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ANCHOR LINES

New York Times, Sunday, August 7, 2016

Author:
Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2910/2/20086/12/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6146516
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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