I've read the phrase:

The book was ok but a bit too by the numbers.

What does "too by the numbers" mean?

Searching for it in Google gives 286,000 results, but can't find a definition for it.

closed as off-topic by TrevorD, tchrist Apr 6 at 1:53

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  • Please provide context - and preferably a link - to the source of your phrase. We cannot simply magic a meaning with no context! – TrevorD Apr 5 at 23:42
  • It should have been written "a bit too by-the-numbers". – Hot Licks Apr 6 at 2:12

by the numbers PHRASE
North American
In accordance with a rigidly followed set of rules.

Oxford Dictionaries

I assume you already know the meaning of too.

  • But when used as an adjective it should be hyphenated. – Hot Licks Apr 6 at 2:12

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