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DOUBLE-CROSSED

New York Times, Sunday, March 20, 2016

Author: Joel Fagliano
Editor: Will Shortz
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1.65351
Joel Fagliano

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 134, Blocks: 73 Missing: {XZ} This is puzzle # 47 for Mr. Fagliano. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: When this puzzle is completed, take the answer to each starred clue and cross out all the letters used twice. The leftover letters will spell an appropriate word, reading top to bottom.
Joel Fagliano notes: I came up with this idea around the time of my symmetry puzzle, which had a somewhat similar concept of every letter being used twice except for one. I knew I wanted the extra letters to spell something, ... more
Joel Fagliano notes:

I came up with this idea around the time of my symmetry puzzle, which had a somewhat similar concept of every letter being used twice except for one.

I knew I wanted the extra letters to spell something, and at first I was aiming for "The Leftovers", the hit HBO show. But I couldn't find a good leftover V example, and I wasn't even sure some solvers would know that show.

For about two months, I tried to come up with these out of my head/through manual searching. I'd take a word that already had most of the letters used twice (COMMON, e.g.) and then search on phrases with that word (COMMON SENSE would've worked, leaving over the C, for example). I had about 15 or 16 of these, but they didn't spell anything apt and I was generating insane-looking pages in my notebook of scribbled out words. I realized I was never going to be able to get a good set on my own.

So I reached out to Jeff, who was able to write a script that generated a list of all the answers in his database that fit this pattern. From there, I was able to fill in the holes of the letters I still needed to spell out the meta answer. Huge shout-out to him for his help in putting this together, and his general role in helping constructors everywhere with their craft.

Jeff Chen notes: I've highlighted the special letters below — it was tough for me to see them all at once. (I imagine the impact of today's theme will be much bigger for paper solvers, who can easily circle each of them). ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I've highlighted the special letters below — it was tough for me to see them all at once. (I imagine the impact of today's theme will be much bigger for paper solvers, who can easily circle each of them). The idea is that each starred entry has exactly two instances of each letter … except one. If you highlight each of those left-over letters, they spell REMAINDERS (reading top to bottom, left to right).

Beautiful PRIDE PARADE in Prague

I enjoyed Joel's programming challenge. My coding was completely hacky but wow was it satisfying to crack the problem and generate a list of workable entries.

When he told me what he was looking for, I wondered how this concept would resonate with solvers. It took too long to see that the R in HIPPOCRATIC OATH was the leftover, and that was the case going all the way down. I do think it's a novel, interesting idea — and REMAINDERS is appropriate — but I fear that some solvers won't go back after filling in the last box.

I was amazed to see this is a 134-word puzzle, as Sunday grids at that level are almost always splattered with ugly swaths of crossword glue to hold them together. I breezed through the puzzle, hardly noticing the usual suspects like HOW I because they were rare. And to come across so many great entries — FAULT LINES, SPEECH BUBBLES, UP TO YOU, SAUTE PAN, NICOTINE PATCH — I really didn't need any theme in order to enjoy all the snazzy fill. Since I didn't have a way to circle the leftover letters in the theme, I just treated the puzzle like it was a big themeless, and I really enjoyed that.

Joel was wise to put all his long fill in the vertical direction, all spread out through the grid. More spacing = more filling flexibility. People would be wise to study this sort of layout.

I'm guessing that I would have given this the POW! if I had solved it on paper, circling the leftover letters as I went.

JimH notes: Patrick Berry had a similar puzzle in 2007 where the undoubled letters spelled LEFTOVERS.
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B
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0320 ( 24,239 )
Across Down
1. Joke's target : BUTT
5. Own (up) : FESS
9. One of the Five Pillars of Islam : HADJ
13. French film award : CESAR
18. Phlegmatic : STOIC
20. Prefix with distant : EQUI
21. Black-and-white, in sneaker lingo : OREO
22. More than enough : AMPLE
23. Folded food : CREPE
24. 111-Across's partner : AUNT
25. They "don't lie," in a #1 Shakira hit : HIPS
26. Not be able to sleep : LIEUP
27. *Doctor's orders? : HIPPOCRATICOATH
30. ___ fraîche : CREME
31. Regenerist brand : OLAY
32. Capital of Kazakhstan : ASTANA
33. Streaming video giant : HULU
35. "Fareed Zakaria GPS" airer : CNN
36. Up in years : OLD
37. ___ pull (sports injury) : GROIN
38. *1999 rom-com based on Shaw's "Pygmalion" : SHESALLTHAT
42. *Manhattan Project site : LOSALAMOS
44. Cook in charge of 110-Across : TIM
45. Engine part, briefly : CARB
46. "___ Tag!" : GUTEN
47. Drink served in a flute : MIMOSA
50. Razz : TAUNT
53. Popular tech review site : CNET
55. Money of Peru : SOL
56. *Lawyer : BARMEMBER
58. *Event with rainbow flags : PRIDEPARADE
62. Went on to say : ADDED
63. Caribbean area, once: Abbr. : BWI
64. ___ jacet (phrase on tombstones) : HIC
65. Often-torchlit events : LUAUS
66. Requirement for one going into labor? : UNION
67. Impudence : LIP
68. "Speaking personally ...," in texts : IMO
69. Supporting the idea : FORIT
70. *Pressured : UNDERDURESS
73. *Makes wedding plans : SETSADATE
75. Geometry textbook symbols : PIS
76. Big fund-raising effort : PUSH
77. One-stanza poem : HAIKU
78. Green day? : STPATS
80. Expression in a toothpaste ad : SMILE
83. Shade of blue or green : NILE
85. "Feliz ___ Nuevo!" : ANO
86. *County that includes much of Everglades National Park : MIAMIDADE
90. *Tidy sum : PRETTYPENNY
94. Relative of ibid. : OPCIT
95. Newspaper unit: Abbr. : COL
96. What they say about you, informally : REP
97. Ectomorphic : LEAN
98. Car collector? : OILPAN
100. "That's just ___ roll" : HOWI
101. "Same here" : ASAMI
103. *Hides out : GOESUNDERGROUND
107. Arrive : GETIN
108. South side? : OKRA
109. Portend : BODE
110. See 44-Across : APPLE
111. See 24-Across : UNCLE
112. Face with numbers : DIAL
113. Skin So Soft maker : AVON
114. Sadness : DOLOR
115. Cultural values : ETHOS
116. Kind of prof. : ASST
117. Agent Scully on "The X-Files" : DANA
118. "___ to me" : NEWS
1. Wharton, e.g., informally : BSCHOOL
2. Maurice who painted Parisian street scenes : UTRILLO
3. Grippers for geckos : TOEPADS
4. At risk of capsizing : TIPPY
5. Scary : FEARSOME
6. Math term that uses all five vowels exactly once : EQUATION
7. Things taken home from the beach? : SUNTANS
8. Protest type : SITIN
9. Deep laugh : HOHO
10. Lavish Vegas casino opened in 2009 : ARIA
11. Lowest part : DEPTHS
12. Book before Judges : JOSHUA
13. Deliberate : CALCULATED
14. Robe-wearing ruler : EMIR
15. Certain balloons : SPEECHBUBBLES
16. Smith graduate, e.g. : ALUMNA
17. Start on a righteous path : REPENT
19. CNBC interviewee, maybe : CEO
28. Ring figure? : CARAT
29. Old Spanish kingdom : CASTILE
34. Cousin of inc. : LLC
37. Muscle strengthened by a StairMaster, informally : GLUTE
39. "That guy?" : HIM
40. My Chemical Romance and others : EMOBANDS
41. Mine transport : TRAM
43. Up in years : AGED
47. Chat room policers, informally : MODS
48. ___ Hawkins dance : SADIE
49. Spirit : ARDOR
51. Fairly recent : NEWISH
52. Some game show prizes : TRIPS
53. Peninsula in 2014 headlines : CRIMEA
54. Quitting aid, of sorts : NICOTINEPATCH
55. Relative of a skillet : SAUTEPAN
57. Fix : MEND
58. Band with a Ben & Jerry's flavor named for it : PHISH
59. Trudge : PLOD
60. Glows : AURAS
61. "Something to Talk About" singer, 1991 : RAITT
66. Sports teams wear them, informally : UNIS
69. Dangerous rifts : FAULTLINES
70. "I could go with whatever" : UPTOYOU
71. Like Mount Rushmore at night : UPLIT
72. Kicked oneself over : RUED
74. "S.N.L." bit : SKIT
79. Country singer Lee ___ Womack : ANN
80. Nursed : SIPPEDON
81. 1990s craze : MACARENA
82. Chatting online with, for short : IMING
84. Bedroom shutter? : EYE
86. Ukraine neighbor : MOLDOVA
87. Some : ACOUPLE
88. Secrecy, with "the" : DOWNLOW
89. Those saying "somethin'," say : ELIDERS
90. Capital that's home to the world's largest castle, per Guinness : PRAGUE
91. Take umbrage at : RESENT
92. Multistory temple : PAGODA
93. Small-capped mushrooms : ENOKIS
99. Out of favor : INBAD
100. Motorcyclist's invitation : HOPON
102. Hero of kid-lit's "The Phantom Tollbooth" : MILO
104. Ballpark figs. : ERAS
105. Part of the "everything" in an everything bagel : SALT
106. "Super cool!" : RAD

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 4 debuted here and reused later.

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