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New York Times, Monday, April 16, 2018

Author: David Woolf
Editor: Will Shortz
David Woolf
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1611/15/20134/16/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2312332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54310

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JPQVXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: I like to play the 'guess the theme' game on Mondays. With just SUNNI ISLAM, I was pretty sure there would be more *I I* phrases. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I like to play the "guess the theme" game on Mondays. With just SUNNI ISLAM, I was pretty sure there would be more *I I* phrases. Bingo! SETI INSTITUTE and SKI INSTRUCTOR are both fun entries matching that pattern.

ANTI-IMMIGRATION, not so much, considering my parents were immigrants.

Even though I got the theme, I wasn't able to guess the revealer. EYE CONTACT = perfect! Playful, "eye" sounding like "I," with two Is contacting each other at the end of one word and the beginning of the next.

Theme was executed pretty consistently – for example, there were never two Is within a single word, as in HAWAII. And I couldn't think of another theme possibility like this, making it a tight set. Great work there.

(Minor nit, ANTI-IMMIGRATION is the only one with a hyphen, so it's not perfectly consistent.)

I enjoyed it enough that I considered it for the POW! But ETUI nearly kills that by itself, for a Monday puzzle at least. Add in LEM (lunar … something ... module? excursion?), UTIL, COOER, and it's too much. I don't mind COOER as much as LEM – even though it's a gluey answer, it's figure-out-able. Not so much with LEM or ETUI.

Note how ETUI was pretty much forced by SETI INSTITUTE / ANTI IMMIGRATION. That E??I pattern is generally to be avoided, as there are very few good options.

Usually, I think four themers + revealer is about right these days, but I'd have been happier without ANTI IMMIGRATION. It would have given the grid a ton more room to breathe; more opportunities to both smoothify things and work in more juicy bonus fill like ICY ROADS and NO WISER.

1
L
2
E
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W
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D
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A
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M
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B
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R
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R
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A
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S
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H
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I
D
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A
15
L
O
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16
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L
M
O
17
S
U
N
N
18
I
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A
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A
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T
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N
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I
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B
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C
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F
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Y
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0416 ( 24,996 )
Across Down
1. Crudely sexual : LEWD
5. Orange-yellow : AMBER
10. Quick and not well thought out : RASH
14. Creative start : IDEA
15. Longest river in France : LOIRE
16. "Sesame Street" monster : ELMO
17. World's largest religious denomination : SUNNIISLAM
19. Matty or Felipe of major-league baseball : ALOU
20. Play a role : ACT
21. Org. for the Suns and the Heat : NBA
22. Inuit homes : IGLOOS
24. Org. looking for aliens : SETIINSTITUTE
28. Ink problem : BLOT
30. End of a business's email address : COM
31. Tales set on Mount Olympus, e.g. : MYTHS
32. Say "No, thanks" to : REFUSE
35. Baby's starting place : WOMB
37. Supporting nativist policies : ANTIIMMIGRATION
43. Cow sounds : MOOS
44. Device behind a deli counter : SLICER
45. Dog on "The Jetsons" : ASTRO
49. Moon vehicle, for short : LEM
51. Supermodel Banks : TYRA
52. One teaching pizza slices and S-turns : SKIINSTRUCTOR
56. Make blue : SADDEN
57. Partner of the Father and Holy Ghost : SON
58. Musical Yoko : ONO
61. Gas or electric: Abbr. : UTIL
62. Asset for a public speaker ... or a hint to 17-, 24-, 37- and 52-Across : EYECONTACT
66. Philosopher Descartes : RENE
67. Hole in one on a par three : EAGLE
68. Move text here and there : EDIT
69. Avant-garde : EDGY
70. Radioer's "Got it" : ROGER
71. Old U.S. gas brand still seen in Canada : ESSO
1. Crossword-solving girl on "The Simpsons" : LISA
2. Cabinet dept. concerned with schools : EDUC
3. Became lenient : WENTSOFT
4. Roseanne's hubby on "Roseanne" : DAN
5. Accused's line a judge might not believe : ALIBI
6. Artwork with tiles : MOSAIC
7. Cartoonist Keane : BIL
8. End of an ___ : ERA
9. Send, as payment : REMIT
10. Property in buildings and land : REALTY
11. "110%" : ALLOUT
12. Alternative to chunky, for peanut butter : SMOOTH
13. Purchases before hotels, in Monopoly : HOUSES
18. Bad throw for a QB: Abbr. : INT
23. Stabilizing part of a ship's compass : GIMBAL
25. Needle case : ETUI
26. Still uninformed : NOWISER
27. Urban air pollution : SMOG
28. Upper half of a bikini : BRA
29. ___ Goodman, longtime judge on "Dancing With the Stars" : LEN
33. Gymnast Biles with four Olympic gold medals : SIMONE
34. Offshoot of punk rock : EMO
36. ___ Fields cookies : MRS
38. Shed, as feathers : MOLT
39. One of the Jackson 5 : TITO
40. Winter driving hazards : ICYROADS
41. "___ the ramparts we watched ..." : OER
42. Gun enthusiast's org. : NRA
45. Guarantee : ASSURE
46. Glided on ice : SKATED
47. Satisfying until later, with "over" : TIDING
48. Daisy who plays Rey in "Star Wars" films : RIDLEY
50. Brawn : MUSCLE
53. Make a nasty face : SNEER
54. One making dove sounds : COOER
55. Channel that became Spike TV in 2003 : TNN
59. Long-running CBS police drama : NCIS
60. Good name for a chauffeur? : OTTO
63. Ming worth millions of dollars : YAO
64. ___ McMuffin : EGG
65. Item in a caddie's bag : TEE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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