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New York Times, Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4912/11/20111/3/20192
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74962102
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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 )
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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