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SUPREME INTELLIGENCE

New York Times, Sunday, January 14, 2018

Author:
Joel Fagliano
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6510/22/20096/16/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
16911910325
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64351
Joel Fagliano

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 ... read more

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
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
Down
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
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Features of monarch butterfly wings : SPOTS
10
Add salt to, maybe : CURE
11
Santa ___ : ANA
12
Former Buick sedans : LESABRES
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"Victory is mine!" : IWIN
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Covered with water : AWASH
15
Sleek fabrics : SATEENS
16
Closest to base? : EVILEST
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Dry, as wine : SEC
20
Daze : STUPOR
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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
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Spoke tediously, with "on" : DRONED
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Just for laughs : INFUN
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Marble marvel : TAJMAHAL
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Cuban province where the Castros were born : ORIENTE
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Found (in) : LOCATED
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Nail polish remover : ACETONE
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Trivia venue : PUB
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Margarine container : TUB
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Sign of wind on water : RIPPLE
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Range that's home to the Mark Twain National Forest : OZARKS
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Unit of 74-Across : THERM
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It stands for January : ONE
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Raiders' org. : DEA
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Big name in chips : LAYS
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Hamlet's plot in "Hamlet" : REGICIDE
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"To what ___?" : END
85
Bill : TAB
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Italian castle town : OTRANTO
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Advance warning : HEADSUP
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Nancy Drew's boyfriend : NED
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"Finally!" : ATLAST
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Roman Empire invader : GOTH
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Part of S.S.N.: Abbr. : SOC
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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.

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