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SACK TIME

New York Times, Sunday, September 11, 2016

Author:
Ned White and George Barany
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
251/16/20109/11/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1206259
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58020
Ned White
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
101/22/200611/11/201710
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2010322
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55120
George Barany

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 77 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. White. This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Barany. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
NW: A while back I told my wife Carla I wanted to do a Sunday about one of my favorite things. She said, 'Napping?' and I said, 'Close enough.' So began a puzzle that I wanted to design as ... read more

NW: A while back I told my wife Carla I wanted to do a Sunday about one of my favorite things. She said, "Napping?" and I said, "Close enough." So began a puzzle that I wanted to design as a hybrid — part picture puzzle with positionally relevant theme answers, part wordplay answers about various layers of bedding that were partly stagger-stacked. When I first submitted it, MONSTER was under the bed along with DUST BUNNIES, sevens Z's in the bed and SOUND ASLEEP over it — along with other entries like DRIFT OFF, 'NIGHT ALL, NYTOL, and (White) NOISE. Will liked the concept but there were problems with the fill, and unfortunately the bed image had four black squares touching its four corners and wasn't quite "bed-like" enough. That's when I sent out a call for help.

GB: Along with several other friends, I had test solved earlier iterations of Ned's original highly ambitious concept for this puzzle, and was delighted to see my alma mater STUYVESANT going down to the right of the bed. Imagine my surprise when Ned came back to me, asking for help revising the puzzle; you would be surprised too if you were in the middle of a NAP like I was. Long story made exceedingly short, we dialed back on the ambition, changed several of the theme entries and their locations, and started from scratch on the grid — all told, we probably went through two dozen significant variations before coming up with something that the two of us, along with Will and his team, were all satisfied with. Lights out, and back to Ned.

NW: When I first saw Will's clues for the five "bedding" entries, I was sorry to see the loss of the wordplay clues (example: COVER STORY: "How did I get this quilt? Therein lies a tale..."?), but soon realized straight cluing was a much stronger approach, with more "ahas" for solvers, since the theme entries don't shout out — they need to be discovered. Very cool. Thanks to the whole gang — with a special nod to David Steinberg — for their contributions. This was my first collaboration, a great experience, and a team effort all around.

Jeff Chen notes:
Given my short attention span, I like having an easy-peasy Sunday puzzle every once in a while — today's fit that bill. I enjoyed the 'bed' visual formed by black squares in the ... read more

Given my short attention span, I like having an easy-peasy Sunday puzzle every once in a while — today's fit that bill. I enjoyed the "bed" visual formed by black squares in the middle of the grid, and the MONSTER / DUST BUNNY hiding underneath gave me a grin. Something so playful about that! The rest of the theme was a bit straightforward for my taste — phrases containing the words PILLOW, BLANKET, SHEETS, PAD — but it was nice that they came in the correct order of making one's bed. (If you waste your time on such nonsense as making your bed, folding your clothes, etc.)

Some long fill forced by the bed visual. Any time you work with such a long line of black squares, you have to surround it with entries of equal length or longer — otherwise, you'd create a two-letter word. It's very difficult to stack long entries like this, but SLEEPOVER / ADD TO THE MIX / SAW LOGS is sure a nice result.

Stacking entries in this way comes at a price. Not a surprise that it's the rockiest place in the grid, with OLDS / GET A / PTL / URI working hard to hold everything in place. Each one of those is minor, but as a whole, that's a lot of glue. The other side came out much smoother, with just a WDS as the cost. Very nice work on the underside of the bed.

And with so much theme material — along with the bed visual — there are just so many places where themers must interact with each other. The lower left exemplifies this. CAME DOWN IN SHEETS is atop MESSAGE PAD, and the black squares try so hard to give good separation, but there's just so much overlap to deal with. SANDIA crossing SCARNE might be a killer for some, and ISSO / PREF / INE / APACE / LST is not an unusual price for such an arrangement of themers.

Although there were a few glue-laden regions throughout the grid, most everything was gettable and came easy. And the visual of that bed, with the MONSTER underneath, brought forth some really fun "Monsters Inc." type imagery.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0911 ( 24,414 )
Across
1
Figaro, e.g. : BARBER
7
Foal : horse :: calf : ___ : ELK
10
___ Trueheart (Dick Tracy's wife) : TESS
14
Ahab's post : HELM
18
Reply to "Look at that!" : ISEEIT
19
Jungle menace : BOA
20
Things insomniacs count : SHEEP
21
Lollapalooza : ONER
22
Magazine's lead : COVERSTORY
24
Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedy : PILLOWTALK
26
Habituate : ENURE
27
Roosevelt of note : ELEANOR
29
Fear of a claustrophobe, for short : MRI
30
Month before juin : MAI
31
Hatchery sound : PEEP
32
There are no ifs, ands or buts about it : BLANKETSTATEMENT
35
Craft the U.S. government has never recognized : UFO
37
Memo segue : ASTO
38
Tryster with Tristan : ISOLDE
39
Study of caves : SPELEOLOGY
46
One making a pitch? : TUNER
48
In a slapdash way : LAXLY
49
Pajama party : SLEEPOVER
53
Stone, to Caesar : LAPIS
57
French Dadaist : ARP
58
Toss in : ADDTOTHEMIX
60
Buttonless garment : SARI
61
Cried over spilled milk, maybe : MEOWED
64
Snore loudly : SAWLOGS
65
Reddish-brown : RUSSET
67
One in front of a train : BRIDE
68
Prince Valiant's love : ALETA
69
Cocktail sauce ingredient : CATSUP
70
What a child may think is under the [puzzle's central image] : MONSTER
77
Positive response to "Parlez-vous anglais?" : YESIDO
79
Slushy drink brand : ICEE
80
Most jump shots : TWOPOINTERS
83
Charisse of "Brigadoon" : CYD
84
Gumbo ingredients : OKRAS
86
What a parent may think is under the [puzzle's central image] : DUSTBUNNY
87
Lout : YAHOO
89
"What services ___ thou do?": King Lear : CANST
91
London home to many John Constable paintings : TATEMUSEUM
93
"___ on Cards," classic 1949 book : SCARNE
96
Like O's in most typefaces : OVAL
100
Letters between two names : AKA
101
Rained cats and dogs : CAMEDOWNINSHEETS
107
"Huh?" : WHAT
111
Kwik-E-Mart clerk : APU
112
Like Verdi's "Caro nome" : INE
113
Poll worker's request : VOTERID
114
Command to a dog : SHAKE
115
Item on a telephone stand : MESSAGEPAD
118
Line at the end of a day's diary : ANDSOTOBED
120
Choice: Abbr. : PREF
121
Speedily : APACE
122
Twist-___ : TIE
123
Rang : CALLED
124
"That ___ wrong" : ISSO
125
"Auld Lang ___" : SYNE
126
The other woman : HER
127
Super-handsome : DREAMY
Down
1
Big feature of Popeye, informally : BICEP
2
United : ASONE
3
Variety show : REVUE
4
Tavern tap handle : BEERPULL
5
Galway Bay locale, to locals : EIRE
6
QB guarders : RTS
7
Menace in 2014 news : EBOLA
8
Record six-time David di Donatello Award winner for Best Actress : LOREN
9
Popular airfare finder : KAYAK
10
Yen : THIRST
11
Fish that can swim forward and backward : EEL
12
2014 Oscar-nominated film set in Alabama : SELMA
13
___ Life, "Porgy and Bess" character : SPORTIN
14
All the rage : HOT
15
Paint choice : ENAMEL
16
Cadillac founder Henry : LELAND
17
Title character in a "Sgt. Pepper" song : MRKITE
20
TV ads : SPOTS
23
Office no. : TEL
25
Late author and Peace Nobelist : WIESEL
28
PBS supporter, for short : NEA
32
Relative of a raspberry : BOO
33
Tribal figures : TOTEMS
34
Sloughs : MORASSES
36
Elflike : FEY
39
Dis : SLAM
40
Trim : PAREBACK
41
The world's largest is China : EXPORTER
42
Acid : LSD
43
Ma and pa, with "the" : OLDS
44
"___ grip!" : GETA
45
"That hurts!" : YEOW
47
New England state sch. : URI
50
1970s-'80s TV's "The ___ Club" : PTL
51
"I see what you're doing!" : OHO
52
Kick back, with "out" : VEG
54
Hodgepodge : PASTICHE
55
"Roger that" : IREADYOU
56
Command to a dog : SIT
58
More than capable : ADEPT
59
Doctors' orders : XRAYS
62
Know-it-all : WISEACRE
63
Start to -tainment : EDU
66
Relative of -let : ULE
69
Corporate tech head, for short : CIO
70
Alternative to boeuf or poulet : MOUTON
71
Word with black or photo : OPS
72
Sarcasm clarification : NOT
73
Bro or sis : SIB
74
Fastener designed to leave a flush surface : TNUT
75
Geographical eponym of an insurance company : ETNA
76
The check that's in the mail, maybe : RENT
78
Former Laker Lamar : ODOM
81
O.E.D. contents: Abbr. : WDS
82
Companion to whiskey in "American Pie" : RYE
85
New Mexico's ___ National Laboratories : SANDIA
87
Chortle : YUK
88
All things considered : ASAWHOLE
90
Motel sign filler : NEONGAS
92
"No ___!" ("I give!") : MAS
93
Shrimp ___ : SCAMPI
94
Shenanigans : CAPERS
95
Tickles : AMUSES
97
Lively, on a score : VIVACE
98
Battery part : ANODE
99
D-Day vessel: Abbr. : LST
102
Teary-eyed : WEEPY
103
___ bar (popular candy) : HEATH
104
Muppet with a "rubber duckie" : ERNIE
105
Source of some quilt stuffing : EIDER
106
Pride of Lions, for short? : TDS
108
"___ español?" : HABLA
109
Prince ___, Eddie Murphy's role in "Coming to America" : AKEEM
110
Roosevelt of note : TEDDY
114
Part of a rating : STAR
116
Destination for some BART riders, for short : SFO
117
Put down in writing? : PAN
119
Cause of a tic, for short : OCD

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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