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GHOSTED

New York Times, Sunday, August 5, 2018

Author:
Alison Ohringer and Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
28/5/20184/17/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63010
Alison Ohringer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4711/6/201210/13/201921
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1056663101
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62170
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: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?