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ADDING ON

New York Times, Sunday, September 25, 2016

Author:
Jim Holland and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
311/16/20159/25/20161
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1110000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55000
Jim Holland
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1087/5/20102/11/202067
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2779202898
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.638252
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 68 Missing: {JXZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Holland. This is puzzle # 57 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Jim came up with a theme idea Will liked, but he had trouble with the construction, going through three grid submissions with none of them accepted. Producing a basic Sunday 140-worder is ... read more

Jim came up with a theme idea Will liked, but he had trouble with the construction, going through three grid submissions with none of them accepted. Producing a basic Sunday 140-worder is hard enough, and to spice it up with a few strong entries, while keeping it relatively free of ugly gluey bits, is a formidable task.

So Will put Jim and me in touch. I liked the theme pretty well — GOLDING DIGGER tickled me — and I have a hard time resisting a grid-building challenge. With Jim's offer of a collaboration, I dove in.

Even after many years of making Sunday puzzles now, they rarely come together easily. Nothing different with this one. It took about 20 iterations before finally sensing that this fortuitously interlocking arrangement (SQUARE ROOTING crossing FASTING FORWARD) might be a good direction forward.

Even though I've worked with Will for years now, I'm always learning more about his preferences. I have picked up that one of his least favorite type of entry is the little-known acronym, because these are impossible for some solvers to figure out. For example, there's no way to convey the real meaning of MMPORG, is there? (Massively multi-player online role-playing game.) So it shouldn't have come as a surprise when Will kicked back the grid we finally submitted, which depended on OBO ("or best offer," in classified ads). My spidey sense actually did tingle a little when I put it in — I should have listened.

OBO was unfortunately right in the middle of the grid, so Jim tasked himself with redoing the middle section. It was a very tough region, so he ended up with a few things like RELOST, which I wasn't fond of. The final product you see today was the result of yet another redo.

I still like OBO better than OSE (which replaced it), but I think Will has a point — OSE is something people can figure out based on sucrose, fructose, etc.

Never easy, these Sunday 140-worders.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0925 ( 24,428 )
Across
1
Lament after being backstabbed : ETTU
5
Crack up : GOMAD
10
Test one's metal? : ASSAY
15
Down : SAD
18
Classic word game : GHOST
20
Dollar competitor : ALAMO
21
Contemptible sort : SWINE
22
"___ linda!" ("How pretty!," in Spanish) : QUE
23
One who's dunzo : GONER
24
Glossy fabric : SATIN
25
Dancer's leader : SANTA
26
The Bulldogs of the S.E.C. : UGA
27
Line at the side of a photo : CREDIT
29
Hoopster observing Ramadan? : FASTINGFORWARD
32
Electric ___ : EEL
33
Shepherd's pie bit : PEA
35
River through Seoul : HAN
36
Bakery buy : BUN
37
Nearly dried-up Asian sea : ARAL
38
Country whose name becomes its language when you drop its last letter : LAOS
40
Frequent Winter Olympics setting : ALPS
43
Sign from a third base coach, say : STEAL
45
Van Susteren formerly of Fox News : GRETA
46
Gangster Luciano performing a risqué prank? : LUCKYSTREAKING
49
Ankle-exposing pants : CAPRIS
50
"___ been thinking ..." : IVE
51
Captains on The Atlantic, briefly? : EDS
52
By and large : MOSTLY
54
Neighbor of N.Y. : ONT
55
Young swan : CYGNET
58
Colleens : LASSES
60
Uncommon spelling for a common greeting : HALLO
62
Whole ___ : FOODS
63
I.Q. test name : BINET
64
1982 #1 hit with the line "Watch out boy she'll chew you up" : MANEATER
67
Look lecherously : OGLE
68
Hobo at the wheel? : BUMSTEERING
71
Cunningness : WILE
72
Many web advertisements : SIDEBARS
74
Overly indulge in : ABUSE
75
Movie Hall : ANNIE
76
Bridge words : IPASS
77
Evil spirits : DEMONS
79
Gently jabbed : NUDGED
80
Enliven, with "up" : GIN
82
Build-it-yourself auto : KITCAR
84
Sugar suffix : OSE
85
Flatow of NPR's "Science Friday" : IRA
86
Drops a line : ANGLES
88
Where to buy certain Christmas decorations? : STOCKINGMARKET
94
Early PC platform : MSDOS
95
Link with : TIETO
96
Accident-investigating agcy. : NTSB
97
Part of STEM, for short : TECH
98
Long tale : EPIC
99
___-pah : OOM
100
Subzero, maybe : ICY
102
One whose life is in order? : NUN
104
Lament : RUE
105
Mild form of corporal punishment? : LIGHTSWITCHING
110
Poor : SUBPAR
112
Home of the Pampas: Abbr. : ARG
113
"Rumor has it ..." : IHEAR
114
Partner of live : LEARN
116
Actress Swinton : TILDA
117
Golfer Michelle : WIE
118
"Scooby-Doo" girl : VELMA
119
Commercial cow : ELSIE
120
Brownstone feature : STOOP
121
The Bosporus, e.g.: Abbr. : STR
122
Haven : OASIS
123
Change with the times : ADAPT
124
Moving well : SPRY
Down
1
Ovum : EGGCELL
2
"Walden" writer : THOREAU
3
"Wild Thing" rapper : TONELOC
4
How many college textbooks are bought : USED
5
Lot of fun, informally : GAS
6
Saint for whom a Minnesota college is named : OLAF
7
___ Hari : MATA
8
Powerless group? : AMISH
9
"It's worse than you can imagine" : DONTASK
10
Org. : ASSN
11
Party handouts : SWAGBAGS
12
Wicked : SINFUL
13
___ Chigurh, villain in "No Country for Old Men" : ANTON
14
It takes months to complete : YEAR
15
Cheering done in a plaza? : SQUAREROOTING
16
Baked with breadcrumbs and cheese : AUGRATIN
17
Bringing up the rear : DEADLAST
19
Set off, as a security alarm : TRIP
28
China display : TEASET
30
Under the wire, so to speak : INTIME
31
___ speed : WARP
34
Cockpit datum: Abbr. : ALT
39
Merely superficial : SKINDEEP
41
Olympics events rarely shown in prime time : PRELIMS
42
Carried chairs : SEDANS
44
Nephew of Cain : ENOS
45
King who's a friend of Oprah : GAYLE
47
First name in fashion : YVES
48
Word after liquid or fixed : ASSET
49
Sword fight sound : CLANG
53
___ of Glamis, title in Shakespeare : THANE
55
Corp. money pros : CFOS
56
One holding many positions : YOGI
57
Big fan of the "Lord of the Flies" author? : GOLDINGDIGGER
59
Mirror buildup, at times : STEAM
61
Dangerous backyard projectile : LAWNDART
63
Pop : BURST
64
Erroneously hit "reply all" instead of "reply," say : MISSENT
65
Late author Wiesel : ELIE
66
Thatching material : REED
68
Underpinning : BASIS
69
Text on an iPad, say : EBOOK
70
Collars : RUNSIN
73
Really feels the heat : BAKES
75
See 79-Down : AURA
77
Hoped-for result of swiping right on Tinder : DATE
78
Hot : EROTIC
79
75-Down around a saint : NIMBUS
80
Wardens enforce them : GAMELAWS
81
Emotionally, if not physically : INSPIRIT
83
TV spinoff of 2002 : CSIMIAMI
87
Narrow arm of the sea : LOCH
89
Part of the inner ear : COCHLEA
90
Channel with "Family Feud" reruns : GSN
91
Sound of a pebble hitting water : KERPLOP
92
Galápagos Islands' country : ECUADOR
93
Setting for many New Yorker cartoons : THERAPY
95
They get wetter as they dry : TOWELS
99
Actor Milo : OSHEA
101
Bottom line : YIELD
103
Beer ___ : NUTS
106
DVR choice : TIVO
107
Refrain syllables : TRAS
108
Pluto flyby org. : NASA
109
Enthrall : GRIP
111
They come straight from the horse's mouth : BITS
115
Bottom line : NET

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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