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New York Times, Monday, March 23, 2015

Author: Michael Dewey
Editor: Will Shortz
Michael Dewey
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61/9/201210/5/20160
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0303000
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1.73000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QW} Spans: 1 Scrabble average: 1.92 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Dewey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Dewey notes: 'Much Ado About Something' was a working title I used for this puzzle. It had its germination last spring as I was watching the ... more
Michael Dewey notes:

"Much Ado About Something" was a working title I used for this puzzle. It had its germination last spring as I was watching the NCAA basketball tournament, a.k.a. MARCHMADNESS. As a sports fan, I decided to use the term in a puzzle and work "bracketology" into the clue. With that foundation, I thought about the crazy state of the human condition and the behaviors that demonstrate our passions and madness (said the cruciverbalist, knee deep in crossword puzzles). I considered lots of other possibilities during the theme development phase (Beatlemania had been used recently, e. g.), but eventually MEDIAFRENZY and KLEPTOMANIA paired up nicely as 11-letter entries, and FASHIONCRAZE matched up with MARCHMADNESS as 12-letter ones.

Those four terms were probably enough for a decent early-week puzzle, but I wanted a fifth to give it more clout. It was serendipitous when CATSCRATCHFEVER aired on a local radio station. Ted Nugent's rock euphemism provided an interesting 15-letter expression to sandwich in the middle of my puzzle. Longer, unique entries like BICKEROVER and ARTHISTORY added some depth beyond the theme as I began to fill the grid. I must be mad about geography, too, because my fill ended up containing a veritable world tour from RENO and the OZARKS in the USOFA to HAITI, TROY, and MECCA.

A year after its inception, I am pleased to have the puzzle published during the 2015 basketball tournament and in the week leading up to the other form of March Madness — the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut.

Jeff Chen notes: Timely puzzle, right in the middle of MARCH MADNESS. 'Bracketology' is such a cool term (as is 'bracketologist') that I'm surprised ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Timely puzzle, right in the middle of MARCH MADNESS. "Bracketology" is such a cool term (as is "bracketologist") that I'm surprised neither has been used before in crosswords. When Warren Buffett was considering a one billion dollar prize for correctly picking every game in the NCAA brackets, I found it really interesting that his underwriters thought the risk of someone actually achieving it was negligible — but the risk of a hacker finding a way to dupe them was not.

A single Viceroy bulb allegedly commanded a trade for 1,000 lb. of cheese!

Colorful phrases, FASHION CRAZE and MEDIA FRENZY singing. KLEPTOMANIA is a strong one too, but I found it slightly inelegant that it was the only single word themer. Something like RAILWAY MANIA or TULIP MANIA? As a kid, I was enthralled by severe displacements of supply and demand's actual equilibrium point.

Man, I was a weird kid.

I like the effort to incorporate two long downs, BICKER OVER and ART HISTORY. With five long themers, that's a tough task. I appreciate the care Mike took in filling in those areas. Nice and smooth; good deployment of black squares to facilitate filling those areas.

And overall the fill is pretty smooth, with just the north section sticking out with a concentration of A BATH / LAI / YMA. It'd be interesting to see if relocating the block below DENIM to the I of HAITI would have helped — using a five-letter word like HAITI to separate two themers often results in slight compromises.

Finally, ["Oh. My. God!"] for EEK amused me to no end. I like both the creativity in cluing and the colloquial tone.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 23,876
Across Down
1. Actor Malcolm-___ Warner of "The Cosby Show" : JAMAL
6. One way to be in love : MADLY
11. Sandwich often on toasted bread : BLT
14. Way overweight : OBESE
15. Letter-shaped building support : IBEAM
16. Note of promise : IOU
17. Compulsion to steal : KLEPTOMANIA
19. Baby bear : CUB
20. "Oh. My. God!" : EEK
21. Port-au-Prince's land : HAITI
22. Depression-era migrant : OKIE
23. What a bracketologist is caught up in : MARCHMADNESS
26. Swings wildly : FLAILS
29. Keister : REAR
30. "Yours, Mine and ___" : OURS
31. Hajj destination : MECCA
34. Frequently, to a poet : OFT
37. 1977 hard-rock hit by Ted Nugent : CATSCRATCHFEVER
41. "Beg pardon?" : HUH
42. Puts the whammy on : HEXES
43. Display model : DEMO
44. "Terrible" Russian autocrat : IVAN
46. Age, and not try to hide it : GOGRAY
48. Miniskirts or oversize sunglasses, once : FASHIONCRAZE
53. The double of a double play : OUTS
54. Stars and Stripes land, informally : USOFA
55. Get in on the ___ : ACT
58. Foofaraw : ADO
59. What a major scandal results in : MEDIAFRENZY
62. Onetime Russian space station : MIR
63. Prepare, as coffee beans : GRIND
64. Boat with a double-bladed paddle : KAYAK
65. Pigpen : STY
66. Deuce toppers : TREYS
67. Long, hard look : STARE
1. One might start "Knock knock ..." : JOKE
2. "___ to leap tall buildings ..." : ABLE
3. Timid : MEEK
4. Egyptian cobra : ASP
5. Like the bite of a 4-Down : LETHAL
6. Copycat : MIMIC
7. "Splish splash, I was takin' ___" (1958 lyric) : ABATH
8. Jeans material : DENIM
9. China's Chou En-___ : LAI
10. Soprano Sumac : YMA
11. Squabble about : BICKEROVER
12. Designer Vuitton : LOUIS
13. Centers of toilet paper rolls : TUBES
18. Rowboat rowers : OARS
22. Based ___ true story : ONA
23. ___ America pageant : MISS
24. Half of the McDonald's logo : ARCH
25. Like many users of sign language : DEAF
26. French W.W. I general Ferdinand ___ : FOCH
27. Hawaiian party : LUAU
28. Subject that includes Goya and Gauguin : ARTHISTORY
31. Highest amount, informally : MAX
32. Summer, in Giverny : ETE
33. IV amounts : CCS
35. Relief org. after hurricanes and tornadoes : FEMA
36. Ancient city undone by a large wooden horse : TROY
38. Black tea-and-milk drink : CHAI
39. Nevada city : RENO
40. Perimeter : EDGE
45. Pre-DVD format : VHS
46. Heavy fishing hook : GAFF
47. Missouri mountains : OZARKS
48. Froths : FOAMS
49. Check of financial records : AUDIT
50. Movie whose genre is taking off? : NUDIE
51. Hit TV drama starring Gary Sinise : CSINY
52. Blacktops and such : ROADS
55. Author Seton : ANYA
56. Old Russian autocrat : CZAR
57. Rug rat : TYKE
59. Co. administration : MGT
60. Blunder : ERR
61. Sup : EAT

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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