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ADVICE TO WRITERS

New York Times, Sunday, June 4, 2017

Author:
Tom McCoy
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3311/14/20139/29/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
18815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61362
Tom McCoy

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 78 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 1 Grid has repeated answers This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. McCoy. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes:
Many of my favorite crosswords are ones that break the rules in some way, whether they use one-letter answers, answers that extend off the grid, asymmetrical grids, or other crazy ... read more

Many of my favorite crosswords are ones that break the rules in some way, whether they use one-letter answers, answers that extend off the grid, asymmetrical grids, or other crazy variations. It might be that I enjoy the variety, or it might just be that a puzzle that breaks the rules has to be pretty good to get accepted despite its transgressions, but in any case I also get pretty excited about a theme that allows me to break the rules a little, as this theme's repeated answer does.

Thanks to all of the English teachers over the years who have taught me the rules as well as when it's okay to break them!

Jeff Chen notes:
As a writer (I recently landed a two-book deal with HarperCollins, woo hoo!), I enjoyed the 'rules' Tom featured today. Something so amusing about the image of a professor lecturing to ... read more

As a writer (I recently landed a two-book deal with HarperCollins, woo hoo!), I enjoyed the "rules" Tom featured today. Something so amusing about the image of a professor lecturing to his/her students, saying DON'T USE CONTRACTIONS, and then wondering why all the students were tittering.

I smiled at the first one — NEVER GENERALIZE, the entry itself generalizing — and didn't stop until I reached the last one. Er, ones. It confused me to get AVOID REDUNDANCY, and then to get it again. Neat a-ha moment when I realized the meta-wink, using that entry redundantly!

A friend and I were chatting a while back about how Tom is such a standout in Sunday puzzles; how his byline is one of the few that once we see it, we can't wait to dive in. This one wasn't quite as creative as some of his others, but this writer sure enjoyed it. Will does try to space out Sunday constructors so that there's a ton of variety in authors, but I'd welcome Tom's Sunday byline more than every three months or so.

And Tom is one of the few constructors who I'd encourage to use less than 140 words. Will's experiment in this sub-140 space hasn't been too successful in my eyes, but there are a few people who do make me see the value in it. 136 words is incredibly tough to pull off, and there is a handful of MMV, OCA, ESO, STET, RDS kind of stuff. But it's all minor, and the quantity is less than we see in most 140-word puzzles.

Most importantly though, going down to 136 words allowed Tom to feature a lot of long or mid-length bonus material that shines. PIERCED EARS. MADE FOR TV. HOLE IN ONE. MUSICIAN, with its clever [Person of note?] clue. HEYDAYS. ADMIRAL Ackbar for us "Star Wars" nerds. END RUN. Even GOOGLE with a McCoyesque clue, referencing their heavily guarded PageRank algorithm. Great bonuses all throughout the puzzle.

This is the type of trade-off I think is well-worth it. So much great bonus fill for some minor gluey bits (and an odd OVERGO) … that's the way to do a sub-140 word Sunday puzzle.

Looking forward to the next McCoy byline already.

Jim Horne notes:

The PDF shows that this grid was hand-drawn in print. Garson Hampfield would be proud.

1
C
2
O
3
M
4
P
5
A
6
S
7
S
8
C
9
O
10
S
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T
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A
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R
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O
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M
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E
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G
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A
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A
D
M
I
R
A
L
20
R
E
T
I
N
A
21
L
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C
A
N
O
N
23
N
E
V
E
R
G
E
24
N
E
R
A
L
I
Z
E
25
A
D
D
O
N
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R
E
S
E
E
D
27
M
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I
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N
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E
R
G
O
30
S
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P
32
E
C
S
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P
O
O
34
F
35
R
36
E
A
D
C
A
37
R
F
U
L
Y
38
C
O
V
E
T
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S
E
E
N
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A
N
Y
O
N
E
S
41
A
G
E
D
42
S
43
P
44
A
45
T
E
T
46
R
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A
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C
A
R
49
N
O
S
E
50
N
T
E
N
51
C
E
F
R
A
G
52
M
E
N
T
53
S
54
A
O
R
T
A
L
55
U
T
A
H
56
V
O
57
I
58
D
59
S
60
B
61
A
R
R
O
62
A
63
M
64
P
S
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P
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T
67
U
S
A
68
P
A
S
S
I
V
69
E
70
S
M
U
S
T
71
B
E
S
H
72
U
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N
N
E
D
74
R
D
S
75
E
S
O
76
S
A
S
E
77
A
N
O
D
E
S
78
Y
E
A
79
H
80
A
U
81
D
I
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L
83
O
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S
T
I
T
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D
O
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N
87
T
U
S
E
C
88
O
89
N
T
R
A
C
T
I
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O
91
N
92
S
93
L
E
O
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A
M
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95
E
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H
96
C
H
A
T
97
P
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O
99
W
E
R
U
100
P
101
A
C
R
102
E
103
P
E
N
N
E
104
A
V
O
I
D
R
E
105
D
106
U
N
D
A
N
107
C
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Y
109
A
B
O
U
T
110
C
E
R
N
111
S
N
O
B
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T
O
O
113
K
T
O
114
M
R
M
O
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M
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A
V
O
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I
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D
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R
E
D
U
N
D
A
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N
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C
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Y
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A
G
E
N
T
124
L
E
A
K
I
E
R
125
T
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R
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126
N
O
D
E
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127
S
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D
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128
H
E
Y
D
A
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S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0604 ( 24,680 )
Across
1
Drawing tool : COMPASS
8
One not acting alone : COSTAR
14
Literally, "great O" : OMEGA
19
Ackbar's rank, in "Star Wars" films : ADMIRAL
20
Relating to an eye layer : RETINAL
22
What fan fiction is not : CANON
23
Writing tip #1 : NEVERGENERALIZE
25
Accessory : ADDON
26
Plant anew : RESEED
27
Lo ___ : MEIN
29
So : ERGO
30
Contractor's guidelines : SPECS
33
Writing tip #2 : POOFREADCARFULY
38
Yearn for : COVET
39
Unlike the wind : SEEN
40
Lead-in to guess or game : ANYONES
41
Got up there : AGED
42
Balneotherapy site : SPA
45
Bi- and bi-? : TETRA
48
Train part : CAR
49
Writing tip #3 : NOSENTENCEFRAGMENTS
54
Relating to a major vessel : AORTAL
55
Hexagonal state : UTAH
56
Invalidate : VOID
59
Restaurant chain with a flag in its logo : SBARRO
62
Band aids : AMPS
65
Make suitable for indoors, as a plant : POT
67
Home of Ithaca, Athens and Olympia : USA
68
Writing tip #4 : PASSIVESMUSTBESHUNNED
74
They go from town to town: Abbr. : RDS
75
That, in Tijuana : ESO
76
Ed.'s request : SASE
77
Cell parts : ANODES
78
"Uh-huh" : YEAH
80
German auto co. : AUDI
82
Flew off the handle : LOSTIT
85
Writing tip #5 : DONTUSECONTRACTIONS
93
Bill Clinton or Barack Obama : LEO
94
___ group (structure found in proteins) : AMINO
95
Old English letter : ETH
96
Shoot the breeze : CHAT
97
Turn on : POWERUP
101
4,840 square yards : ACRE
103
Cylinder-shaped pasta : PENNE
104
Writing tip #6 : AVOIDREDUNDANCY
109
Regarding : ABOUT
110
Large Hadron Collider org. : CERN
111
Hoity-toity sort : SNOB
112
Became adept in : TOOKTO
114
1983 Michael Keaton title role : MRMOM
116
Writing tip #7 : AVOIDREDUNDANCY
123
Operative : AGENT
124
Less watertight : LEAKIER
125
Energetic pooch : TERRIER
126
Graph parts : NODES
127
Knights' needs : STEEDS
128
Primes : HEYDAYS
Down
1
Give the ax : CAN
2
Poem of homage : ODE
3
2005, to Cato : MMV
4
Ring bearers, maybe : PIERCEDEARS
5
Bring in : ARREST
6
Droops : SAGS
7
It "knits up the ravell'd sleave of care," per Macbeth : SLEEP
8
Doctrines : CREDOS
9
Atop, poetically : OER
10
RR stop : STA
11
Up to : TIL
12
Jungian inner self : ANIMA
13
Knocked to the ground : RAZED
14
Andean tuber : OCA
15
Like the movies "Brian's Song" and "Sharknado" : MADEFORTV
16
Circumvention : ENDRUN
17
It uses the PageRank algorithm : GOOGLE
18
Irritates : ANNOYS
21
Classic camera brand : LEICA
24
Prefix with liberal : NEO
28
Vice President John ___ Garner : NANCE
30
Digitize, in a way : SCAN
31
Bounce along, in a way : POGO
32
Anticipatory days : EVES
34
Gala : FETE
35
Where to find some very wet sponges : REEF
36
Gives in confidence : ENTRUSTS
37
Gosling of "La La Land" : RYAN
42
Tried : STROVE
43
Favorite : PET
44
Santa ___, Calif. : ANA
46
Templeton from "Charlotte's Web," e.g. : RAT
47
Visibly awed : AGAPE
50
"Me neither," formally : NORI
51
Refuse to talk, with "up" : CLAM
52
Conductance quantities : MHOS
53
Like a good proof : SOUND
57
"Makes sense" : ISEE
58
___ Day (June event, informally) : DADS
59
Not needing a cane, say : SPRY
60
Commanded : BADE
61
Syria's Bashar al-___ : ASSAD
63
Person of note? : MUSICIAN
64
Fee-free spot, briefly : PSA
66
Unruly hair, metaphorically : THATCH
69
Jacob's twin : ESAU
70
Composer of many patriotic tunes : SOUSA
71
Conveyor part : BELT
72
Course part : UNIT
73
Something tacky to hang on the wall? : NOTICEBOARD
79
Stroke of luck? : HOLEINONE
81
Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, informally : DEM
83
It's mined, all mined! : ORE
84
Stayed on the shelf : SAT
86
Homework lover, maybe : NERD
87
Military stints : TOURS
88
Like some audiobooks : ONCD
89
Romance writer Roberts : NORA
90
"Yikes!" : OHNO
91
When repeated, an old sitcom catchphrase : NANU
92
Leave in : STET
97
Character that goes "waka, waka, waka ..." : PACMAN
98
Exceed : OVERGO
99
Wriggled : WORMED
100
Punitive : PENAL
102
Goes in : ENTERS
103
Gently towel : PATDRY
105
Peace signs : DOVES
106
W.W. II danger : UBOAT
107
Cape ___ : COD
108
Early days : YOUTH
113
Patella site : KNEE
115
Much of W.Va. : MTS
117
Mike's confectionery partner : IKE
118
Dungeons & Dragons piece : DIE
119
Like William Carlos Williams's wheelbarrow : RED
120
Actress Peeples : NIA
121
Ron of the Dodgers : CEY
122
'17 and '18 : YRS

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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