New York Times, April 19
What a cruel title during such a dark time in journalism. But I’m over it. On to puzzling, where “Extra! Extra!” pretty much guarantees you’re going to be adding a letter or two to a common phrase in order to get your theme answer. But which one(s)?
Cleverly, the letters turn out to be OT — the abbreviation for overtime. Which is what it took for my alma mater, Boston University, to win the national college hockey championship earlier this month. Have I mentioned that recently?
The first theme answer I figured out was 22 Across, “Spoiling one’s vote?”: WRECKING BALLOT. But that was a little misleading in making me think I’d be adding OT to the end of every theme answer. The next one (I thought) I solved proved that theory wrong: 47 Across, “Child’s toy in the shape of a Shakespeare character?”, which yielded OTHELLO KITTY. At least it did for about 15 minutes, until I realized the answer they were looking for was OTHELLO DOLLY. I like my answer better but, alas, NUKITY is not the answer to the crossing clue, 37 Down (“Reason for an R rating”). That would be NUDITY.
I also was tripped up in parsing the answer to 84 Across, “Booster for a king?” The letters read ROYAL FLUSHOT, like “Royal flush” with OT on the end. But what the hell is a FLUSHOT? Ah. It’s actually a FLU SHOT. Maybe it would have been more immediate clear if I had been drinking coffee while solving.
Creator Will Nediger saved the best for the central, longest theme answer, sticking the OT right in the middle of JOHN MAYNARD KEYNOTES — the answer to 64 Across, “Headline about an economics conference?”
Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy