The Football Fan

New York Times, Feb. 7

What better prep for tonight’s Saints-Colts championship than a pigskin-themed themed crossword?

This puzzle kicks off (one of the few terms NOT found in the grid) with a FIRST DOWN in the upper left quadrant (23 Across, “The football fan is fingering the buttons of the remote … he pushes the _____ and the game is on!”) and finishes with a TOUCH DOWN in the lower right (141 Across, “His posterior goes all the way back into the chair — ______!”)

In between, this fictional fan makes a SUPER BOWL of snack food (28 Across, “He’s prepared a _____ of popcorn for himself …”), orders a pizza with money he found IN THE POCKET (48 Across, “Now he remembers setting $10 aside for pizza — he searches his jacket and finds it ____”) and then has to find a SUBSTITUTION for one of his toppings (73 Across, “The pizzeria’s out of mushrooms, though, so he’ll need to make a _____”). He’ll be enjoying it with some DRAFT PICKS (31 Across, “… and he’s got Budweiser and Michelob on tap — excellent _____!”)

He tries to watch TV despite his wife’s BLOCKING the view (96 Across, “He’s looking for an opening, but she’s doing a tremendous job of ____.”) And, at long last, the pizza arrives; I do hope the poor delivery guy got a tip, because that’s not what 115 Across implies: “The pizza is $9.75 … he hands the $10 off to the boy and waits for the ______” — QUARTER BACK.

Other terms include LATE CALL (50 Across), COVERAGE (67 Across), SCREEN PASSES (89 Across), YARD LINE (113 Across), ONSIDE KICK (132 Across) and RECEPTION (137 Across).

And while Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will get all the air time tonight, it’s his brother ELI (54 Across, “N.F.L.’er Manning) who gets the nod in this grid(iron).

Kudos to constructor Patrick Berry for a massive puzzle — nearly 300 clues! I’ll end this (goal)post with one non-football entry that gives a shout-out to us beleaguered Eagles fans: 4 Across, “World capital once called Philadelphia” — AMMAN. Huh. Wonder if Billy Penn knew that.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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