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WORD LADDERS

New York Times, Sunday, September 20, 2020

One of the former Big Three information services, along with CompuServe and Prodigy

Author:
Sam Trabucco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2610/29/20155/15/20210
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5102369
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.66161
Sam Trabucco

This puzzle:

Rows: 22, Columns: 21 Words: 145, Blocks: 86 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 25 for Mr. Trabucco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Sam Trabucco is an American cryptocurrency trader based in Hong Kong. When he's not working, he enjoys playing board and card games, especially Magic: The Gathering and poker. Sam says one ... read more
Sam Trabucco notes:
This arose from a "how can I do something new with old theme types" brainstorm. Word ladders are classic crossword themes, and I've seen them maligned as hackneyed the last few times they ... read more
Jeff Chen notes:
A couple of years ago, I was at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, chatting with Patrick Berry about a devious (read: infamous) puzzle he'd made for the contest. It was a similar ... read more
Jim Horne notes:

66-Down is MIXED REVIEWS. In theatre-speak, that's code for universal pans.

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© 2020, The New York Times9/20/20 ( No. 25,884 )
Across
1
Something blurred to avoid trademark infringement : LOGO
5
"Well, that's ridiculous!" : PFFT
9
One method of coffee-making : DRIP
13
Fully intends to : SHALL
18
Reason for people to hide : SURPRISEPARTY
20
Bit of ancient text : RUNE
21
Home of Roma : ITALIA
22
Expert on nutrition : DIETITIAN
23
Bantering remark : JEST
24
Feature of Captain Ahab : PEGLEG
25
Many M.I.T. grads: Abbr. : EES
26
End of many a name on the periodic table : IUM
28
Doctor's hand covering : STERILEGLOVE
30
Tokyo, before it was Tokyo : EDO
31
Not wanted : UNDESIRABLE
34
Pop star Grande, to fans : ARI
35
French movie theaters : CINES
37
"Ki-i-i-i-nda" : ISH
38
"You're on!" : ITSABET
41
Black-market, say : ILLICIT
43
Occasion for male bonding, in modern lingo : BRODATE
46
Pressing need when on the go? : TRAVELIRON
48
Part of a media sales team, informally : ADREP
49
"Agreed" : ICONCUR
53
Philosopher who tutored Nero : SENECA
55
Message made with cut-out letters, stereotypically : RANSOMNOTE
57
Chowder ingredient : CLAM
60
Game in which each player starts with a score of 501 : DARTS
61
West Bank grp. : PLO
62
Social media avatar, for short : PROFILEPIC
65
Thing given as a concession : SOP
66
Castle defense : MOAT
67
Nobel winner Morrison : TONI
68
One who has a lot to offer? : REALTOR
71
Yellow variety of quartz : CITRINE
73
Norse troublemaker : LOKI
76
Spotted : SEEN
77
Fenway team, familiarly : SOX
78
"However hard I try ..." : FORTHELIFEOFME
81
Child-care expert LeShan : EDA
82
Parts of ziggurats : TIERS
85
Twin of Jacob in the Bible : ESAU
86
Lifetime achievement ceremonies, e.g. : AWARDGALAS
91
Bequeaths : ENDOWS
93
Difference between dark and light, in a way : TANLINE
95
Bacterium in some raw meat : ECOLI
96
Center of a cobbler : FRUITFILLING
99
Clorox cleanser : LESTOIL
101
Leaves alone : LETSLIE
102
Uses a modern engine : GOOGLES
106
Kenan's partner on an old sitcom : KEL
107
The "L" of B.L.M. : LIVES
108
"Geaux Tigers!" sch. : LSU
110
Love of money, per I Timothy 6:10 : ROOTOFALLEVIL
113
Brand of nail polish : OPI
114
Appeasing : MOLLIFYING
117
School closing? : ELL
118
One of the former Big Three information services, along with CompuServe and Prodigy : AOL
119
Words from a present giver : OPENIT
121
Sweetheart, in Rome : CARA
123
"That one's mine!" : ICALLDIBS
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Word often confused with "least" : FEWEST
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Frenzied : AGOG
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Sweet Mexican dessert : VANILLAFLAN
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Backsides, to Brits : ARSES
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Certain sneak : NIKE
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Caesar's accusation : ETTU
134
Like a fox : SEXY
Down
1
Counterculture drug, for short : LSD
2
Geneva accord? : OUI
3
Newbie : GREENHORN
4
Chose : OPTED
5
Bit of butter : PAT
6
Govt. org. with the motto "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity" : FBI
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Dramatic touches : FLAIRS
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Comedian Judy : TENUTA
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Nickname for basketball star Julius Erving : DRJ
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Is sorry about : RUES
11
Photo-sharing app, familiarly : INSTA
12
14th-century king of Aragon : PETERIV
13
Written using an outline : STENCILED
14
Witch : HAG
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Basketball star nicknamed "The Answer" : ALLENIVERSON
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Kind of test with unproven accuracy : LIEDETECTOR
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Largest city of Nigeria : LAGOS
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Word ladder, part 1 : RISE
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Big milestone for a start-up : IPO
27
Slangy "I messed up" : MYB
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Word ladder, part 2 : RILE
31
Old food label std. : USRDA
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Where an auto racer retires? : PIT
33
Enjoyed home cooking, say : ATEIN
36
"I Love It" duo ___ Pop : ICONA
37
Letter-shaped beam : IBAR
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When repeated, king of Siam's refrain in "The King and I" : ETC
40
Result of peace talks : TRUCE
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Some smartphones : LGS
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Oppressive ruler : DESPOT
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Lacking + or -, electrically : APOLAR
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"___ and Janis" (comic) : ARLO
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Whirlybirds : COPTERS
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Óscar's "other" : OTRO
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Gas that's lighter than air : NEON
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Nile danger : ASP
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Fire in "Jane Eyre," e.g. : MOTIF
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Like most lions : AFRICAN
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Mrs., abroad : MME
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Word ladder, part 3 : FILE
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Subsided : EASED
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*, *** and *****, say : MIXEDREVIEWS
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Where to find some cliffhangers? : LEDGES
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Unpopular legislation of 1773 : TEAACT
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N.F.L. referee, at the start of overtime : COINFLIPPER
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___ Valley (San Francisco area) : NOE
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Gem that's also a name : OPAL
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New Zealander : KIWI
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Start of some Quebec place names: Abbr. : STE
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French filmmaker Jacques : TATI
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Celebrity chef Eddie : HUANG
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Way to go : ROUTE
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Hot cocoa brand : SWISSMISS
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Sublease : RELET
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"Be sharp!" : LOOKALIVE
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Frequent tabloid cover subject : ALIEN
90
Spot for a houseplant : SILL
92
Letters on a Cardinal's cap : STL
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Greenpeace or the W.W.F., for short : NGO
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Word ladder, part 4 : FILL
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Optimistic assertion : YESICAN
100
"___ Beso," Paul Anka hit : ESO
103
Prospector's find : ORE
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Start streaming, e.g. : GOLIVE
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Internet meme with grammatically incorrect captions : LOLCAT
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Shower scrubber : LOOFA
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Eel, on a sushi menu : UNAGI
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Word ladder, part 5 : FALL
112
Prospectors' finds : LODES
115
Mel of baseball : OTT
116
Understand, informally : GROK
120
Clarifying word on a school reunion nametag : NEE
122
Tinder bio info : AGE
124
Amazon worker : ANT
125
"Kill Bill" co-star Lucy : LIU
126
Jazz composer Beiderbecke : BIX
127
Like a fox : SLY

Answer summary: 18 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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