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THE MAGIC SHOW

New York Times, Sunday, August 13, 2017

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

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 39 for Mr. Berlin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Great concept, literalizing magic tricks. Some solvers might not totally get what's going on, so we've fixed up a few things in the grid (see below). In particular, there's a LEVITATING ... read more

Great concept, literalizing magic tricks. Some solvers might not totally get what's going on, so we've fixed up a few things in the grid (see below). In particular, there's a LEVITATING MAN in the upper right. There's also a single rebus square — the RING of LINKING RINGS.

And the two that took me forever to grok: 1.) the PEACE DUCK of Chinese cuisine? Aha, that's wordplay around the CHANGING CARD TRICK, the KING of PE(KING) magically transformed into the ACE of PE(ACE). And 2.) the SURE I thought had to be INSURE … Nope! (COIN)SURE with its VANISHING COIN.

Nice to have so much variety in the "acts."

Not being a magician, I wondered if all the "acts" were in the language? Surely SAWING A WOMAN IN HALF is, but LADY felt like a compromise so that the phrase would fit in the middle of a 21x21 puzzle. Stupid crossword gods, why couldn't SAWING A WOMAN IN HALF be an odd number of letters!

The VANISHING COIN, yes! CHANGING CARD … this is apparently what magicians call the trick, but it sounded odd to this muggle.

LINKING RINGS … this one confused me. I thought the stereotypical trick was to link separate rings so they form a chain? Perhaps this one, squishing RINGs into a tiny square, is something different?

For those non-magic fans, good bonuses in SVENGALI, GRAY AREA, OLE MISS, TAFFETA, CHARISMA with an apt anagram in IS A CHARM. Even GLYPH is an interesting word.

There was too much crossword glue for my taste, though. ERGOT, INFRA, LTS, EERO / AMER / DRYS, DYS, ARD, ANTH, NOT BE, etc. There is so much going on in the grid — six tricks and six literalizations of those tricks — that I'd have preferred one fewer trick with a cleaner grid, or using more than 140 words, which would have helped break up some of those big chunks of white space.

Nice idea, though not as elegant as I like a magic show to be.

1
R
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P
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G
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A
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G
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K
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M
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A
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F
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M
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L
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A
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G
M
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S
T
RING
B
E
A
N
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E
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N
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E
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R
O
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C
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L
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D
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D
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0813 ( 24,750 )
Across
1
Bit of a Bollywood soundtrack : RAGA
5
Hawaiian giveaway : LEI
8
Home of van Gogh's "The Starry Night," informally : MOMA
12
Walgreens competitor : RITEAID
19
Greek warrior of myth : AJAX
20
Person from Calgary or Edmonton : ALBERTAN
22
Source of material for a baseball bat : ASHTREE
23
Magic trick performed at 78-Down : VANISHINGCOIN
25
Company accountant's responsibility : PAYROLL
26
Concern for wheat farmers : ERGOT
27
Nickname for an Oxford university : OLEMISS
29
Puzzle-loving group : MENSA
30
Sugar found in beer : MALTOSE
34
Mouselike rodents : VOLES
36
Sometimes-stinky pair : GYMSHOES
39
Adds to : AUGMENTS
43
Agcy. that cares what airs : FCC
46
Mauna ___ : LOA
47
Magic trick performed at 119-Across and 104-Down : LINKINGRINGS
49
Burden for Jack and Jill : PAIL
50
Female org. since the 1850s : YWCA
52
Lee of Marvel Comics : STAN
53
Pals around (with) : HANGS
54
Coca-Cola brand : FANTA
55
___ duck (Chinese entree) : PEKING
57
"Carmina Burana" composer Carl : ORFF
59
Grant-making org. : NEA
60
Like most doors : HINGED
61
Followed closely, as a set of rules : HEWEDTO
63
Zest source : RIND
65
Feudal vassal : LIEGE
67
Magic trick performed at 123- and 124-Across : SAWINGALADYINHALF
71
Word repeated before "everywhere" : WATER
72
Online "Very funny!" : LMAO
73
Basic gymnastics flips : AERIALS
76
Comic Aziz of "Master of None" : ANSARI
79
"Is that true about me?" : AMI
81
Movies with big budgets and no audience : DUDS
83
At the proper moment : ONCUE
84
Simple percussion instrument : GOURD
85
Greenish-blue hues : CYANS
87
Musical based on Fellini's "8 1/2" : NINE
89
Ready to take part : GAME
90
Escape maker : FORD
91
Magic trick performed at 55-Across : CHANGINGCARD
94
Blue, on some maps: Abbr. : DEM
95
Onetime White House nickname : ABE
96
Apt anagram of IS A CHARM : CHARISMA
97
Eight-line poems : TRIOLETS
99
Hullabaloo : NOISE
100
Four-string instrument : UKULELE
102
Kind of jar : MASON
105
Crisp fabric : TAFFETA
109
Tequila source : AGAVE
113
"Whenever you want" : ANYTIME
115
Magic trick performed at 15-, 16- and 17-Down : LEVITATINGMAN
119
Skinny sort : STRINGBEAN
120
Hydrogen has one : ELECTRON
121
Architect Saarinen : EERO
122
Swiss and others : CHEESES
123
First name in jazz : ELLA
124
Bad: Prefix : DYS
125
Prohibitionists : DRYS
Down
1
Go gaga : RAVE
2
Not quite closed : AJAR
3
Bunch of friends : GANG
4
Truisms : AXIOMS
5
___-di-dah : LAH
6
QB Manning : ELI
7
Arabic for "son of" : IBN
8
Advertising icon who wears a single earring : MRCLEAN
9
Missouri River native : OTOE
10
Hurt badly : MAIM
11
Latin years : ANNI
12
Output of N.W.A or DMX : RAPSONGS
13
"This ___ test" : ISA
14
Herbs related to mints : THYMES
15
English lengths : METRES
16
Baseball's Hank : AARON
17
Physicist Bohr : NIELS
18
Crème ___ crème : DELA
21
They can be inflated or shattered : EGOS
24
Lesley of "60 Minutes" : STAHL
28
Manipulative type : SVENGALI
31
Lane in Metropolis : LOIS
32
12:50 : TENTOONE
33
Schindler of "Schindler's List" : OSKAR
35
Officers below capts. : LTS
36
Relief carving : GLYPH
37
Shout of pain : YOWEE
38
Talkative birds : MACAWS
40
"Yuk!" : UGH
41
Relative of pop? : GRANDDAD
42
Place from which to withdraw deposits : MINE
43
Long tooth : FANG
44
Give as an example : CITE
45
Wearing, with "in" : CLAD
48
Prefix with structure : INFRA
49
Décor of many dens : PANELING
51
Onetime honor for cable TV shows : ACEAWARD
54
Mozart title character : FIGARO
56
Part of P.E.I. : EDWARD
58
Some dental work : FILLINGS
60
Titter : HEHE
62
South American monkey : TITI
64
Old war zone, briefly : NAM
66
Tangled up : INASNARL
68
Ill-defined situation : GRAYAREA
69
Offspring : YOUNG
70
Front : FACADE
74
Director of 1957's "12 Angry Men" : LUMET
75
Looks like : SEEMS
76
Name on some boxes of film : AGFA
77
Neophyte, informally : NOOB
78
Provide part of a coverage policy for : COINSURE
80
___-pedi : MANI
82
"Mirabile ___!" ("Wonderful to state!") : DICTU
85
Reproves : CHASTENS
86
Dweller in a virtual "City" : SIM
88
Great Lakes city : ERIE
91
Greek X : CHI
92
J.Crew competitor : NAUTICA
93
New York archbishop Timothy : DOLAN
96
Furs from rabbits : CONIES
98
Got a move on, with "it" : LEGGED
99
"I would ___ surprised" : NOTBE
101
Stand-up comic Williams : KATT
102
Like the Spanish nouns "gato" (cat) and "perro" (dog): Abbr. : MASC
103
Literary collection: Abbr. : ANTH
104
Vaccine holder : SYRINGE
106
Run away : FLEE
107
Tumbled : FELL
108
Stuntman Knievel : EVEL
110
The New World: Abbr. : AMER
111
Be inconsistent : VARY
112
Book of Mormon book : ENOS
114
Fannie or Ginnie follower : MAE
116
Suffix with dull : ARD
117
Small dog : TOY
118
Entrances : INS

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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