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SHUNNED

New York Times, Sunday, July 3, 2016

Author:
Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3010/2/20081/15/20197
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6156516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64120
Samuel A. Donaldson

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 69 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 23 for Mr. Donaldson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Samuel A. Donaldson notes:
As the first person ever to publish an 'add-a-sound' theme puzzle in the NYT, I want to take this chance to thank... Wait, what? You mean this gimmick isn't entirely novel? Oh. ... read more

As the first person ever to publish an "add-a-sound" theme puzzle in the NYT, I want to take this chance to thank...

Wait, what?

You mean this gimmick isn't entirely novel?

Oh.

Well, then.

Ahem.

Um, I hope you liked it. The "add-a-SHUN" idea came to me when I heard the phrase "tricky diction" on the radio. I thought for sure it was a play on "Tricky Dick," a political nickname familiar to those in my age cohort. It wasn't. So I figured someone needed to run with the idea.

My favorite parts of the grid are the northeast and southwest corners. All that open real estate looks nice.

I still need to get better at writing clues. Only 40% of the clues (55 of the 138) are entirely mine. Another 21 (or 15%) are essentially what I submitted, but with slight changes to diction or syntax — hopefully mostly for space constraints and not for content. That means 64 of the clues (45%!) come from Will and Joel (and maybe others from the testing process).

Jeff Chen notes:
Some fun results in Sam's sound changes. I particularly like the ones involving 1.) an interesting spelling change, 2.) a strong base phrase, and 3.) a humorous result. TRICKY DICTION is ... read more

Some fun results in Sam's sound changes. I particularly like the ones involving 1.) an interesting spelling change, 2.) a strong base phrase, and 3.) a humorous result. TRICKY DICTION is my favorite, hitting all three criteria. ("Tricky Dick" is one of Nixon's nicknames.) BONUS TRACTION (from "bonus track") works great as well — the resulting phrase makes me picture a group of MBAs at a tire company, brainstorming new ad campaigns.

SWEET N LOTION is a fun spelling change with a good base phrase ("Sweet ‘N Low"), but the result feels stilted, as it feels like it should be "sweets" (plural) in order to make it work. BASE TENSION is a funny phrase, but simply adding SION to BASE TEN feels a bit simple.

Some nice gridwork, those big NE / SW corners containing some colorful answers. It's tough enough to execute on a triple stack of eight-letter answers, but when you "turn the corner" and have to work with three more long answers intersecting the stack, it's even harder. I love NOT UP TO IT, and AND SO DO I is pretty good. I wonder if NORA DUNN's career has really made her gridworthy? And STAYS MAD felt a touch arbitrary at first, but upon further thought, it seems legit — not nearly as strong as HOLDS A GRUDGE, but it works.

In the opposite corner, I love CINERAMA and CHATROOM. NET INCOME and ROSSANO felt more neutral than positive to me, but executing on such a big space without resorting to a bunch of crossword glue is pretty darn good. ELOAN is marginal, but it is a real company.

A few dabs of crossword glue here and there, but it's all pretty minor — the usual ALC, LEROI, ENDY, SHA, UNAS kind of stuff. And Sam does a nice job of incorporating some bonuses throughout the grid: TANK TOP, TIMESINK, the cool name TRE COOL, even the fun (and tough to spell) ABSCISSA.

All in all, it's enough for me to give Sam a ten (tion).

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0703 ( 24,344 )
Across
1
Carol opening : ADESTE
7
Unable to make a mess? : AWOL
11
"Yeah, same here" : ANDSODOI
19
Crankcase base : OILPAN
20
Rib-eye alternative : TBONE
21
"S.N.L." cast member, 1985-90 : NORADUNN
22
Emmerich who directed "Independence Day" : ROLAND
23
Portrayer of Buffett in "Too Big to Fail" : ASNER
24
Doesn't cool down : STAYSMAD
25
What's involved in a tongue twister? : TRICKYDICTION
28
Alternative to "la" : UNE
29
School leader? : PRE
30
Good looks or a nice personality : ASSET
31
Who said "If you even dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize" : ALI
32
Very, very top of the earth's crust? : DIRTPORTION
35
Outback baby : JOEY
37
___ Na Na : SHA
39
Subject of many an internet meme : CAT
40
Did some housecleaning : SWEPT
41
Internet annoyances : POPUPS
44
Handler of many trays, for short : TSA
45
Unit of bricks, so to speak : TON
47
Beryl and bornite : ORES
48
Mary Kay rival : AVON
49
First home of the three rich little pigs? : STRAWMANSION
55
Sporty Spice of the Spice Girls : MELC
56
We all do it : AGE
57
Recently retired Laker great, to fans : KOBE
58
Green Day drummer : TRECOOL
63
Gussying up : PRETTYING
66
Wally's bro, on '50s-'60s TV : BEAV
68
Raw footage? : PORNO
69
Counting rhyme start : EENIE
70
Bank window letters : FDIC
72
Donald Duck's nephews, e.g. : TRIO
74
___ Barkley, Truman's vice president : ALBEN
75
Sing about? : RATON
76
Dixie term of address : YALL
78
Curt ___, 2001 World Series M.V.P. : SCHILLING
80
Suffragist Elizabeth Cady ___ : STANTON
83
Polish site : NAIL
85
Entrance requirements, informally : TIX
86
The first step : ATOB
87
Two things the candy lover took to the beach? : SWEETNLOTION
90
Going ___ : RATE
91
Still quite red : RARE
95
Abbr. on a copier tray : LTR
96
Every leader of North Korea so far : KIM
97
Like supermarkets, theaters and planes : AISLED
99
Sci-fi-inspired toys of the 1980s : EWOKS
101
Suffix with Darwin : IAN
103
Point : AIM
104
Peer onstage : GYNT
105
What an overbearing sergeant causes? : BASETENSION
108
Green org. : EPA
110
Actress Hayek : SALMA
114
..., to Samuel Morse : ESS
115
Spirits: Abbr. : ALC
116
What improved tire tread produces? : BONUSTRACTION
119
Something you might have a handle on : CHATROOM
122
New Mexico natives : ZUNIS
123
Ruin, as a parade : RAINON
124
IMAX predecessor : CINERAMA
125
Cousin of an impala : ELAND
126
Seinfeld's "puffy shirt," e.g. : BLOUSE
127
Painkillers : ANODYNES
128
Spine part : DISK
129
Detects : SENSES
Down
1
It helps get the blood flowing : AORTA
2
Some gowns : DIORS
3
"American Psycho" author : ELLIS
4
The cantina in "Star Wars," e.g.? : SPACEJUNCTION
5
Bit of summer wear : TANKTOP
6
Onetime Expos/Mets outfielder Chávez : ENDY
7
X-coordinate : ABSCISSA
8
Custom : WONT
9
New York native : ONEIDA
10
"Vive ___!" : LEROI
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Response: Abbr. : ANS
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Too tired for the task, say : NOTUPTOIT
13
Product that works, and is stored, under the sink : DRANO
14
Mystery writer Dorothy : SAYERS
15
"___ bodkins!" : ODS
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More run-down : DUMPIER
17
Like some soap : ONAROPE
18
Shifts to the right : INDENTS
20
Follow : TAIL
26
Appointment book page : DAY
27
Fed. reactor monitor : NRC
33
Ink : TATS
34
Wee hour : TWO
36
Will work : ESSAY
38
Peddle : HAWK
41
Coddles : PAMPERS
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Have thirds, say : OVEREAT
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Cornmeal dish : POLENTA
44
Hot : TRENDY
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Winter Olympics powerhouse: Abbr. : NOR
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"Glad the week's almost over!" : TGIF
51
Pitchfork-wielding group : MOB
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Help illegally : ABET
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Narrows the gap with : NEARS
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Only country with a nonrectangular flag : NEPAL
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Where they sell accessories at a pet shop? : COLLARSTATION
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Like a satellite's path : ORBITAL
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Unvarying in tone : ONENOTE
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Kind of truck : LONGBED
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Red Cross setup : TENTS
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Humongous : GIANT
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Mark : VICTIM
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Group sharing a tartan : CLAN
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Only state with a nonrectangular flag : OHIO
77
Rap epithet : LIL
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"Nope, huh-uh" : IXNAY
81
Night ___ : OWL
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Bottom-line figure : NETINCOME
84
Villain in "The Avengers" : LOKI
88
Historic blocks : ERAS
89
Internet surfing, often : TIMESINK
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Daphne du Maurier novel made into a Best Picture : REBECCA
92
Flooded with : AWASHIN
93
"South Pacific" star ___ Brazzi : ROSSANO
94
Squeak (by) : EKE
98
Proportionate : INSCALE
100
Like a clear night sky : STARRY
102
Quill tip : NIB
103
Yearly tree growths : ANNULI
104
Long-nosed fish : GAR
106
Online finance firm : ELOAN
107
Moved like sap : OOZED
109
Concern for vets : PTSD
111
"Peanuts" thumb-sucker : LINUS
112
North Woods denizen : MOOSE
113
Queen ___ lace : ANNES
117
Some, to Spaniards : UNAS
118
Some Wall St. traders : ARBS
120
"Ideas worth spreading" grp. : TED
121
"Live ___" (Taco Bell slogan) : MAS

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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