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New York Times, Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4812/11/201111/7/20182
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74962002
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1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 47 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jim Horne notes:
Jim and Jeff at the Puzzles continues all this week, and today, I get to go first. One staple of comedy is the character who takes ... read more

Jim and Jeff at the Puzzles continues all this week, and today, I get to go first.

One staple of comedy is the character who takes metaphorical phrases literally; think of Hymie the Robot in Get Smart. It's also a rich source of crossword themes. Today, FLOWERY LANGUAGE is, literally, phrases with flowers.

I haven't talked with Jeff Chen about this puzzle, but I can anticipate his objection. Two theme entries are noun phrases, one is a verb phrase, and one is a comparative expression. One and only one is an actual flower, as well as an epithet. Purists like more consistency than that. If the theme phrases are fun, I'm happy leaving the hobgoblins chained in the basement. Don't feed them. You'll enjoy life more without them.

WOE IS I is a fun title for a surprisingly entertaining and useful book. I don't often see GAWP outside of crosswords. OXYMORON gets a straightforward clue, but "original copy" and "open secret" are amusing examples. "Ambulances' hosp. destinations" struck me as an odd clue for ERS since Emergency Rooms aren't typically the destinations for the ambulances themselves, but I get the idea. With an entry as common and as awkward as ERS, it's tough to plow new ground, especially for an early-week puzzle.

ENGLISH ROSE was considered quite a compliment when, say, my grandmother used it. I suspect it's now mostly used ironically. Maybe it's time to resurrect more flowery language.

Jeff Chen notes:
Ha! Shows what Jim knows. I barely noticed the lack of consistency. I'm no uber-picky perfectionist. Okay, it was the lack of ... read more

Ha! Shows what Jim knows. I barely noticed the lack of consistency. I'm no uber-picky perfectionist.

Okay, it was the lack of tightness that bugged me. Puzzles can be perfectly fine if you can choose among dozens or even hundreds of possible themers. But it's so elegant if you can employ a perfect set. Why ROSE and not … um … PANSY?

Why LILY and not … er …

Okay, maybe it was a tight set! Neat realization that so few flowers are used in this metaphorical sense.

Okay, I admit, Jim is right – I would have preferred each themer to be a simile, or each a noun phrase, etc. Consistency is so elegant. But if it's colorful — even flowery — language vs. consistency, I'd take the former any day.

Great gridwork, as I'd expect from Tim. Those big NW / SE corners are executed so well, hardly a weed yearning to be pulled. (TOI, yank!) The themers take up a huge amount of real estate, but Time deployed his black squares so wisely to separate them. And those chunks of black squares almost look like rows of flowers in a garden!

The wide-open spaces create a slight mismatch for an early-week puzzle – easy theme + tough fill creates solving dissonance – but I thought the long bonuses like METADATA over OXYMORON were worth it.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0911 ( 25,144 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Information about other information : METADATA
9. Make harmless, as a snake : DEFANG
15. "Original copy" or "open secret" : OXYMORON
16. "Ma-a-aybe" : ILLSEE
17. Shy sort : SHRINKINGVIOLET
19. Broke ground? : HOED
20. "You ___ busted!" : ARESO
21. Ambulances' hosp. destinations : ERS
22. Epithet for a British beauty with fair skin : ENGLISHROSE
28. Magnificent : STELLAR
30. Grp. meeting in a school gym, often : PTA
31. Long in the tooth : OLD
32. "Buffalo Bill," for William Cody : ALIAS
34. Warm and cozy : SNUG
35. High-flown speech or writing ... or a description of 17-, 22-, 51- and 57-Across? : FLOWERYLANGUAGE
41. Chops (off) : LOPS
42. Poseidon's realm : OCEAN
43. Letters on a wanted poster : AKA
44. $ource of ca$h : ATM
47. Places in one's cross hairs : TARGETS
51. Try to improve what is already beautiful : GILDTHELILY
54. Meadow : LEA
55. Very heavy : OBESE
56. Flying nuisance : GNAT
57. Full of energy and enthusiasm : ASFRESHASADAISY
63. 1996 best-selling guide for "grammarphobes" : WOEISI
64. One registering with the American Kennel Club : DOGOWNER
65. Chooses for office : ELECTS
66. Gumbo cookers : STEWPOTS
Down
1. Dances violently : MOSHES
2. Urge strongly : EXHORT
3. Rapper/actor Gibson : TYRESE
4. In the thick of : AMID
5. High-ranking Mafioso : DON
6. "Raiders of the Lost ___" : ARK
7. You, to Yves : TOI
8. Record of a year's events : ANNAL
9. Dump, as stocks : DIVEST
10. Elevator innovator Otis : ELISHA
11. Stop on an elevator : FLOOR
12. "Talking" system for the deaf, in brief : ASL
13. Born, in high society : NEE
14. Comprehend : GET
18. Firm hold : GRIP
22. Fashion magazine with a French name : ELLE
23. Hair removal brand : NAIR
24. Color of an overcast sky : GRAY
25. Actress Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA
26. Counterfeit token : SLUG
27. Rim : EDGE
29. Legislatures write them : LAWS
33. ___-mo replay : SLO
34. Like arias and anthems : SUNG
35. Something planted when claiming territory : FLAG
36. Troublemaking Norse god : LOKI
37. Milky white gem : OPAL
38. Opening on Broadway? : ACTI
39. Onetime radio host Boortz : NEAL
40. Larson who created "The Far Side" : GARY
44. If everything goes right : ATBEST
45. Grad student's big paper : THESIS
46. Blend well together : MESH
48. Pacific current that causes odd weather : ELNINO
49. Cups, saucers, sugar bowl, etc. : TEASET
50. Lustful goat-men of myth : SATYRS
52. Kind of column in ancient Greece : DORIC
53. Things detectives pursue : LEADS
56. Stare slack-jawed : GAWP
57. Slack-jawed feeling : AWE
58. Note after fa : SOL
59. Broker's charge : FEE
60. Boozehound : SOT
61. Grow long in the tooth : AGE
62. ___ Jones industrial average : DOW

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

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