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GHOSTED

New York Times, Sunday, August 5, 2018

Author:
Alison Ohringer and Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
18/5/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000000
RebusCirclePangram
010
Alison Ohringer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2711/6/201210/28/201811
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
73235331
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61140
Erik Agard

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 22 Words: 145, Blocks: 72 Missing: {KQ} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Ohringer. This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
ALISON: I am a grad student at UC Berkeley in global health and infectious disease. I went to Emory University as an undergraduate and then got my Master of Public Health degree from Berkeley in ... read more

ALISON: I am a grad student at UC Berkeley in global health and infectious disease. I went to Emory University as an undergraduate and then got my Master of Public Health degree from Berkeley in 2017. I started "solving" the NYT crossword with my grandma when I was a kid (with erasable pens) and got more and more into solving them during grad school (with normal pens, mostly). On a whim, I started making puzzles a few months ago with a friend after we saw that Rex Parker (Michael Sharp) had offered his help to any aspiring constructors. Rex referred me to the Facebook group called the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory, and I sent my first-ever puzzle to a handful of "test-solvers," including Erik. The feedback I got from the dozen or so people who replied was all genuinely kind, supportive, and helpful. I'm so grateful for everyone's help and encouragement—especially from Erik, who became my de facto crossword mentor, and then co-constructor. We began collaborating on a few puzzles and submitted "Ghosted" in the middle of April.

ERIK: Ever notice how in the phrase "green energy," ENERGY is GREEN mixed up with a bonus letter? We set out to find out if there were any other phrases with this property; a computer-aided search turned up a large handful of possibilities, ranging from the erudite (ALFRED ADLER, ANDRE DERAIN) to the colloquial (FAST FACTS, RIDE-OR-DIE). Alison noticed that, using only phrases that dropped the letter in the second word, we could spell out PHANTO, which we found to be (most of) an apt description of the disappearing letters. The toughest part was trying to find phrases for the M and the S, since nothing in our wordlists would work and we had to search manually. How did people do this stuff before computers? Thanks to Alison for sharing her debut byline with me, and to the NYT team for having us.

Jeff Chen notes:
Congrats to Alison on the debut! Working with one of the best in the business, reigning ACPT champ Erik. Can't go wrong there. LOST IN THE SHUFFLE … how to explain this? Theme answers ... read more

Congrats to Alison on the debut! Working with one of the best in the business, reigning ACPT champ Erik. Can't go wrong there.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE … how to explain this? Theme answers are made of two words, and if you remove one letter from the first word and them anagram the remaining ones, you get the second word.

Thus, that key letter is GHOSTED?

Hmm. One definition of GHOSTED is "ended a personal relationship with (someone) by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication." So, that key letter says buh-bye when it comes to forming the second word?

It is nice that the key letters form the word PHANTOMS, echoing the GHOSTED idea. It didn't produce a sharp a-ha moment for me, but I appreciate the attempt to work in an additional layer of cleverness.

Solid gridwork, as I'd expect from an Agardian production. Just a bit of super-minor OLLA APSE kind of stuff – now that's great craftsmanship, especially for a Sunday puzzle! Way, way, way less crossword glue than average makes for a feeling of elegance.

Erik's much younger and hipper than me (funnier and smarter, too), so it wasn't a surprise to encounter several things I didn't know. SERENA SLAM is where you hold all four Grand Slam titles at once? I wonder why the press didn't make up a neat name like that for the people who did it before her (Billie Jean King, etc.).

BBC ARABIC was new to me too, but I also liked learning that. Except it seemed to me like BBC ARABIA would have been such a better title. (Probably a good thing that I stayed out of marketing.)

APARNA, too. I don't know that she's become crossworthy enough to be a theme answer – cool that CHER is hidden inside NANCHERLA! – but as fill, absolutely fine.

The a-ha moment wasn't strong enough for my taste – I'm still wondering exactly why those letters fit the term GHOSTED and PHANTOMS – but there were some strong themers like CARMEN MCRAE, as well as enough SAM HILL, LIME JUICE, RUSH HOUR, THE NERVE bonus fill to keep me going.

1
C
2
A
3
S
4
A
5
W
6
E
7
N
8
T
9
F
10
L
11
O
12
R
13
A
14
T
15
R
16
I
17
O
18
D
19
E
20
A
C
E
R
21
E
A
C
H
22
R
I
P
U
P
23
S
E
A
L
U
P
24
P
A
R
T
25
Y
T
R
A
Y
26
A
M
I
S
S
27
A
N
G
L
E
E
28
N
I
E
C
E
29
L
A
M
30
A
Z
E
31
H
E
32
A
R
T
R
A
T
E
33
N
E
A
34
T
35
E
L
I
J
36
A
H
37
I
S
E
E
38
I
39
R
A
N
G
A
40
T
41
E
42
T
E
U
T
O
43
N
S
44
D
E
45
A
46
L
47
S
48
T
A
S
T
E
T
E
S
49
T
50
R
I
T
U
A
L
51
S
52
P
O
I
53
A
D
L
E
R
54
A
T
O
55
M
56
C
A
R
M
E
N
57
M
58
C
R
A
E
59
L
I
A
R
60
I
R
O
N
O
61
R
E
62
S
O
A
R
I
N
G
63
Y
O
M
64
G
R
A
N
I
T
A
65
U
66
S
67
B
68
P
U
L
S
E
69
L
O
S
T
I
N
T
H
70
E
S
H
U
71
F
72
F
L
E
73
Y
74
E
75
A
S
T
76
A
G
O
77
N
O
T
T
R
U
E
78
B
79
A
80
H
81
A
T
T
A
I
82
N
83
S
84
S
E
N
E
G
A
L
85
B
A
D
U
86
C
H
A
T
T
Y
C
87
A
88
T
89
H
Y
90
E
T
O
N
91
A
B
N
E
R
92
H
E
R
93
S
A
M
H
I
L
94
L
95
L
O
C
96
A
L
C
A
L
L
97
T
R
I
98
E
99
D
100
L
I
E
F
L
A
101
T
102
D
E
P
L
A
N
E
S
103
M
A
104
G
I
105
N
I
A
C
I
106
N
107
P
A
R
A
108
G
109
A
110
M
E
R
R
A
111
G
E
112
B
O
X
O
113
U
114
T
115
Y
A
R
116
D
117
S
118
A
P
A
R
N
A
119
O
R
120
A
L
S
121
B
R
A
122
S
S
B
A
R
S
123
G
O
R
G
E
S
124
T
V
S
E
T
125
E
G
G
O
126
I
M
I
N
127
S
P
E
E
D
S
128
H
E
S
S
E
129
L
E
S
T
130
C
A
P
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0805 ( 25,107 )
Across
1. Word repeated in "Mi ___ es su ___" : CASA
5. Skipped town : WENT
9. Good name for a botanist? : FLORA
14. Certain vacuum tube : TRIODE
20. Taiwan-based electronics giant : ACER
21. Per item : EACH
22. Shred : RIPUP
23. Make airtight : SEALUP
24. Caterer's platter : PARTYTRAY
26. Off : AMISS
27. Director of "Eat Drink Man Woman," 1994 : ANGLEE
28. Morticia, to Fester, in 1960s TV : NIECE
29. Expecting help? : LAMAZE
31. Beat generation figure? : HEARTRATE
33. Tidy : NEAT
35. ___ Muhammad, mentor to Malcolm X : ELIJAH
37. "Mm-hmm" : ISEE
38. Reagan-era scandal : IRANGATE
42. Old Germanic tribe : TEUTONS
44. Passes out : DEALS
48. Oral examination? : TASTETEST
50. Initiations have them : RITUALS
52. Dish made from a fermented root : POI
53. Grace's surname on "Will & Grace" : ADLER
54. Neutron's home : ATOM
56. Jazz singer who acted in the "Roots" miniseries : CARMENMCRAE
59. Whopper maker : LIAR
60. Hematite, e.g. : IRONORE
62. Like 100% inflation : SOARING
63. ___ Kippur : YOM
64. Sorbet-like dessert originally from Sicily : GRANITA
65. ___ port : USB
68. Wrist watch? : PULSE
69. Like this puzzle's circled letters vis-à-vis their Across answers : LOSTINTHESHUFFLE
73. Brewer's need : YEAST
76. Long ___ : AGO
77. "Nuh-uh!" : NOTTRUE
78. "Horrible!" : BAH
81. Reaches : ATTAINS
84. Nearest country to Cape Verde : SENEGAL
85. Grammy winner Erykah ___ : BADU
86. Talkative sort : CHATTYCATHY
90. Competitor of Rugby : ETON
91. "Li'l" fellow : ABNER
92. "I'm with ___" : HER
93. Hell, informally : SAMHILL
95. It might take only seven digits : LOCALCALL
97. Sampled : TRIED
100. Be rumple-free : LIEFLAT
102. Leaves for baggage claim, say : DEPLANES
103. Star followers : MAGI
105. Vitamin B3 : NIACIN
107. Prefix with normal : PARA
108. Cause of a tossed joystick, maybe : GAMERRAGE
112. Block from getting close to the basket : BOXOUT
115. Gridiron gains : YARDS
118. Comic ___ Nancherla : APARNA
119. Stage in getting a Ph.D. : ORALS
121. Some rustproof rails : BRASSBARS
123. Chasms : GORGES
124. Newsroom fixture : TVSET
125. Frozen breakfast brand : EGGO
126. "Let's do it!" : IMIN
127. Risks a ticket : SPEEDS
128. "Siddhartha" novelist : HESSE
129. In case : LEST
130. Washington team, familiarly : CAPS
Down
1. ___ Crunch : CAPN
2. Smoothie flavor : ACAI
3. Tennis star's feat : SERENASLAM
4. Place for exhibitions : ARTCENTER
5. Word with noodle or nurse : WET
6. Viscount's superior : EARL
7. Big scholarship awarder, for short : NCAA
8. Mint family herb : THYME
9. "Down goes ___!" (1973 sports line) : FRAZIER
10. Mojito ingredient : LIMEJUICE
11. Nail polish brand : OPI
12. When jams are produced : RUSHHOUR
13. Place for an altar : APSE
14. Long line in Russia : TSARS
15. Let : RENTED
16. "Amen to that" : IAGREE
17. Earthen pot : OLLA
18. What it takes two to do : DUET
19. One-on-one Olympics event : EPEE
25. Chuck in the air : YEAGER
30. Not mainstream, briefly : ALT
32. Separations at weddings? : AISLES
34. Body work, in brief : TAT
36. Lead-in to boy or girl : ATTA
38. Birthplace of the Renaissance : ITALY
39. RCA component : RADIO
40. Put claw marks in : TEARAT
41. Sharer of Russia's western border : ESTONIA
43. Setting for many G.I. stories : NAM
45. Much of Aries' span : APRIL
46. Postgraduation stressors, for some : LOANS
47. Lengthy attack : SIEGE
49. Refining, as muscles : TONING
51. Lead-in to cone : SNO
55. "You only live once," for one : MOTTO
57. Baked beans flavor : MAPLE
58. Mötley ___ : CRUE
60. Schedule-keeping org. : IRS
61. Team scream : RAH
64. "10-4" : GOTIT
65. Longest American north-south rte. : USONE
66. "Fiddler on the Roof" setting : SHTETL
67. In spades : BUTGOOD
69. Future attorney's hurdle, for short : LSAT
70. Memphis-to-Nashville dir. : ENE
71. 2018 World Cup champs : FRANCE
72. Prayer ending? : FUL
73. Workplace for a cabin boy : YACHT
74. Antiquated anesthetic : ETHER
75. Pong creator : ATARI
78. All-female group with the 1986 #1 hit "Venus" : BANANARAMA
79. One-named singer whose last name is Adkins : ADELE
80. Pitches : HURLS
82. Albany is its capital: Abbr. : NYS
83. Gorsuch's predecessor on the bench : SCALIA
84. Two of diamonds? : SYLLABLES
85. Trusted news source in the Mideast : BBCARABIC
87. Friend of Descartes ... or, in English, question pondered by Descartes? : AMI
88. "What chutzpah!" : THENERVE
89. Early record holder : HIFI
91. Puts to rest : ALLAYS
94. Pricey-sounding apparel brand? : LACOSTE
96. Tinder, e.g. : APP
98. Surface : EMERGE
99. "Well, I'll be" follower : DARNED
101. B'way buys : TIX
104. It covers a lot of ground : GRASS
106. Recognition for a scientist : NOBEL
108. Comic's offerings : GAGS
109. Per item : APOP
110. Stud finder? : MARE
111. One wearing black eyeliner and ripped jeans, say : GOTH
113. Desire : URGE
114. Makes out? : TAGS
116. Cause of some insomnia : DRIP
117. Application figs. : SSNS
120. Dummkopf : ASS
122. Boozehound : SOT

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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