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TWISTING ONE'S WORDS

New York Times, Sunday, January 17, 2016

Author: Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
Jeff Chen
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
667/5/20102/23/201739
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1.633122

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 48 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The print version of this puzzle contains small arrows between certain squares, which the software cannot reproduce. We recommend using the PDF.
Jeff Chen notes: Back before computers, the military had to employ mathematicians to calculate projectile trajectories by hand, adjusting for such obvious factors as gravity, wind, friction, etc. But one factor that initially ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Back before computers, the military had to employ mathematicians to calculate projectile trajectories by hand, adjusting for such obvious factors as gravity, wind, friction, etc. But one factor that initially eluded some of the best minds was how the Earth's spin affected a long-range trajectory. Must have been baffling for these uber-educated professors to miss by a mile, scrambling to figure out why the heck they had been so far off course. It's stories like this that make the CORIOLIS FORCE so fascinating to me.

Aw, who am I kidding? I just like flushing things down the toilet.

Jeff Chen notes: This puzzle construction gave me fits. It was hard enough to identify eight themers that would work in the way I wanted — circling around a single black square like a storm, before continuing on its ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

The delicious BANH MI

This puzzle construction gave me fits. It was hard enough to identify eight themers that would work in the way I wanted — circling around a single black square like a storm, before continuing on its merry way — but working with the max 140-word constraint made things tough. Each of the eight themers took up very short slots, meaning that I had to work in more long fill than usual. And having those single letters stick out — the H and S of IS THIS THING ON, for example — constrained the grid in tough ways. Throw in CORIOLIS FORCE for a revealer and the fact that I wanted the central black squares to look like a storm ...

The bottom left corner alone took me maybe 25-30 reboots. I was hesitant to use MUTTONY, which I needed to make that corner work, but I thought of a fun clue for it: [A little sheepish?]. Sadly, it was left on the cutting room floor.

Storm visuals in the eight squares, along with some alternate fill

Will worried that BANH MI wasn't going to be familiar to many solvers, and the crossing with DEBI might feel unfair. (In Seattle, you can throw a loaf of crusty bread 100 yards in any direction and hit a BANH MI shop, but his reasoning was sound.) I tried a few other options, but in the end, Joel helped us settle on the original, given the BANH MI's rising prominence in the food world and its utterly delicious combination of roasted pork and julienned vegetables.

All of a sudden, I'm hungry.

Will also felt that the puzzle as I had it — no arrows — would be just too hard. I drew up some storm-looking things, but Will decided to use arrows instead. I still like the idea of "storms" within the puzzle, spinning in opposite directions in the Northern hemisphere vs. the Southern ... I wish my meager art skills had better conveyed that. Maybe then, my original title of "SPIN CONTROL" would have flown. Ah well.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,176
Across Down
1. World champion figure skater Thomas : DEBI
5. "He did not just say that!" : OHSNAP
11. Email letters : BCC
14. Nothing but : MERE
18. "If only ..." : ALAS
19. Idahoan's pride : TATERS
20. ___ Lubovitch Dance Company : LAR
21. Funnies drawing : PANEL
22. Luge or figure skating : WINTERSPORT
24. Basic : ELEMENTAL
26. Advanced degree in math? : NTH
27. ___ army, group that marches across the earth in Revelation : SATANS
28. Hesitate in speech : HEM
29. Loses juice? : DRIES
30. Round of four : SEMIS
32. Mao's successor : HUA
33. Thickets : COPSES
35. Dr. J's do, once : FRO
36. Trespass : SIN
37. Big swig : BELT
38. Daily Planet photographer : OLSEN
39. Pop singer ___ Marie : TEENA
41. Solidify : GEL
43. Newspaper desk : METRO
45. Motocross racers, for short : ATVS
47. Clatter : DIN
48. Fall apart : GOTORUIN
52. The king of Egypt has a part in it : AIDA
54. Furnace work : HEATING
56. Advancing : LOANING
57. Like villains, often : BOOED
58. Blundering : ERRING
59. 1.5 in a jigger: Abbr. : OZS
60. Waters who sang "Am I Blue?" : ETHEL
62. Some HDTVs : LCDS
64. Application info : SSN
65. 89-Down nickname, with "the" : BEEB
67. Origin of "pooh-bah" : THEMIKADO
70. Pronoun with an apostrophe : YALL
74. Toss in : ADD
77. Suckers : SAPS
78. "Lean Forward" sloganeer : MSNBC
81. ___-cow : MOO
82. Castle-breaching explosive : PETARD
85. Some bank jobs, for short : REFIS
87. Shamans, e.g. : HEALERS
89. Pepsi employee : BOTTLER
90. Bela Lugosi's role in "Son of Frankenstein" : YGOR
91. Highly rated issues : AAABONDS
92. Journalist Nellie who went around the world : BLY
93. Dutch export : EDAM
95. 19 things on a classical guitar : FRETS
97. The "N" of NGO : NON
98. Accord competitor : CAMRY
100. "The food of love," per Shakespeare : MUSIC
102. Relieves (of) : RIDS
104. PC key : ESC
107. Data storage acronym : ROM
108. Snitch : TATTLE
109. Symbol of strength : OAK
110. "To repeat ..." : ISAID
112. Rush : BLITZ
114. Third X or O : TOE
115. Word with party or pail : DINNER
117. Tony-winning role for Robert Morse : TRU
118. Nickname for the only man to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series : NEONDEION
120. Wrongdoing : MALFEASANCE
122. Some family histories : SAGAS
123. Single : ONE
124. Seedlets : OVULES
125. Fictitious : TALL
126. Benzene derivative, for one : ARYL
127. Sen. Gillibrand's home: Abbr. : NYS
128. Obsolescence : DISUSE
129. Anticipatory times : EVES
1. Anticipatory times : DAWNS
2. A-teamers : ELITES
3. Vietnamese sandwich : BANHMI
4. Question asked while tapping a microphone : ISTHISTHINGON
5. ___ vez (again: Sp.) : OTRA
6. Experiences fame : HASTHELIMELIGHT
7. State capital in a mailing address : STPAULMN
8. New baby : NEONATE
9. Column on a flight board: Abbr. : ARRS
10. Hrs. for eBay listings : PST
11. Censors : BLEEPS
12. It makes for smooth sailing : CALMSEA
13. Drink for Hercule Poirot : CREMEDEMENTHE
14. Spreading belief? : MANIFESTDESTINY
15. Typed, as data : ENTEREDIN
16. Logician's strong point : REASONING
17. Building add-on : ELL
21. According to : PER
23. Super G shape : ESS
25. M.R.I. readers : MDS
28. "Star Trek" virtual reality room : HOLODECK
33. What causes storms to swirl in opposite directions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres : CORIOLISFORCE
37. To the point ... or not pointed : BLUNT
39. Russian line : TSARS
40. Lee who directed "Life of Pi" : ANG
42. War of 1812 battle site : ERIE
44. Confucian doctrine : TAO
46. ___ libre (poetry form) : VERS
48. Semiliquid lump : GLOB
49. Exude : OOZE
50. Shock, in a way : TASE
53. Family name of old TV : ADDAMS
57. Like eyes after an all-nighter : BLEARY
61. Expressions of doubt : EHS
63. New Left org. : SDS
66. Plus or minus thing : BATTERYTERMINAL
68. What a film may be emailed as : MPEGFILE
69. Crawling, say : ONHANDSANDKNEES
71. Last word of grace : AMEN
72. Next-to-last word of grace, often : LORD
73. Bereavement : LOSS
75. Big name in Chicago politics : DALEY
76. 1856 antislavery novel : DRED
79. "You don't know ___" : BEANS
80. ___ San Lucas, Mexico : CABO
82. Klondike bar symbol : POLARBEAR
83. Information often set in brackets : ETYMOLOGY
84. [This is how it might have happened] : DRAMATIZATION
86. Fury : IRE
88. Texas : LONESTARSTATE
89. Big media inits. : BBC
91. Malady caused by H2N2 : ASIANFLU
94. Tasting like lamb : MUTTONY
96. Shakespearean title role : TROILUS
101. They're the pits : STONES
105. GPS, e.g. : SATNAV
106. Group of friends : CIRCLE
108. Philosopher Lao-___ : TZE
110. Org. with a hotline : IRS
111. Lightsaber battles : DUELS
113. Some recap highlights : TDS
115. Actor Robert of "Licence to Kill" and "The Goonies" : DAVI
116. Facility : EASE
118. Intel org. officially formed by Truman : NSA
120. Up-to-date : MOD

Answer summary: 15 unique to this puzzle, 7 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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