D-Plus

New York Times, June 14

After looking at the “D-Plus” title, it wasn’t hard to figure out what the trick to this puzzle would be — add a “D” to a common phrase or name and get a clever, funny answer. But we’ll get back to that in a moment.

More importantly, what did everyone think of the NYT Magazine’s new slimmer, trimmer design? Apparently the KenKen puzzle is going to be a staple from now on, and it’s easy to see why — it’s compact and fits nicely below the crossword, which now takes up the majority of a page. (I just feel like I mastered Sudoku … suppose I will have to give KenKen a shot.)

So what will that mean for the acrostic? I noticed the cryptic crossword a couple of pages back … are they going to alternate puzzle types on a different page each week? Guess we’ll have to see.

Anyway, back to today’s puzzle. The “D-Plus” theme meant that the longer clues were common phrases tweaked by the addition of a “D.” So “Amityville Horror,” the classic horror film from the 1970s, becomes AMITYVILLE HOARDER in 66 Across, “Greediest person in a Long Island locality?” “Snow White” becomes SNOW DWIGHT to answer 116 Across, “Bamboozle Eisenhower?” And “bowler hat” becomes BOULDER HAT for 114 Across, “Certain Colorado headgear.”

One little pet peeve from 49 Across, “Stat for Gooden or Maddux.” Seriously, Will, can’t you use any more recent MLB pitchers? It’s 2009. Really.

Comments or questions? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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