O brave new world, that has such puzzles in't!
First, we get the shape, which comes in at 17 x 13. At 221 total squares, it's 4 squares fewer than our standard 15 x 15, but allows for a different kind of setup.
The theme is brilliant today. Every evenly numbered row contains answers that can only be considered complete by adding a color to the front of the word. Each row's answers require the same colors, so that you have [RED]EYES, [RED]CARPET, and [RED]BARON in row two. The six colors represented are the primary and secondary colors, and they are ordered as they appear in the rainbow from top to bottom. Sadly, indigo is left out, but we'll all agree that we have a hard time distinguishing that color from its neighbors blue and violet (here purple).
It is impressive fitting 16 theme answers, and all so close together. All told, 90 squares are theme answers, which, with the 12 black squares necessary in those rows, make up 46% of the available real estate in the grid. That has to be a record in the NYT, I would think. All of the answers are recognizable as well, which is nice. I particularly like [BLUE]MEANIES and [ORANGE]BITTERS.
|Not the correct HYDE park|
Still, overall, I think the puzzle OWNSIT, and I enjoyed solving. Here's to more atypicality at the Grey Lady!
*** Having read commentary elsewhere, I see the colors are meant to represent the rainbow flag, not the rainbow. Thus Purple instead of Indigo and Violet.