A surprise Saturday rebus today! Well, is it really a rebus puzzle if it only has one rebus square, or is it something else? Either way, it's just the one center square, which I stared at for at least a full minute before the solution hit me. Thinking so much about politics lately, I started by wondering if it could be "second amendment," but then "New York [amen] New York" didn't sound like any song I knew. How much more familiar, on the other hand, is "NEWYORK,NEWYORK," and SECOND[COMMA]NDMENT, too, works better for "15D: Precept about idol worship."
Aside from that 15x13 cross in the center, there are four more 15s tying the whole puzzle together. And on top of that, the corners are pretty wide-open. Now, I've never made a crossword, but it seems to me that this kind of a construction would be quite difficult to fill in cleanly, and sure enough, there's quite few less-than-ideal entries. Take, for example, ISO, EXE, ENE, AFR, OSH, HET, ORC, ROOS, and RIDA. And moving into the longer stuff, we have ESSIE, ASRED, PLANA, REGNAL, EDENIC, and ASLOPE. Kind of a lot.
But on the brighter side, we have the disturbing pair of OPENFIRE (2D: Start to fight) and TEARGAS (Lachrymatory agent), and the always welcome SEXSCENE (15A: Part of a blue book?). Nice clue there. I actually considered trying "exam page" in there. Heh. And speaking of good clues, I really liked "25A: Overnight letter?" for INN. A letter of rooms, that is. And how 'bout "60A: Acting willfully?" TESTATE! Good stuff.
The crossing fifteens are fine, but nothing to write home about. Overall, I guess I come out in favor of this one, but it's not my favorite.