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ANCHOR LINES

New York Times, Sunday, August 7, 2016

Author:
Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3010/2/20081/15/20197
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6156516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64120
Samuel A. Donaldson

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 65 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 25 for Mr. Donaldson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Samuel A. Donaldson notes:
The cookie-cutter format of most television news programs helped this theme come together fairly quickly. The BREAKING NEWS crawl on the bottom of most newscasts got me thinking about ... read more

The cookie-cutter format of most television news programs helped this theme come together fairly quickly. The BREAKING NEWS crawl on the bottom of most newscasts got me thinking about other over-used expressions we see and hear all the time, and I thought it would be fun to re-interpret some of those terms.

I have some personal favorites in the non-theme fill, especially NSFW, which just a few years ago caused a prior submission to be rejected because of its obscurity. And I'm happy to see my clue for SYKES made the cut. Overall, I suspect this will be a comparatively easy Sunday puzzle, but hopefully one that evokes some grins.

Jeff Chen notes:
Kooky interpretations of 'common' lines from news reporters, i.e. FILM AT ELEVEN referring to what happens if you take your film canister to a one-hour place at 10. (Do those still exist, ... read more

Kooky interpretations of "common" lines from news reporters, i.e. FILM AT ELEVEN referring to what happens if you take your film canister to a one-hour place at 10. (Do those still exist, BTW?)

I liked the themers that involved 1.) big changes in meaning, and 2.) very common lines heard on TV. BREAKING NEWS was the standout for me, in that it's flashed onto news shows all the time, plus BREAKING is changed in meaning from "just happened" to "cracking into pieces." Fun one.

DETAILS ARE SKETCHY is entertaining when referring to an actual courtroom artist, but I have a tough time believing that this line is used often enough to be common. And TRAFFIC AND WEATHER is a great phrase heard all the time, but the clue doesn't change its meaning at all. So some of these themers didn't work very for me.

Interesting bonus fill in SPOONERISM and THE JONESES, both colorful. I did hitch on both, since they're longer than THE LATEST and BACK TO YOU, which are themers — I scratched my head for the longest time, trying to figure out how THE JONESES was thematic. That's a common problem with running long bonus fill in the across direction. Yes, solvers like me really ought to be able to pick out the theme answers by the cluing, but I still find the layout inelegant.

I did like a lot of the vertical bonus fill though, with the GIMME FIVE / ASIA MINOR / LAST PLACE a great triple in the southwest. Almost 100% worth the price of IN AS, ERES, and MIS for me — if only there hadn't already been two other inelegant partials throughout the grid, AS NO and ON AT. So maybe 95% worth it to me.

I generally like Sam's "kooky interpretations of regular phrases" puzzles, but given some of the issues I brought up above, I didn't like this one as much as some of his others.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0807 ( 24,379 )
Across
1
Fall birthstone : OPAL
5
"___ of the Dead" (2004 horror movie parody) : SHAUN
10
Give birth on a farm, in a way : CALVE
15
Black-and-white alerts, briefly : APBS
19
Wine bouquet : NOSE
20
Big brewer : PABST
21
Starters : ATEAM
22
Old Italian bread : LIRA
23
"What's in your attic? And do penthouses have better resale value? Find out in today's ___" : TOPSTORIES
25
Menacing look : GLARE
26
Parts of décadas : ANOS
27
Duke grp. : ACC
28
Paul of "Ant-Man" : RUDD
29
"Museum officials report a priceless vase has shattered. Stay tuned for the ___" : BREAKINGNEWS
32
Group attacked by John the Baptist : PHARISEES
35
Bruin Bobby : ORR
36
Eighth-century pope with the sixth-longest reign : ADRIANI
37
Snapchat co-founder Spiegel : EVAN
38
Past : AGO
40
Floor (it) : GUN
42
White-barked tree : ASPEN
43
"A courtroom artist has been arrested for fraud. ___" : DETAILSARESKETCHY
49
Poet laureate Henry James ___ : PYE
50
Coffee's draw : AROMA
51
Epic poem section : CANTO
52
Wye follower : ZEE
53
Spots in la Seine : ILES
54
Obits, basically : BIOS
55
Mixed martial arts org. : UFC
57
Many a new loan, for short : REFI
59
Blue state : SADNESS
61
Often-injured part of the knee, for short : ACL
62
Fighting a liar, e.g. : SPOONERISM
65
Blarney : ROT
66
"Schools are cracking down on their most tardy students. We'll have ___" : THELATEST
68
"Coming up, a pistol dueler tells us his stance. Now ___" : BACKTOYOU
73
Ringing words? : IDO
74
Ones to keep up with : THEJONESES
78
Tennis doubles? : ENS
79
Paces at races : GALLOPS
83
Smelting waste : SLAG
84
Anaïs of "Henry & June" : NIN
85
Princess with a twin : LEIA
86
"Well, well, old chap" : ISAY
87
Consumed : ATE
89
Mexican-born golfer Lorena : OCHOA
91
Joe of "My Cousin Vinny" : PESCI
92
Start for deal or lead : MIS
93
"After the break, people are leaving the city during winter because of crime. Plus ___" : TRAFFICANDWEATHER
97
Mother: Prefix : MATRI
99
Curator's deg. : BFA
100
Thurman of "Henry & June" : UMA
101
Come ___ surprise : ASNO
102
Put on a jury : EMPANEL
104
Clear the tables : BUS
106
Savor : TASTINESS
111
"Our camera crew entered a one-hour photo shop at ten. ___" : FILMATELEVEN
114
Advance : LOAN
115
Spa sound : AAH
116
Lead-in to much : INAS
117
"With ___ bodkin?": Hamlet : ABARE
118
"With more about those defending the accused, our reporter is ___" : STANDINGBY
121
Sotto ___ (quietly) : VOCE
122
Nation near Fiji : TONGA
123
Corn chip : FRITO
124
Sleek, informally : AERO
125
You are, in Spain : ERES
126
A comedian called Wanda : SYKES
127
Grape nuts? : WINOS
128
Tennis's Steffi : GRAF
Down
1
Ready : ONTAP
2
Doggy : POOCH
3
Rescue org. : ASPCA
4
___ Moulins, Québec : LES
5
Like some support payments : SPOUSAL
6
Sets : HARDENS
7
Follow, with "by" : ABIDE
8
Take advantage of : USE
9
Accident investigator, for short : NTSB
10
Court player, in old lingo : CAGER
11
Still on the loose : ATLARGE
12
Not keep a secret : LEAK
13
Special permits : VARIANCES
14
Fix, as text : EMEND
15
Singer Morissette : ALANIS
16
Pizza topping : PINEAPPLE
17
About which it was asked "Why are you blue?," in a classic song : BROWNEYES
18
Spunk : SASSINESS
24
Quiz show fodder : TRIVIA
30
One giving a wake-up call? : ROOSTER
31
Overcast : GRAY
33
Lots : REAMS
34
Gilbert of "The Talk" : SARA
39
Sci-fi or fantasy : GENRE
41
Snack brand featured on "Mad Men" : UTZ
43
Blot gently : DABAT
44
Actor Bergen of "Jersey Boys" : ERICH
45
Novelist John Kennedy ___ : TOOLE
46
Grab by the collar, say : ACCOST
47
Annan of the U.N. : KOFI
48
Give heed : HEARKEN
53
Digging : INTO
55
Satisfactory : UPTOPAR
56
Friend's opposite : FOE
58
Fig. for a librarian : ISBN
60
Points : DOTS
62
Prefix with masochistic : SADO
63
High degrees : NTHS
64
Devotee of Dionysus : MAENAD
67
Pond sight : LILY
69
2000-15 TV drama : CSI
70
"Oh jeez!" : YEESH
71
Chilling : ONICE
72
Bygone carrier : USAIR
75
Morlocks' prey, in sci-fi : ELOI
76
Historic headline of 1898 : JACCUSE
77
Old Irish character : OGHAM
79
"Up top!" : GIMMEFIVE
80
Anatolia, familiarly : ASIAMINOR
81
Spot for the booby prize : LASTPLACE
82
Groom : STABLEBOY
85
Divulge : LETON
88
Start to fail? : EFF
90
Go ___ great length : ONAT
91
Grilled sandwich : PANINI
93
Daughter on the animated "Bob's Burgers" : TINA
94
Egg-spensive jeweler? : FABERGE
95
Saw through : WASONTO
96
___ Unidos : ESTADOS
98
Temple of Abu Simbel honoree : RAMSES
103
___-Unis : ETATS
105
Eye layers : UVEAS
107
___ Locke, the so-called "Dean of the Harlem Renaissance" : ALAIN
108
Champing at the bit : EAGER
109
Native Israeli : SABRA
110
Below, as a goal : SHYOF
112
Tall and thin : LANK
113
Warning letters on some graphic videos : NSFW
119
Part of TNT : TRI
120
Pester : NAG

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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