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ONE BY ONE

New York Times, Sunday, September 4, 2016

Author: Tom McCoy
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3011/14/201311/19/20170
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15815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61351
Tom McCoy

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {Z} This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. McCoy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes: [SPOILER ALERT FOR THE AUGUST 14 DIAGRAMLESS] Ever since I read 'Figgs and Phantoms' in elementary school, ampersands have been some of my favorite characters, so I'm glad to finally work a few into a puzzle. ... more
Tom McCoy notes:

[SPOILER ALERT FOR THE AUGUST 14 DIAGRAMLESS]

Ever since I read "Figgs and Phantoms" in elementary school, ampersands have been some of my favorite characters, so I'm glad to finally work a few into a puzzle. Excited as I am to show some ampersand love, I have to say that Sam Ezersky's insanely cool diagramless from a few weeks ago far outshines my ampersand-related efforts.

(Jeff: if you like diagramless puzzles, check out our thumbnails of all the diagramless grids listed together.)

Jeff Chen notes: Rebus variant from Tom today, two letters used as a straight rebus in the down direction, while an ampersand is inserted for the across direction. Example: B&O RAILROAD crosses EL(BO)WS. There have been a few ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Rebus variant from Tom today, two letters used as a straight rebus in the down direction, while an ampersand is inserted for the across direction. Example: B&O RAILROAD crosses EL(BO)WS. There have been a few ampersand rebus puzzles before, but I don't remember anything exactly like this. We've fixed up the answers (see below) as best as possible (so the answers accurately make sense with the clues).

Tom is so good about introducing fun, fresh fill to his puzzles. This one doesn't have a ton of room for bonus fill, since it uses eight — really 16 — mostly longish theme answers, but Tom still manages to work in so much colorful material. NEED A LIFT? LAPEL PIN. HUMAN RIGHTS. YOU LOSE, with the famous anecdote about Coolidge's terseness. And that's on top of all the strong themers, like NOT TO WORRY, MOTORBIKES. AS PER USUAL, indeed! All those great entries really helped keep my attention through the solve.

However, at some point, all constructors must pay the piper. It's hard to imagine such a GOLIATH amount of sizzling themers and fill without some cost, and there was more than I usually see from a McCoy puzzle. A couple of SST, ANAT, A TEE, SEI is perfectly fine for a Sunday 140-worder. But there were a few head-scratchers today. Although it does appear to be a word, UNUSE stuck in my craw. DILATER did too — "dilator," as in a compound that dilates, would have been fine. IN A TUB feels like a six-letter partial. SEA RAT … I did find it by Googling, but it doesn't roll off my tongue.

I had a good laugh before fixing up the answers for our database — AW ROOT BEER feels like a seed for another puzzle. ["Dang it, do we have to have Barq's again?"]. BO RAILROAD might be [Stinky train option?].

I'm easily amused.

All in all, I would have liked something a little more different than the normal rebus or the play on ampersands, but Tom wove in enough really strong entries that I still was entertained.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0904 ( 24,407 )
Across Down
1. Flair : ELAN
5. Indication of freshness : SLAP
9. Weak : INFIRM
15. ___ bag (party giveaway) : SWAG
19. Have a one-person apartment, say : LIVEALONE
21. "Old MacDonald" sounds : MOOMOO
22. "Check and ___" : MATE
23. Neighbor of Illinois : B&ORAILROAD
24. Response to a flatterer : STOPIT
25. Subordinate: Abbr. : ASST
26. "That ___ part of our agreement!" : WASNT
27. Short dagger : STILETTO
29. Flattened at the poles : OBLATE
31. Concorde, e.g. : SST
32. Ball in a socket : EYE
34. 24 in a caffeine molecule : ATOMS
35. Release from TLC or Alicia Keys : R&BALBUM
36. Tee seller : PROSHOP
39. Like many a lad or lass : WEE
40. "Since you didn't hear me the first time ..." : ISAID
41. Actor Reeves : KEANU
43. Start of a time capsule direction : OPENON
45. Retired Steeler Taylor : IKE
46. Takes it easy : GETSALITTLER&R
48. End-of-seminar feature : Q&ASESSION
53. ___ letter (college app part) : REC
54. Scads : TONS
55. Sources of mescaline : PEYOTES
57. Prefix with parasite : ENDO
58. School in Oxford, informally : OLEMISS
60. ___-Atlantic : MID
61. Burns's refusal : NAE
62. Where bees be : HIVES
63. Slithy one, to Carroll : TOVE
64. Diamond head? : MANAGER
66. ___ salad : TUNA
67. Shout made while pointing : THERE
69. Cops, with "the" : LAW
70. ___ Alamos : LOS
71. Targeted : AIMEDAT
74. Spanish prefix with líneas : AERO
75. Begin a voyage : SETSAIL
77. ___ Fresh (Tex-Mex chain) : BAJA
78. Airport posting, for short : ETA
79. Multicolored candy in a yellow package : PEANUTM&MS
81. Noted index : S&PFIVEHUNDRED
84. Grp. sponsoring the Muzzle Loading Championship : NRA
85. Footnote material : DETAIL
86. Stemmed (from) : AROSE
87. Transition : SEGUE
90. Go on : AIR
91. 1997 film megahit : TITANIC
93. Site of the George Bush Presidential Library : TEXASA&M
94. Material in two states : SLUSH
96. Droop : SAG
97. The "e" of i.e. : EST
100. Descend in a controlled fashion : RAPPEL
101. Might be able to do it : HASASHOT
104. Oscar-winning Berry : HALLE
106. The "E" of HOMES : ERIE
107. Like three men of rhyme : INATUB
109. Beverage since 1922 : A&WROOTBEER
111. Bareilles who sang "Love Song" : SARA
112. "Negotiations are off!" : NODEAL
113. Some fuel oils : KEROSENES
114. Leave in : STET
115. Gertrude ___, first woman to swim the English Channel : EDERLE
116. Meh : SOSO
117. Lead-in to Victoria or Albert : LAKE
1. Things aggressive people may throw : ELBOWS
2. Turkish money : LIRAS
3. "Cease!" on the seas : AVAST
4. Answer to "Is Bonn the capital of Deutschland?" : NEIN
5. Kind of camera, for short : SLR
6. Releases : LOOSES
7. Bio course: Abbr. : ANAT
8. Mani-___ : PEDI
9. "Ready!" : IMSET
10. "It's all good" : NOTTOWORRY
11. They mind their manors : FOOTMEN
12. Foist (upon) : IMPOSE
13. Most important piece in échecs : ROI
14. Relatives of scooters : MOTORBIKES
15. One of two in the Adidas logo : SMALLA
16. Sushi go-with : WASABI
17. Offered for breeding : ATSTUD
18. "Don't let those guys escape!" : GETEM
20. Choice : ALTERNATIVE
28. A U.S. flag is a common one : LAPELPIN
30. Ammonia and lye : BASES
33. Calvin Coolidge's reputed reply to a woman who bet she could get more than two words out of him : YOULOSE
36. Old men : PAS
37. Red ___ : HOTS
38. Go (for) : OPT
41. Ocean bottom? : KEEL
42. And more : ETCETERA
44. "Going somewhere?" : NEEDALIFT
45. "That makes sense" : ISEE
46. Miracle-___ : GRO
47. Electees : INS
48. 2022 World Cup host : QATAR
49. Surrounder of la Grande Jatte : SEINE
50. Martians, in "The War of the Worlds" : INVADERS
51. Wordsworth work : ODE
52. Negatives : NOS
56. Word often replaced with "your" : ONES
59. Ignoramus : MORON
60. Big mouths : MAWS
62. United Nations concern : HUMANRIGHTS
64. Tangles : MATS
65. Behemoths : GOLIATHS
66. City where Mexico's routes 1 and 2 meet : TIJUANA
67. Word that becomes its own synonym when spelled backward : TAP
68. Giggle syllable : HEE
69. Basic form of a word : LEMMA
71. Spa sound : AAH
72. Do to ___ : ATEE
73. Bit : TAD
75. Simplify : STREAMLINE
76. Just like always : ASPERUSUAL
77. Big swig : BELT
80. Neglect : UNUSE
82. Number of hills in ancient Rome : VII
83. Rx writer : DOC
85. Optometrist, at times : DILATER
87. Pirate, in old slang : SEARAT
88. Breathe out : EXPIRE
89. View in awe : GAPEAT
90. Slightly : ASHADE
92. Noted philanthropic family : ASTORS
93. Lock : TRESS
95. Relative of a weasel : SABLE
97. Justice Kagan : ELENA
98. Smooth and glossy : SLEEK
99. Like Calvin Coolidge : TERSE
102. Neocons, e.g. : HAWKS
103. Ice cream flavor : OREO
105. Cain mutiny victim? : ABEL
108. Positive sign : NOD
110. Game-winning line : OOO

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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