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ANCHORS AWAY!

New York Times, Sunday, August 6, 2017

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Berry
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2247/11/19998/6/20172
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721241676512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 76 Missing: {JX} This is puzzle # 224 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Ship puns, ROCK EM SOCK EM ROWBOATS (robots) giving me a big laugh. Such a funny image, such a ridiculous game concept. AINT SEEN NOTHING YACHT (yet) was also a winner in my eyes. It's not often that I enjoy pun ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Ship puns, ROCK EM SOCK EM ROWBOATS (robots) giving me a big laugh. Such a funny image, such a ridiculous game concept. AINT SEEN NOTHING YACHT (yet) was also a winner in my eyes. It's not often that I enjoy pun themes this much.

Some constructors would try to distinguish a straightforward pun puzzle by going down below 140 words, by crossing themers, by packing way too many themers in, etc. But the Master knows the limits of Sunday puzzles so well, avoiding these traps on his way to delivering his trademark incredibly smooth grid, crafted with so much elegance.

Okay, nine themers is pretty difficult to pull off, especially when some of them are long. I would have actually been fine without SEMI TRAWLER, but since PB worked it in without compromises, it's a nice bonus.

One thing constructors ought to note: look at how many cheater squares PB used ... without making them feel like they were really cheating. There's two on the top row (after AVAST and after BAH), one before RYE, one after ELI. (The one before ROCK EM SOCK EM ROWBOATS doesn't count in my eyes, since it's forced by the 20-letter themer length.) That's eight (!) cheater squares in total, but I barely noticed them, since they're so spread out; none of them clumped up. Cheater squares help SO much, and not enough constructors use them.

Not a ton of bonuses in the grid, but with TAPE DELAY and its fantastic clue — it gives a censor time to remove a curse (word)! — NUMERO UNO, RAT TRAP, HANGS IT UP, these do the trick.

As with every PB puzzle, hard to point out even a single subpar entry. I hadn't known Neal BOORTZ, but learning one thing out of a puzzle is a good thing for me. And all the crosses were easy enough.

Not every Sunday puzzle has to be groundbreaking or even novel, but this is a perfect example of how a tried and true theme type can be executed to such a degree of elegance that it still shines.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0806 ( 24,743 )
Across Down
1. "Cease!," on the seas : AVAST
6. "What nonsense!" : BAH
9. Walk on the edge? : CURB
13. Luminary : NAME
17. Clubs with strobes : DISCOS
19. Hieroglyphic bird : IBIS
21. ___ O's (chocolaty cereal brand) : OREO
22. Asian territory in the game Risk : URAL
23. Roll out : DEPART
24. Sailing vessels that Cap'n Crunch might commandeer? : GALLEONSOFMILK
27. Cuzco builders : INCAS
29. Tetris piece : BLOCK
30. Testing times : ORDEALS
31. Heavily armored vessels getting married? : WARSHIPSATTHEALTAR
35. Smelter input : ORE
36. Whiskey distiller's supply : RYE
37. "The plot thickens!" : OHO
38. Candy in collectible containers : PEZ
39. Mideast monarchy : OMAN
43. Numbers on right-hand pages : ODDS
45. Resells ruthlessly : SCALPS
47. Speaker on a car's dash : GPS
48. Polished : SUAVE
49. Fruit mentioned in the "Odyssey" : LOTUS
51. Equal : ARE
52. Actor Stephen : REA
53. Split, e.g. : SUNDAE
54. Kids' game in which small vessels attack each other? : ROCKEMSOCKEMROWBOATS
59. Rio maker : KIA
60. Flood survivor : NOAH
61. ___ Gold, chief of staff on "The Good Wife" : ELI
62. Often-quoted chairman : MAO
63. A large amount : GOBS
66. Fishing vessel that can pull only half a net behind it? : SEMITRAWLER
70. Bruce of "The Hateful Eight" : DERN
71. Messenger ___ : RNA
72. Rare craps roll : TWO
73. Incapacitate, in a way : TASE
74. Growth ring? : LEI
76. Recreational vessel that's never left the harbor? : AINTSEENNOTHINGYACHT
84. 1997 action film set on a plane : CONAIR
85. X amount : TEN
86. Isaac Newton, e.g. : SIR
87. Brings up : REARS
89. Bad at one's job : INEPT
90. P, to Pythagoras : RHO
91. Revolver, in Roaring Twenties slang : ROSCOE
94. Use scissors on : SNIP
95. Governess at Thornfield : EYRE
96. Berkeley institution, briefly : CAL
97. In place of : FOR
98. It brings people together : HUG
99. No. of interest to some recruiters : GPA
100. Luxury vessel with a pair of decks, both of which need swabbing? : DIRTYDOUBLECRUISER
106. Malodorous mammal : POLECAT
109. A&M athlete : AGGIE
110. Matisse who painted "La Danse" : HENRI
111. Cargo vessel full of iPads? : APPLEFREIGHTER
114. Mown strips : SWATHS
117. "Game of Thrones," e.g. : SAGA
118. Blackens : TARS
119. Staple of Shinto rituals : SAKE
120. Second story? : SEQUEL
121. Rub out : SLAY
122. Not needing a cane, maybe : SPRY
123. Deadhead's hits? : LSD
124. Foolish : DIPPY
1. Kick in : ADD
2. Struggle : VIE
3. Ambitiously sought : ASPIREDTO
4. Noninvasive medical procedures : SCANS
5. Flashlight : U.S. :: ___ : U.K. : TORCH
6. Consequential : BIG
7. Addis ___ : ABABA
8. Lookout point : HILLTOP
9. "You Send Me" singer, 1957 : COOKE
10. Coffee holder : URN
11. Works on as a cobbler might : RESOLES
12. Libertarian pundit Neal : BOORTZ
13. Head honcho : NUMEROUNO
14. It may end on a high note : ARIA
15. D.C.'s National ___ : MALL
16. Chicago-based fraternal order : ELKS
18. Mezzanine access : STAIRS
20. They hang around the rain forest : SLOTHS
25. Return from a trip to the Alps? : ECHO
26. Pharma watchdog : FDA
28. Surveillance aid : SPYCAM
31. Coat in a cote : WOOL
32. Fire : ARDOR
33. Longtime retailer hurt by Amazon : SEARS
34. Coverage provider? : APPAREL
40. Femme's title : MADAME
41. Choice for an online gamer : AVATAR
42. Star of "Kinsey," 2004 : NEESON
44. Is downright terrible : SUCKS
46. Actress Téa : LEONI
47. Beauty : GEM
48. Under goer? : SUB
50. Biathletes do it : SKI
52. Uncreative creation : REHASH
53. Forming spiral patterns : SWIRLY
55. Holy Week follower : EASTER
56. ___ State (Alabama's nickname) : COTTON
57. Measure of purity : KARAT
58. Cheer with an accent : OLE
63. "___: A Love Story" (1998 George Burns book) : GRACIE
64. Like soubise sauce : ONIONY
65. Coat of arms element : BANNER
67. Flock female : EWE
68. Vogue or Elle : MONTHLY
69. Ehrich ___ a.k.a. Houdini : WEISS
70. Chops up : DICES
75. Elephant ___ (pastry) : EAR
77. It may help remove a curse : TAPEDELAY
78. Hold an assembly : SIT
79. Revival movement prefix : NEO
80. Not mainstream : NICHE
81. Bellyacher : GROUCH
82. Quits, informally : HANGSITUP
83. Nonsensical talk : TRIPE
88. Prep for a match : SPAR
90. Dilapidated dwelling : RATTRAP
91. Manhandles, with "up" : ROUGHS
92. Like the Gemini flights : ORBITAL
93. Way out : EGRESS
96. Wares at fairs : CRAFTS
97. "Around the World in 80 Days" protagonist : FOGG
101. Nonpermanent sculpture medium : ICE
102. Flower with rays : DAISY
103. Vichyssoise vegetables : LEEKS
104. Single : UNWED
105. Dialect of Arabic : IRAQI
106. Entry ticket : PASS
107. Iridescent stone : OPAL
108. Women's Open org. : LPGA
112. Go astray : ERR
113. Roulette bet : RED
115. Cool, in the '40s : HEP
116. Roguish : SLY

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

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