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DRIVING AROUND

New York Times, Sunday, July 1, 2018

Author:
Sam Trabucco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1710/29/20151/12/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3101255
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.68150
Sam Trabucco

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 76 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Trabucco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Trabucco notes:
It's pretty standard for Will and co. to change a large number of your clues between submission and publication, and the changes are almost always for the better. However! I cannot sit ... read more

It's pretty standard for Will and co. to change a large number of your clues between submission and publication, and the changes are almost always for the better. However! I cannot sit idly by and watch my RED BEAN ice cream clue vanish. It — in addition to other typically Asian ice cream flavors like matcha and taro — is delicious, and I wish they were more popular in the U.S. (and therefore easier for me, personally, to find). My crusade is just beginning, though — I never intend to clue TARO as anything but an Asian dessert flavor again!

Jeff Chen notes:
I enjoy when a theme makes me wonder how easy/hard it would be to find fitting examples. Seeing LOGGED IN 'pass by' the CAB in LOG CABIN did exactly that! Some neat finds in PLAYING DEAD / ... read more

I enjoy when a theme makes me wonder how easy/hard it would be to find fitting examples. Seeing LOGGED IN "pass by" the CAB in LOG CABIN did exactly that! Some neat finds in PLAYING DEAD / PLAYING CARD, SUNTAN OIL / STRUCK OIL, etc.

Ultimately, there are a lot of pairs that can work like this, especially with CAR and CAB. The real challenge is finding pairs that can be placed symmetrically. Pesky crossword symmetry! I thought Sam did a great job with this. All five themer pairs were solid to great, and there were some especially nice finds, like working the juicy POTTED PLANT around that tough *DPL* letter sequence.

So tough to work through pairs of themers! Sam has such solid gridwork. He's one of the few people I'd trust to execute on a paired themer puzzle. The only rough spot was ADC, which I *think* means aide-de-camp? There's a good reason why Will advises constructors to avoid initialisms that aren't known by virtually everyone.

The a-ha moment was nearly enough for me to put this in POW! contention. But I got confused at first, since LOG IN almost fit with the LOGGED IN clue: [Began a PC session]. And then there was something odd about the base phrase not being clued in any way, i.e., PLAYING CARD sort of just sitting there. I did come around to appreciate the concept more and more, though.

I felt like there was one aspect that pulled the puzzle out of POW! contention, though. See the connection between LACUNAR, WIVE, SEA PIG, DAY DRINK, SEAM RIPPER, RUN GOOD? Took me a while to understand my discomfort – each entry would be generally fine on its own, but as a whole, they all felt … weirdly hard. Not in a satisfying way.

Thankfully, there was enough CARBO LOAD, CAT TOYS, TIGHT RACE, TRUTH SERA, and especially WHERE ITS AT to keep me going.

Interesting concept overall, though.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0701 ( 25,072 )
Across
1. Played for a fool : USED
5. Total mess : FIASCO
11. Big piece of cake : SLAB
15. Buzzed : RANG
19. "It's all good" : NOTABIGDEAL
21. Guido ___, painter of the "Crucifixion of St. Peter" : RENI
22. "Do I ___!" : EVER
23. Trying to show no signs of life : PLAYINGDEAD
24. Show out? : STAGEDOOR
26. Metaphorical time in hell : COLDDAY
27. Future exec, maybe : MBA
28. Began a PC session : LOGGEDIN
29. Seminary study: Abbr. : REL
30. One who "went a-courtin'," in a children's song : FROGGY
32. Hurried along : RACED
33. Asian berry marketed as a "superfood" : GOJI
36. "Darth Vader is Luke's father," e.g. : SPOILER
38. Kind of yoga : HATHA
39. Lily Potter's maiden name in the Harry Potter books : EVANS
41. Fair : EXPO
42. Attention getters : AHEMS
44. Longtime CBS police procedural : NCIS
48. Voodoo, e.g. : DARKART
50. Quite a bash, in slang : PARTAY
52. Partner of shock : AWE
53. Wrecks, as chances : TORPEDOES
55. Relating to gaps : LACUNAR
59. Norm: Abbr. : STD
62. Burrow : LAIR
63. Bit of office greenery : POTTEDPLANT
65. Dead end sign : NOOUTLET
67. Kind of state : ZEN
68. Was forced to turn down an invitation : HADPLANS
69. Big character? : BLOCKLETTER
71. Take as a bride : WIVE
72. News commentator Navarro : ANA
73. Ball of yarn and others : CATTOYS
74. Confession inducers : TRUTHSERA
77. "Jeez, you should keep that private" : TMI
78. Get down : BOOGIE
79. Go as far down as : STOOPTO
84. ___ diagram : VENN
86. Green surroundings? : TRAPS
88. Seize : GRAB
90. Work : KNEAD
91. "You betcha!" : UHHUH
93. Had a leading role? : USHERED
96. S or M : SIZE
97. Sam of Watergate hearings : ERVIN
98. Ipecac, e.g. : EMETIC
99. Openly gay : OUT
101. Fix, as a mess of wires : UNTANGLE
103. Singer Garfunkel : ART
104. Big part of an orchestra : STRINGS
108. Bottle for a beachgoer : SUNTANOIL
109. It's left on a highway ... or a path used by five answers in this puzzle? : PASSINGLANE
111. ___ about (approximately) : ONOR
112. A little : SOME
113. "Yeah, it makes sense" : ICANSEETHAT
114. Nota ___ : BENE
115. Had too much, for short : ODED
116. Go on a drinking spree, in slang : GETLIT
117. Nuggets in "Poor Richard's Almanack" : SAWS
Down
1. Not using sensitive language, say : UNPC
2. Dis-banded? : SOLO
3. List ender: Abbr. : ETAL
4. Not wait till evening to crack a bottle : DAYDRINK
5. Semester's end : FINALS
6. Rapper ___ Azalea : IGGY
7. General's assistant: Abbr. : ADC
8. Tool for undoing stitches : SEAMRIPPER
9. What many runners do before a marathon : CARBOLOAD
10. Senectitude : OLDAGE
11. "r u 4 real?" : SRSLY
12. Jared of "Dallas Buyers Club" : LETO
13. Nerd's epithet for the president? : ANAGRAM
14. Lions and tigers : BIGCATS
15. Tidbit with rice in Creole cuisine : REDBEAN
16. Sidestep : AVOID
17. It's under helium in the periodic table : NEON
18. Dog's warning : GRR
20. Endure : BIDE
25. Per : EACH
30. ___ News : FOX
31. Annoy, in a way : GRATEON
33. Goal for many a H.S. dropout : GED
34. Donations to certain clinics : OVA
35. Pantry item : JAR
37. David ___, C.I.A. director under Obama : PETRAEUS
38. "Watch it!" : HEY
40. Took a breather : SAT
43. Possess, as thou might : HAST
45. Old Testament land : CANAAN
46. "Pick me! Pick me!" : IWANNA
47. Certain Spanish murals : SERTS
49. Elapse, as years : ROLLBY
51. Braided floor covering : ROPERUG
54. Where coal miners work : PITS
55. Doesn't bother : LEAVESBE
56. Telly pitch : ADVERT
57. 1040 reviewer, for short : CPA
58. Humerus connection : ULNA
59. "How uncool!" : SOLAME
60. "Yer darn ___!" : TOOTIN
61. It may bring a tear to one's eye : DUCT
64. "___ Is Us" (65-Down drama) : THIS
65. See 64-Down : NBCTV
66. Bout result, in brief : TKO
67. Like a game with equal winners and losers : ZEROSUM
70. 'Vette option : TTOP
71. Happenin' place : WHEREITSAT
75. Election that's too close to call : TIGHTRACE
76. Peachy : AOK
78. "Phooey!" : BAH
80. Like many clowns and beachside houses : ONSTILTS
81. Kennedy Library architect : PEI
82. Nickname for a devil : TAZ
83. Flowery poem : ODE
85. Help grow : NURTURE
86. "You agree?" : THINKSO
87. Enjoy consistent, favorable luck, in poker lingo : RUNGOOD
89. Story line : ARC
92. Sort of rooftop unit, familiarly : HVAC
94. Another name for a porpoise or dolphin : SEAPIG
95. Certain domain suffix : DOTNET
97. Subject of a 2001-02 scandal : ENRON
98. Caught congers : EELED
100. Strong desire : URGE
101. ___ Reader : UTNE
102. Shade of green : LIME
104. "Absolutely!," to Alejandro : SISI
105. Capital of Okinawa : NAHA
106. Chew (on) : GNAW
107. Match makers? : SETS
108. Get all blubbery : SOB
110. Show with Kate McKinnon, for short : SNL

Answer summary: 22 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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