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New York Times, Friday, March 2, 2018

Author:
Rachel Maddow and Joe DiPietro
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
13/2/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.68000
Rachel Maddow
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1318/26/19957/12/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
281072242283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59326
Joe DiPietro

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: {JX} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Maddow. This is puzzle # 129 for Mr. DiPietro. See all the celebrity crosswords. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
This puzzle is a collaboration by Rachel Maddow, the host of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," working together with Joe DiPietro, a bar owner in New York City. This is Joe's 129th crossword for The Times.
More information about the making of today's puzzle appears in the Times's daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Jeff Chen notes:
Another celeb puzzle! And a ton of Rachel Maddow-related entries in this themeless. I wasn't sure what a COUGH BUTTON was, but it made ... read more

Another celeb puzzle! And a ton of Rachel Maddow-related entries in this themeless. I wasn't sure what a COUGH BUTTON was, but it made sense – a button pressed when you need to cough, so your listeners aren't subjected to the noise. So that's what that thing is called!

Also TV HOSTS, FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) REQUEST, FRONT RUNNER (as clued, to politics), SLOTTING (clued to TV programming). You'd think that it's easy to seed a themeless with four long entries – one in each of the four corners – but it turns out that two, maybe three, is about the max. More than that usually causes too much stress on the grid.

RMS wasn't a great way to kick off the puzzle, and APO nearby made me worry. Getting two gluey bits right away = no bueno! Thankfully, the grid was pretty clean the rest of the way.

(I see you, FARO.)

What WAS a great way to kick of the puzzle was the clue for ROCK FANS. [Those who've seen both Europe and Asia, say] had me badly stuck on "travelers" or "jet-setters." Brilliant misdirection, using the rock groups named Europe and Asia!

A couple of other great clues, too:

  • "Take it from me, every vote counts." So apt, for AL GORE!
  • WICK smartly repurposing the phrase "keeper of the flame."
  • FORTUNA is a fun entry in itself, but I loved learning that she was the Roman goddess of luck.

Overall, I didn't think this was a POW!-worthy puzzle as themelesses go – too much wastage with long entries like IPCRESS FILE, TIDIED UP, NETTER, along with the aforementioned crossword glue – but I enjoyed the Maddow-ness.

Jim Horne notes:

Was RMS at 1-Across a nod to the Rachel Maddow Show?

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0302 ( 24,951 )

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Across
1
Hosp. units : RMS
4
___ peas : WASABI
10
Basics : ABCS
14
Kind of flour : OAT
15
1965 Michael Caine spy thriller, with "The" : IPCRESSFILE
17
___ grano salis : CUM
18
What might help a hacker go undetected? : COUGHBUTTON
19
Deride : KNOCK
21
Kentucky's northernmost county : BOONE
22
Abbr. in an auction catalog : EST
23
Gambling card game : FARO
24
"Doctor Faustus" novelist : MANN
25
Part of an oven : TIMER
27
Similar (to) : AKIN
28
Actor with seven Primetime Emmys : ASNER
30
Greek cheese : FETA
31
Tennis player, to sportswriters : NETTER
33
Op-ed, e.g. : ESSAY
35
Cocktail with rye whiskey : SAZERAC
37
Sean Hannity and Chris Hayes : TVHOSTS
41
Quarry of cartoondom's Gargamel : SMURF
43
Pope when Elizabeth I took the throne : PAULIV
44
Virus in 2003 news : SARS
47
Cellphone component : DIODE
49
Do some programming : CODE
50
Stud of the sports world? : CLEAT
52
Walked over : TROD
53
Hard ___ : ATIT
54
Footwear brand since 1978 : UGG
55
Hollywood agent Michael : OVITZ
57
Military gathering? : INTEL
58
Journalist's tool since '67 : FOIAREQUEST
61
Home of Sen. Mike Crapo: Abbr. : IDA
62
Political leader? : FRONTRUNNER
63
Sister : NUN
64
Elate : SEND
65
Like baking dough : YEASTY
66
Big mean on campus : GPA
Down
1
Those who've seen both Europe and Asia, say : ROCKFANS
2
Home to Lake Waiau : MAUNAKEA
3
1928 Winter Olympics site : STMORITZ
4
Keeper of the flame? : WICK
5
Mil. address : APO
6
Dives with a tank : SCUBAS
7
W.W. I battle locale : ARGONNE
8
"Give it to me straight" : BEHONEST
9
Jacket letters : ISBN
10
Behind, at sea : AFT
11
"Kiss my grits!" : BITEME
12
You're not in it if you're out : CLOSET
13
Car model originally called the Sunny in Japan : SENTRA
16
Tallow source : SUET
20
Rosina Almaviva, in "Le Nozze di Figaro" : CONTESSA
24
Go pirating : MARAUD
26
"Unless it's impossible" : IFYOUCAN
29
Got back (to), in a way : RSVPED
32
"Uhhh ..." : ERM
34
"Eureka!" : AHA
36
Review : CRITIQUE
38
Programming manager's specialty : SLOTTING
39
Did a bit of cleaning : TIDIEDUP
40
Only daughter of Joseph Stalin : SVETLANA
42
Typeface that shares its name with the Roman goddess of luck : FORTUNA
44
Marks on shoes : SCUFFS
45
Who said "Take it from me, every vote counts" : ALGORE
46
The Midwest or the South : REGION
48
More than half of scores : DOZENS
51
Ralph Nader's American Museum of ___ Law : TORT
56
So : VERY
57
"Just doin' my job" : ITRY
59
Furthermore : AND
60
Fixed : SET

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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