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New York Times, Thursday, August 9, 2018

Author:
Patrick Merrell
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
887/10/20018/9/20181
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21105123352
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1.60553
Patrick Merrell

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQV} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 88 for Mr. Merrell. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Midway through LAUGH AT MYSELF (LAM-poon) week! Petty Jeff (PJ) would have griped about only three themers when these days the norm is ... read more

Midway through LAUGH AT MYSELF (LAM-poon) week! Petty Jeff (PJ) would have griped about only three themers when these days the norm is to have at least four. But today, I choose to focus on the smiles I got from these three amusing reinterpretations of NO phrases. No, NO, NO, I say to PJ!

NO, (you can only write) RHYME OR REASON is such a hilariously bizarre thing for a teacher to say. And I've heard the phrase NO MAN IS AN ISLAND thousands of times, but I'd never thought of it parsed as NO, MAN (the isle of MAN) IS AN ISLAND. Funny!

PJ would have complained that with just three themers, the grid ought to be packed with a ton of juicy fill, more than just EGG CRATE, AIR TAXI, BEAR HUG. Instead, I choose to focus on the great job in the cluing:

  • As a kid, I used to love me the meat sticks that came in gift packages. As an "adult," I love me the playfulness of "meet stick" being a BATON.
  • [Fiddler on the reef?], ha! So punny, playing on "Fiddler on the Roof" to describe a CRAB.
  • Pick-up lines make me laugh (I never had the courage to use one, way back when). Making me laugh even more is a different type of pick-up line: CABs lined up at the airport.

I usually like more out of my Thursday solving experience — not just a harder solve, but one that has a bigger payoff than usual to make it worthwhile. But, the most important thing about crosswords is how much enjoyment they bring. There was a lot to love about the Merrellosity of this one.

1
S
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0809 ( 25,111 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Sounds of surrender : SIGHS
6. 1922-91 initials : USSR
10. Extra inches : FLAB
14. A patriarch of the Israelites : ISAAC
15. S O S, basically : PLEA
16. Film treasure hunter Croft : LARA
17. Q: "Can I write both a poem and an essay?" A: "___" : NORHYMEORREASON
20. Meet stick : BATON
21. Tight hold : BEARHUG
22. What Alabama cheerleaders often request? : ANA
24. Matt's replacement on "Today" : HODA
26. Candymaker H. B. ___ : REESE
27. Yearned (for) : LONGED
29. Tracy Marrow's stage name : ICET
32. German article : DER
33. Author of the line "It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes" : PUZO
34. Actualities : TRUTHS
36. Q: "Is that snack bar known for good burgers?" A: "___" : NOGREATSHAKES
41. Common place for a car's name, once : HUBCAP
42. Hunchbacked film character : IGOR
44. Night that "77 Sunset Strip" aired for most of its run: Abbr. : FRI
47. Popular game console : XBOX
48. Skill on display in the "Kill Bill" movies : KUNGFU
50. Synopsis : RECAP
52. Conspirator's agreement : IMIN
54. Part of a pickup line? : CAB
55. Name on both sides of the Equator : AMERICA
58. Pledge : SWEAR
60. Q: "Should you call that stopover between Liverpool and Belfast a peninsula?" A: "___" : NOMANISANISLAND
64. Fiddler on the reef? : CRAB
65. Duds : GARB
66. Jokester : CUTUP
67. Lacking : SANS
68. Detail, in brief : SPEC
69. Auguries : OMENS
Down
1. Consideration at the Pearly Gates : SIN
2. Prefix with -bar : ISO
3. Chickpea : GARBANZO
4. "Made you look!" : HAHA
5. Haying tool : SCYTHE
6. Topple : UPEND
7. ___-pitch : SLO
8. Member of a Macedonia minority : SERB
9. Like signatures of William Shakespeare : RARE
10. Certain S O S : FLARE
11. Whipped : LASHED
12. Provoke : AROUSE
13. British sausage : BANGER
18. It might be set with candles : MOOD
19. Kitt who played Catwoman : EARTHA
22. Tour de France high point : ALP
23. Something drawn when landing on a yellow square in Pictionary : NOUN
25. On-demand flier : AIRTAXI
28. Van ___ : GOGH
30. Brink : CUSP
31. Verb ending in old verse : ETH
34. Hard or soft menu item : TACO
35. Exterior : SKIN
37. Fad teddy bear name of the 1980s : RUXPIN
38. Retreat : EBB
39. Holder of dozens upon dozens : EGGCRATE
40. Loose change "collector" : SOFA
43. Steak coating : RUB
44. Swiss money : FRANCS
45. Sea sucker : REMORA
46. Metaphor for death in a Eugene O'Neill play : ICEMAN
48. Small relative of an elephant bird : KIWI
49. World Heritage Site grp. : UNESCO
51. Sultans and sheiks, usually : ARABS
53. News inits. since 1996 : MSNBC
56. Camels, e.g., for short : CIGS
57. Rush-rush : ASAP
59. Diploma displayer, for short : ALUM
61. Live : ARE
62. Wimple wearer : NUN
63. Some inning enders, in brief : DPS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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