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SIZE MATTERS

New York Times, Sunday, September 10, 2017

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1838/7/19964/28/201916
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
365152018482615
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 74 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 174 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
A mash-up of letter addition and sound change today, using the 'sigh' sound. Static cling becomes STATIC CYCLING, low frequency to SILO FREQUENCY, etc. Took me a while to figure out some ... read more

A mash-up of letter addition and sound change today, using the "sigh" sound. Static cling becomes STATIC CYCLING, low frequency to SILO FREQUENCY, etc. Took me a while to figure out some of the base phrases, as BEQ did a nice job of employing obfuscating spelling changes like GONE to SAIGON and NIGH to SINAI.

I was going to applaud the non-repetition of any one "sigh" addition, but there's CLING to CYCLING and CLONES to CYCLONES. Ah well.

Humor is so subjective. None of the themers made me laugh out loud, but they were all decent. Well, except for SHARK SIPHON SOUP. That one felt inconsistent, as the "in" sound of "fin" didn't stay the same. (I pronounce "siphon" with an "un" sound. Have I been wrong all these years?) The resulting phrase felt awkward, too.

Eight themers are slightly above average (we usually see seven on Sundays), but there's a good amount of crossword glue that I'm not used to seeing in a BEQ puzzle. Nothing was major, but with a listing of AME, ALAI (can only clue in one way), STA, MAI, IMA, AAR, YOO, INST, GAI, etc. it felt like it didn't hit the high standard I expect from BEQ.

The title also felt wonky. I get the play on SIZE MATTERS = "sigh" sounds matter. But that singular vs. plural (matter vs. matters) makes the wordplay not work for me. Perhaps a play on SIGHS would have been better? Or SUPERSIZED?

I did like some of the bonuses though — BLARNEY, COMPOTE, WENT PRO, and especially BAR EXAMS with its brilliant clue, playing off of "practice tests." Since the theme didn't personally hit me that well, these bonuses strewn throughout the puzzle were very welcome.

1
B
2
E
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S
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A
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F
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E
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J
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U
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L
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I
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A
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N
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A
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S
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C
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A
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R
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A
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A
M
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A
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O
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N
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T
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C
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M
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S
T
A
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C
Y
C
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O
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H
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R
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L
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E
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A
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I
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D
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K
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Y
T
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O
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Q
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U
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C
Y
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S
A
O
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I
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C
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D
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N
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S
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U
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S
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L
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M
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A
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Y
L
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M
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H
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P
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C
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Y
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H
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W
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P
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E
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N
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A
V
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H
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H
A
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C
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A
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W
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R
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S
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A
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H
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B
L
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A
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Y
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A
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A
L
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O
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M
O
A
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N
A
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L
U
C
A
S
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Y
O
O
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S
T
O
K
E
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R
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T
B
A
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L
A
D
O
G
A
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N
U
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B
I
A
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D
R
A
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W
S
S
I
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N
A
I
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M
U
Y
90
P
A
R
T
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V
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S
N
I
P
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V
O
X
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M
M
E
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R
E
A
I
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R
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U
N
U
98
S
E
D
99
G
A
I
100
S
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I
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L
E
N
T
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U
103
P
P
O
R
T
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O
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B
O
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S
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T
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T
R
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X
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I
M
A
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R
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I
F
L
E
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S
E
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E
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R
E
N
A
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U
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L
T
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S
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A
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I
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G
O
N
F
I
S
120
H
I
N
G
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E
N
E
M
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E
S
122
S
C
R
U
B
S
123
S
A
M
O
S
A
124
W
E
S
S
E
X
125
T
E
N
E
T
126
S
T
O
N
E
D
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0910 ( 24,778 )
Across
1
"Watch yourself out there" : BESAFE
7
Comic Sweeney : JULIA
12
___ All-Star Race (annual event since 1985) : NASCAR
18
Getaway for meditation : ASHRAM
19
Rub oil on : ANOINT
21
Fruit dessert : COMPOTE
22
Spin class activity? : STATICCYCLING
24
City with one of the SUNY schools : ONEONTA
25
That craft : HER
26
TV host Gibbons : LEEZA
27
What Siri runs on : IOS
29
SC Johnson product with a lightning bolt in its logo : RAID
30
Wireless data and messaging company : SKYTEL
32
Number of appearances in a grain holder? : SILOFREQUENCY
38
___ Tomé (African capital) : SAO
39
Stuck at a ski lodge, say : ICEDIN
41
Wallops : SLUGS
42
Like long chances : SLIM
44
River near the start of an alphabetical list : AAR
45
Primordial universe matter : YLEM
47
What people sing when they don't know the words : LALAS
49
Au courant, once : HEP
50
Storms that don't offend? : PCCYCLONES
53
Actress Christina : RICCI
55
God, to Hebrews : YAHWEH
57
Staple of Hawaiian cuisine : POI
58
Mammals with webbed feet : OTTERS
60
Business with a guestbook : INN
62
French 101 verb : AVOIR
63
Appropriate rhyme for "cache" : STASH
65
Robust : HALE
66
RC, for one : COLA
67
Left college athletics, maybe : WENTPRO
69
Lesley of CBS News : STAHL
71
Nonsense : BLARNEY
73
Second hand: Abbr. : ASST
74
Loads : ALOT
76
2016 Disney hit : MOANA
78
George who founded Industrial Light & Magic : LUCAS
79
"___-hoo!" : YOO
80
Position on a steamship : STOKER
82
Schedule inits. : TBA
83
Europe's largest lake : LADOGA
84
Region of ancient Egypt : NUBIA
86
Makes a quick map of an Egyptian peninsula? : DRAWSSINAI
89
Very, in Veracruz : MUY
90
Sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel : PARTV
92
Action at a bris : SNIP
93
Popular website that explains the news : VOX
94
Lille women: Abbr. : MMES
95
Not debut : REAIR
97
Mint : UNUSED
99
War su ___ (boneless chicken dish) : GAI
100
Opening performers that are all mimes? : SILENTSUPPORT
104
Orchestra tuner : OBOIST
107
Brand with a rabbit symbol : TRIX
108
"___ little confused" : IMA
109
It has a lock, stock and barrel : RIFLE
111
Take in : SEE
113
Citroën competitor : RENAULT
116
Rod-and-reel event in old Vietnam? : SAIGONFISHING
121
North and South Korea, e.g. : ENEMIES
122
Nurse's outfit : SCRUBS
123
Indian appetizer : SAMOSA
124
Prince Edward's earldom : WESSEX
125
Belief : TENET
126
High as a kite : STONED
Down
1
Big party : BASH
2
Photorealist painter Richard : ESTES
3
Order to a pool hustler to suck up some broth? : SHARKSIPHONSOUP
4
"So vast is ___, so narrow human wit": Alexander Pope : ART
5
Do not : FAILTO
6
Run the show : EMCEE
7
Rapper with the music streaming service Tidal : JAYZ
8
Take out, as wine bottles : UNCASE
9
"Haha" : LOL
10
Due east on an old clock dial : III
11
Common female middle name : ANN
12
Smoking or ___ : NON
13
Black church inits. : AME
14
Spot on a fern frond : SPORESAC
15
TBS late-night show : CONAN
16
Room with a slanted roof : ATTIC
17
All systems go : READY
20
Cry to kick off the weekend : TGIF
21
"Down goes Frazier!" sportscaster : COSELL
23
Relating to the abdominal cavity : CELIAC
28
Surg. locales : ORS
31
Nonstandard verb from Popeye : YAM
33
Pastoral poet : IDYLIST
34
"___ & Stitch" : LILO
35
Common opening bid in bridge : ONENO
36
Argument : QUARREL
37
Fruit with greenish-yellow rinds : UGLIS
40
TV's "Tales From the ___" : CRYPT
42
Suddenly start, as in fright : SHYAWAY
43
Strands, as a base runner : LEAVESON
44
German lament : ACH
46
Workplaces with a need for speed : METHLABS
48
Government group on offspring? : SCIONCOMMISSION
50
Felon, to a cop : PERP
51
Drink holders : COASTERS
52
Greyhound stop: Abbr. : STA
54
Plotting (with) : INLEAGUE
56
Alicia of "Urban Legend," 1998 : WITT
59
Ex-isle of exile : ELBA
61
Denies : NAYSAYS
63
Play alone : SOLO
64
Jerry Lewis, notably : HAM
66
"Oh, fudge" : CRUD
68
Snare drum sound : RATATAT
70
Rebel in "Henry IV, Part 1" : HOTSPUR
72
Jai ___ : ALAI
75
Green-lit : OKD
77
Green : NAIVE
80
Tornado warning : SIREN
81
Raised, as a flag : RANUP
83
Laissez-faire : LAX
85
Pre-practice tests? : BAREXAMS
87
Lush's favorite radio station? : WINO
88
Drowse : NODOFF
91
Santa makes millions of them every Christmas : VISITS
94
French month : MAI
96
Ingredient in an Aunt Agatha : RUM
98
Blinking light : STROBE
99
Attacks : GOESAT
100
Cast about : STREW
101
Chemistry Nobelist Joliot-Curie : IRENE
102
Understudy's study : LINES
103
Ticket : PASS
105
Ignorance, so they say : BLISS
106
Nerve-racking : TENSE
110
Think tank, e.g.: Abbr. : INST
112
"Heavens!" : EGAD
114
It may be pulled after a wrong turn : UIE
115
Old law : LEX
117
Do something : ACT
118
Heat : IRE
119
Heater : GUN
120
H.R. offering for employees : HMO

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?