Career-Day Speaker Schedule

New York Times, Nov. 22

Sorry for the late post. I’m on the West Coast, which should give me a three-hour grace period, but I’ve gone way beyond that. So without further ado, I’ll just say that Sunday’s puzzle was a little Merl Reaglish, with faintly amusing wordplay but no heavy lifting.

The “career day” theme used plays-on-words to put a twist on occupations: a meter maid is a TICKET AGENT (23 Across); a golf pro is a DRIVING INSTRUCTOR (38 Across); a manicurist is a FILE CLERK (70 Across), among many others.

I have to say the tea server — SOCIAL WORKER (28 Across) — happened to hit home this weekend, as I attended a bridal shower tea on Sunday. (Um … OK, it was my bridal shower.) “Social worker,” while accurate, doesn’t quite do justice to the gracious hostesses.

Two other clues struck me — one for its (unnecessary) length and one for its “Really?” factor. The six-line clue for 98 Across (“____ Chao, only cabinet member to serve through George W. Bush’s entire administration”) contained some trivia I didn’t know but certainly was not essential to figuring out the answer. (Six lines?!) And 64 Down (“San _____, Lone Star State city”) sent me to Google after I figured out through crossing letters that the answer is ANTONE. I had to find out: Is San Antone a real place, separate from San Antonio? My searching is leading me to believe no, they are one and the same. Which makes me think the clue should have included to a reference to a “nickname” for the Lone Star State city.

Hope to be back on schedule next week.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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