Good and Bad

New York Times, March 1

I’m a little puzzled as to why the NYT felt like adding a little explainer after the title, noting the asterisked clues were “good” by including the first letter, and “bad” by dropping it. I thought the point of the puzzle was to figure out on your own what the theme means. Moreover, all of the clues were clearly themed without the asterisk — they all started with “Good and bad for a …”

That being said, it was a pretty good theme. 75 Across, “*Good and bad for a jungle guide” leads to TRUSTY MACHETE. So it’s either trusty or rusty; I know which one I’d choose. 37 Across, “*Good and bad for a marketer” is CLOSING A SALE.

I have to admit, though, that 23 Across fooled me for a bit: “*Good and bad for a motorist” initially led me to enter SCARELESS DRIVER; I thought it made sense, although I guess “scareless” isn’t exactly a word. Turns out it was the homophone WRECKLESS DRIVER. Same sentiment, and it fits with all the down clues, which also helps.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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