NISSAN
100
Texas A&M athlete : AGGIE
102
Former SeaWorld performer : SHAMU
104
___ wave : TIDAL
105
Traffic headache : SNARL
106
Dancer de Mille : AGNES
107
November imperative : VOTE
108
They can be brown or blonde : ALES
109
Ta-tas : BYES
110
Gave one's blessing to : OKED
111
"Well done!" : NICE
112
Give it ___ : AGO
113
Surround, as fans might an idol : MOB

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?