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Here is an $n^{O(k)}$-time SAT algorithm: try all (at most $n^k$) ways how to select one literal from each clause, and accept whenever the selection is such that it does not include any contradictory pair (i.e., a literal and its negation). So, if $k$ is substantially smaller than $n$, you get a subexponential algorithm, and you should not be able to prove ...


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