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MORAL THINKING

New York Times, Sunday, August 14, 2016

Author:
Ian Livengood
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
554/12/20109/15/20164
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
617667112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64371
Ian Livengood

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 68 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 54 for Mr. Livengood. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes:
My first entry in the grid? You guessed it — LATOYA. Once I had a grid that looked fillable, I tried to sniff out any trouble spots. The L???Y? was the only problematic area, so that ... read more

My first entry in the grid? You guessed it — LATOYA. Once I had a grid that looked fillable, I tried to sniff out any trouble spots. The L???Y? was the only problematic area, so that went in first.

Is BASTA good fill? Probably not, but I thought Hillary Clinton's mention of it back in March gave it some modern currency. And other than the proper noun pile up in the SW corner, pretty happy how this one turned out.

Oh, and "Moral Thinking" is a much better title than my submitted title, "End Uhl Be Uhl." Haha, I really shouldn't be allowed to name things.

Jeff Chen notes:
Sound changes, MORAL THINKING hinting at 'add-an-AL sound to produce kooky results.' I liked that Ian strove for fairly dramatic spelling changes, MARE to MERYL, CARE to CAROL, PEAR to ... read more

Sound changes, MORAL THINKING hinting at "add-an-AL sound to produce kooky results." I liked that Ian strove for fairly dramatic spelling changes, MARE to MERYL, CARE to CAROL, PEAR to PERIL, etc. And some of the results gave me a laugh, BARTLETT PERIL making me think about John BARTLETT fretting over some lawsuit surrounding his books of quotations.

Some of the resulting phrases did feel a bit too awkward for my taste though. HANDLE WITH CAROL, for instance, felt like it should be HANDLE (it) WITH CAROL, and BARTLETT PERIL ought to be BARTLETT(‘s) PERIL. And although I do like theme density, ICY STARE to ICY STEROL draws upon some deep chemistry knowledge. Kind of hard to laugh at something even this chemistry lover didn't totally understand.

Sometimes Will, Joel and I discuss what makes good fill. I focus so much of my efforts on getting colorful long stuff like COLD CALL, DR PEPPER, GAG ORDER, that I often use a ton of 3-, 4-, and 5-letter answers in my grids. Will and Joel have both mentioned at times that this can make for an unsatisfying solving experience, since those shorties tend to get filled with the same stuff over and over and over.

I got some sense of that with today's grid, and looking at the stats helped me understand why — with almost 100 of his 140 entries in those short lengths, my solve felt a bit overwhelmed by them. I did like the various J CREW, MURKY, EXECS, PRIGS kind of stuff, but they aren't nearly as fun to me as DR PEPPER.

Still, Ian always takes great care to produce smooth grids, and today was no different. BASTA was the only thing that stood out (sorry Ian!), and ONE NIL felt pretty arbitrary. Otherwise, hardly a hitch in the grid.

1
H
2
O
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P
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I
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R
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A
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F
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T
9
A
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C
11
H
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E
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D
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O
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D
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O
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S
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U
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A
L
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T
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L
O
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R
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I
N
O
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T
H
E
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L
D
G
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A
Y
25
M
E
R
Y
L
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P
A
N
E
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S
A
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R
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A
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S
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O
V
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B
A
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T
L
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32
T
T
P
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I
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S
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N
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I
P
E
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R
A
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K
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H
I
P
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S
L
Y
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P
A
C
E
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40
H
A
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Y
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J
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E
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D
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A
M
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S
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R
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O
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R
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K
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K
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B
A
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R
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55
L
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W
H
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P
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E
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T
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E
E
M
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N
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A
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W
A
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E
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W
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D
O
W
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S
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M
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E
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O
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C
O
V
E
N
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T
O
O
L
S
E
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T
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S
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A
W
O
L
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M
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A
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K
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H
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Y
L
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R
H
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P
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G
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E
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E
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C
R
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W
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D
A
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R
K
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N
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P
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L
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B
O
O
N
E
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A
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M
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A
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G
E
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90
P
R
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G
S
91
L
O
L
L
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D
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B
I
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L
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F
F
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E
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R
R
E
L
L
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B
A
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D
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A
N
D
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R
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98
V
A
U
L
T
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M
U
S
I
C
100
A
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L
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S
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T
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D
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H
A
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W
I
T
H
C
A
R
O
L
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E
M
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L
E
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E
D
G
E
108
D
A
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T
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109
L
E
G
O
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D
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111
F
E
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D
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D
113
L
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T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0814 ( 24,386 )
Across
1
Southwestern cliff dwellers : HOPI
5
Means of going down a 36-Down : RAFT
9
Have a hole in one's heart : ACHE
13
Meatheads : DODOS
18
A Swiss army knife has a lot of them : USES
19
Cream of the crop : ALIST
21
Heads for Britain? : LOOS
22
Thick-skinned grazer : RHINO
23
Actress Streep playing a centenarian? : THEOLDGRAYMERYL
26
News show group : PANEL
27
Soup accompaniers, often : SALTINES
28
Like the settings of typical Grant Wood paintings : RURAL
29
Unruffled : SERENE
30
___ the top : OVER
31
Risky business for a compiler of quotations? : BARTLETTPERIL
33
Good shot? : SNIPER
36
Counterparts of files : RANKS
37
Smart : HIP
38
Not obvious to most : SLY
39
Evident worrywart : PACER
40
Done quickly : HASTY
41
Protested from the stands : JEERED
44
___ Kitchen (frozen food brand) : AMYS
45
Not wandering, say : RAPT
46
Attorney general's investigation target : SCAM
47
Like funk, now : RETRO
51
Low-___ : RES
52
Alaskan beer container? : KODIAKBARREL
56
Beat the tar out of : WHUP
57
Honorific for a colleague : ESTEEMED
59
Vetoes : NIXES
60
Lies ahead : AWAITS
62
Co. captains? : EXECS
63
Typographical no-no : WIDOW
64
SiriusXM star : STERN
65
Some fine wool : MERINO
67
Charming group? : COVEN
68
Some True Value purchases : TOOLSETS
71
Bad way to go? : AWOL
72
Promote singer Crow's music? : MARKETSHERYL
75
P pronounced like an R : RHO
76
Pequod's co-owner : PELEG
78
Meets with : SEES
79
James who sang "Good Rockin' Daddy" : ETTA
80
Throat part : CRAW
81
Shade in : DARKEN
83
Layers : PLIES
85
Wilderness Road trailblazer : BOONE
86
Fitness grp. : AMA
89
Nat ___ (channel) : GEO
90
Self-righteous types : PRIGS
91
Hung out : LOLLED
92
Debt for comedian Will? : BILLOFFERRELL
96
Poet : BARD
97
Celsius of the Celsius scale : ANDERS
98
Safe place : VAULT
99
"Hamilton" and "1776" : MUSICALS
103
Beat : TIRED
104
"I can't help you, but the Brady Bunch mom will be happy to assist"? : HANDLEWITHCAROL
106
___ Durkheim, so-called "father of sociology" : EMILE
107
Nervous people are on it : EDGE
108
Who wrote "A great flame follows a little spark" : DANTE
109
Part of some small buildings : LEGO
110
Gulf cash : DINAR
111
Charges : FEES
112
Monopoly holding : DEED
113
Like a headlining act, typically : LAST
Down
1
Preceder of snaps : HUTS
2
Dept. of Labor branch : OSHA
3
Lose a tan, say : PEEL
4
Uranium 238 and strontium 90 : ISOTOPES
5
Original "S.N.L." cast member : RADNER
6
Rags-to-riches writer : ALGER
7
January detritus : FIRS
8
Body image grp. : TSA
9
Sirens, e.g. : ALERTS
10
Pinkish orange : CORAL
11
According to ___ (by the rules) : HOYLE
12
Subj. for an au pair, maybe : ESL
13
Product possibly named after a real physician : DRPEPPER
14
One stop on Chicago's Blue Line : OHARE
15
Greasy spoons : DINERS
16
Common soccer score : ONENIL
17
100% : SOLELY
20
Caligula, e.g. : TYRANT
24
Gallbladder neighbor : LIVER
25
Like dirty water : MURKY
29
Ruckus : STIR
31
"Enough!," to a Roman : BASTA
32
___ park : THEME
33
"___ me!" : SPARE
34
Focus of onomastics : NAMES
35
Frost-covered biochemical solid? : ICYSTEROL
36
See 5-Across : RAPID
40
Hell of a location? : HADES
41
Banana Republic competitor : JCREW
42
Good listeners : EARS
43
Big name in Scotch : DEWARS
45
"Love Actually," e.g. : ROMCOM
46
Battle of Hastings participants : SAXONS
48
Like actor Flynn post-dieting? : THINERROL
49
A good thing to get out of : RUT
50
Black ___ : OPS
52
Gung-ho : KEEN
53
Cutting costs? : KNIVES
54
Bathroom fixture : BIDET
55
One of the Jacksons : LATOYA
58
Banished : EXILED
61
"I'm still waiting ...?" : WELL
63
Roused : WOKEN
64
Gets ready to do a load, say : SORTS
65
Driving aid : MAP
66
65-Across producer, maybe : EWE
67
Plains dwellers : CREE
68
Arrondissement heads? : TETES
69
Macduff, for one : THANE
70
Disseminated : SOWED
73
Request from : ASKOF
74
Katherine who co-starred in "27 Dresses" : HEIGL
77
It stops talking : GAGORDER
80
Telemarketer's action : COLDCALL
82
Notable whistle blowers : REFS
83
Green shampoo : PRELL
84
Sang gracefully : LILTED
85
___ acid : BORIC
86
Died down : ABATED
87
Little fingers or toes : MINIMI
88
Buzz in space : ALDRIN
90
Tut-tutters : PRUDES
91
Attacked, with "out" : LASHED
93
One-eyed female on "Futurama" : LEELA
94
Shake : EVADE
95
The Cascades, e.g. : RANGE
96
Monument Valley sighting : BUTTE
99
"Gimme!" : MINE
100
Common calculus calculation : AREA
101
Signs (on) : LOGS
102
Booking time : SLOT
104
Bunny boss : HEF
105
Small lump of tobacco : WAD

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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