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SUPREME INTELLIGENCE

New York Times, Sunday, January 14, 2018

Author: Joel Fagliano
Editor: Will Shortz
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5910/22/20096/3/20184
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1.65351
Joel Fagliano
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 20 Words: 137, Blocks: 70 Missing: {QX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 56 for Mr. Fagliano. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: I'll admit, I had no idea what was going on until well after I uncovered the OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE revealer. Okay, I'll admit it was well past filling in the last square-- and ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I'll admit, I had no idea what was going on until well after I uncovered the OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE revealer. Okay, I'll admit it was well past filling in the last square-- and re-reading the clue for OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE several times — before I finally figured it out.

Check out row 3 — ABE FORTAS is hiding in there, "obstructed" in two spots by black squares! Same in row 7, with EARL WARREN similarly "obstructed." So cool to see long, full names hidden throughout the grid. ELENA KAGAN within TO HELEN / AKA / GANYMEDE is beautiful.

So although it took some work and an embarrassingly long time to grok, what a neat a-ha moment when I finally cottoned to the idea. I highlighted the six names below, in case you haven't found them yet.

How awesome would it have been to get all the nine current Supreme Court justices? I spent some time wondering if that would have been possible … not really. Not only is it extremely tough to work in 10 themers (nine justices + OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE), but how are you going to hide JOHN ROBERTS? Stupid -HNR- string of letters! And good luck with RUTH BADER GINSBURG.

Still, a guy can wish.*

Grid played out like a solid themeless for me, loving the WANNABE, SABOTEUR, GO DARK, NEW WAVE, TAJ MAHAL, THE BOSS kind of fill (although I didn't care for the THE dupe, THE BOSS crossing THE PEARL). I enjoyed the solve even without understanding what was going on — so many good bonuses, with just a bit of OLA, NEBS, ANSONIA (how else are you going to hide SONIA, I guess), etc. Felt like an elegant, well-constructed grid.

If Joel could have figured out a way to make it work with all nine current justices, this would have been an easy POY! (year) choice. As is though, a fun, smooth solve, with a beautiful moment of clarity for this constitutional law lover = POW!

*I'm lucky enough to count Will as one of my daily readers. He recently wrote me with some feedback, that some of my wish-list ideas come across as too audacious or even impossible, and therefore aren't that useful. I agree that many of my dreamy notions are impossible, like the one today. Ridiculously impossible! But I'm hoping that these lofty ideas spur on constructors, both veteran and novice, to go on to create bigger and better puzzles. Think big!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0114 ( 24,904 )
Across Down
1. Mike who was the 2017 N.B.A. Coach of the Year : DANTONI
8. Presidential advisory grp. : NSC
11. Covers : ALIASES
18. Worked on some screenwriting? : EMAILED
19. Major work : OPUS
21. Like the French directors Eric Rohmer and Jean-Luc Godard : NEWWAVE
22. Poseur : WANNABE
23. Kid's creation out of pillows : FORT
24. Kind of elephant : ASIATIC
25. Last monarch of the House of Stuart : ANNE
26. Destructive sort : SABOTEUR
29. Photographer Adams : ANSEL
30. Lines in geometry : RAYS
31. Android's counterpart : IOS
32. ___ Xtra (soda) : PIBB
34. Scoundrel : HEEL
36. Worked from home? : UMPED
39. Cease communication : GODARK
41. Bug-studying org. : NSA
42. Steinbeck novella set in La Paz : THEPEARL
46. Topic for Sun Tzu : WAR
47. Has as a tenant : RENTSTO
49. Shakespearean king : HENRYVI
50. Retired chat service : AIM
51. Military term of address : SIR
52. Perry of fashion : ELLIS
53. "I knew that would happen!" : CALLEDIT
58. "Twelfth Night" twin : VIOLA
62. Thin pancake : BLIN
63. Spa treatment : PEEL
64. Flowery : ORNATE
66. ___ Nation (record label for Jay-Z and J. Cole) : ROC
67. Illegal interference ... or what can be found in this puzzle's 1st, 3rd, 7th, 15th, 19th and 21st rows? : OBSTRUCTIONOFJUSTICE
71. Stewbum : SOT
72. Noted brand of guitars : IBANEZ
73. Use an ice pack on : NUMB
74. What a conductor might conduct : HEAT
75. Online admin : SYSOP
77. Where a big bowl is found : PASADENA
79. Indication to bow slowly, say : LENTO
80. Creator of the "Planet Money" podcast : NPR
82. Like a boiled lobster : RED
83. Buoy : HEARTEN
85. Poe ode : TOHELEN
89. Nicknamed : AKA
90. Largest moon in the solar system : GANYMEDE
91. Got down : ATE
92. Discharges : EGESTS
94. Reasons for sneezin' : COLDS
95. They might be backless : BRAS
97. Fan favorite : IDOL
98. Frequent Twitter poster : BOT
99. Thick hairstyle : SHAG
103. For the case at hand : ADHOC
105. Hooded cloak : CAPUCHIN
109. Home to the historic Moana Hotel : OAHU
110. Connecticut city near New Haven : ANSONIA
112. ___ speak : SOTO
113. Kind of race : MAYORAL
115. Dum-dums : STUPIDS
116. In ___ (entirely) : TOTO
117. Bit of advice before taking off? : DIETTIP
118. Evasive basketball move : HOPSTEP
119. Brooding sort : HEN
120. Häagen-Dazs alternative : BREYERS
1. Big name in Scotch : DEWAR
2. Appliance brand : AMANA
3. Word before goat or state : NANNY
4. Sporks have small ones : TINES
5. Suffix with crap : OLA
6. Bird bills : NEBS
7. Now there's a thought! : IDEA
8. Sign by a pool : NOFOOD
9. Features of monarch butterfly wings : SPOTS
10. Add salt to, maybe : CURE
11. Santa ___ : ANA
12. Former Buick sedans : LESABRES
13. "Victory is mine!" : IWIN
14. Covered with water : AWASH
15. Sleek fabrics : SATEENS
16. Closest to base? : EVILEST
17. Dry, as wine : SEC
20. Daze : STUPOR
27. Jessica of "The Illusionist" : BIEL
28. Empty : RID
33. Chocolate purchase : BAR
35. Language with six tones : LAO
36. 180s : UEYS
37. Dallas pro : MAV
38. Limit on what can be charged : PRICECAP
39. "All right, let's play!" : GAMEON
40. Butcher's stock : KNIVES
42. Nickname for Springsteen : THEBOSS
43. Comics superhero with filed-off horns : HELLBOY
44. Joins forces? : ENLISTS
45. Run off : PRINT
46. Actor Wheaton : WIL
48. Prefix with -nomial : TRI
50. Joins forces : ALLIES
54. Insurance giant whose name begins with a silent letter : AETNA
55. Spoke tediously, with "on" : DRONED
56. Just for laughs : INFUN
57. Marble marvel : TAJMAHAL
59. Cuban province where the Castros were born : ORIENTE
60. Found (in) : LOCATED
61. Nail polish remover : ACETONE
63. Trivia venue : PUB
65. Margarine container : TUB
68. Sign of wind on water : RIPPLE
69. Range that's home to the Mark Twain National Forest : OZARKS
70. Unit of 74-Across : THERM
76. It stands for January : ONE
78. Raiders' org. : DEA
79. Big name in chips : LAYS
81. Hamlet's plot in "Hamlet" : REGICIDE
84. "To what ___?" : END
85. Bill : TAB
86. Italian castle town : OTRANTO
87. Advance warning : HEADSUP
88. Nancy Drew's boyfriend : NED
89. "Finally!" : ATLAST
90. Roman Empire invader : GOTH
93. Part of S.S.N.: Abbr. : SOC
94. Wrap tightly : COCOON
96. Looks for purchases : SHOPS
98. Crested ___ (Colorado ski resort) : BUTTE
99. Like Santa's suit on December 26 : SOOTY
100. Short-story writer Bret : HARTE
101. The slightest margin : AHAIR
102. Shows nervousness, in a way : GULPS
104. Taking action : ONIT
106. Kids' character who says "People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day" : POOH
107. What has casts of thousands? : IMDB
108. Hair removal brand : NAIR
110. Grate stuff : ASH
111. Potent venom source : ASP
114. "___-haw!" : YEE

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?