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WELL, WELL, WELL, IF IT ISN'T ...

New York Times, Sunday, September 8, 2019

Author:
Joe DiPietro
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1338/26/199511/7/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
291072342283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59336
Joe DiPietro

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 132 for Mr. DiPietro. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Joe DiPietro, of Brooklyn, owns a bar called 'one star' in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. He's been contributing puzzles to The Times since 1995. He's sometimes confused with the ... read more

Joe DiPietro, of Brooklyn, owns a bar called "one star" in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. He's been contributing puzzles to The Times since 1995. He's sometimes confused with the Tony-winning playwright with the same name, but the two don't know each other.

This Joe writes: "I love the sweet pain of filling grids." He sometimes spends weeks working and reworking them — and the resulting quality shows.

Joe DiPietro notes:
Summertime is slower for the bar business, so I have more time for coffee-fueled ideas in my office. This one started after looking at the word CHICKEN, and all I could see was the ... read more

Summertime is slower for the bar business, so I have more time for coffee-fueled ideas in my office. This one started after looking at the word CHICKEN, and all I could see was the person's name at the end. Can you have a CHIC KEN (ask Barbie)? Started out that way, but chic was a different pronunciation. From there it was BRO KEN and so forth.

Of my first nine themers, eight had men's names. Seemed unavoidable at the time, and I knew I'd never be able to run for office after that : - ). Finally, MEG and GRACE showed up.

Jeff Chen notes:
What's in a name? More like, what name's … in the final word of the theme phrase? Shakespeare, I'm not. Even after I uncovered three themers, I still wasn't sure what was ... read more

What's in a name? More like, what name's … in the final word of the theme phrase?

Shakespeare, I'm not.

Even after I uncovered three themers, I still wasn't sure what was going on. I thought I figured it out with "BURY THE HAT" CHET, but then I hit HEART BRO KEN. What's a HEART BRO — frat dude who's aiming for cardiology? No, that couldn't be right. My cleveradar told me I had to be missing something.

My equipment may be due for a tune-up.

A mix of thematic results, with some falling flat, but I did get a kick out of GROUND NUT MEG being an NFL fan nutty over the running game.

140-word 21x21 puzzles are never straightforward to build. They always require a bunch of long fill, which is usually the root of construction problems. Joe is such a pro — check out what he did in the SW corner. That diagonal line of black squares nearly segments the corner from the rest of the grid, with only three entry/exit points. This isn't ideal in terms of grid flow, but it's satisfactory — if a solver gets stuck at one point, there are still two others.

This sort of pseudo-segmentation does wonders for grid building. Once you have ROLLERS KATE and FORT LAUDER DALE in place, you can work on the SW corner almost independently of the rest of the grid. It's such a huge boon in construction to be able to tackle a big grid in sequential chunks, breaking down the Herculean mythos into minor labors.

Great results in that SW corner. FARMERS TAN and I GOT NOTHIN are sizzlers, and there's little evidence of the glue usually necessary to stick together adjacent downs — just ESTE and DAK. It's much easier to achieve this type of solid result when the rest of the grid doesn't affect what you're doing in the local region.

This is the type of trade-off that serves both the solver and the constructor.

All that great fill helped keep me entertained while I shrugged at entries like ROLLERS KATE and POP IN JAY. Jam-packing a grid full of TENNIS PRO, ASIAN PEARS, COME TO PAPA, HES DEAD JIM, THE RIDDLER, VIRGIN WOOL is such a boon for solvers who don't connect to the theme.

Jim Horne notes:

Humor is so subjective. All the theme answers amused me. Fun puzzle.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0908 ( 25,506 )
Across
1
Well, for one : ADVERB
7
Longhair cats : ANGORAS
14
For instance : SUCHAS
20
Alternative to Martha Stewart Weddings : BRIDES
21
Caribbean island nation : GRENADA
22
Take in : ARREST
23
... the guy who vows to take his Stetson to the grave : BURYTHEHATCHET
25
Baby Gap purchase : ONESIE
26
Famous conjoined twin : ENG
27
Figures : DATA
28
California's Big ___ : SUR
29
TV's "___ Ruins Everything" : ADAM
30
Lose control on the road : SKID
32
IV checkers : RNS
33
... the fraternity guy who wants to be a cardiologist : HEARTBROKEN
39
Levelheaded : SANE
40
Kind of furniture : PATIO
42
Triumphant cry : HURRAH
43
Game lover's purchase : APP
45
First word of "Jabberwocky" : TWAS
47
Dated PC hookup : CRT
49
J. Carrol ___ (two-time 1940s Oscar nominee) : NAISH
50
Traffic-stopping grp.? : DEA
51
... the guy who barely shows he's exasperated : SHORTSIGHTED
56
... the guy who always shows up unannounced : POPINJAY
58
Hugs, in a letter : OOO
59
Home of minor-league baseball's Aces : RENO
60
California's Santa ___ Mountains : YNEZ
62
Puts on TV : AIRS
63
Show that NBC 62-Across, for short : SNL
64
Heaps : ASLEW
66
They follow springs by about a week : NEAPS
69
Sylvia of jazz : SYMS
70
... the gal who delivered the greatest put-down ever : WHATADISGRACE
73
Small prevarications : FIBS
76
Helicopter sounds : WHIRS
77
Permanent spot? : SALON
78
UPS unit: Abbr. : CTN
81
"Othello" provocateur : IAGO
82
"Lethal Weapon" force, in brief : LAPD
84
Prison division : WARD
85
"Well, well, well, whaddya know" : OHO
86
... the guy who takes aerial photos for the military : DRONEDON
91
... the gal who loses it when pass plays are called : GROUNDNUTMEG
94
CPR teacher, maybe : EMT
95
Temporarily sated, with "over" : TIDED
97
Critical campaign mo. : OCT
98
Source of some pressure : PEER
99
Place for trophies : DEN
100
Declaration : AVOWAL
102
Singer with the 2009 #1 hit "TiK ToK" : KESHA
106
Move a bit : STIR
108
... the gal who spends all day at the hairdresser : ROLLERSKATE
111
Rollaway : COT
112
Word with club or cream : SODA
113
Aristocratic Italian name of old : ESTE
114
Cartoonist Keane : BIL
115
Dance that might include a chair : HORA
117
West Coast summer setting: Abbr. : PDT
118
Dag Hammarskjöld's successor at the U.N. : UTHANT
121
... the guy who can't stop bragging about Bragg : FORTLAUDERDALE
125
Bit of trail mix : RAISIN
126
Underlining alternative : ITALICS
127
Creeped out? : SEEPED
128
Almost up : ONNEXT
129
Exams given intradermally, for short : TBTESTS
130
Actress Taylor of "Bones" : TAMARA
Down
1
Number one nun : ABBESS
2
Prolonged period of excessive imbibing : DRUNKATHON
3
Soft blanket material : VIRGINWOOL
4
Ice cream eponym : EDY
5
Part of AARP: Abbr. : RETD
6
Note that sounds like an order to get with it? : BSHARP
7
Appalled : AGHAST
8
Big D.C. lobby : NRA
9
1995 crime film based on an Elmore Leonard novel : GETSHORTY
10
At the perfect time : ONCUE
11
Enthusiastic : RAHRAH
12
Commercial suffix with Gator : ADE
13
Gained a lap? : SAT
14
___ Paulo : SAO
15
Bit of art pottery : URN
16
Staircase sound : CREAK
17
"Star Trek" catchphrase said by Dr. McCoy : HESDEADJIM
18
Far Eastern fruits that resemble apples : ASIANPEARS
19
What a prefix or suffix gets added to : STEM
24
Sicily's Mount ___ : ETNA
31
Honey substitute? : DEAR
34
Appear in print : RUN
35
Mouth, slangily : TRAP
36
Con ___ (briskly, in music) : BRIO
37
Talk like a tough, say : RASP
38
"Well, howdy" : OHHI
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Dieter's "I" : ICH
44
Picks up the bill : PAYS
46
Unlikely handouts with beers : STRAWS
48
Court V.I.P. : TENNISPRO
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Sea plea : SOS
52
Period of group activity, slangily : SESH
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Addition to the family : INLAW
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Doth depart : GOETH
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Diamond brackets? : DEES
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Dissenting vote : NAY
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Swerves back : ZAGS
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Cry like a baby : WAIL
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Large shrimp : PRAWN
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See 72-Down : SALAD
69
Parody : SENDUP
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Pride Parade participants may be in it : DRAG
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With 68-Down, summer side dish : CORN
73
Shade for a field worker? : FARMERSTAN
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"Drawin' a blank here" : IGOTNOTHIN
75
___ vivant : BON
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Gambler's exclamation : COMETOPAPA
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Father of Enigma in DC Comics : THERIDDLER
80
Creamy beverage : NOG
81
Tagged, informally : IDED
83
Pitcher who famously claimed he was on LSD while throwing a no-hitter (1970) : DOCKELLIS
87
And others, for short : ETAL
88
Kind of bar : DIVE
89
Renuzit target : ODOR
90
It can be old or breaking : NEWS
92
Sport ___ : UTE
93
"Ocean's Twelve" role : TESS
96
___ Terr., 1861-89 : DAK
101
Maze explorer : LABRAT
103
Go downhill in a hurry : SCHUSS
104
Part of a parka : HOOD
105
Relaxing : ATREST
107
High-grade : RATEDA
109
Auto dealer's offer : LEASE
110
Auto owner's proof : TITLE
113
Tip of Italy? : EURO
116
Field : AREA
119
Shoot down : NIX
120
Wile E. Coyote purchase : TNT
121
In good shape : FIT
122
Gambling parlor letters : OTB
123
Take steps : ACT
124
Sort of person who's blue: Abbr. : DEM

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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