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WORD SEARCH

New York Times, Sunday, June 5, 2016

Author:
Tom McCoy
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3211/14/201310/7/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
17815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61362
Tom McCoy

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
4
U
5
T
6
S
7
B
8
A
9
S
10
I
11
C
12
S
13
J
14
U
15
S
16
T
17
N
18
O
19
W
20
R
H
I
N
O
S
21
O
R
I
O
L
E
22
A
S
T
R
I
D
E
23
F
O
L
L
O
W
24
I
N
G
S
U
I
T
25
W
H
O
O
P
E
E
26
S
E
E
D
27
T
A
O
I
S
M
28
B
E
L
L
29
A
L
30
S
O
31
B
32
E
33
F
O
R
E
L
34
O
35
N
36
G
37
C
38
L
39
O
S
E
T
O
40
H
41
O
42
M
43
E
44
B
U
N
45
C
I
O
46
Y
O
O
H
O
O
47
A
D
O
R
48
A
B
L
E
49
M
50
E
C
C
A
51
R
O
M
E
O
52
P
R
O
V
E
N
53
V
A
L
U
E
D
54
U
M
P
S
55
C
H
E
R
I
56
D
57
N
58
A
59
E
X
A
L
T
S
60
S
S
A
61
H
U
E
62
E
63
A
S
Y
A
64
N
I
T
T
Y
65
B
E
T
W
66
E
67
E
N
Y
O
U
A
68
N
D
M
E
69
S
70
P
A
C
E
71
G
R
I
E
F
72
E
O
S
73
M
74
A
75
E
76
S
T
A
L
K
S
77
G
A
G
78
O
79
W
80
N
E
R
81
T
I
L
L
82
W
E
E
K
L
Y
83
H
84
A
R
H
A
R
85
D
H
A
B
I
86
E
R
A
S
E
87
F
88
O
89
O
T
S
T
E
P
90
S
E
A
M
U
S
91
E
E
N
92
I
R
R
93
A
H
E
A
94
D
O
F
T
I
M
E
95
P
O
S
96
T
97
O
98
F
F
I
C
99
E
100
E
X
E
S
101
A
B
E
T
102
M
103
A
104
S
105
A
106
L
A
107
A
T
108
M
109
S
110
R
111
E
112
L
I
E
V
E
113
N
E
X
T
T
O
N
114
O
T
H
I
N
115
G
116
I
C
A
N
S
E
E
117
T
R
E
A
T
S
118
B
E
A
R
U
P
119
P
O
S
T
E
R
N
120
H
Y
D
R
A
S
121
I
D
T
A
G
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0605 ( 24,316 )
Across
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
Down
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?