Underwater Search

New York Times crossword Aug. 21 / Constructed by Alan Arbesfeld

Glug-glug-glug. Pardon me while I dry off; I’ve been scuba diving in this “Underwater Search” to look for some clownfish.

As explained in an editor’s note, this clever two-in-one puzzle is a crossword first and a word search second. The theme is a “2003 Pixar film” — FINDING NEMO (37 Down) — and the goal is to find 17 occurrences of NEMO in the grid. (My immediate reaction, before completely digesting the editor’s note, was that we’d be looking for COUSTEAU, which would be much harder to hide.)

Nemo is a tricky little clownfish, hiding in several directions in the puzzle:

Forward: ONE MORE TIME (“Again,” 23 Across); MNEMONICS (“‘I before E except after C’ and others,” 25 Across); ENGINE MOUNTS (“Attachment points under the hood,” 38 Across); DIVINE MOTHER (“Part of the Hindu Godhead,” 83 Across); the aforementioned FINDING NEMO [different link]; UNEMOTIONAL (“Stoic,” 43 Down); and ONE MOMENT (“‘Just a sec’,” 119 Across).

NEMO was hiding in all kinds of places in this grid.

Backward: ONE MOMENT (yes, it appears twice in 119 Across; pretty clever, huh?); OMEN (“Sign,” 3 Down); NO MEN (“Ladies’ club restriction,” 4 Down); NOT TO MENTION (“Also,” 57 Across); NOMENCLATURE (“Terminology,” 101 Across); and STATESWOMEN (“Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi,” 121 Across).

Diagonal: Starting with the N in OMNIVORE (“Human, e.g., foodwise,” 65 Across) and going southeast (if the top of the grid is North); starting with the N in ENDS (“Objectives,” 128 Across) and going northeast; starting with the N in SHORN (“Unlocked?” 131 Across) and going northwest; and starting with the third N in the previously noted ENGINE MOUNTS and going northeast.

It took me forever to find that 17th NEMO. I was about call on Capt. Nemo for help.

Close But No Cigar Dept.: I tried looking for NEMO in NEIMAN (“Big name in upscale retail,” 8 Down) and other entries with lots of N’s, E’s and M’s, like ONE NAME (“What Rihanna or Prince uses,” 10 Down); ANAEMIA (“Fatigue may be a symptom of it: Var.,” 95 Down); and EASEMENTS (“Rights of passage,” 92 Across). No luck.

Learn Something New Every Day Dept.: Never, ever heard of the word CONTEMNS (“Treats with scorn,” 90 Down).

First-Name Basis Dept.: Jane Austen would be appalled that I’m putting ELINOR (“‘Sense and Sensibility’ sister,” 85 Down) in the same sentence as IRON MIKE (“Tyson nickname,” 113 Across), but there you have it.

Just Nutty Dept.: ATTY (“Firm part: Abbr.,” 129 Across) crosses with ITTY (“Wee, informally,” 113 Down).

Viva La France Dept.: REUNION (“French island WSW of Mauritius,” 24 Down) and OUI (“Non’s opposite, 26 Down) were consecutive clues.

Philly Shout-Out Dept: The University of Pennsylvania’s ENIAC (“Pioneering computer,” 96 Across) makes one of its occasional appearances.

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