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MOVING PARTS

New York Times, Sunday, July 20, 2014

Author:
Eric Berlin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
416/23/200211/11/20183
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1312521521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.52361
Eric Berlin

This puzzle:

Rows: 23, Columns: 20 Words: 151, Blocks: 78 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 38 for Mr. Berlin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The answer to each starred clue must have two consecutive letters removed before it is written into the grid. These letters will move to a pair of circles elsewhere in the puzzle. (In all cases, new words will be formed.) The nine letter pairs, when properly arranged, will spell an appropriate answer at 72-Across.
Jeff Chen notes:
A big welcome back to Eric! After a three-year hiatus from constructing, he comes back with a brain bender of a Sunday. Eric is the author of the Winston Breen series, a neat ... read more

A big welcome back to Eric! After a three-year hiatus from constructing, he comes back with a brain bender of a Sunday. Eric is the author of the Winston Breen series, a neat trilogy about a kid obsessed with puzzles. A fourth grade teacher friend of mine recently sent me a list of her district's "Best Books List" and asked if I could recommend any of them for read-alouds in her class. I chose maybe ten great ones for her… including "The Puzzling World of Winston Breen"!

Back to the puzzle. How to explain this one? If you look at the grid below, you'll see the central entry, A LITTLE GIVE AND TAKE, parsed into two-letter chunks. Each of these chunks are "removed" from one word and then "added" to another, in every case forming valid words or phrases. As an example, the first two letters, AL, can be taken out of FALLOUT to form FLOUT. They then can be added to HERD to form HERALD.

It was pretty hard for me to figure out and remember where each bigram was added. Jim and I discussed "fixing up" the database so that the answers accurately reflected the clues, but that seemed like it would take away the cleverness of the concept. For instance, if you were perusing this puzzle a few years down the road and hit the clue [*Royal messenger] and saw HERALD, you wouldn't think twice. In one sense that's great, as it's not confusing at all. On the other hand, if the answer reads HERD (as it does), it'd make you scratch your head. I personally like it when people scratch their heads. So instead of the fix-ups, here's a listing of the answers where the bigram was added:

  • AL: HER(AL)D (53-Across: [Royal messenger])
  • IT: GRAV(IT)Y (115-Down: [Newton subject]):
  • TL: GEN(TL)E (90-Down: [Gentle])
  • EG: L(EG)ION (14-Down: [Great in number])
  • IV: TR(IV)IAL (88-Across: [Piddling])
  • EA: PA(EA)N (43-Across: [Words of praise])
  • ND: BA(ND)IT (86-Down: [Old West robber])
  • TA: RO(TA)TE (8-Across: [Turn, as a wheel])
  • KE: REBU(KE)S (8-Down: [Upbraids])

Considering that just took me 15 minutes to search out and piece together, I can only imagine how rough it's going to be on some solvers. REBU(KE)S and L(EG)ION in particular had wicked clues. I like a challenge, and really enjoyed figuring out several of the "added-on" words. Those two… whoo! "Upbraids" apparently means "rebukes" (not "does one's hair up"?), who knew? And LEGION felt like a noun to me, but the dictionary says by golly it's an adjective, too. Learn something new every day.

It would have been nice to have the bigrams in order somehow, since all the jumping around broke up the flow of my solve a bit. And it might have even been nicer to not have the central revealer; instead, asking the reader to read across the bigrams in order to read the final reveal (something akin to Patrick Berry's recent puzzle). But overall, it's an innovative idea, one I haven't seen before. I always appreciate the creativity.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0720 ( 23,630 )
Across
1
Swaddles, e.g. : ENWRAPS
8
*Turn, as a wheel : ROTE
12
Edible plant extract : PALMOIL
19
Be too fearful to : DARENOT
20
Former Nebraska senator James : EXON
21
Burger go-with : FRIENDS
22
Yolk surrounder : WHITTLE
23
Bit of sweat : BEAD
24
Most hip : COOLEST
25
Low numero : TRE
26
Cowboys' activity : ROUNDUP
29
Cologne conjunction : UND
30
Slushy drink : ICEE
32
Kitten sounds : MEWS
33
Detailed plans : SPECS
35
Use a straw : SUCK
39
Idea : NOTATION
41
Hides away : STASHES
43
*Words of praise : PAN
44
Thingamajig : DOODAD
45
Strangle : GAROTTE
47
Cartoon dog : ASTRO
49
Italian dish that needs much stirring : RISOTTO
51
Openly defy : FALLOUT
53
*Royal messenger : HERD
57
Tony-winning musical with the song "Find Your Grail" : SPAMALOT
60
Long March participant : MAOIST
61
Not ___ (none) : ALICK
63
Raised transports : ELS
64
Unchanged : SAME
66
Classic muscle cars : GTOS
67
Not just slow : GLACIAL
69
Theater supporters : PATRONS
72
See instructions : ALITTLEGIVEANDTAKE
78
Wise men : THEMAGI
79
Is on the brink : TEETERS
81
Get rid of : SHED
85
___ menu : EDIT
86
Eagle's org. : BSA
88
*Piddling : TRIAL
89
Smear : MALIGN
91
Locks up again : RECHAINS
95
Painterish : ARTY
96
Plain to see : OVEREAT
98
Stir up : AGITATE
100
Trickster of American Indian mythology : RAVEN
101
Close overlap of fugue voices : STRETTO
104
Attack : ASSAIL
109
K.C.-to-Detroit dir. : ENE
110
She rules : EMPRESS
112
Indigenous : NEGATIVE
114
Caroled : SANG
116
"___ deal?" : ISITA
117
Prix ___ : FIXE
118
Sci-fi's Hubbard : LRON
119
Appeared in print : RAN
121
Beast of burden : BURRITO
123
Young seal : PUP
124
Many ski lodges : AFRAMES
128
Legitimate : REAL
129
Formed from a mold : DIECAST
133
Babble on : PRIVATE
134
Cathedral area : NAVE
135
Stay-at-home workers? : UMPIRES
136
Tot-watched : BABYSAT
137
Peevish state : SNIT
138
Asparagus unit : SPEAKER
Down
1
One of eight Eng. kings : EDW
2
Informal turndown : NAH
3
Email, say : WRITETO
4
Used tire : RETREAD
5
Pay to play : ANTE
6
Glad-handing sort : POL
7
Two-channel : STEREO
8
*Upbraids : REBUS
9
Field team : OXEN
10
Mushroom : TOADSTOOL
11
Reach, eventually : ENDUPAT
12
Cpl.'s inferior : PFC
13
Stir up : AROUSE
14
*Great in number : LION
15
Card combinations : MELDS
16
Low number : ONE
17
Checks at the door, say : IDS
18
W.W. II craft : LST
27
Soccer blooper : OWNGOAL
28
Bother : PEST
30
Neither blue nor red?: Abbr. : IND
31
Say sweet words : COO
32
Some dresses : MIDIS
34
Saucier's boss : CHEF
36
In the mood : UPTOIT
37
Tenor from Naples : CARUSO
38
Don of "The Andy Griffith Show" : KNOTTS
40
Sticky stuff : TAR
41
Mex. miss : SRTA
42
41-Down's room : SALA
46
Convenience store sights : ATMS
48
Slow, hard progress : SLOG
50
Stepped in for : SPELLED
52
French fine : AMENDE
53
Witch : HAG
54
"___ Enchanted" : ELLA
55
Mideast currency : RIAL
56
701, once : DCCI
58
Bone: Prefix : OSTE
59
Fictional estate : TARA
62
Chanteuse Eartha : KITT
65
State with the motto "Oro y plata" : MONTANA
68
Half sister of Ares : ATHENA
69
Greedy sort : PIG
70
Bird: Prefix : AVI
71
"Undo" mark : STET
73
Overseas prince : EMIR
74
Box office : GATE
75
___ Plus : ATRA
76
Actor Dullea : KEIR
77
Latin "was to be" : ERAT
80
Underhanded : SLY
81
Three-ingredient treats : SMORES
82
World capital where Monopoly is banned : HAVANA
83
Football team : ELEVEN
84
Terrible : DIRE
86
*Old West robber : BAIT
87
"Shaddup!" : SITONIT
90
*Not rough : GENE
92
Like the cry "Veni, vidi, vici" : CAESAREAN
93
Abbr. in some city names : HGTS
94
Old West transport : STAGE
97
Shortening in recipes? : TSPS
99
Spanish "that" : ESA
102
Windy City paper, with "the" : TRIB
103
Election night data : RETURNS
105
One of the Windward Islands : STLUCIA
106
Facility for small planes : AIRPARK
107
Nobel-winning writer Andric : IVO
108
N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer Dawson : LEN
111
Former transportation secretary Norman : MINETA
113
Large-scale evacuation : EXODUS
115
*Newton subject : GRAVY
117
Choice cut : FILET
120
Latin "you love" : AMAS
122
Sitarist Shankar : RAVI
123
Nickname for José : PEPE
124
P.D. alert : APB
125
Brother's title : FRA
126
Poke fun at : RIB
127
Collection : SET
130
Prankster : IMP
131
Bishop's domain : SEE
132
Classic fantasy game co. : TSR

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?