New York Times, March 15

I haven’t entered a single letter in the puzzle yet, but judging from the title, I’m going to guess that the theme answers all have an extra “S” at the beginning (“prior esses”). And this is without actually knowing what a “prioress” is, so I looked it up: It’s a nun in charge of a priory. I’ll have to remember that for Scrabble.

We’ll see if I’m right.

Update: I was half right. The themed answers are common two-word phrases with an extra “s” in front of each word. So 23 Across, “Ridiculed someone as loudly as possible?” is SCREAMED SCORN; 57 Across, “Change devices that divert trains to different tracks?” is SWITCH SHUNTS.

One other thing: Once I confirmed my extra “s” theory, it was easy to automatically put an “s” into the first box of every theme answer, thus providing a little extra help with the corresponding down clues.

A couple of shout-outs to my city made me smile: 90 Down, “2008 World Series Winner” and 115 Down, “With 47-Down, Oscar nominee for ‘Ali.” Shame on you if I have to tell you the answers are PHILLIE and WILL SMITH, one of our favorite native sons.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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