Toasting the New Year

New York Times, Dec. 27

Sorry again for the late post, but I have a really good excuse — and it even fits the theme of this puzzle: I’m getting married on New Year’s Eve.

So, on the one hand, it was perfectly awesome to see this puzzle and its unwitting nod to my upcoming nuptials. On the other hand, I had not enough time nor energy to both solve it and post to my blog yesterday.

The grid was kind of shaped more like a martini glass than a champagne flute, but that’s a quibble. If you couldn’t put that shape together with the title (“Toasting the New Year”), the circled squares spelled it out for you in pictogram fashion: CHAMPAGNE BUBBLES. (I will take issue with the AGN answer — 61 Across, “Once more: Abbr.” — that’s part of CHAMPAGNE: Who abbreviates “again” as AGN? Who abbreviates “again,” period?)

But what I really loved about this puzzle was the “Who knew?” moment when I learned that DOM PIERRE PERIGNON (100 Across) was a BENEDICTINE MONK (34 Down) who discovered champagne. His “Purported cry” (25 Across) upon its discovery is pure poetry: I AM DRINKING THE STARS.

I’ve drunk Dom Perignon. I’ve even sold Dom Perignon, way back in my glamorous college days as a cashier at a liquor/wine store in Boston. And all this time, I never knew he had a first name, nor that he was a monk, nor that he discovered champagne.

Well, BOTTOMS UP (75 Across) and CHEERS (1 Across) to you, Dom Perignon. I, too, will be drinking the stars on New Year’s Eve.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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