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New York Times, Thursday, March 22, 2018

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
182/9/20177/16/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5262300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58021
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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