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New York Times, Thursday, March 15, 2018

Author: Joe DiPietro
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1318/26/19957/12/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
281072242283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59326
Joe DiPietro

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 130 for Mr. DiPietro. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: So unfortunate that THE IDES of March falls on a Thursday this year. I enjoyed Joe's theme – phrases starting with I'D – ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

So unfortunate that THE IDES of March falls on a Thursday this year. I enjoyed Joe's theme – phrases starting with I'D – but wow, did it seem misplaced for a Thursday. I appreciated that it was a low word count, themeless level, but I want so much more out of a Thursday puzzle. Mixing a Tuesday theme and a Saturday grid seems like it ought to produce a Thursday puzzle – simple averages, yeah? – but it doesn't work that way.

Stupid math!

I like Joe's choices for themers, I'D BETTER GO, I'D RATHER NOT, I'D BE HONORED, and … well, I liked three of them. I'D TAKE THAT? Feels arbitrary, like I'D EAT A TON or I'D SMELL NICE. With so many choices available, why not I'D LOVE TO, I'D KILL FOR THAT, I'D DO ANYTHING, I'D BE HAPPY TO, I'D UNDERSTAND, etc.?

Jim and I recently had a conversation about symmetry, where he argued the case that editors ought to allow asymmetry if it makes for a more interesting puzzle. I don't totally agree, but here's a case where I think it could have made sense. Would have opened up more options, without having to use a length match for I'D BETTER GO.

As a themeless, it works pretty decently. ACAI BERRY / TAX DODGER / BAR SCENE is a lovely triple. SURE BETS / BEAR PIT is great. GAY PAREE / ELAINE MAY / … ROLLS DICE? "Rolls THE dice," sure. Without "the" that phrase feels iffy.

Overall, nice craftsmanship, Joe taking great care to limit his crossword glue to CTR TSO kind of minor offenders. (Okay, BREN ain't good, but I gave it a pass as it made that great triple-stack possible.)

But the themeless-esque solving experience got watered down by the easy theme.

There's a reason so many people hate math.

1
S
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K
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I
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N
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K
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O
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B
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D
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0315 ( 24,964 )
Across Down
1. Tail-shedding lizard : SKINK
6. General name on a dish : TSO
9. Yahoo : RUBE
13. Not warranted : UNDUE
14. Food item rich in antioxidants : ACAIBERRY
17. ___ mouth : POTTY
18. One with a no-returns policy? : TAXDODGER
19. Bibliographic catchall : ETALII
21. Big nightlife environment : BARSCENE
22. Sorts : KINDS
24. Un domicilio : CASA
25. Time's time span : WEEK
27. Having trouble with : BADAT
29. Abounding : RIFE
33. Come before : ANTECEDE
35. Where plays are discussed : HUDDLE
37. With 40-Across, place for cinders : ASH
38. Date that provides a phonetic hint to four other answers in this puzzle : THEIDES
40. See 37-Across : BIN
41. Dos y dos : CUATRO
43. Locks : SUREBETS
45. Green of Austin Powers movies : SETH
46. Hebrew name meaning "he has given" : NATAN
48. Online market for crafts : ETSY
49. Black : EBON
51. Yogurt choice, informally : LOFAT
53. "Where all the cabaret shows are," in song : GAYPAREE
57. Mother of Calcutta : TERESA
60. "A New Leaf" actress/director, 1971 : ELAINEMAY
62. When the N.B.A. regular season ends : APRIL
63. Begins one's board game turn, perhaps : ROLLSDICE
64. Arithmetic series symbol : SIGMA
65. Ruminate : MULL
66. ___ moment : AHA
67. Pseudo-convertibles : TTOPS
1. Condo V.I.P. : SUPE
2. Gut feeling? : KNOT
3. "Sounds like a deal" : IDTAKETHAT
4. Hard and crunchy, maybe : NUTLIKE
5. Enter, as a password : KEYIN
6. Pic on a pec, perhaps : TAT
7. Union concern : SCAB
8. State that borders Veracruz : OAXACA
9. Soccer penalty indicator : REDCARD
10. Advocate : URGE
11. Air-cooled machine gun : BREN
12. Literary governess : EYRE
15. "Count me out" : IDRATHERNOT
16. Director : BOSS
20. "Yes, how nice of you to offer" : IDBEHONORED
23. "Smooth Operator" singer, 1985 : SADE
25. W.W. II females : WAACS
26. Come after : ENSUE
28. Voltaire, religiously : DEIST
30. "It's getting late" : IDBETTERGO
31. Moves like a butterfly : FLITS
32. Itty : EENSY
34. Hub: Abbr. : CTR
36. See 39-Down : USE
39. With 36-Down, suitable for two applications : DUAL
42. Sponge alternative : THEPILL
44. Frenzied trading floor, metaphorically : BEARPIT
47. Weakness : ANEMIA
50. Outlaws : BANS
52. The Last Supper, e.g. : FEAST
53. Wheat ___ : GERM
54. Diamond family name : ALOU
55. Group addressed in the South : YALL
56. A head : EACH
58. Dimwit : SIMP
59. "Regrettably ..." : ALAS
61. Support for a motion : YEA

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 6 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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