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A SIGN OF THE TIMES

New York Times, Thursday, October 23, 2014

Author:
Patrick Blindauer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
667/21/20054/15/201922
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14661317118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59262
Patrick Blindauer

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 32 Missing: {FJQWZ} This is puzzle # 58 for Mr. Blindauer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: A Crossword Contest
All the puzzles this week, from Monday to Saturday, have been created by one person, Patrick Blindauer. Keep your solutions handy, because the Saturday puzzle conceals a meta-challenge involving the solution grids of all six. When you have the answer to the meta-challenge, send it to crossword@nytimes.com. Twenty correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6:00 p.m. E.T. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, will win one-year online subscriptions to the New York Times crossword. Only one entry per person, please. The answer and winners' names will appear on Friday, Oct. 31, at www.nytimes.com/wordplay.
Patrick Blindauer notes:
New York-y grid play! This is bound to play like a themeless unless you stumble on 56-Across early. Using only one leg of black ... read more

New York-y grid play! This is bound to play like a themeless unless you stumble on 56-Across early. Using only one leg of black squares on the top and bottom edges allowed for some longer entries, and I tried my darndest to get another TIMESSQUARE in the center of the grid, but it just wasn't happening. The four spots do make the shape of a square, though, so maybe it's all for the best. Thrilled to get Michael CHE into the grid; my favorite clue I wrote is [Trailer for "Rocky" or "Rambo"?] for III, and my favorite clue I didn't write is [Letters that are hard to read?] for HATEMAIL.

Will Shortz notes:
Jeff Chen notes:
Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give ... read more

Contest week! Jim and I decided to keep everything quiet until the contest is over, including the grid solutions. I doubt we'd give anything away by publishing all the clues and answers, but this method better preserves the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, this week is an appropriate time for me to delve into some of my favorite cryptological mysteries throughout history. None of these write-ups have anything to do with the contest, I promise (I'll put up a post summarizing how I solved it afterward, assuming I solve it). I simply like sharing my obsession with unsolved coded puzzles throughout history. And my posts will need to get shorter anyway, as a certain 11-day-old little dictator is screeching a long speech lauding the benefits of an autocratic society.

THE WOW! SIGNAL

Who among us hasn't wondered who else is out there? I've followed SETI for a long time, especially interested in the SETI at home project. Talk about a cool use of crowdsourcing. (As an aside, a friend of mine is behind another awesome crowdsourcing project, "Fold It," a computer game designed to get millions of people working on complex protein folding problems through the use of a game where contestants earn "points.") I constantly have to resist the urge to put SETI as fill in my crosswords, as I realize it's not something most people are familiar with.

So when I read about the "Wow! signal" a few months ago while researching for a book, I couldn't believe it wasn't more well known. A potential signal from outer space? A real-life "Contact" type of mystery! My wife and I just watched the new "Cosmos" narrated by Neil Degrasse Tyson, and given the grandeur of the known universe, it's inspiring to believe that perhaps the Wow! signal might have been a true artifact from another culture thousands of light-years away.

Was it a true signal, one of our own artifacts caromed off the atmosphere, some sort of hoax, or something else? It's unlikely we'll ever know. But along with the rest of the SETI believers out there, I eagerly await new results.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1023 ( 23,725 )

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Across
1
"Attack!" : CHARGE
7
They're often dipped in wasabis : SASHIMIS
15
Best at a buffet, say : OUTEAT
16
Tabasco turnover : EMPANADA
17
Camry competitor : ALTIMA
18
___ Brewster, "Arsenic and Old Lace" role : MORTIMER
19
Classic Jag : XKE
20
Common street name : ELM
22
The French way? : RUE
23
Spanish pronoun : ESA
24
Competitor of Clark and Emerson in coll. athletics : MIT
26
Range wear? : OVENMITTS
29
"Give me a break already!" : OHPLEASE
32
Chat : GAB
33
Sacrifice, e.g. : RITE
34
Griffin who created "Jeopardy!" : MERV
36
Under cover? : INBED
40
Michael of "Weekend Update" on "S.N.L." : CHE
41
Go for a quick cruise, say : DAYSAIL
43
One of 17 on a Monopoly board: Abbr. : AVE
44
Copycat's comment : SODOI
46
___-serif : SANS
47
Comment often after "Hmm ..." : ISEE
48
Cricket club : BAT
50
Holds : CITADELS
52
Bosom buddies : INTIMATES
56
Where the ball drops on New Year's Eve ... as depicted literally in four places in this puzzle : TIMESSQUARE
57
___-eyed : DOE
58
Want-ad abbr. : EOE
59
Speed : HIE
61
California's ___ River : EEL
64
Bounding : LIMITING
67
One of the Brothers Karamazov : DMITRI
69
Brewed beverage : ESPRESSO
70
Laudanum, e.g. : OPIATE
71
Ran out on : DESERTED
72
Dirty : SOILED
Down
1
Sweet-talk : COAX
2
Any Mr. Olympia : HULK
3
Went for : ATTEMPTED
4
Big name in camping gear : REI
5
Life starter : GAMETE
6
Library indexing abbr. : ETAL
7
Part of a sch. year : SEM
8
2006 million-selling Andrea Bocelli album : AMORE
9
Out, in a way : SPRUNG
10
Letters that are hard to read? : HATEMAIL
11
Pasta name ending : INI
12
"American Buffalo" playwright : MAMET
13
Cousin of "exempli gratia" : IDEST
14
Singers Bareilles and Evans : SARAS
21
Strolls : MOSEYS
25
Paris's ___ Saint-Louis : ILE
27
Milan-based fashion house : VERSACE
28
Arabic "son of" : IBN
29
Tolkien's Gorbag and Bolg : ORCS
30
Old Ritz rival : HIHO
31
Org. backing Obamacare : AMA
35
Go poof : VANISH
37
Lead, e.g. : BASEMETAL
38
First name in daredevilry : EVEL
39
Odd couple? : DEES
41
Pipe measure : DIAMETER
42
"Was ___ passiert?" (German "What happened?") : IST
45
Strip of paper around a Japanese book : OBI
47
Uganda's ___ Amin : IDI
49
White Cloud Temple worshiper : TAOIST
51
"Resume speed," musically : ATEMPO
52
Lollygagged : IDLED
53
Clue for a car mechanic : NOISE
54
Some subs : TEMPS
55
Jittery : TENSE
60
Merger agreements? : IDOS
62
Designer who wrote "Things I Remember" : ERTE
63
Wasn't veracious : LIED
65
Tick off : IRE
66
Prayer object : GOD
68
Trailer for "Rocky" or "Rambo"? : III

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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