"Inside Dope, Part 2" — a new puzzle from Rex Parker

Friday, December 25, 2009

Just creating a separate post for my latest puzzle. You can discuss it in comments, and find the solution ... below (after the Spoiler Kitty).

[as always, click on "Print" below, or go here (to the forum at crosswordfiend.com) to get a .puz / AcrossLite version of the puzzle]

Inside Dope

This puzzle was inspired by commenter "joeyshapiro," who, in commenting on last Sunday's puzzle "Inside Dope," wrote: "before starting the puzzle in earnest, was wondering if the theme answers would all have THC in them. Seemed a touch racey for NYT..." But not too racy for me. Most of the constructing time on this one was spent brain-storming theme answers. Considered trying for HEALTHCARE, since it's timely, but couldn't get symmetry to work, and ... frankly, I didn't want to think about the HEALTHCARE bill, for a host of reasons. So HEALTHCLASS, which is definitely a thing, but my least favorite of the theme answers (most favorite = DEPTHCHART, a never-been-used (that I know of) answer that has huge currency in the world of sports, football in particular). In addition to the theme, BOFF (as clued) and BIRTH CANAL are things you aren't likely to see in the NYT.

Two answers not in the cruciverb.com database: ED HELMS and CANDIED.

Crossing that I worried might get someone: BOTS x/w ROTH. I assume that "O" was inferrable. RUTH is the only other plausible name that might go there, and BUTS ... just isn't a likely answer for 46A.

Had PEÑA near the center at one point (where PONE is now), but decided I'd avoid the "Ñ" / "N" crossing — ditched it and ended up with better fill around. SNOOD instead of SNEAD, FORTE instead of SORTA, and thus FLASHER instead of SLASHER.

Happy to give MR. T as contemporary a clue as possible. Also liked the clue on JOHNS (thanks to Crossword Fiend for suggesting Haggard — original JOHNS were Spitzer, *Springer* and Swaggart).

Don't love: SSRS, SACS, ONEA, LOI, ARPS ... not thrilled with A B OR C, but it made that whole section better, and it's valid, so whatever. Liked getting ELVES in there for Christmas.

That's all. Hope I've got more in the tank in the new year.



Bob Kerfuffle 2:36 PM  

Thank you, Rex, for a fun puzzle.

(And I think ABORC is a fine answer word!)

darkman 2:40 PM  

Your puzzle had NYT quality written all over it. Well done!

mac 2:58 PM  

Great puzzle! Did it without googles but it had some tough spots for me, which is just fine.

I like the A, B or C as well, and birth canal, fifth column and depth chart are very good. Had to laugh at the "Johns"! Upper cut and Achilles are nice, too.

Thanks and travel back safely!

mac 2:58 PM  

Love that the grey kitten has become a regular.

Elaine 3:36 PM  

I really laughed at BOFF, and when I got BIRTH CANAL early on, I was sure this would not ever be seen on Premium Crosswords and Games (the NYT site.) I had to switch back and forth a lot...but it was fun to solve. Knowing that some verboten words could be included does expand the possibilities! Thanks for the Christmas treat.

lit.doc 3:53 PM  

Thanks for the Xmas present! Made my day (aside from the sib's, nieces, nephews, and grand etcs).

Terrific, smooth clueing. Especially loved the self-referential "You're reading it". Setting the tone from square one with BOFF made "Squirt with juices" wonderfully suggestive. Nice.

Maybe when you (re)publish this one, delete "Lisa" from 60A's clue to make it a smidge less of a gimme.

Jackie 7:32 PM  

Fabulous puzzle! I agree that, even though the final answer is not attractive, ABORC was fun. (SNOOD, on the other hand, not so much.) JOHNS was hilarious. I got through the whole thing smoothly, and smiling all the way.

Meg 8:13 PM  

Thanks, Rex for a fun puzzle. My older sister (the PhD in math sister) asked me what THC was. She was too busy studying to do drugs.

More ASPIC? Yuk! I kept thinking of Inspector Gadget, so FLASHER was much better.

Have another Christmas cookie!

Elaine 9:54 PM  

Before this puzzle had its own Comments, I had a response: SHRIEK! ASPIC!

so, thanks Meg, for seconding the motion!

I only got THC because of ?BEQ? or someone whose recent puzzle referenced this. I am on the cutting edge (cough cough) of the Baby Boom....and I did miss all of the "excitement." On the other hand, ha ha, I am getting Social Security before it runs out...

I really do wonder about all of the drugs....do they really think they have improved on alcohol? Well, I mean....at least this is legal!

Oh well. We just drove out and found that our lake flooded very seriously after 9+" of rain on Christmas Eve. House was safe, just barely, but dock appears to be toast, along with all of the equipment. No one expected this...pretty serious mess. And we're the lucky ones... I am not sure how this relates to the puzzle, but drugs do seem to be a rational respnse...

ArtLvr 10:29 PM  

Your Xmas gift was excellent, many thanks! Very well conceived and executed... Had to chuckle at the ASPIC, also Croque-MADAME and FLASHER.

If we can have a HEALTH CLASS, then certainly we can have a BIRTH CANAL -- we've all been there!
And to publish elsewhere, JOHNS' clue can be LOOS. (Couldn't read the 60A clue but guessed it).

@ Elaine: So sorry to hear of your flood damage!

Arundel 12:49 AM  

A very Rex-like puzzle I thought (No, not because of the theme!)

But BASTE, BOFF, BAM, and JOLT sound like comics to me, and SORE, UPPERCUT, JOINT, FLASHER, and JOHNS sound like tough-guy fiction (there's even a RASPY-voiced MADAME and characters like DUTCH, who might be played by Tim ROTH).

Anyway, a fun on-the-road solve.

@imsdave: Best puzzle ever!

--Stan (under a pseudonym)

Matt Gaffney 11:52 AM  

I like your THC puzzle. My favorite entries were FRITOS, PRINGLES, and DID I CALL YOU OR DID YOU CALL ME?

Betsy the midwife 2:12 PM  

I had the same thought when I saw the original puzzle's theme: and figured I would do well. But there was not a drug related reference to be found. Had a hard time until the geek in me kicked inFO. oh well this made me very happy. And BIRTH CANAL is always valid in my line of work.

betz the midwife

Singer 2:30 PM  

Of course, working 5 weeks later in syndication. Liked the puzzle - I had some trouble with some of the contemporary stuff (like the clue for Mr T - have zero knowledge of World of Warcraft, and I DVR nearly everything I watch on TV, so virtually no chance of seeing him pitch anything). Wanted to put Carell (spelling it Carrell) instead of ED HELMS, but then thought better of it - haven't seen the Hangover, but was pretty certain the Steve Carell wasn't in it. Don't watch the Office, but do watch the Daily Show.

I liked ONE A as an answer, as well as the clue. I am from an era when ONE A meant something. I was really glad I had to retake my physical when I was drafted (because 5 years had passed between taking it at 18 and graduating from college). Was reclassified as ONE Y after the second physical (was 3 pounds underweight). The lieutenant told me as he checked me out "don't eat."

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