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]
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.