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IF I WERE YOU ...

New York Times, Sunday, August 12, 2018

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
202/9/201710/8/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5372300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58031
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 70 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
This idea is fairly straight-ahead, but I'm a sucker for revealers as tidy as IF I WERE YOU. My original cluing idea for CURSES FOULED AGAIN was 'Shaq's lament during the hack-a-Shaq ... read more

This idea is fairly straight-ahead, but I'm a sucker for revealers as tidy as IF I WERE YOU.

My original cluing idea for CURSES FOULED AGAIN was "Shaq's lament during the hack-a-Shaq era?"

AGLIO E OLIO is a delicious sauce and looks absolutely bonkers in a crossword grid.

Few solvers will know what a LOVE DART is, but that fact is redeemed in my eyes by the joy that reading its Wikipedia entry brings.

Jeff Chen notes:
The final day of LAUGH AT MYSELF (LAM-poon) week! It's been a fun exercise in forcing myself to rethink what I'm doing. Today's puzzle amused the heck out of me, so many of the themers ... read more

The final day of LAUGH AT MYSELF (LAM-poon) week! It's been a fun exercise in forcing myself to rethink what I'm doing. Today's puzzle amused the heck out of me, so many of the themers making me smile or even break out laughing. BUTTER RIVALS – c'mon, if you're not giggling at Parkay people throwing globs of butter at Lucerne folks, you're dead inside.

And boy have I heard some HUNDRED DOLLAR BULL in my life. More like million dollar! Like when a friend's employee told him he wasn't feeling well and had to leave early … and then got caught striding out in his biking gear? HUNDRED DOLLAR BULL!

Who hasn't been caught in a PASSWORD HUNT? Why is it that every single darn time I log onto my Wells Fargo account, I have to go through the password reset process?

More importantly, why do I still have a Wells Fargo account?

Petty Jeff (PJ) would say that the theme isn't tight, as there are dozens of words that become another valid word when you swap out an I for a U. He'd call that some HUNDRED DOLLAR BULL!

But this exercise of LAM-pooning myself forced me to realize that the non-tightness is exactly what allowed Ross to create entertaining themers. You need to sift through a lot, to find comedy gold.

And after all, isn't entertainment a constructor's primary goal?

I will go back into technical, into-the-weeds Jeff — but only to say that Ross's construction skills are already among the top in the biz. An average Sunday 140-worder has about ten globs of crossword glue to hold things together. When you can hold your grid to just ON UP and TRALA, you know you've risen to the top.

Considering this is a 138-worder — maybe 20% harder to execute on than a 140-worder – AND it has a ton of goodies (ROUNDHOUSE, AGLIO E OLIO, LEGAL PADS, BAIT SHOP), I'd happily issue Ross a sub-140 license. That's an exclusive club, in the single digits.

This past week of checking my assumptions and patterns at the door has been a useful exercise for me, forcing me to look at puzzles differently. I hope it's been useful for you too. Maybe even helped you to enjoy the NYT puzzle a little more.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0812 ( 25,114 )
Across
1
Begin : START
6
Commercial aunt since 1889 : JEMIMA
12
Prep to find fingerprints : DUST
16
Checkup sounds : AHS
19
Deduce : INFER
20
Rabid supporters : ULTRAS
21
Steel head? : JPMORGAN
23
Land O'Lakes and Breakstone's? : BUTTERRIVALS
25
Part of the SkyTeam Alliance : ALITALIA
26
With severity : STERNLY
27
The only way to get respect, so they say : EARNIT
29
Kind of torch : TIKI
30
Commies : REDS
31
Ministering? : WORKINGTHESOUL
35
Giant in direct sales : AMWAY
37
Pro or con : SIDE
38
Vientiane native : LAO
39
Stag's mate : DOE
40
Laundry unit : LOAD
41
"Inside the N.B.A." analyst beginning in 2011 : ONEAL
43
Wunderkinds, say : PHENOMS
47
"Damn, I can't seem to get a ball into fair territory!"? : CURSESFOULEDAGAIN
53
Fabrication : LIE
54
Chicago airport code : ORD
55
Wide divide : CHASM
56
Lose an all-in hand, say : GOBUST
57
Vitriol : BILE
58
Aziz of "Master of None" : ANSARI
60
Most susceptible to sunburn : PALEST
61
Biblioklept's targets : BOOKS
62
Like a trip overland from Venezuela to Bolivia? : JUNGLEALLTHEWAY
67
Musical closings : CODAS
70
Easy buckets : LAYUPS
71
Tiny, multitentacled creatures : HYDRAS
75
Operating system since the early '70s : UNIX
76
Mother ___ : TERESA
77
"Robinson Crusoe" author : DEFOE
80
Fútbol stadium cry : OLE
81
Ingredient in a Cuba libre : RUM
82
Expensive line of nonsense someone throws you? : HUNDREDDOLLARBULL
85
Novel endings, maybe : EPILOGS
87
Informal assertion of authority : SEZME
88
Indigo source : ANIL
89
Part of NGO : NON
90
Orders : HAS
93
"Feed me!," maybe : MEOW
94
Tannery stock : HIDES
95
"What are you hauling in there?" and "How many axles you running?" : TRUCKQUESTIONS
100
Course : PATH
101
Actress Moreno : RITA
102
One putting others down : ABASER
103
Ivory, e.g. : BARSOAP
106
In a state : AGITATED
108
Entering your middle name, then date of birth, then adding a "1," etc.? : PASSWORDHUNT
112
Missile in a mating ritual : LOVEDART
113
Best of all possible worlds : UTOPIA
114
Amounts to : COSTS
115
Amount to : ARE
116
"... ish" : ORSO
117
Nitpicky know-it-all : PEDANT
118
Scoring factor at a crossword tournament : SPEED
Down
1
Bros, e.g. : SIBS
2
Letter-shaped fastener : TNUT
3
Subsequently : AFTERWARDS
4
Sadly unoriginal works : RETREADS
5
In vogue : TRENDY
6
Box of 12? : JURY
7
Manning with two Super Bowl M.V.P. awards : ELI
8
"I want my ___" (1980s slogan) : MTV
9
Suggestion from a financial adviser, for short : IRA
10
Rami ___ of "Mr. Robot" : MALEK
11
Attack vigorously : ASSAIL
12
Title role for Jamie Foxx : DJANGO
13
Like the Statue of Liberty at night : UPLIT
14
Most common U.S. surname : SMITH
15
Wee one : TOT
16
Trattoria option that means "garlic and oil" : AGLIOEOLIO
17
Poem name whose singular and plural forms are the same : HAIKU
18
Slowness embodied : SNAIL
22
Betrays, in a way : RATSON
24
"Treasure Island" monogram : RLS
28
Genetic messenger : RNA
31
Excessive lovers of the grape : WINOS
32
Classical theater : ODEUM
33
Concrete : REAL
34
Temptation location : EDEN
35
Big name in soda cans and foil : ALCOA
36
Show grief : MOURN
37
Guest bed, in a pinch : SOFA
42
Extended writer's blocks? : LEGALPADS
43
Scrapbooking need : PASTE
44
Big success : HIT
45
Good source of calcium : MILK
46
Grasps : SEES
48
Hosiery shades : ECRUS
49
Hebrew letter on a dreidel : SHIN
50
American Girl products : DOLLS
51
Keep watch for, maybe : ABET
52
Overdo it on the praise : GUSH
57
"The Lord of the Rings" actor Billy : BOYD
59
He fought alongside Achilles : AJAX
60
Remote button : PAUSE
61
Aspirin maker : BAYER
63
Narrow valleys : GLENS
64
Oreo ingredient until the mid-'90s : LARD
65
One ogling : EYER
66
"You just blew my mind!" : WHOA
67
Medical breakthrough : CURE
68
"Movin' ___" : ONUP
69
Tiny : DIMINUTIVE
72
Wide-swinging blow : ROUNDHOUSE
73
CBS's "Kate & ___" : ALLIE
74
Peddles : SELLS
76
Harbor sight : TUG
77
Box of 12, say : DOZEN
78
"Ticklish" toys : ELMOS
79
Raced : FLEW
82
[The light turned green! Go!] : HONK
83
Free trial version : DEMO
84
Where you might open a whole can of worms? : BAITSHOP
86
Track down : LOCATE
90
Move in the direction of : HEADTO
91
Jerk : ASS
92
Rise to the occasion : STEPUP
94
Comedic duo? : HARDCS
95
Skipping syllables : TRALA
96
Difficulty : RIGOR
97
2022 World Cup host : QATAR
98
Alternatives to cabs : UBERS
99
About to blow one's top : IRATE
100
3, 4 or 5, usually : PAR
103
What a 76-Down pulls : BOAT
104
Certain buy-in : ANTE
105
Vet's malady, for short : PTSD
107
Kerfuffle : ADO
109
Turf : SOD
110
Luxury hotel amenity : SPA
111
Get gold from one's lead? : WIN

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?