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New York Times, Thursday, March 22, 2018

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
112/9/201712/9/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5130200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65011
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
I was admonished not to give a real-life villain the satisfaction of being in the puzzle, unless I was prepared to remind him of how ... read more

I was admonished not to give a real-life villain the satisfaction of being in the puzzle, unless I was prepared to remind him of how appropriately IMMOBILE he is there in his Ecuadorian RECLINER.

AMEN AMEN.

Jeff Chen notes:
A beautiful example of what an early/mid-week puzzle should be. (Yes, I know Thursday isn't early/mid-week. Stay tuned.) Plays on ... read more

A beautiful example of what an early/mid-week puzzle should be. (Yes, I know Thursday isn't early/mid-week. Stay tuned.) Plays on social media terms — a VALLEY GIRL has a lot of "likes." ROCKIN' ROBIN has all sorts of "tweets." A MAJORITY OWNER has a ton of "shares." I appreciate that Ross was able to find so many snazzy phrases that I'd happily use in a themeless.

MOTHER DUCK (with all her "followers") was good too, but that one I might give the side-eye in any other puzzle.

FENCE MENDER ... thankfully, it's the only themer that dips into the "definitional" category that plagues this type of theme. Imagine if MAJORITY OWNER had been PERSON OWNING STOCK. Much less fun, yeah?

Some funnage in the fill, too, with King JOFFREY of "Game of Thrones." Thank goodness dude got his due, AMEN AMEN.

Speaking of aMEN, what's an AREA MAN, you ask? Good question. The dictionary defines it as …

Okay, if you have to say "The dictionary defines it as …" it's probably not a fantastic grid entry.

KEPT MAN is kind of a colorful term, but a bit cringy. And the dupe of MAN made AREA MAN feel even worse.

EDM is … "electronic dance music"? It's still a globby piece of crossword glue since it's impossible to figure out if you don't already know it.

I might have considered this for the POW! if it had been run on a Wednesday or Tuesday. It feels like the NYT is falling down with the avant-garde Thursdays that used to help distinguish it; to feature its ability to be clever. Yes, it's tough to come up with something innovative every week. But others, like the American Values Club and Fireball, have been doing it with a higher rate of success than the NYT recently.

I love the NYT crossword. It's one of the things that drew me and my wife together. I don't want to see it slowly lose its cachet. Will, I hope you find a way to solve this problem.

Overall, an easy and mostly lovely — but so, so, so disappointingly non-cutting-edge — romp.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0322 ( 24,971 )
Across
1. Falling-out : RIFT
5. Mold : SHAPE
10. ___ Nair, "Mississippi Masala" director : MIRA
14. Lake tribe : ERIE
15. Mann of pop : AIMEE
16. Big 12 college town : AMES
17. One with a lot of likes? : VALLEYGIRL
19. Yukons and Envoys : GMCS
20. Thyme piece? : SILENTH
21. Cheddar : MOOLA
22. Employ : USE
23. One with a lot of tweets? : ROCKINROBIN
27. Kind of dish : PETRI
29. Round after the Elite Eight : SEMIS
30. Dutch financial giant : ING
31. Blue Devils' grp. : ACC
33. Jim's wife on "The Office" : PAM
34. Elation : GLEE
35. One with a lot of shares? : MAJORITYOWNER
39. Weekly reading for drs. : JAMA
40. Techno is a subgenre of it, for short : EDM
41. ___ big : YEA
42. Some words from an admirer : ODE
43. ___ Lama : DALAI
45. A walk is not counted as one : ATBAT
49. One with a lot of posts? : FENCEMENDER
52. Org. established during Nixon's presidency : EPA
53. Aid for a search-and-rescue team : FLARE
54. Local, in a news article : AREAMAN
56. Where "Tosca" is set : ROME
57. One with a lot of followers? : MOTHERDUCK
60. Times when you might have trouble sleeping : EVES
61. Kind of committee : ADHOC
62. Athlete posthumously awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom : ASHE
63. Urges : YENS
64. Relative of "exempli gratia" : IDEST
65. Happy hour order : BEER
Down
1. Gets going : REVSUP
2. Poker table declaration : IRAISE
3. Salmon cut : FILLET
4. Prompter or printer lead-in : TELE
5. Tell : SAYTO
6. Hard-to-hit pitches : HIGHCS
7. "___ crazy?" : AMI
8. What "/" might signify : PER
9. ___ sauce (sushi condiment) : EEL
10. Master of the cartoon dog McBarker : MAGOO
11. Stock-still : IMMOBILE
12. La-Z-Boy offering : RECLINER
13. WikiLeaks founder : ASSANGE
18. "Lucia di Lammermoor" baritone : ENRICO
21. Wifey, with "the" : MRS
24. Gigolo : KEPTMAN
25. "It's a possibility for me" : IMAY
26. "I Am Not Spock" memoirist ... who then wrote "I Am Spock" 20 years later : NIMOY
28. Indian prince : RAJA
32. Smash : CREAM
34. Little irritant : GNAT
35. Was physically intimate : MADELOVE
36. "You tell it, preacher!" : AMENAMEN
37. Unused : IDLE
38. One with something on : WEARER
39. Boy king on "Game of Thrones" : JOFFREY
43. Actor Billy ___ Williams : DEE
44. Certain potatoes : IDAHOS
46. Baffle : BEMUSE
47. Geronimo's people : APACHE
48. Exxon Valdez, e.g. : TANKER
50. Salad green : CRESS
51. Put up : ERECT
55. Not much, as of lotion : ADAB
57. Final full month before été begins : MAI
58. Not quite right : ODD
59. Not just a : THE

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

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