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MOVIE "M*A*S*H" "UP"

New York Times, Sunday, July 22, 2018

Author: Patrick Merrell
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
887/10/20018/9/20181
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1.60553
Patrick Merrell

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 142, Blocks: 75 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 87 for Mr. Merrell. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Patrick Merrell notes: I know some people like tales of construction dabbling and derring-do, but I prefer letting a puzzle stand by itself. So instead, here's a bit of theme-related trivia: The 24 films in the puzzle garnered ... more
Patrick Merrell notes:

I know some people like tales of construction dabbling and derring-do, but I prefer letting a puzzle stand by itself.

So instead, here's a bit of theme-related trivia: The 24 films in the puzzle garnered one hundred 94-Downs (OSCAR NODs).

The biggest surprise is that The Poseidon Adventure snagged eight nominations, although the only winner was its original song, "The Morning After." Ugh, remember that one? Additionally, the movie was awarded a Special Achievement Oscar for special effects.

I still remember a synopsis of the movie that ran in the New York Times TV listings back in the '70s: "Big ship turns over. Eyefilling, sure. Plus the world's dullest passenger list. Ship of meatballs."

All that said, I remember enjoying it at the time, including all those meatballs.

Jeff Chen notes: There was another puzzle like this two years ago, two movies smashed together to create a description of a third movie. I helped Jerry develop that one, constantly reinforcing the idea that 1.) the movies had to ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

There was another puzzle like this two years ago, two movies smashed together to create a description of a third movie. I helped Jerry develop that one, constantly reinforcing the idea that 1.) the movies had to be very well known, and 2.) that the descriptions had to be not just apt, but amusing.

Same criteria apply today, and I liked many of Patrick's themers. SUPERBAD HAIR was the standout – both movies were popular and did well at the box office, and that description of "Dumb and Dumber" is so funny!

(My poor son, Jake, has a "Dumb and Dumber" haircut. We try everything we can do to get him to sit still to fix it, but no dice. Superbad hair it is!)

NOTORIOUS PSYCHO was good, too. No doubt, a perfect description of "Silence of the Lambs." That movie creeped me out so bad, though – Superbad! – so I didn't personally like it as much as SUPERBAD HAIR.

I wasn't a fan of using movies like NETWORK, NEIGHBORS, or TOYS. Sure, you could make a case that NEIGHBORS did okay at the box office, but I'm not sure anyone would call it a classic. (Would they?) I'd much prefer to stick to movies that were in Oscar contention, huge box office smashes or cult classics.

Of course, one could easily make the case that SUPERBAD isn't as well-known as NEIGHBORS, since it's older and made less at the box office. No doubt, there's a lot of subjectivity involved here. And I'm wrong a lot!

Much better to avoid the discussion at all by using movies like TITANIC and JAWS – hard to argue with those.

As for fill, I liked the insider's nod with OSCAR NOD. I would have liked more color like that since GESTALT was the only other entry that stood out. But the grid already has a slew of NTEST ACTSO AGHA ATEN SWA AGS kind of stuff, and I wouldn't have been okay with much else. Tough call. Probably best to pare back on one of the themers if you can't get enough color without introducing too much crossword glue.

Just goes to show how tough a 140-word Sunday puzzle is to make. Heck, even a master like Patrick had to go up to 142 words to get it completed!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0722 ( 25,093 )
Across Down
1. Festival of Colors celebrant : HINDU
6. Mission to remember : ALAMO
11. Whip : FLOG
15. "Goldarn it!" : DANG
19. Orchestra section behind the violas : OBOES
20. Canon competitor : NIKON
21. Former QB Tony : ROMO
22. Treat embossed with its name : OREO
23. "Anchorman" = ? (1976) + ? (1980) : NETWORKFAME
25. An "A" in history? : ANNO
26. Hankering : URGE
27. The forest, as opposed to the trees : GESTALT
28. "Rear Window" = ? (2004) + ? (2014) : SAWNEIGHBORS
31. Big, big, big : OBESE
33. E.-W. line : LAT
34. Best in mental competition : OUTWIT
35. Like three men of rhyme : INATUB
39. Big Ten sch. whose mascot is an anthropomorphic nut : OSU
41. Foresight : VISION
44. "Silence of the Lambs" = ? (1946) + ? (1960) : NOTORIOUSPSYCHO
47. Rockettes motions : KICKS
52. One-named singer with #1 hits in 1965 and 1999 : CHER
53. Bikini blast, briefly : NTEST
54. Yves's yes : OUI
56. Smith of Fox News : SHEP
57. Top dogs : HONCHOS
60. Brewing need : YEAST
63. Split base? : BANANA
65. Cry of desperation : HELPME
68. "Transformers" = ? (2000) + ? (1992) : TRAFFICTOYS
70. Dept. of Justice heads : AGS
73. Lofty standards : IDEALS
75. "Me first" sort : EGOIST
76. Uncle with a top hat and tie : SAM
77. "Jurassic Park" = ? (1997) + ? (1975) : TITANICJAWS
80. James who played TV's Marshal Dillon : ARNESS
82. Third place : BRONZE
83. City across the Missouri from Council Bluffs : OMAHA
85. Quarantine : ISOLATE
89. Scads : ALOT
90. California's Big ___ : SUR
92. Maker of the golden calf, in Exodus : AARON
95. Shakespeare's stream : AVON
96. Keys in : TYPES
98. "Twister" = ? (2004) + ? (2013) : SIDEWAYSGRAVITY
103. Cracker Jack ingredient : PEANUT
105. One tick, briefly : SEC
106. Frederick Forsyth's "The ___ File" : ODESSA
107. Kind of code : POSTAL
111. "Facts First" sloganeer : CNN
113. "Sexy" Beatles woman : SADIE
115. "Dumb and Dumber" = ? (2007) + ? (1979) : SUPERBADHAIR
119. Passes, as time : ROLLSBY
123. Bit of physics : ATOM
124. Manlike monster : OGRE
125. "The Poseidon Adventure" = ? (1956) + ? (1984) : GIANTSPLASH
128. Sylvester's speech feature : LISP
129. Villagers victimized by the Grinch : WHOS
130. Florida tourist attraction : EPCOT
131. Dad who says "D'oh!" : HOMER
132. Pool event : MEET
133. Dupes : SAPS
134. In position : READY
135. Some beams : IBARS
1. Sweets : HON
2. "___ to differ" : IBEG
3. Fa or la : NOTE
4. Mountain ___ (some sodas) : DEWS
5. Uniform entertainment? : USOTOUR
6. Target for an angry Chihuahua : ANKLE
7. Removes from a box, say : LIFTSOUT
8. Alias introducer : AKA
9. Choosy ones, in Jif ads : MOMS
10. N.B.A. great with size 22 shoes : ONEAL
11. Frenzied : FRANTIC
12. Only : LONE
13. All in front? : OMNI
14. Bit of baby talk : GOOGOO
15. Uncertainty : DOUBT
16. Shower of the way : ARROW
17. Silents star whose name is an anagram of 112-Down : NEGRI
18. Travel, as thou might : GOEST
24. Certain wedding officiant : RABBI
29. Apt radio call letters for a beach town : WAVY
30. Babe magnet : HUNK
32. Caesar's "to be" : ESSE
35. Creep (along) : INCH
36. Lower Manhattan area : NOHO
37. Rates ___ (is perfect) : ATEN
38. Dangerous juggling prop : TORCH
40. "___-daisy!" : UPSY
42. Set one's sights on : SHOTFOR
43. Slip in lieu of a chip : IOU
45. Without a contract : ONSPEC
46. Editorial override : STET
48. "... but who ___?" : ISNT
49. Mayhem : CHAOS
50. Mount ___, second-highest peak in Africa : KENYA
51. Big jerk : SPASM
55. Birds with long, curved beaks : IBISES
58. Pittsburgh-based food company : HEINZ
59. Radio format : OLDIES
61. Equal, in math : ARE
62. Long tale : SAGA
64. "Don't ___ surprised" : ACTSO
66. Primarily study : MAJORIN
67. Jack of old westerns : ELAM
69. Alternative to sending to jail : FINING
70. No longer on deck : ATBAT
71. Not tomboyish : GIRLY
72. Brownstone hangout : STOOP
74. Dallas-based carrier: Abbr. : SWA
78. Stud fee? : ANTE
79. Who wrote "All great truths begin as blasphemies" : SHAW
81. Many a worker in ancient Rome : SLAVE
84. Some small batteries : AAAS
86. Sister company of Budget : AVIS
87. Little ones : TOTS
88. One-named Irish singer : ENYA
91. 1980 Olympics boycotter : USA
93. Some Crown Royal offerings : RYES
94. Academy nomination : OSCARNOD
97. Prep for the ring : SPAR
99. Title for Meghan Markle : DUCHESS
100. Sicily's Mount ___ : ETNA
101. Churns up : ROILS
102. Long Island university : ADELPHI
104. Jabs, in a way : ELBOWS
107. Writing attributed to King David : PSALM
108. Protruding part of the body : OUTIE
109. Presume, informally : SPOSE
110. Lure : TEMPT
112. Niamey's land : NIGER
114. Daft : DOTTY
116. Ottoman title : AGHA
117. Tiniest sip : DROP
118. Mature : RIPE
120. Pig : SLOB
121. "Roll Tide!" school : BAMA
122. River flooded in W.W. I to thwart the Germans : YSER
126. Signature Obama legislation, for short : ACA
127. Store door posting: Abbr. : HRS

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle.

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