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New York Times, Thursday, February 4, 2016

Author:
Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
937/5/20101/11/201955
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467172298
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.636192
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQVXZ} This is puzzle # 49 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The four long Across answers are affected by a literal interpretation of the shaded boxes.
Jeff Chen notes:
You know you're an engineer when: 1.) You assume everyone knows the abbreviation SQRT. It's on every scientific calculator, by ... read more

You know you're an engineer when:

1.) You assume everyone knows the abbreviation SQRT. It's on every scientific calculator, by Newton's Apple! (I can just hear all the youngsters asking what a calculator is. And what the heck "by Newton's Apple!" means.)

2.) You work a square root symbol into your original grid, assuming that everyone will follow the "blatantly obvious" S Q R T sequence formed by the vertices. Blatant. BLAAAAA-TANT! (Or, maybe not.)

3.) You think DID THE MATH is absolutely perfect to tie the puzzle concept together. The theme answers are under the square root symbol, thus the puzzle DID THE MATH! Unless ... wait … the presence of the SQRT symbol means that the theme answers should be SQUARED in order to produce an accurate final result, i.e. THE FAB SIXTEEN then becomes the THE FAB FOUR after the puzzle DID THE MATH. Wait. Maybe it should be the other way around. Which is more logical? There is no logic! (brain lock shutdown initiated)

We engineers are a funny bunch.

Jeff Chen notes:
These days, I've been spending a lot of time figuring out ways to work in more and more bonus long fill into puzzles. It's important ... read more

These days, I've been spending a lot of time figuring out ways to work in more and more bonus long fill into puzzles. It's important to me to always give the solver more than they expect, and with the bar being raised higher and higher by strong constructors, this is not an easy task.

If you can find them ...

It used to be enough for me to shoot for six good bonus entries, but I've been experimenting with eight or even ten. This can really strain a grid, and trade-offs crop up often. As with today's grid, I find that using a bunch of long downs staggered through the grid, each one intersecting no more than two themers (but ideally, just one), can often work wonders.

Once I fixed R O O T in place — Will and Joel's second choice for a revealer — I filled around that corner as cleanly as possible, which led me to BLACKLIST as one of the only good possibilities at 34-Down. That reduced my flexibility at 4-Down, but after trying a bunch of things, THE MAFIA seemed to work well. Basically, I repeated this process from left to right in the grid, stopping and restarting dozens of times when I was forced into trade-offs I thought solvers would groan at.

I wasn't happy with SLEEPS IN, as it feels more neutral than an asset, but having something great in that slot meant a couple of gluey bits holding it in the grid. Always the trade-offs — I pity the fool who has to make them.

(I so badly wanted the full A TEAM intro, but my original clue might have been too long for Will: ["In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... the ___."] Ah, well.)

Jim Horne notes:

Starting with ONE (its own square root) is cleverly misleading. Note that publication date is 2/4/16.

1
R
2
A
3
F
4
T
5
S
6
A
7
D
8
S
9
H
10
E
11
M
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E
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N
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15
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M
Y
O
P
E
17
H
O
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18
N
O
N
E
19
M
E
D
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A
H
E
M
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O
A
K
E
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N
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D
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K
24
B
A
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A
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C
U
S
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P
E
27
C
O
S
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F
A
N
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A
S
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W
31
O
32
A
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M
34
B
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G
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F
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N
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S
A
L
A
D
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D
E
N
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A
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O
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B
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A
D
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L
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H
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48
K
A
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M
A
49
O
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I
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G
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S
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K
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I
L
O
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P
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O
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A
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O
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A
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A
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W
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T
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O
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M
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0204 ( 24,194 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Loads : RAFTS
6. What a pitcher is full of? : ADS
9. Atlas's disciples : HEMEN
14. Yale after whom Yale was named : ELIHU
15. "___ Kingdom Come" (2005 Coldplay song) : TIL
16. Patient of a 10-Down : MYOPE
17. Ace : HOLEINONE
19. Battlefield yell : MEDIC
20. Cousin of "um" : AHEM
21. Like some barrels used for aging whiskey : OAKEN
23. KO : DECK
24. B.A. of the 39-Across : BARACUS
26. River mentioned in Yosemite Sam's self-introduction : PECOS
28. Marvel Comics group : FANTASTICTWO
32. Circuits : AMBITS
35. Essence : GIST
36. Peat source : FEN
37. Leaves for dinner? : SALAD
38. Cubs' home : DEN
39. Special Forces unit court-martialed for a crime they didn't commit : ATEAM
41. Padre's hermana : TIA
42. Scottish seaport known for its single-malt Scotch : OBAN
44. Accrete : ADHERE
45. Elated : ONCLOUDTHREE
48. Principle of cosmic balance : KARMA
49. The notorious Deepwater Horizon and others : OILRIGS
53. What a mule may carry : KILO
55. Unstable subatomic particles : PIONS
57. Lhasa ___ : APSO
58. "West Side Story" woman : ANITA
60. Milestone birthday : SWEETFOUR
62. Martini's partner : ROSSI
63. What precedes the season? : TIS
64. Nostalgia evoker : OLDIE
65. Lead-in to hound, in the canine world : OTTER
66. Wanting for nothing : SET
67. Imperatives : MUSTS
Down
1. It's a sobering process : REHAB
2. "Hi, Ho!" : ALOHA
3. Secretarial sort : FILER
4. Powerful offers? : THEMAFIA
5. Fashion designer Anna : SUI
6. Best man's opening : ATOAST
7. Surprise volleyball shot : DINK
8. Lies and lies some more? : SLEEPSIN
9. "That's odd ..." : HMM
10. Provider of contacts, informally : EYEDOC
11. Reasonable charge : MODESTFEE
12. Having immense implications : EPIC
13. Make out : NECK
18. Words ending in "o" in Esperanto : NOUNS
22. Snags : NETS
25. Small flap, maybe : CATDOOR
27. Bulwark : CITADEL
29. Chemical ___ : AGENT
30. Sport : WEAR
31. "I'm buying!" : ONME
32. Regarding : ASTO
33. Ocean : MAIN
34. Bar in Hollywood : BLACKLIST
38. Cabaret Voltaire iconoclasts : DADAISTS
40. Cold war weapon? : THERAFLU
43. Baby ___ : BUMP
44. Pop up : ARISE
46. Father of Taoism : LAOTSE
47. Level : HONEST
50. Touch things? : IPODS
51. "The Martian" garb : GSUIT
52. Results of chafing : SORES
53. Big name in corn syrup : KARO
54. Playing extra minutes, for short : INOT
56. Boo-boo : OWIE
59. Word before China or India : AIR
61. Ford of fashion : TOM

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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