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LITERALLY SPEAKING

New York Times, Sunday, August 2, 2015

Author: Matt Ginsberg
Editor: Will Shortz
Matt Ginsberg
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
461/17/20089/21/20177
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1503014464
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57230

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 [See circled letters]. ... more
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 [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. Another? CALL BACK is a hint ... more
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. 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 Down
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
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: 9 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?