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New York Times, Friday, March 2, 2018

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

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

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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 ... more
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 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.

JimH 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 )
Across Down
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
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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