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New York Times, Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Author: Peter A. Collins
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter A. Collins
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
985/2/20061/11/201711
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51123341294
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1.564283

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 98 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes: I'm sure a few people out there will look at my D-N-As winding down the grid and say 'Hey, that's a single helix, not a ... more
Peter A. Collins notes:

I'm sure a few people out there will look at my D-N-As winding down the grid and say "Hey, that's a single helix, not a DOUBLE/HELIX!". To them, I'd like to respond with a quote from The Dude in "The Big Lebowski".

"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

My defense is that the two sides of the squares containing the Ds, Ns, and As form the double helix. Convinced? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Actually, a few years ago Joe Krozel and I tried to build a grid with intertwining D-N-As working their way down the grid, but soon gave up. If I recall correctly, the fill around that column got way too tortured.

A belated Happy New Year to one and all!

Jeff Chen notes: The DOUBLE / HELIX is so ripe for crossword brainstorming. One of Liz Gorski's a while back was particularly memorable, as was one of ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

The DOUBLE / HELIX is so ripe for crossword brainstorming. One of Liz Gorski's a while back was particularly memorable, as was one of Joel Fagliano's. Today, Pete gives us something similar but goes with the letters D N A filling out the more-single-than-double-looking (sorry, Pete!) helix.

Nice find that WATSON / CRICK / DOUBLE / HELIX exhibit crossword symmetry!

I did find it inelegant to have to jump across the grid to connect the word pairs, and it was weird to get CRICK before WATSON. Using mirror symmetry would have helped this — both WATSON and DOUBLE could have been in the top half of the puzzle, with CRICK and HELIX at the bottom. (Back to the bottom where you belong, CRICK!)

Some nice bonuses in the grid, ARACHNID and ON THE GO my favorites. NOT A SOUL and FOOTSTEP = good stuff too. Much appreciated to get the extras, given that the puzzle felt a bit theme-thin.

Oh! As a macro econ junkie, I loved seeing REAL GDP in the grid. Except that it was REAL GNP! (Domestic vs. National, don't ask me what the difference is. My macro prof is now rolling in her grave.) That crossing with BRINDISI was a killer. Perhaps a case can be made that it's fair since the Appian Way is very famous, but that didn't stop me from grumbling.

It's so tough to work through that center of the puzzle, with so many D N A letters fixed into place. So the gluey results of INRI, SANI, ENDO, BANOS … not unexpected. And having a theme word fixed into place in each of the four corners, getting more ACOP, TASS, MDLI, ROIS, LIBBER, ERO … again, it's not unexpected, but it doesn't make for an elegant, smooth solve.

Finally, as a biochem junkie, I would have loved to see base pairings of A-T and G-C (adenine-thymine and guanine-cytosine), reflecting the actual building blocks of DNA. But I can only imagine thousands of solvers wondering why there were so many of these four letters in the grid. And other thousands in an outcry yelling BUT THAT AT-GC-GC-GC-AT-AT-GC SERIES IS NOT AN ACTUAL GENE SEQUENCE! Can't make everyone happy.

1
R
2
O
3
N
4
C
5
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D
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E
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E
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P
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M
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D
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L
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A
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S
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C
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M
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B
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B
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 24,536
Across Down
1. Infomercial pioneer : RONCO
6. Tough to grasp : DEEP
10. Mid-16th-century year : MDLI
14. Add bling to : ADORN
15. Cross initials : INRI
16. 18 Louises : ROIS
17. "Enough said!" : GOTIT
18. Apothecary container : VIAL
19. Historic 2016 Obama destination : CUBA
20. Scorpion, for one : ARACHNID
22. Short and thick : STUBBY
24. Ball of yarn : SKEIN
25. Turns on, as notifications on a smartphone : ENABLES
26. In the past : AGO
28. Farmworker in a Millet painting : GLEANER
30. Suffix with ranch : ERO
31. Mickey Mouse's dog : PLUTO
33. PC drive insert : CDROM
35. Lacoste product : POLO
36. Spanish baths : BANOS
38. Three or four : AFEW
42. Jazz singer Carmen : MCRAE
44. ___ strike : DRONE
45. Cousin of FWIW : BTW
48. Broadcast time : AIRDATE
51. Like all primes except 2 : ODD
52. Inflation-adjusted econ. stat : REALGNP
54. "Gute ___" (German bedtime words) : NACHT
56. Not in a knot, say : UNTIED
57. Accepts : AGREESTO
60. Moscow news source : TASS
61. Object of admiration : IDOL
63. Food Network host Brown : ALTON
64. Rent-___ (security guard) : ACOP
65. Clean, in product names : SANI
66. Attack on a walled city, maybe : SIEGE
67. Light beam bender : LENS
68. "I had no ___!" : IDEA
69. First Canadian M.L.B. team : EXPOS
1. Music often heard in Bollywood films : RAGA
2. Concern regarding a litter box : ODOR
3. Absolutely nobody : NOTASOUL
4. Co-discoverer of the contents of the circled letters : CRICK
5. Constantly moving : ONTHEGO
6. What "to forgive" is : DIVINE
7. Children's author Blyton : ENID
8. Baseball's dead-ball ___ : ERA
9. Pale lagers : PILSNERS
10. Ernie Banks, to fans : MRCUB
11. With 55-Down, form of the contents of the circled letters : DOUBLE
12. Ad-___ : LIBBER
13. Close of a parental veto : ISAYSO
21. Zilch : NIL
23. Poi base : TARO
25. Prefix with -morphic : ENDO
26. Smartphone download : APP
27. Mop & ___ : GLO
29. Spotted at the prom, perhaps? : ACNED
32. Lead-in to boy or girl : TOM
34. Spray-paint, say : MAR
36. Port city at one terminus of the Appian Way : BRINDISI
37. Org. whose magazine was once called Modern Maturity : AARP
39. Fitbit datum : FOOTSTEP
40. One may be bitter : END
41. Enter an altared state? : WED
43. Pet store purchase : CAGE
44. Death : DECEASE
45. Like winters in Antarctica : BRUTAL
46. Highish bridge combo : TENACE
47. Co-discoverer of the contents of the circled letters : WATSON
49. East ___ (Norfolk and Suffolk's locale) : ANGLIA
50. Cigarette stat : TAR
53. Talks like Sylvester : LISPS
55. See 11-Down : HELIX
57. Top-shelf : AONE
58. Deli option : TOGO
59. ___ place : ONES
62. Junior's senior : DAD

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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