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CROPPED

New York Times, Sunday, June 25, 2017

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2912/25/201310/8/20180
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3448640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59790
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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MA
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M
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N
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Y
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© 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.

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