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WORD SEARCH

New York Times, Sunday, June 5, 2016

Author: Tom McCoy
Editor: Will Shortz
Tom McCoy
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1.61341
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 80 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. McCoy. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes: Crossword themes tend to work best when they are as symmetric and consistent as possible. For this puzzle, then, I put the lone 'between' theme answer in the middle of the grid, while the top and bottom halves ... more
Tom McCoy notes:

Crossword themes tend to work best when they are as symmetric and consistent as possible. For this puzzle, then, I put the lone "between" theme answer in the middle of the grid, while the top and bottom halves both have one "before" answer, one "after" answer, and one "close to" answer.

This theme has been sitting in my idea notebook for a while, so I was glad to finally implement it.

I hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes: I wish all constructors would get the chance to talk with Tom in person. I've only been able to do so once a year (at the ACPT), but I've enjoyed it so much. Tom is quickly becoming one of the best constructors in ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I wish all constructors would get the chance to talk with Tom in person. I've only been able to do so once a year (at the ACPT), but I've enjoyed it so much. Tom is quickly becoming one of the best constructors in the crossworld, and he's so humble about it. It's inspiring to see someone with so much talent and drive to succeed keep a solid head on his shoulders. Not even out of college yet, I'd bet he'll be among the most-published constructors when he's done.

Now that's a JAWBONE!

Today's puzzle is both clever and simple, in-the-language phrases that hint at a sort of WORD SEARCH. For example, FOLLOWING SUIT is clued with [Where you can find … "jacket" or "yourself"?] Both "jacket" and "yourself" can be found FOLLOWING SUIT, i.e. "suit jacket" or "suit yourself." I really like this twist on the typical "word that can follow X" theme, giving a tired trope a fresh feel.

I also like that Tom picked such a wide assortment of theme phrases. The only word he repeats is the minor TO (CLOSE TO HOME, NEXT TO NOTHING), and uses a great selection of themers, from BEFORE LONG to POST OFFICE.

The theme does a wonderful job of catering to both novices and experts — very important considering the breadth of the NYT's large Sunday solving population. It's easy to create a simple theme like an add-a-letter, and it's fascinating to create a mind-bending puzzle, but either can alienate large swaths of Sunday NYT solvers. (I've heard from some solvers that they love my crazier stuff, but also from others that they never actually figured out what was going on.) Finding that balance is hard to do, and I think Tom does it just about perfectly today.

Sure, there are a few gluey bits here and there — STO, and maybe SISI is a bit arbitrary — but just like most every one of Tom's puzzles, it's so well-executed. He's already in the rare air where I have to restrain myself from giving him the POW! in order to spread the kudos around.

1
A
2
W
3
N
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U
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T
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S
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B
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A
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S
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I
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C
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S
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J
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U
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S
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T
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N
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O
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W
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H
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N
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21
O
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O
L
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A
S
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D
E
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F
O
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N
G
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W
H
O
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P
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E
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S
E
E
D
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T
A
O
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M
28
B
E
L
L
29
A
L
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S
O
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B
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E
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F
O
R
E
L
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O
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N
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G
37
C
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L
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O
S
E
T
O
40
H
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O
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M
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E
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B
U
N
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C
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Y
O
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H
O
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A
D
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A
B
L
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M
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C
C
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P
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V
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V
A
L
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D
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U
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P
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55
C
H
E
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D
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N
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A
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X
A
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60
S
S
A
61
H
U
E
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E
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A
S
Y
A
64
N
I
T
T
Y
65
B
E
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W
66
E
67
E
N
Y
O
U
A
68
N
D
M
E
69
S
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P
A
C
E
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G
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F
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E
O
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M
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A
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E
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S
T
A
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G
A
G
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O
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W
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N
E
R
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T
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L
L
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W
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K
L
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A
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A
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D
H
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I
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F
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O
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N
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A
H
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A
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D
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95
P
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T
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O
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F
F
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100
E
X
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101
A
B
E
T
102
M
103
A
104
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A
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L
A
107
A
T
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M
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S
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R
111
E
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L
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V
E
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N
E
X
T
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O
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O
T
H
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G
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I
C
A
N
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E
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T
R
E
A
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118
B
E
A
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P
O
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N
120
H
Y
D
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121
I
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0605 ( 24,316 )
Across Down
1. "Shucks!" : AWNUTS
7. They might be covered on your first day of employment : BASICS
13. Only a second ago : JUSTNOW
20. Ones with good poker faces? : RHINOS
21. Charm City ballplayer : ORIOLE
22. With a leg on either side of : ASTRIDE
23. Where you can find ... "jacket" or "yourself"? : FOLLOWINGSUIT
25. "Yay!" : WHOOPEE
26. Lentil or coconut : SEED
27. Chinese philosophy : TAOISM
28. Student's saver : BELL
29. Plus : ALSO
31. ... "go" or "so"? : BEFORELONG
37. ... "anybody" or "cooking"? : CLOSETOHOME
44. Dog holder : BUN
45. A.F.L.-___ : CIO
46. "Over here!" : YOOHOO
47. "Aww"-inspiring : ADORABLE
49. Muhammad's birthplace : MECCA
51. Lover boy : ROMEO
52. Like Fermat's last theorem, eventually : PROVEN
53. Much appreciated : VALUED
54. They decide what's fair : UMPS
55. Oteri of "S.N.L." : CHERI
56. Material in mitochondria : DNA
59. Acclaims : EXALTS
60. Issuer of IDs: Abbr. : SSA
61. Shade : HUE
62. Its material is not hard : EASYA
64. ___-gritty : NITTY
65. ... "got" or "tell"? : BETWEENYOUANDME
69. Result of hitting the bar? : SPACE
71. "The price we pay for love," per Queen Elizabeth II : GRIEF
72. Goddess who gained immortality for her lover but forgot to ask for eternal youth (whoops!) : EOS
73. Flirtatious wife in "Of Mice and Men" : MAE
76. They stand up in their bed : STALKS
77. Kind of gift : GAG
78. Sports team bigwig : OWNER
81. Cash register : TILL
82. Like the installments of "A Tale of Two Cities" : WEEKLY
83. "Ver-r-ry funny!" : HARHAR
85. Abu ___ : DHABI
86. Obliterate : ERASE
87. Suspenseful sound : FOOTSTEP
90. ___ Finnigan, friend of Harry Potter : SEAMUS
91. Contraction missing a V : EEN
92. Kind of verb: Abbr. : IRR
93. ... "two" or "face"? : AHEADOFTIME
95. ... "building" or "hours"? : POSTOFFICE
100. Flames that have gone out? : EXES
101. Assist in crime : ABET
102. Indian spice mix : MASALA
107. Things you may dispense with? : ATMS
110. Take over for : RELIEVE
113. ... "that's" or "special"? : NEXTTONOTHING
116. "That much is clear" : ICANSEE
117. Pays for the meal : TREATS
118. Stay cheerful despite adversity : BEARUP
119. Back entrance : POSTERN
120. Jellyfish relatives named for a mythological monster : HYDRAS
121. Private property? : IDTAGS
1. Woof : ARF
2. "___ your daddy?" : WHOS
3. River that flows south to north : NILE
4. Sets free into the world : UNLEASHES
5. "Ta-ta!" : TOODLEOO
6. Directional abbr. : SSW
7. "___ Nox" (Mozart title meaning "good night") : BONA
8. Greek vessel : ARGO
9. Enthusiastic Spanish assent : SISI
10. Debt docs : IOUS
11. Scale : CLIMB
12. Collection : SET
13. Chin former : JAWBONE
14. "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" singer, 2010 : USHER
15. Women's retro accessory : STOLE
16. Offensive poster : TROLL
17. Small bite : NIP
18. Part of the classic Chinese work "Shih Ching" : ODE
19. Puny : WEE
24. "Was ___ hard on them?" : ITOO
30. "___ Lat" (traditional Polish song) : STO
32. Subside : EBB
33. Opposite of -less : FUL
34. Paranormal : OCCULT
35. Fine point : NICETY
36. Provokes : GOADS
37. Persian Empire founder : CYRUS
38. Impends : LOOMS
39. ___-Loompa (Willy Wonka employee) : OOMPA
40. Fictional braggart : HARE
41. The "O" of B.O. : ODOR
42. Setting for a watch? : MOVIENIGHT
43. "We'll teach you to drink deep ___ you depart": Hamlet : ERE
48. Et cetera : ANDSOFORTH
49. Certain racy magazines : MAXIMS
50. Lift : ELATE
52. "Glad that's done!" : PHEW
53. Street fair participant : VENDOR
55. "Aww"-inspiring : CUTESY
57. Empire State sch. : NYU
58. Org. with an emergency number : AAA
61. Razz, as a speaker : HECKLE
63. What the pros say : AYE
65. Hesitates : BALKS
66. Default avatar for a new Twitter user : EGG
67. Reconstruction, for one : ERA
68. Contraction missing a V : NEER
69. From both sides, in a way : STEREO
70. Songs of praise : PAEANS
73. City whose name looks like it could mean "my friend" : MIAMI
74. Track holder? : ALBUM
75. A Beethoven piece was für her : ELISE
76. Win every game : SWEEP
79. Exhilarated cry : WHEE
80. ___ cabbage : NAPA
81. "End of discussion" : THATSTHAT
84. Botanist Gray : ASA
85. "A man can be destroyed but not ___": Hemingway : DEFEATED
87. Age for a quinceañera : FIFTEEN
88. "... ___ quit!" : ORI
89. "The Silmarillion" creature : ORC
90. Red ___ : SOX
94. Newspaper V.I.P. Baquet : DEAN
96. Pollute : TAINT
97. Too big for one's britches, say? : OBESE
98. Hotheadedness? : FEVER
99. Disposable board : EMERY
103. Let go : AXED
104. Twinkler : STAR
105. Lead-in to boy : ATTA
106. Something to mourn : LOSS
108. Red giant in Cetus : MIRA
109. Cozy : SNUG
110. Rend : RIP
111. "The Name of the Rose" novelist : ECO
112. "___ Meninas" (Velázquez painting) : LAS
113. Highest degree : NTH
114. ___-Wan Kenobi : OBI
115. Family docs : GPS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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