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New York Times, Monday, November 21, 2016

Author: John Lieb
Editor: Will Shortz
John Lieb
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115/14/20138/16/20172
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0412202
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1.61100

This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 14 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Lieb. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: Although this puzzle can be solved in Across Lite, the print version contains elements that the software cannot reproduce. We recommend using the PDF, or alternatively one of the other available electronic versions.
John Lieb notes: My favorite part of this puzzle is the doubling of the clue numbers, and I'm excited to get something unusual into a Monday ... more
John Lieb notes:

My favorite part of this puzzle is the doubling of the clue numbers, and I'm excited to get something unusual into a Monday puzzle. I hope the high number values gave some solvers a minor jolt on first glance, perhaps like the one I had after coming back to watching Jeopardy! after a many-year hiatus and discovering the increased dollar values on the board.

I originally was just playing with a basic 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 progression and then the "Against All Odds" revealer came out of desperation, as having five theme answers was a pain to work with (the "four" entry having to be in the middle of the grid). It turned out having six theme answers gave me more flexibility. Then carrying the revealer to its logical conclusion led to the clue inflation. (It was unintentional, but fortuitous, that the grid is 16 rows by 14 columns – thank you 14-letter revealer!)

As a middle/high school math teacher, I'm on pretty friendly terms with the odd numbers, so I hope they don't take the puzzle personally…

Jeff Chen notes: Hey, a Monday featuring a trick! It's a lot of fun in print, where each clue number is doubled — thus getting even ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Hey, a Monday featuring a trick! It's a lot of fun in print, where each clue number is doubled — thus getting even more at AGAINST ALL ODDS — but even without this customization, the puzzle works well.

At first I was a little confused why John worked in ZERO in addition to what I would have expected (just TWO FOUR SIX EIGHT), but then I remembered he's a math professor. There's some debate as to whether ZERO is an even number or not, but there is no doubt that it isn't odd — neat math factoid.

Going away from the usual 15x15 to 14x16 is also a nice touch, to continue avoiding ODDS. Neat that it happened to work out perfectly with that 14-letter AGAINST ALL ODDS! (A 14-letter revealer in a 15x15 is tough, since you end up having to put the revealer in row 12 instead of 13, thus squishing themers together.)

Strong themers (I wasn't familiar with EIGHT MEN OUT, but it was fun to learn that eight refers to the number of players involved in the Black Sox scandal), snappy long fill like SNOW TIRE and TURN SIGNAL, and not much crossword glue — just some IN SO, ENV, ADES minor bits — made for an enjoyable early-week puzzle. I even enjoyed PSYOP, an uncommon Monday piece of fill but very colorful and interesting.

The only hesitation I had was the SEGO / OSSA crossing. That might be a toughie for novice solvers. I think it's probably fair, but not ideal.

Three great extras — 1.) Woodsy OWL ("Give a hoot, don't pollute!" 2.) one of my favorite TEE shirt slogans ("I'm With Stupid") and 3.) DIAGON Alley of the Harry Potter world — helped win me even further over. I often find myself on John's wavelength, and today was no exception.

Really fun to see a kooky twist on what's often an unremarkable day of the week for the NYT puzzle.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1121 ( 24,485 )
Across Down
1. Taste or touch : SENSE
6. What eyeglass lenses fit in : RIMS
10. Drug also known as angel dust : PCP
13. Ivy League sch. in Philly : UPENN
14. Furry creature in "Return of the Jedi" : EWOK
15. W. Hemisphere alliance : OAS
16. Driving condition in a blizzard : ZEROVISIBILITY
19. "Man, that smarts!" : YEOW
20. Lucy's partner : DESI
21. Not ___ many words : INSO
22. Approval from Siskel and Ebert : TWOTHUMBSUP
25. Loosen, as laces : UNTIE
28. Go 4-0 in the Series, e.g. : SWEEP
29. R&B group with the #1 hit "Reach Out I'll Be There" : FOURTOPS
33. Cockpit info: Abbr. : ALT
34. Fairy tale monster : OGRE
35. Steinbeck's "The Grapes of ___" : WRATH
37. Shirt that might say "I'm with stupid" : TEE
40. ___ of a gun : SON
41. Plant life : FLORA
42. Mediterranean fruits : FIGS
43. ___-pitch softball : SLO
45. Amusement park with the Nitro roller coaster : SIXFLAGS
47. Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" was rewritten to honor her : DIANA
49. Rodeo rope : LASSO
50. 1988 film about the Black Sox scandal : EIGHTMENOUT
54. Tirade : RANT
55. ___-friendly : USER
56. Western lily : SEGO
60. How an extreme underdog wins ... or this puzzle? : AGAINSTALLODDS
63. Note between fa and la : SOL
64. Fortuneteller : SEER
65. What light bulbs represent in cartoons : IDEAS
66. Naval officer: Abbr. : ENS
67. Summer drinks : ADES
68. Country music's Tucker : TANYA
1. ___ Q's (Hostess brand) : SUZY
2. Fencing blade : EPEE
3. Character in "I, Claudius" : NERO
4. Michelin winter product : SNOWTIRE
5. Letter holder: Abbr. : ENV
6. Bowling alley button : RESET
7. "If only!" : IWISH
8. ___ strip (mathematical curiosity) : MOBIUS
9. Compete in the Nordic combined, say : SKI
10. Traditional Christmas plants : POINSETTIAS
11. Heinz product : CATSUP
12. "Hearts and minds" military maneuver, briefly : PSYOP
17. Words at the altar : IDO
18. Printed defamation : LIBEL
23. Rainy : WET
24. Air kiss sound : MWAH
25. Supernatural tabloid fodder : UFOS
26. Canceled, as a launch : NOGO
27. Blinkers : TURNSIGNALS
30. Bird that says "Give a hoot! Don't pollute!" : OWL
31. Counterparts of amateurs : PROS
32. Bollywood dress : SARI
36. Word after income, sales or excise : TAX
38. Custard base : EGGS
39. Canadian gas brand : ESSO
41. Times New Roman, e.g. : FONT
42. Pop with no fizz : FLATSODA
44. Actress Christine of "Chicago Hope" : LAHTI
46. Focus of a yearly shot : FLU
47. ___ Alley, shopping area for Harry Potter : DIAGON
48. Made smile : AMUSED
50. Wipe clean, as a blackboard : ERASE
51. Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
52. Approaches : NEARS
53. N.B.A.'s Magic, on scoreboards : ORL
57. The Bible's Garden of ___ : EDEN
58. Aussie greeting : GDAY
59. Greece's Mount ___ : OSSA
61. Org. for which Edward Snowden once worked : NSA
62. Ignited, as a match : LIT

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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