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SACK TIME

New York Times, Sunday, September 11, 2016

Author: Ned White and George Barany
Editor: Will Shortz
Ned White
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
201/16/201010/19/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1104248
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59010
George Barany
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
101/22/200611/11/201710
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2010322
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55120

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 a hybrid — part ... more
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 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 middle of the grid, and the ... more
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 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 Down
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
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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