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New York Times, Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1105/2/200610/16/201912
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612253714106
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1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQ} This is puzzle # 103 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
Yep. I'm a math teacher. I hope the sight of the six trig functions didn't trigger PTSD (Post Trigonometric Stress Disorder) in any ... read more

Yep. I'm a math teacher. I hope the sight of the six trig functions didn't trigger PTSD (Post Trigonometric Stress Disorder) in any solvers out there. Math seems to be the most visceral subject in the high school curriculum – even long after high school. When I meet adults for the first time and they find out what I do for a living, I usually get a response like "Oh, I really [past tense verb] math!". Your two Mad Lib choices for the past tense verb are "loved" or "hated". I'd say the ratio of those two verbs is about 10 to 1. I'll let you guess which way.

I like that the revealer is LEFT RIGHT, as the trig functions kind of march down the grid in a left-right manner. I even considered constructing the grid so that the trig functions were pushed up against the sides of the grid, but CSC wouldn't play along. I also considered taking out LEFT RIGHT altogether, as it made the fill in the center a little strained. That triple column of RETOW/VIRNA/ENIAC probably has a favorable/unfavorable rating of 200 to 1. Again, I'll let you guess which way.

After this puzzle was accepted, I found out that AXL ROSE anagrams into a rather salacious phrase. Am I the last person on the planet to learn this? I like that he's balanced out by YOYO MA in the opposite quadrant, as sort of a musical counterpoint. Also, YO-YO MA anagrams into "Yo, mayo", but that's not nearly as exciting.

My favorite clue that made the cut is [Where S is …] for MORSE CODE. I hope some folks interpreted the dot-dot-dot as an ellipsis and stopped to scratch their heads for a moment. I also like [Took out the junk?] for SAILED, but I have to admit I used essentially the same clue in an Orange County Register puzzle about a year ago.

Jeff Chen notes:
Appropriate theme for a math teacher, the six TRIG functions hidden within phrases – in order! Not that there's an absolute ... read more

Appropriate theme for a math teacher, the six TRIG functions hidden within phrases – in order! Not that there's an absolute right order in which to present the six, but SIN COS TAN, COT (cotangent) SEC (secant) CSC (cosecant) is how math books go over them.

(CSC is the inverse of SIN, SEC inverse of COS, COT inverse of TAN, in case you're interested. I know you're probably not, but I am. So there.)

On one hand, there's something impressive about packing in the seven themers. In order! I particularly like HIT A NERVE hiding TAN; great phrase. And there's something awesome about SEC hidden inside MORSE CODE. Feels like the plot of a Dan Brown book.

On the other, so many constraints producing so many compromises in the grid hit a nerve for me. I personally wouldn't allow THAN I (partial) crossing LENAS (plural name). Then you get ANS, LTR, DIAS, the oddly related seeming ECCE ESSO OSS, RETOW … that's not good at all.

And LEFT RIGHT … I get that you need a middle themer hiding TRIG. But LEFT RIGHT was last used in the Maleskan era. Is it a valid phrase? Dunno. At the very least, I had enough hesitations that I would have much preferred something different. JUST RIGHT would have been a lot better to me, but that J would have stressed the grid even more. PATENT RIGHT is better too, but it's more common in the plural.

Maybe even leaving out TRIG would have been better. SIN COS TAN tells the story pretty well without TRIG, anyway.

I did love the clue for TACO STAND. [Shell station?] hinting at the Shell gas stations, misdirecting from TACO shells = brilliant.

And that clue for MORSE CODE! I fell into Pete's trap with both feet. Part of me still wonders what that ellipsis is leading to!

The math-lover in me enjoyed seeing the TRIG functions in proper order. The crossword-lover in me had problems with the execution.

1
H
2
A
3
Z
4
Y
5
B
6
R
7
E
8
C
9
H
10
T
11
E
12
C
13
O
14
O
R
E
O
15
M
U
L
L
A
H
16
C
O
X
17
S
T
A
Y
18
S
I
N
S
I
D
E
19
U
R
I
20
L
O
W
21
T
A
C
O
S
22
T
A
N
D
23
T
24
H
O
M
A
25
S
26
N
O
I
D
E
A
27
H
I
T
A
N
E
28
R
29
V
30
E
31
U
B
O
A
T
32
Y
D
S
33
R
E
I
N
34
T
E
R
S
E
35
L
36
E
F
T
R
I
37
G
H
T
38
S
39
T
40
R
E
P
41
O
N
A
T
42
A
43
T
44
L
45
T
H
A
N
I
46
W
A
C
O
47
T
48
E
X
A
S
49
A
R
M
A
D
50
A
51
S
A
I
L
E
D
52
M
O
R
S
E
C
53
O
54
D
55
E
56
L
T
R
57
I
W
O
58
M
U
S
I
C
59
S
C
H
O
60
O
61
L
62
N
O
D
63
I
T
H
A
C
A
64
E
S
S
O
65
A
N
S
66
C
E
A
S
E
D
67
R
E
S
T
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0228 ( 24,949 )
Across
1
Like recollections of people trying to avoid perjury? : HAZY
5
Bertolt who wrote "The Threepenny Opera" : BRECHT
11
Modern prefix with warrior : ECO
14
Cookie since 1912 : OREO
15
Teacher of Islamic law : MULLAH
16
Position in crew, informally : COX
17
Is a recluse : STAYSINSIDE
19
Sch. in the Ocean State : URI
20
Gear for going up hills : LOW
21
Shell station? : TACOSTAND
23
Marshall's successor on the Supreme Court : THOMAS
26
"Haven't the foggiest" : NOIDEA
27
Land close to home : HITANERVE
31
W.W. II menace : UBOAT
32
Y. A. Tittle passed for 33,070 of them: Abbr. : YDS
33
Restrain, with "in" : REIN
34
To the point : TERSE
35
When repeated, marching orders? : LEFTRIGHT
38
Throat affliction : STREP
41
Go ___ great length : ONAT
42
The Falcons, on a scoreboard : ATL
45
"You're a better man ___!" : THANI
46
City on the Brazos River : WACOTEXAS
49
Naval fleet : ARMADA
51
Took out the junk? : SAILED
52
Where S is ... : MORSECODE
56
Paper size option: Abbr. : LTR
57
___ Jima : IWO
58
Place where students are graded on a scale? : MUSICSCHOOL
62
Sign of approval : NOD
63
Ivy League city : ITHACA
64
Canadian filling station : ESSO
65
A, B, C or D, in multiple choice: Abbr. : ANS
66
Came to an end : CEASED
67
Take five : REST
Down
1
Sounds from a sleigh : HOS
2
Still life, e.g. : ART
3
Fanatics : ZEALOTS
4
Classical musician whose given name is a toy : YOYOMA
5
Fat stat : BMI
6
Small one : RUNT
7
Disney's Queen of Arendelle : ELSA
8
___ Stic (ballpoint pen) : CLIC
9
Wore : HADON
10
Lee side : THESOUTH
11
Colombia neighbor : ECUADOR
12
Lens covers : CORNEAS
13
Become rusty : OXIDATE
18
Lake or dive preceder : SWAN
22
Lhasa's land : TIBET
23
Lord's Prayer possessive : THY
24
Holed up : HID
25
Lord's subject : SERF
28
Haul back to the auto pound : RETOW
29
Actress ___ Lisi of "How to Murder Your Wife" : VIRNA
30
Pioneering computer : ENIAC
35
Olin and Horne : LENAS
36
Uncontrolled outbreak : EPIDEMIC
37
Old muscle cars : GTOS
38
Marathoner's need : STAMINA
39
Don quickly : THROWON
40
Aids for muzzleloading firearms : RAMRODS
42
Rocker who sings "Welcome to the Jungle" : AXLROSE
43
___ Bo (exercise system) : TAE
44
Subject of a repeated warning at Woodstock : LSD
47
Anti-rash powder : TALC
48
This or that : EITHER
50
Less than 90° : ACUTE
53
Dept. of Labor agcy. : OSHA
54
Mayo parts? : DIAS
55
"___ homo" : ECCE
59
Like this emoticon: :-( : SAD
60
Spy org. created by F.D.R. : OSS
61
Fate : LOT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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