NYT Thursday Puzzle – December 26, 2013

NYT Thursday Puzzle - December 26, 2013

The theme is provided by the answer to 58-Across: Chaos… or a hint to the contents of 17-, 28-, 34-, and 43-Across. Answer: General disarray.

The four theme answers include the word “general,” but the letters are in disarray, i.e., not in order.

17A. Many a Manhattan Project worker = Nuclear engineer
28A. Growth on wet rocks or the surface of stagnant water = Green algae
34A. What a coiled spring or charged battery has, in physics = Potential energy
43A. Targeted area? = Rifle range

I actually filled in the four theme answers first but had no idea what the theme was until I was able to fill in 58-Across. I ran into a problem there. I got “general” and when I got “dis” –both of which I knew were correct based on the fills surrounding them – I figured, “Aha!” — “chaos” = “disorder.”  And thus, the theme became clear. But — and it was a big BUT —  “order” didn’t work with regard to completing that part of the grid (and, thereby, finishing the puzzle). So, I erased it and after filling in a few other answers, I realized that the correct word was “disarray.” After that, completing the rest proved easy.

This is the last Thursday puzzle of 2013.

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