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New York Times, Thursday, March 15, 2018

Author:
Joe DiPietro
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1338/26/199511/7/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
291072342283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59336
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
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 – ... read more

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
2
K
3
I
4
N
5
K
6
T
7
S
8
O
9
R
10
U
11
B
12
E
13
U
N
D
U
E
14
A
C
A
15
I
16
B
E
R
R
Y
17
P
O
T
T
Y
18
T
A
X
D
O
D
G
E
R
19
E
T
A
L
I
20
I
21
B
A
R
S
C
E
N
E
22
K
I
N
D
23
S
24
C
A
S
A
25
W
26
E
E
K
27
B
A
28
D
A
T
29
R
30
I
31
F
32
E
33
A
N
T
E
34
C
E
D
E
35
H
36
U
D
D
L
E
37
A
S
H
38
T
H
E
I
39
D
E
S
40
B
I
N
41
C
U
A
42
T
R
O
43
S
U
R
E
44
B
E
T
S
45
S
E
T
H
46
N
47
A
T
A
N
48
E
T
S
Y
49
E
50
B
O
N
51
L
O
52
F
A
T
53
G
54
A
55
Y
P
A
R
E
56
E
57
T
E
R
E
58
S
59
A
60
E
L
A
I
N
E
M
A
61
Y
62
A
P
R
I
L
63
R
O
L
L
S
D
I
C
E
64
S
I
G
M
A
65
M
U
L
L
66
A
H
A
67
T
T
O
P
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0315 ( 24,964 )
Across
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
Down
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, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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