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UNITED KINGDOM

New York Times, Sunday, September 3, 2017

Author:
Andrew Zhou
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/11/20101/5/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3021533
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62241
Andrew Zhou

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 74 Missing: {XZ} This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Zhou. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Zhou notes:
Who ISN'T captivated by stories of unusual animal friendships? This list of theme entries took a while to get right (and still, only a few weeks ago, I realized STEPHENHAWKING's name ... read more

Who ISN'T captivated by stories of unusual animal friendships?

This list of theme entries took a while to get right (and still, only a few weeks ago, I realized STEPHENHAWKING's name also has this property). The original submission contained DRONESTAGRAM, an Instagram-type site for aerial photos, but for Will, it was less "three's company" than "three's a crowd."

Upon revision, which required nearly the whole puzzle to be razed, interesting entries like 55-across presented themselves—I dedicate that to all my friends who attended this fine institution. Many are musicians, composers, and puzzlers, incidentally. I learned about 107D (EGOT) from "30 Rock," produced by 20D (LORNE Michaels). 78D has a property that I hope will cause some solvers to consider 96A (You might pass one in a race) to be BACON. 119A came up in the revision; after I emailed Will about greenlighting its usage, he replied: "SNOT-NOSED is a little rude, so it's something I would try not to use. Still, if it makes for the best fill, go ahead."

On that note, I wish you all a peaceful and enjoyable long weekend.

Jeff Chen notes:
Just when I think I've seen it all when it comes to 'words hidden in phrases' themes, something innovative crops up. Kudos to Andrew for doing something new with it — finding words ... read more

Just when I think I've seen it all when it comes to "words hidden in phrases" themes, something innovative crops up. Kudos to Andrew for doing something new with it — finding words like LAMB inside phrases is one thing, but finding connected word pairs like LAMB / ASS is on a different level!

Great revealer in ANIMAL MAGNETISM, too. I've seen this phrase used in a couple of crosswords now, and it's cool to get so many different interpretations from different constructors. It would have been incredible to get theme phrases that had the male / female animal-specific terms, like BULL / COW or COCK / HEN, but I imagine that's impossible.

I did wonder if this would have made for a better weekday (15x15) puzzle than a Sunday, as the theme was straightforward once I figured out the gist. But there's something nice about a straightforward Sunday puzzle once in a while — I imagine that some (many?) novice Sunday solvers breathe a huge sigh of relief when the theme is something they can easily understand.

I also thought Andrew did a great job in executing his grid, going down to 136 words to give solvers an extra challenge ... WITHOUT COMPROMISING MUCH to accomplish this. To work in bonuses like NINJA LOANS, STAGE NAME, IMPROVISE, PAW PRINT, NEW MOON, etc. with just a smattering of ILO, DCI, GAOL, LITRE, TAE, is fantastic work. I did worry at first after encountering both ILO and DCI right off the bat, but thankfully, that didn't persist.

I think Sunday constructors need to earn their right to work with sub-140 word puzzles, as a great majority accept bad compromises to dip into those difficult waters. I'd give Andrew that green light based on his standout execution.

Not a mind-blowing theme, but I enjoyed the added level of complexity in the "words hidden within phrases" genre. Along with sharp execution featuring great bonuses in the fill, this one gets my POW!

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0903 ( 24,771 )
Across
1
Mayhem : DISORDER
9
Bowfishing need : ARROW
14
Happy event after a split? : SPARE
19
Really happening : ULTRACOOL
21
"Don Juan" girl : LEILA
22
Prince of ___ : WALES
23
*Law enforcer with the Coast Guard : BOARDINGOFFICER
25
"___ we lucky?" : ARENT
26
Nat ___ Wild (cable channel) : GEO
27
More decisive : SURER
28
Place for stars : MARQUEE
30
Buffet heater : STERNO
33
*It passes on some bits of information : INTERNETROUTER
37
What the last letter of 107-Down stands for : TONY
38
Very puzzled : ATSEA
40
Record collection? : ARCHIVE
41
Constellation next to Corona Australis : ARA
42
___ Jahan, leader who commissioned the Taj Mahal : SHAH
43
___ Jorge (part of the Azores) : SAO
44
Little sucker? : STRAW
48
*Philosopher who wrote "Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made" : IMMANUELKANT
53
"Works for me" : OKSURE
54
Company known for combining expertise? : DEERE
55
Presidents Taft, Ford, Clinton and both Bushes : YALEALUMNI
59
Remain : LIE
60
What the Tower of London was for over 850 years : GAOL
63
Adhere (to) : HEW
64
Utter, as a sound : EMIT
65
One put in bed? : SEED
66
*Celebrities working for the U.N., perhaps : GOODWILLAMBASSADORS
71
Disposition : BENT
72
International fusion restaurant chain : NOBU
73
Hall-of-Fame Bruin : ORR
74
Tater : SPUD
75
Common Korean surname : LEE
76
Low-quality bank offerings whose acronym suggests stealthiness : NINJALOANS
79
A little teary : MOIST
83
Peevish : INAPET
85
*Certain photo poster : INSTAGRAMMER
88
Island nation that was once part of the Spanish East Indies : PALAU
89
TV's NBA on ___ : TNT
91
Tribe that gave its name to a state : UTES
92
Grp. of people puttering around? : PGA
93
Tow truck : WRECKER
96
You might pass one in a race : BATON
98
Onetime Yankee nickname : AROD
99
*Business bigwigs : CORPORATEELITE
103
Seep through : OSMOSE
105
Like a bogey : OVERPAR
106
Tie up quickly? : ELOPE
108
Cleveland athlete, familiarly : CAV
109
Educator Montessori : MARIA
110
Sex appeal ... or a hint to the answers to the six starred clues : ANIMALMAGNETISM
117
Main force : BRUNT
118
Bring to a full amount : TOPUP
119
Bratty : SNOTNOSED
120
Big instrument in electronic music, informally : SYNTH
121
Pillow covers : SHAMS
122
Washington newsmaker of 1980 : STHELENS
Down
1
Start to call : DUB
2
U.N. workers' grp. : ILO
3
Handle in the entertainment industry : STAGENAME
4
Solar system model : ORRERY
5
Home testing kit target : RADON
6
Early seventh-century year : DCI
7
Very long spans : EONS
8
In a mischievous manner : ROGUISHLY
9
Actress Woodard : ALFRE
10
Big seller of outdoor gear : REI
11
Ocasek of the Cars : RIC
12
Call with a charge? : OLE
13
Geniality : WARMTH
14
Crystal jewelry company with a swan in its logo : SWAROVSKI
15
Some patterned floors : PARQUETS
16
Fox Islands dweller : ALEUT
17
___ Elise Goldsberry, 37-Across winner for "Hamilton" : RENEE
18
Poly- follower : ESTER
20
TV producer Michaels : LORNE
24
Cheese often served with olives : FETA
29
Hebrew name meaning 62-Down : ARI
30
Unadventurous : STAID
31
Crooner with the autobiography "It Wasn't All Velvet" : TORME
32
U.S.S. Missouri's resting site : OAHU
34
Person who's dreaded? : RASTA
35
Publisher of the magazine America's 1st Freedom, for short : NRA
36
Prefix with system : ECO
39
___ Bo (workout system) : TAE
42
Golf's Slammin' Sammy : SNEAD
45
It helps keep things straight : RULER
46
First sign of spring : ARIES
47
Wacky tobacky, in part : WEED
49
Lingo : ARGOT
50
One-third of a B-52 cocktail : KAHLUA
51
"___ iacta est" ("The die is cast") : ALEA
52
First phase : NEWMOON
53
Draft status? : ONTAP
56
Mastered, British-style : LEARNT
57
Conversation fillers : UMS
58
"___ me?" : MISS
61
Take responsibility for something : OWNIT
62
Safari sighting : LION
65
Site of biblical destruction : SODOM
66
Davis of "Thelma & Louise" : GEENA
67
Heat center of old? : ONEAL
68
War on Poverty prez : LBJ
69
Things displayed by mannequins : BRAS
70
"The Lady of the Camellias" author, 1848 : DUMAS
71
Dot on a screen : BLIP
76
One suffering from numbness, maybe : NEUROPATH
77
Unit of petrol : LITRE
78
Browning vessels : SAUTEPANS
80
Do make-up work? : IMPROVISE
81
Plants with bell-shaped blooms : SEGOS
82
Pokémon card transaction : TRADE
84
Penn State symbol : PAWPRINT
86
Old Pontiac : GTO
87
Western city bisected by I-80 : RENO
89
B'way buy : TKT
90
Eleanor Roosevelt ___ Roosevelt : NEE
94
Soviet ___ : ERA
95
Diamond figures : CARATS
96
Ten or twenty : BILL
97
Little bits : ATOMS
98
Big bang creator : AMATOL
99
Rooster displays : COMBS
100
Gynecologist's concern : OVARY
101
Many a late-night cable show : RERUN
102
Bounds : LEAPS
104
Word with crime or bar : SCENE
107
Acronym for an acting/singing awards sweep : EGOT
111
Plays performed in shozoku robes : NOH
112
Hoppy quaff, briefly : IPA
113
Closemouthed : MUM
114
Utmost : NTH
115
One in 100: Abbr. : SEN
116
O.R. figures : MDS

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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