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New York Times, Thursday, August 9, 2018

Author:
Patrick Merrell
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
887/10/20018/9/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
21105123352
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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
2
I
3
G
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H
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S
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U
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S
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S
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R
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F
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L
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A
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B
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I
S
A
A
C
15
P
L
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A
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L
A
R
A
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N
O
R
H
Y
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M
E
O
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R
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E
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S
O
N
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B
A
T
O
N
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B
E
A
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H
U
G
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A
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N
A
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H
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D
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A
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L
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G
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D
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C
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D
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P
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Z
O
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T
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H
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N
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G
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R
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E
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S
H
A
K
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S
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H
U
B
C
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P
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I
G
O
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R
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F
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I
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X
B
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X
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K
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U
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A
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M
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C
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A
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C
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W
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A
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N
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A
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N
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D
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C
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G
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C
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S
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P
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O
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0809 ( 25,111 )

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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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