Left-to-right symmetrical grids have some minuses. For instance, there are 18 three-letter and 16 four-letter entries in this one. That should help solvers get plenty of footholds in the grid.
But that symmetry still allows opportunities for big chunky corners. The mean word length with this one is 5.16. Course the 65 squares of thematic material certainly helps. FWIW: today's New York Times puzzle's mean word length is 5.00 with 47 squares of theme, and the L.A. Times puzzle boasts a meager 4.92 mean word length and 54 theme squares.
I gotta tell you, it's always fun to throw numbers around while making an argument. Even if the numbers are (a) essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things or (b) unverifiable. I had a buddy who would always pepper arguments with utterly ludicrous numbers pulled seemingly out of thin air. "Dude I just read this the other week, the average lifespan of a butterfly exposed to nuclear waste is a meager 7.39 hours! You can look it up!"
Anyway. Since crosswords are always referencing baseball, why don't I continue the trend and become the Billy Beane of puzzles. Instead of "Moneyball" I guess I'm going "Moneygrid." The name, I guess, makes sense: The higher the number of the mean word length, the more likely the chance the solver's going to enjoy the experience. Hence: "Money!" Moneygridding, I like that.
See, now I'm having way too much fun with the Puzzle Statistics feature on Crossword Compiler. Puzzle #79 boasted an eye-searingly toasty 6.35 average word length. Now if that isn't the definition of "money," I dunno what is.
Not really too much else to say about this one. I was sort of surprised there was a lack of the Scrabble-y letters in the grid. Guess it just worked out that way. There was absolutely nothing I could have done with the hideous 35-Down. I guess that's inevitable when you've got that much theme in there. Favorite clue in the batch was at 2-Down.
Okay, I'm keeping this one short. See you on Friday.