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THAT'S A TALL ORDER!

New York Times, Sunday, September 1, 2019

Author:
Finn Vigeland
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1810/20/20109/1/20194
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
9123012
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64230
Finn Vigeland

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {Q} Scrabble average: 1.73 This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Vigeland. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Finn Vigeland graduated in May from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a master's degree in urban planning. He now works as a transportation planner in Washington. Urban planning ... read more

Finn Vigeland graduated in May from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a master's degree in urban planning. He now works as a transportation planner in Washington. Urban planning and crossword constructing evidence a dual interest in grids. Finn sold his first puzzle to The Times in 2010 when he was 18.

This will make 18 puzzles by him for the paper altogether, half of them Sundays.

Finn Vigeland notes:
When I sit down to brainstorm a Sunday theme, I often try to think of a title that I can pun on and spin into a full-sized theme concept, which is how this puzzle came to be. Even though ... read more

When I sit down to brainstorm a Sunday theme, I often try to think of a title that I can pun on and spin into a full-sized theme concept, which is how this puzzle came to be. Even though Sundays can be a beast to construct and, occasionally, a chore to solve, I love playing with a larger canvas. And it's certainly a lot easier to do this row-stretching effect in the big grid — and not have the fill be constrained.

I hope newer solvers enjoyed the a-ha moment. Even if you clocked what was going on here early, I hope it still took some guessing to determine what "order" was being made "tall." I'm proud of a lot of stuff in this puzzle: including one of my favorite artists (17-Across), introducing 111-Across to crossworld (great clue from the Times editing team here), and most especially, packing in that 109-/110-Down combo.

I'd be down to meet in a cat café and collab on a puzzle with Sia, J Lo, and AOC if any of them are listening!

Jeff Chen notes:
Americans love us some dogs. Less than three months ago, we had another dog command puzzle, and I bet solvers would be fine with still another one around the holidays. I mean, who doesn't ... read more

Americans love us some dogs. Less than three months ago, we had another dog command puzzle, and I bet solvers would be fine with still another one around the holidays. I mean, who doesn't love those Youtube videos where they put lolcat words over the dog's head? Hilarious!

No?

Right, I totally don't spend hours watching those idiotic videos either. Da hekk are you thinking?

My big question today: why dog orders? There's nothing else in the grid dog-oriented. No dog visuals, no dog title, no dog theme phrases, not even some doggie treats spread through the grid.

GIB ME CHIKMEN, LINDA!!!

Those concerns aside (am I missing something?), I did enjoy most of Finn's themers. It's not hard to find phrases hiding short words, but PLINY THE ELDER and JALISCO MEXICO are great discoveries.

Not as hot on COLOR WHEELS and SEX COMEDIES, which don't break the word across the phrase. Will often points out that these leave solvers with a feeling that the other word is superfluous, COLOR and SEX playing no part in the themer.

Not easy to build a 140-word grid around stacked pairs of themers. I was wowed by so much OLD SCORE, AMY RYAN, HOI POLLOI, IRON MAN … running through themer pairs!

Not so much by ENJAMBMENT.

MIC CHECK, BOOK REC, HIT JOBS, yes!

GLUTENIN, ACTAEON, POSTBAC … maybe?

If you're going to go dog, you ought to go whole dog, so today's puzzle wasn't nearly as strong as it could have been. Interesting idea to stretch those key words though, making literal "tall orders."

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B
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G
R
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0901 ( 25,499 )
Across
1
Volcanic residue : ASH
4
Iraqi, e.g. : ARAB
8
Not working today : OFF
11
Top of the Alps? : SKICAP
17
Singer with the 2016 #1 hit "Cheap Thrills" : SIA
18
Ancient Iranian : MEDE
19
Something dogs may pull : SLED
20
Only musical to win Best Picture since "Oliver!" in 1968 : CHICAGO
21
Early encyclopedist credited with coining "Home is where the heart is" : PLINYTHEELDER
24
Adjusts, as an instrument : RETUNES
25
Reference aids for artists : COLORWHEELS
26
Children's author Lowry : LOIS
27
Nonkosher sammie : BLT
28
Tested : ASSAYED
29
Phrase followed by "one two, one two" : MICCHECK
32
English channel, with "the" : BEEB
33
___ Min Lee, victim in the hit podcast "Serial" : HAE
34
Archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean : COMOROS
35
Stage before pupa : LARVA
36
Gchat transmissions, briefly : IMS
39
Accident-investigating org. : NTSB
41
Big dealer in outdoor gear : REI
42
Suggestion for a reading circle, informally : BOOKREC
44
Fruit with a pit : DATE
46
Seek revenge on, in a way : SUE
47
Is a straight shooter : KEEPSITREAL
49
Some printer hues : CYANS
51
Word after meal or before school : PREP
53
Put forward as a basis of argument : POSITED
54
Takedown pieces, slangily : HITJOBS
56
Charge (through) : MOW
58
Dryer residue : LINT
59
Dog sound : BARK
63
Sunbather in the tropics : IGUANA
64
Sources of weekly N.C.A.A. rankings : APPOLLS
66
Looked at lasciviously : EYEDUP
68
Work with feet? : POEM
69
Pretzel topping : SALT
71
Modern cousin of "Yay!" : WOO
72
Fear-inducing : DREADED
73
Spanish phrase meaning "Enough is enough!" : BASTAYA
76
"Pencils down!" : TIME
78
Huge mix-up : SNAFU
79
Soft-rock singer who received Kennedy Center Honors in 2016 : JAMESTAYLOR
82
Philanthropist Broad : ELI
84
Salacious stuff : SMUT
85
Anonymous female, in court : JANEROE
86
Nurse in a bar : SIP
87
Train between N.Y.C. and Montauk : LIRR
89
Crafty : SLY
90
Kind of acid : AMINO
91
Inherited : GENETIC
94
Muffin ingredient : OAT
96
It's rigged : MAST
97
Protein in Wheaties : GLUTENIN
99
Bygone car model that's an anagram of GRANITE : INTEGRA
103
Part of a diner display : PIE
104
It brings you closer to your subjects : ZOOM
105
"The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" : SEXCOMEDIES
107
Mythical hunter turned into a stag : ACTAEON
109
State bordering the Pacific : JALISCOMEXICO
111
Establishment such as Crumbs and Whiskers or KitTea (both real!) : CATCAFE
112
Avian diver : LOON
113
Not much : ATAD
114
Convent-ional sort : NUN
115
Gets ready to pray : KNEELS
116
National Pizza Mo. : OCT
117
! : BANG
118
Future Ph.D.'s test : GRE
Down
1
Grp. with a pet project? : ASPCA
2
Buildings often outfitted with ladders : SILOS
3
Lauds : HAILS
4
Oscar nominee for "Gone Baby Gone," 2007 : AMYRYAN
5
Measure of virality : RETWEETS
6
Ritalin target, for short : ADHD
7
It's full of hard-to-spell words : BEE
8
What a bitter person might try to settle : OLDSCORE
9
Retainer : FEE
10
Prez with the dog Fala : FDR
11
4-Across chief : SHEIK
12
All-in-one boxes : KITS
13
R.N.'s place : ICU
14
Foreign capital designed by two Americans : CANBERRA
15
9+ for a game, e.g. : AGELEVEL
16
Program starting with the fifth year of college, informally : POSTBAC
19
Like 100-1 odds : SLIM
20
Popular gardening shoe : CROC
22
Early vintner, in the Bible : NOAH
23
Music genre associated with the goth look : EMO
26
Baudelaire's "___ Fleurs du Mal" : LES
30
Inch along : CREEP
31
The common folk : HOIPOLLOI
32
Picnic side dish : BAKEDBEANS
34
Trucker with a transmitter : CBER
35
Stuff of legends : LORE
36
Futuristic tracking device : IDCHIP
37
"Are we done here?," politely : MAYIGO
38
Bust, maybe : STATUE
40
Dines : SUPS
42
Recycling ___ : BIN
43
River mammal : OTTER
45
Flow of one line of a verse to the next without pause : ENJAMBMENT
47
Music genre from Asia : KPOP
48
Term of address from one girlfriend to another : SIS
50
IV, to III, e.g. : SON
52
{ } : EMPTYSET
55
Player of many an opera villain : BASSO
57
Stun : WOW
60
Family name on a 1960s sitcom : ADDAMS
61
Sorry : RUEFUL
62
Bygone military punishment : KPDUTY
64
___ king : ALA
65
Fantasy series that inspired "Game of Thrones," briefly : LOTR
67
What the thumbs-up emoji can mean : YES
70
Took a course? : ATE
72
Kosher ___ : DELI
74
Sleekly designed : AERO
75
Flared dress type : ALINE
77
Spice Girl also known as Sporty Spice : MELC
79
Bob Marley, for one : JAMAICAN
80
Liqueur often mixed with water : ANISETTE
81
Vacancy : OPENSLOT
83
One of the Avengers : IRONMAN
85
Fill to absolute capacity : JAMPACK
88
For all to see, in a way : RATEDG
91
Koala's tree : GUM
92
Marketing tactic : TIEIN
93
Australian band with the 1988 #1 hit "Need You Tonight" : INXS
95
"Ideas worth spreading" offshoot : TEDX
97
Mistakes : GOOFS
98
Singular : LONE
99
Speck : IOTA
100
Cleaning for military inspection : GIING
101
Happen again : RECUR
102
In lockstep : ASONE
104
Fervor : ZEAL
106
Lyft alternative : CAB
108
Nickname for a buddy : ACE
109
Bronx-born singer, familiarly : JLO
110
Bronx-born congresswoman, familiarly : AOC

Answer summary: 17 unique to this puzzle.

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