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New York Times, Monday, March 23, 2015

Author:
Michael Dewey
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
61/9/201210/5/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0303000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.73000
Michael Dewey

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QW} Spans: 1 Scrabble average: 1.92 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Dewey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Dewey notes:
'Much Ado About Something' was a working title I used for this puzzle. It had its germination last spring as I was watching the NCAA ... read more

"Much Ado About Something" was a working title I used for this puzzle. It had its germination last spring as I was watching the NCAA basketball tournament, a.k.a. MARCHMADNESS. As a sports fan, I decided to use the term in a puzzle and work "bracketology" into the clue. With that foundation, I thought about the crazy state of the human condition and the behaviors that demonstrate our passions and madness (said the cruciverbalist, knee deep in crossword puzzles). I considered lots of other possibilities during the theme development phase (Beatlemania had been used recently, e. g.), but eventually MEDIAFRENZY and KLEPTOMANIA paired up nicely as 11-letter entries, and FASHIONCRAZE matched up with MARCHMADNESS as 12-letter ones.

Those four terms were probably enough for a decent early-week puzzle, but I wanted a fifth to give it more clout. It was serendipitous when CATSCRATCHFEVER aired on a local radio station. Ted Nugent's rock euphemism provided an interesting 15-letter expression to sandwich in the middle of my puzzle. Longer, unique entries like BICKEROVER and ARTHISTORY added some depth beyond the theme as I began to fill the grid. I must be mad about geography, too, because my fill ended up containing a veritable world tour from RENO and the OZARKS in the USOFA to HAITI, TROY, and MECCA.

A year after its inception, I am pleased to have the puzzle published during the 2015 basketball tournament and in the week leading up to the other form of March Madness — the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut.

Jeff Chen notes:
Timely puzzle, right in the middle of MARCH MADNESS. 'Bracketology' is such a cool term (as is 'bracketologist') that I'm surprised ... read more

Timely puzzle, right in the middle of MARCH MADNESS. "Bracketology" is such a cool term (as is "bracketologist") that I'm surprised neither has been used before in crosswords. When Warren Buffett was considering a one billion dollar prize for correctly picking every game in the NCAA brackets, I found it really interesting that his underwriters thought the risk of someone actually achieving it was negligible — but the risk of a hacker finding a way to dupe them was not.

A single Viceroy bulb allegedly commanded a trade for 1,000 lb. of cheese!

Colorful phrases, FASHION CRAZE and MEDIA FRENZY singing. KLEPTOMANIA is a strong one too, but I found it slightly inelegant that it was the only single word themer. Something like RAILWAY MANIA or TULIP MANIA? As a kid, I was enthralled by severe displacements of supply and demand's actual equilibrium point.

Man, I was a weird kid.

I like the effort to incorporate two long downs, BICKER OVER and ART HISTORY. With five long themers, that's a tough task. I appreciate the care Mike took in filling in those areas. Nice and smooth; good deployment of black squares to facilitate filling those areas.

And overall the fill is pretty smooth, with just the north section sticking out with a concentration of A BATH / LAI / YMA. It'd be interesting to see if relocating the block below DENIM to the I of HAITI would have helped — using a five-letter word like HAITI to separate two themers often results in slight compromises.

Finally, ["Oh. My. God!"] for EEK amused me to no end. I like both the creativity in cluing and the colloquial tone.

1
J
2
A
3
M
4
A
5
L
6
M
7
A
8
D
9
L
10
Y
11
B
12
L
13
T
14
O
B
E
S
E
15
I
B
E
A
M
16
I
O
U
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K
L
E
P
T
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O
M
A
N
I
A
19
C
U
B
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E
E
K
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H
A
I
T
I
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O
K
I
E
23
M
A
R
C
H
M
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A
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D
N
E
S
S
26
F
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L
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A
I
L
S
29
R
E
A
R
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O
U
R
S
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M
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E
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C
C
A
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O
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F
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T
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C
A
T
S
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C
39
R
A
T
C
H
F
40
E
V
E
R
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H
U
H
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H
E
X
E
S
43
D
E
M
O
44
I
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V
A
N
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G
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O
G
R
A
Y
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F
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A
S
H
I
O
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N
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C
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R
A
Z
E
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O
U
T
S
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U
S
O
F
A
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A
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C
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T
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A
D
O
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M
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E
D
I
A
F
R
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E
N
Z
Y
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M
I
R
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G
R
I
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D
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K
A
Y
A
K
65
S
T
Y
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T
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S
67
S
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A
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0323 ( 23,876 )
Across
1
Actor Malcolm-___ Warner of "The Cosby Show" : JAMAL
6
One way to be in love : MADLY
11
Sandwich often on toasted bread : BLT
14
Way overweight : OBESE
15
Letter-shaped building support : IBEAM
16
Note of promise : IOU
17
Compulsion to steal : KLEPTOMANIA
19
Baby bear : CUB
20
"Oh. My. God!" : EEK
21
Port-au-Prince's land : HAITI
22
Depression-era migrant : OKIE
23
What a bracketologist is caught up in : MARCHMADNESS
26
Swings wildly : FLAILS
29
Keister : REAR
30
"Yours, Mine and ___" : OURS
31
Hajj destination : MECCA
34
Frequently, to a poet : OFT
37
1977 hard-rock hit by Ted Nugent : CATSCRATCHFEVER
41
"Beg pardon?" : HUH
42
Puts the whammy on : HEXES
43
Display model : DEMO
44
"Terrible" Russian autocrat : IVAN
46
Age, and not try to hide it : GOGRAY
48
Miniskirts or oversize sunglasses, once : FASHIONCRAZE
53
The double of a double play : OUTS
54
Stars and Stripes land, informally : USOFA
55
Get in on the ___ : ACT
58
Foofaraw : ADO
59
What a major scandal results in : MEDIAFRENZY
62
Onetime Russian space station : MIR
63
Prepare, as coffee beans : GRIND
64
Boat with a double-bladed paddle : KAYAK
65
Pigpen : STY
66
Deuce toppers : TREYS
67
Long, hard look : STARE
Down
1
One might start "Knock knock ..." : JOKE
2
"___ to leap tall buildings ..." : ABLE
3
Timid : MEEK
4
Egyptian cobra : ASP
5
Like the bite of a 4-Down : LETHAL
6
Copycat : MIMIC
7
"Splish splash, I was takin' ___" (1958 lyric) : ABATH
8
Jeans material : DENIM
9
China's Chou En-___ : LAI
10
Soprano Sumac : YMA
11
Squabble about : BICKEROVER
12
Designer Vuitton : LOUIS
13
Centers of toilet paper rolls : TUBES
18
Rowboat rowers : OARS
22
Based ___ true story : ONA
23
___ America pageant : MISS
24
Half of the McDonald's logo : ARCH
25
Like many users of sign language : DEAF
26
French W.W. I general Ferdinand ___ : FOCH
27
Hawaiian party : LUAU
28
Subject that includes Goya and Gauguin : ARTHISTORY
31
Highest amount, informally : MAX
32
Summer, in Giverny : ETE
33
IV amounts : CCS
35
Relief org. after hurricanes and tornadoes : FEMA
36
Ancient city undone by a large wooden horse : TROY
38
Black tea-and-milk drink : CHAI
39
Nevada city : RENO
40
Perimeter : EDGE
45
Pre-DVD format : VHS
46
Heavy fishing hook : GAFF
47
Missouri mountains : OZARKS
48
Froths : FOAMS
49
Check of financial records : AUDIT
50
Movie whose genre is taking off? : NUDIE
51
Hit TV drama starring Gary Sinise : CSINY
52
Blacktops and such : ROADS
55
Author Seton : ANYA
56
Old Russian autocrat : CZAR
57
Rug rat : TYKE
59
Co. administration : MGT
60
Blunder : ERR
61
Sup : EAT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?