Cued Up

New York Times, Nov. 29

Who knew there were so many words with Q in them?

I kind of figured there’d be a lot after seeing the “Cued Up” (read: “Q’d Up”) title. And I was right, starting with the clever QUAINT MISBEHAVIN’ (113 Across, “Carryin’ on, in olden times?”). Taking a cue — rather, a “Q” — from that clue, you can figure that all the theme answers will be common phrases tweaked with a “QU.”

So there’s SQUEAL OF APPROVAL (22 Across, “Delighted exclamation?”); QUEASY RIDER (68 Across, “Carsick passenger?”); QUALMS GIVING (94 Across, “Causing uneasiness?”); SHEPHERD’S PIQUE (4 Down, “Anger at losing one’s flock?”) and VANQUISHING ART (50 Down, “Subjugation?”).

Hats off for the remarkably complex WILDE BEQUEST (36 Across, “Part of an Irish playwright’s will?”), which completely subverts “wildebeest” into an Oscar Wilde reference.

I also love that BEAVIS (56 Across, “TV character often seen in a Metallica T-shirt”) made it into the puzzle. (Random trivia: What shirt does Butt-head wear? And their neighbor Stewart? Answers: AC/DC and Winger.) I was also pleased that the clue for OMAR (110 Down) was not a tired reference to actor Sharif but a more modern nod to “Baseball G.M. Minaya.” Although, being a Phillies fan, I should probably prefer the former.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy