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New York Times, Monday, April 16, 2018

Author:
David Woolf
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/15/20137/31/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2322332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55310
David Woolf

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. ... read more

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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E
L
M
O
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S
U
N
N
18
I
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A
M
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A
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A
C
T
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N
B
A
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I
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G
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S
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S
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E
T
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I
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N
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B
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L
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C
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M
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M
Y
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H
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R
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F
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S
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W
O
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A
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M
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N
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C
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T
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O
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U
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Y
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T
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R
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O
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0416 ( 24,996 )

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Students & seniors
Across
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
Down
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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