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LITERALLY SPEAKING

New York Times, Sunday, August 2, 2015

Author:
Matt Ginsberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
481/17/200811/1/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1603015464
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57330
Matt Ginsberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 70 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 43 for Mr. Ginsberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matt Ginsberg notes:
It's always interesting to see what happens to my puzzles between submission and appearance. On this puzzle, I clued all the horizontal words with circles as (SMALL SPOILER ALERT) simply ... read more

It's always interesting to see what happens to my puzzles between submission and appearance. On this puzzle, I clued all the horizontal words with circles as (SMALL SPOILER ALERT) simply [See circled letters]. But Will decided to make it a bit easier. Not sure who was right; my clue had been used in a similar "Kangaroo words" puzzle in the ACPT one year, although that puzzle was much somewhat more straightforward, cluing for example "israELi AirLine" as [See circled letters]. So this would have been a bit trickier.

I thought of the theme itself while sitting in church one Sunday. Then I spent the rest of the service trying to think of examples to use. This was good because I stayed awake but bad because I didn't pay attention to the sermon. There was no test afterwards, so it all worked out ok.

Meanwhile, I seem to be losing my touch a bit on the cluing side, as many of the clues that I thought were clever or topical didn't make the editorial cut. I used [Seahawks' star Marshawn] for 21-Down and [Berry, repeatedly] for 44-Down. I used [Disney actor] for 67-Down in light of the (fairly) recent film. Perhaps I am simply too old to recognize topical when I see it. (I must confess that I transitioned from one ACPT age division to another a couple of weeks ago.)

Not that I will ever compete, of course. And Dr. Fill remains comfortably in the "juniors" bracket.

If you want to see Dr.Fill solving today's puzzle, here it is, below. I apologize for all the video flashing and whatnot; it's courtesy of my Mac's upgrade to Yosemite. I'll try and track it down before the next ACPT.

Not surprisingly, DF does pretty well on this puzzle, since all of the fill consists of actual words or phrases. It makes a few mistakes early on, but has no trouble correcting them. The solution is found in well under a minute, but it then spends bit of time checking its work and looking for a theme or rebus possibility before announcing that it's done. Correctly solved in a bit under two minutes.

I hope everyone enjoyed the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
Really nice finds; phrases that are self-descriptive of a word hidden inside. Sounds confusing, so here's an example: SPLIT SECOND = an order to split the word SECOND into S and ECOND. ... read more

Really nice finds; phrases that are self-descriptive of a word hidden inside. Sounds confusing, so here's an example: SPLIT SECOND = an order to split the word SECOND into S and ECOND. Another? CALL BACK is a hint that CALL is within CALL BACK … but backward = L L A C.

Segg, anyone?

Matt gives us 11 themers, with a mix of anagrams, split-ups, and reversals. It got a little confusing to me, so I categorized them:

ANAGRAMS: 5

SPLIT-UPS: 5

REVERSALS: 1

To have just one reversal thrown into the mix — and at the very top of the puzzle — felt a bit odd. Sure would have been nice to have a second one to balance it out. Right in the middle of the puzzle would have felt more elegant, too, but CALL BACK is unfortunately an even number of letters, so that's not possible.

As neat as it was to realize that the letters L L A C were within CALLBACK, I think the theme would have cohered better with just the five anagrams and five split-ups.

A lower number of themers would have helped cut down the gluey oddballs, too. I had a rough go of certain sections where themers crowded together, notably in the DIGHT / STAGY area, which felt a bit FLIMSY. I can see the construction difficulty level there is high — that area needing to coordinate around three themers — but staying away from that type of intensely constrained arrangement might have been better.

A little better result in the symmetrical spot, but any time you have to rely on Maleskan words like ORLE, a shift in black squares or themers might be better.

I really enjoyed some of the longer material, TWO ROOM FLATS in particular. Neat that "lodgings" accurately describes a singular lodging. (I had to look that up after it stymied me.) PUBLIC ENEMY and START A FIRE were sure OKAY BY ME.

ME LIKE … well, me no likey that as it sounds odd without the final Y, but it could easily be personal preference.

Some cool finds; perhaps a bit too much packed into a single grid.

1
R
2
E
3
P
4
O
5
T
6
S
7
K
8
O
9
S
10
H
11
S
12
T
13
G
14
E
15
S
16
A
17
I
18
A
R
U
B
A
19
T
H
A
N
K
U
20
C
A
L
21
L
B
A
C
K
22
T
U
B
E
R
23
H
E
R
E
I
N
24
O
K
A
Y
B
Y
M
E
25
S
P
L
I
T
26
S
E
C
O
N
D
27
S
T
E
R
N
28
S
E
A
29
O
T
I
S
30
A
N
A
31
O
R
32
C
A
33
S
E
C
34
T
35
C
A
36
R
L
O
T
37
T
O
R
N
38
T
O
S
H
R
39
E
40
D
41
S
42
A
43
V
E
N
U
E
S
44
S
E
W
E
D
O
N
45
O
T
O
E
46
M
I
N
C
E
M
E
47
A
T
48
S
E
E
R
49
S
50
P
O
T
O
N
51
A
N
E
E
D
52
S
O
53
D
54
D
R
I
55
F
T
A
P
A
R
T
56
S
Y
M
S
57
S
58
O
T
R
U
59
E
60
O
A
T
S
61
S
L
Y
62
S
C
R
A
M
B
L
63
E
64
D
65
E
G
G
S
66
T
67
H
68
O
69
B
A
A
L
70
F
L
I
M
S
Y
71
S
W
A
B
72
M
73
I
74
X
E
D
M
E
75
D
76
I
77
A
78
M
G
M
79
A
T
O
N
E
80
A
N
O
D
E
S
81
A
M
P
82
S
83
H
A
84
S
85
H
M
A
R
K
S
86
L
O
U
D
87
S
W
I
P
E
88
A
T
89
T
E
A
R
O
S
E
90
I
N
T
E
91
R
92
M
I
N
G
L
E
D
93
L
E
A
N
T
O
94
D
E
E
D
95
H
E
A
R
96
O
P
T
97
A
M
98
A
99
T
100
T
101
H
102
E
103
C
L
E
104
F
T
105
F
A
106
S
T
S
H
107
U
F
F
L
E
108
H
A
L
109
F
T
I
M
E
110
O
T
T
O
I
I
111
S
I
L
O
S
112
U
N
B
R
O
K
E
N
113
N
E
E
S
O
N
114
C
R
A
F
T
115
D
D
A
Y
116
E
N
D
117
O
R
S
O
N
118
G
E
T
T
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0802 ( 24,008 )
Across
1
Move, as a plant : REPOT
6
Tiny bit : SKOSH
11
Brit. pounds : STG
14
Morales of "NYPD Blue" : ESAI
18
Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands : ARUBA
19
Grammy-nominated song by Alanis Morissette : THANKU
20
Result of a successful audition : CALLBACK
22
Yam, e.g. : TUBER
23
Found on this page : HEREIN
24
"Sure, that's fine" : OKAYBYME
25
Instant : SPLITSECOND
27
Like a parental lecture : STERN
28
Yellow ___ : SEA
29
William who invented the steam shovel : OTIS
30
"Fifty Shades of Grey" woman : ANA
31
Boat in "Jaws" : ORCA
33
Sunni or Shia : SECT
35
Part of a dealership : CARLOT
37
In bits : TORNTOSHREDS
42
Means of achieving things : AVENUES
44
Like many patches : SEWEDON
45
Nebraska county or who once lived there : OTOE
46
Kind of pie : MINCEMEAT
48
Dealer in futures? : SEER
49
Exact : SPOTON
51
Fill ___ (be of use) : ANEED
52
Green topper : SOD
54
Lose that loving feeling : DRIFTAPART
56
Sylvia of jazz : SYMS
57
"You nailed it!" : SOTRUE
60
Puffed ___ : OATS
61
Sneaky : SLY
62
Diner offering : SCRAMBLEDEGGS
66
However, briefly : THO
69
False god : BAAL
70
Not believable : FLIMSY
71
One standing on deck : SWAB
72
Art type : MIXEDMEDIA
78
"Ben-Hur" studio of 1925 and 1959 : MGM
79
Be observant of Lent, say : ATONE
80
Battery ends : ANODES
81
Concert pieces : AMPS
83
# # # : HASHMARKS
86
Attention-grabbing : LOUD
87
Try to grab : SWIPEAT
89
Pinkish bloom : TEAROSE
90
Like 0's and 1's in binary numbers : INTERMINGLED
93
Tent alternative : LEANTO
94
Home paper : DEED
95
Learn (of) : HEAR
96
Go (for) : OPT
97
Part of a Latin 101 conjugation : AMAT
100
Beverage that may be served au lait : THE
103
Fissure : CLEFT
105
Card sharp's deception : FASTSHUFFLE
108
When one might get a pep talk : HALFTIME
110
"Red" Holy Roman emperor : OTTOII
111
Farm stores : SILOS
112
Whole : UNBROKEN
113
"Taken" star : NEESON
114
Art : CRAFT
115
When H-Hour happens : DDAY
116
Quash : END
117
Screen Bean : ORSON
118
California's ___ Museum : GETTY
Down
1
___ Rizzo of film : RATSO
2
Blow : ERUPT
3
"No. 1" person : PUBLICENEMY
4
Acts of deference : OBEISANCES
5
Agreeably biting : TART
6
Tom's partner : SHECAT
7
Corn syrup brand : KARO
8
Repetitive, as in criticism : ONENOTE
9
Lush locales? : SKIDROWS
10
Roman scourge : HUN
11
___-free : SCOT
12
Assumes : TAKESON
13
Reproving looks : GLARES
14
Go out : EBB
15
"___ you!" : SAYS
16
Zenith : ACME
17
Company with a lot of manual work? : IKEA
19
Something to pay through? : THENOSE
21
Successor to Holder as attorney general : LYNCH
26
Capital on the Willamette River : SALEM
27
Workshop power tool : SANDER
32
Foe in "Rocky" : CREED
34
Military strength : TROOPS
36
Said "mea culpa," say : RUED
38
Inner tubes, topologically : TORI
39
Italian girl's name ending : ETTA
40
Word with fire or trap : DOOR
41
Email folder : SENT
42
Collect : AMASS
43
Old records : VINYL
44
Charge : STORM
47
Repeated film role for Skippy : ASTA
49
Excessively theatrical : STAGY
50
Some congratulations : PATS
53
Nickname : DUB
55
They're hard to see through : FOGS
57
Hustles : SCAMS
58
Shield border, in heraldry : ORLE
59
Figure often dressed in green : ELF
62
"Soldier of Love" singer, 2009 : SADE
63
Boston's Liberty Tree, for one : ELM
64
Adorn, in old literature : DIGHT
65
Stone in Hollywood : EMMA
66
Smallish London lodgings : TWOROOMFLAT
67
"Big" star : HANKS
68
Big, big, big : OBESE
69
Hooked up with : BEDDED
71
Rub some sticks together, as at camp : STARTAFIRE
72
Country once known as French Sudan : MALI
73
Aware of : INON
74
Delete : XOUT
75
Curfew for a vampire : DAWN
76
"Maybe ..." : IMIGHT
77
Inspiration for Isaac Newton : APPLE
79
Tom Wolfe's "___ in Full" : AMAN
82
Tend to : SEEAFTER
84
Intercedes : STEPSIN
85
Shrubby wasteland : HEATH
87
Supporting players : SIDEMEN
88
They vary with circulation : ADRATES
91
Right-hand page : RECTO
92
Informal approval : MELIKE
93
Bottle in a beach bag : LOTION
98
High : ALOFT
99
Apt to snap : TESTY
100
Landing sound : THUD
101
Crew member : HAND
102
Isle of exile : ELBA
104
Repulse, with "off" : FEND
106
Medium : SOSO
107
"Semper paratus" grp. : USCG
109
Linger in the hot sun : FRY
110
Lennon's love : ONO

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?